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  1. Great Article Lou…I think it is very accurate to say that the wrong people are leading the charge. As long as banks and creditors are the only source teaching any type of financial literacy, consumers will be chained to the wheel of debt. Financial literacy does, in fact, need to start a home…but let’s be fair to parents…how can they teach their children something that has NOT been taught through the last several generations. I hope to contribute to that change as a credit coach, both for First-time Home Buyers and Young People entering the workforce. Thanks for telling it like it is…if you get a minute check out my new website and let me know what you think…

    • Hi Karen. Love the new blog! And yes, just like Jerry pointed out with his comment, I believe schools have to lead the charge because many parents are already caught in that vicious cycle without the resources to get themselves out so how can they begin to have that conversation with their kids?

      Keep up the good work and thanks for leaving a comment :)

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi Lou, powerful points. Yes, I agree financial life skills absolutely needs to be taught in school and in the early elementary years. Teaching young kids how to “pause and reflect” so their actions reflect their values and goals instead of being simply impulsive wants will lead them to not only more financially independent and successful lives, but also far more fulfilling.

    • And isn’t that the point? To make sure they are free to concentrate on building wealth and an enjoyable and sustainable life! Thanks for leaving a comment Nancy :)

  3. says:

    I love the idea of teaching both mechanics and behavioral aspects at the school level. I’m very leery of criticizing the folks who focus on the mechanical, but I like the aggressive prod to expand into behavioral. Parents are essential to the equation – no two ways about it. They have a huge influence on their kids attitudes and they control the purse strings. I believe we can supply parents with simple tools to positively influence the financial habits, behaviors and attitudes of their kids – even if the financial behavior of the parents has been sub-par so far. FamZoo is concentrating on simple software tools that help keep families on track and constantly nudge them in a positive direction. When parents work with their kids on the problem, it often prods them to clean up their own act. Win. win. Software is obviously not the magic pill – it’s just an area where we can help make a dent in the problem with our expertise. This is a big problem with big forces in the opposing direction and it’s going to take efforts on all sides to make a difference. I’d be careful about denigrating any one group’s efforts as a “failure” – individually we’re out matched, but together we might make a significant difference.

  4. First Bill, let me say that I have great respect for the time and effort you have put into trying to make a difference with FamZoo and the products you have created.

    Having said that, here’s my response: if we were 10 years into the movement, perhaps I might be leery of criticizing or denigrating (as you say) the folks who have led the charge.

    However, since we are almost 2 decades into this movement, I believe it fair to call it a failure! As for your “together we might make a difference” statement – here’s the response for that one: I reached out to several
    “non-profits” over a month ago to partner with me in going to my daughters elementary school and teaching about financial literacy.

    I sent out emails, made phone calls, and went to meetings. Do you know how many of those were returned? NONE! But guess what? It matters not that they don’t appreciate what I am doing. It only matters that I know what I am doing can
    help hundreds; if not thousand change their lives for the better!

    As such, I will be going into my daughters 2nd grade class for one hour beginning this Friday, and every other Friday throughout financial literacy month, to teach them comprehensive financial literacy.

    If you read Dan Kadlec’s piece about behavior vs. mechanics, what I emphasized with was Brian Page’s statement “Our financial literacy efforts aren’t misguided; they are systemically flawed”.

    However, as I did in my comments with that piece, I’ll pose the same question to you here: Why is it that even college educated professionals or people who Mr. Page himself would define as financially literate, still end up in
    Bankruptcy and Foreclosure or in dire financial straits?

    Here’s the answer (it was a rhetorical question): after almost 20 years of this financial literacy movement, it is what it is Bill – a failure!

    And as this article states; until behavior is given as much, if not more attention than mechanics – the financial literacy movement will continue to fail!

    And we haven’t even begun to discuss the inherent conflict of interest of banks and creditors funding and participating in creating the curriculum for teaching financial literacy!

    Thanks for the insightful comment :)

  5. says:

    The answer is likely the missing behavioral piece as you assert (and as I agreed) – perhaps among other things. Also, we’re up against bajillions of dollars of advertising messages that inundates our kids, so that’s stiff competition. I think behavior and habit-forming are huge – that’s what we’re trying to encourage through repetition starting from a young age. I’m just saying it doesn’t mean that the mechanics are irrelevant. Somebody’s gotta bring that piece too. Kudos to you for going out and making it happen where you can. I wholeheartedly applaud your efforts!

  6. I agree with both points Bill and thank you for your kind words. But I have never said in anything I have ever written – to include this piece -, that mechanics is irrelevant.

    I have always advocated for behavioral and mechanics to be taught side by side and therein lays the answer to turning this ship around; they both need to be taught together, not one over the other :)

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