Financial Independence Starts with Financial Literacy

Written by: Kathleen Burns Kingsbury | KBK Wealth Connection

The first step toward financial independenceis financial literacy. Knowledge is power. It allows women to ask for an equitable wage. It inspires parents to teach their children about money. It allows you and your clients to live your fullest lives and pursue your passions.The problem is that money silence keeps many people from improving their financial knowledge. A recent study found that there was actually an 8% decrease in the average person’s financial literacy in the last decade. Yes, it looks like we may be headed backward!There are innovative programs that are committed to arming teachers with the skills to break money silence in their classrooms and to empower the next generation to be more financially literate. In Vermont, there is Champlain College’s Summer Institute for Financial Literacy. This groundbreaking program is the brainchild of John Pelletier, the Director of the Center for Financial Literacy at the college.This year, John added the psychology of money to the curriculum and gave me the opportunity to work toward increased financial literacy in the classroom firsthand. It was a blast, and the teachers from around New England were inspirational.

What can you do this July to increase your clients’ literacy and make sure that financial independence is achievable for all? Here are some suggestions.

  • Volunteer to teach finance. Now is the time to find a place to host a Breaking Money Silence® Workshop this fall. Your local middle or high school, a community group, or a business networking meeting makes a great venue. Need materials? Click here to find out how my firm can help you with interesting content, along with marketing and social media support.
  • Create a financial independence mural. Clear off a wall or put up a large easel in your waiting room. Write “Financial Independence is …” at the top, and encourage clients, staff, and anyone walking through the space to share their definition of monetary freedom on it. Use words, drawings, or pictures from a magazine to make this collage. At the end of the month, take a photo and share on social. Make sure you tag @KBKSpeaks and #breakingmoneysilence.
  • Talk to a young person about money . As an advisor, you are uniquely positioned to teach others about finance. Make a commitment this month to talk to your children, your clients’ children, or another young person in your life about money. By breaking money silence with the next generation, you are giving them permission to ask questions and learn more about finance.