Financial advisers are uniquely positioned to deliver personal financial education in the U.S., and the business advantages they glean from doing so will benefit firms for years to come, experts in financial literacy said.
The U.S. has the world’s largest economy, but it ranks 14th in the world for financial literacy. Improving the nation’s financial literacy would allow people to make better financial decisions over their lifetimes, which will generate more wealth. “If we have a more wealthy population, then the economy itself is going to be better, but it also is going to create more wealth to manage,” said Chloe McKenzie, founder of BlackFem Inc., a nonprofit aimed at helping women of color build wealth by making financial education a cornerstone of public schools.
Ms. McKenzie and other panelists speaking Tuesday at the InvestmentNews Women Adviser Summit in Huntington Beach, Calif., said the nation’s schools need help providing financial education. And financial advisers already are experts in explaining the complicated financial information needed to understand savings and budgeting concepts.
Teachers know there is a need to provide financial education but they don’t feel comfortable teaching it themselves, said Erin Voisin, director of financial planning at EP Wealth Advisors. “I’ve heard them say, ‘I don’t know how to budget myself so why should I be the one to teach this?’” she said.
Advisers at her firm created a curriculum that it delivers at high schools. Demand from schools has been high, and the advisers are now presenting three to four times a month in the Los Angeles area.
Darla Sipolt, managing director of core West sales at TD Ameritrade Institutional, helped her own financial adviser create a 12-month basic financial curriculum that he presents to his clients’ children once they turn 18.
He’s found that improving their financial literacy created deep connections with these young adults. “He told me that he developed relationships with these benefactors that he wouldn’t otherwise get to have,” Ms. Sipolt said at the summit, which attracted nearly 125 female financial advisers