April is financial literacy month. I believe that lack of financial knowledge is one of the most critical problems that our country faces. Continue reading
April is Financial Literacy Month.
All month long, I have been trying to think of how to write a post that can express the depth of my conviction that the lack of financial knowledge is at the core of some of the biggest problems that we, as individuals (and as a nation) are facing.
There are so many areas in which we can see the enormous problems created by a lack of financial literacy that, frankly, I don’t even know where to start. In fact, the Wall Street Journal just ran an article about college graduates who have little hope of ever being financially secure given their enormous levels of student loan debt. (Even President Obama isn’t exempt: he admitted today that he paid off his student loans just 8 years ago.)
This is a big problem. Continue reading
Well-known financial columnist Robert Powell has a recent article in MarketWatch titled, “Retirement in America is ‘Endangered.” The motivation for this piece, he writes, is that retirement preparedness is a crucially important topic that was missed in the recent State of The Union address by President Obama.
Powell goes on to list the key problems with the current ‘state of retirement’ in the United States:
1) Under-funding of Social Security
2) Low savings rates
3) Poor market returns over recent years
4) Inadequate levels of financial literacy
5) Half of American workers have no employer-sponsored retirement plan
All of these issues are critically important. In just one or two generations, we have shifted from a society in which employers provided lifetime retirement income via traditional pension plans, to one in which individuals now must manage every aspect of their financial futures, including how much to save and how to invest their retirement savings. The good news is that each of these five issues can be solved if we have the will to solve them. Continue reading
This is the second article in a series. The first is titled The Five Biggest Financial Issues for Pre-Retirees.
The years in which you are raising children are among the most important in your life, and financial choices and decisions are no small part. First, you are managing the widest range of financial demands. You may simultaneously be paying off student loans, buying or remodeling a house, assisting other family members, saving for your childrens’ financial needs (like college), and saving for your retirement. In addition, these tend to be the years in which people build their professional reputations. Many parents feel challenged about how to give their children access to the best education possible, whether that means private schools our buying a house in a neighborhood with the best public schools. Finally, an issue that gets very little attention, you are doing this while modeling financial decision making for your children. The example that you set cannot help but shape your childrens’ perspectives and behavior about money. Continue reading