Thursday, June 30, 2011

Teacher Calls for Financial Instruction in the Classroom

A Florida teacher makes the case for providing financial literacy instruction in the classroom in Education Week

Key point;

"Success in school may ultimately mean little to a student who lacks the skills and knowledge necessary to manage his or her money. We can add to the value of our students’ learning by preparing them to prosper in the world beyond our classrooms."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teens, Mistrust and Financial Literacy

There is a fascinating study out today of teens, their financial literacy and their attitude towards financial institutions. The study finds a lot of mistrust among the demographic towards financial institutions, and it concludes the industry needs some good PR and a whole lot of support for financial literacy programs.

Read more here.

Key graph:

"This isn't just about bad PR for the industry. Adolescents with this level of distrust of financial institutions become adults who don't open bank accounts, invest for retirement, insure against risks or finance important purchases like college educations or homes. This type of financial disengagement could push a generation of consumers away from mainstream institutions and toward risky alternative service providers or toward simple inaction, which has its own perils."

Federal Government Gets Behind Financial Literacy

In what seems to be a positive step, the Government Accountability Office today produced a study mandated by Dodd-Frank about how to increase consumer financial knowledge. The study suggests increased financial literacy courses - - but cautions that some sort of standard or certification is needed to create a baseline of knowledge.

It sounds great. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

Read more from InvestmentNews.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boomer Women

Much has been made of the baby boom generation as they approach retirement. The Raleigh News & Observer takes a look at Boomer women in particular. The entire article is worth a read.

The crux of the matter? Many in the demographic never prepared for retirement and never thought they'd have to.

"Experts began years ago to predict this land mine for single women nearing retirement. The Federal Reserve Board found in 2001 that only a third of single women had any sort of retirement savings account; at the same time, fewer than 10 percent of single women had pensions through their jobs.

Now, the turbulent economy has turned those early warnings into full-scale alarms. Plans have been derailed for even the women who prepared. Some eye their retirement savings warily and wonder whether they will outlive the money they set aside for these years, a real possibility as their life expectancy stretched to age 85. Others are heading back to work."

Another Day, Another Poll

This one is from J.P. Morgan. Like last week's news, the Morgan findings show Americans understanding that they need to save for retirement, but too few actually doing it in a meaningful way.

Key quote from J.P Vice President Diane Gallagher:

"There's still a significant gap between acknowledging responsibility and acting upon it."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gen-X and Retirement

The headline of this article is about how confident Gen-Xers feel about retirement. Answer? Not very.

Perhaps more newsworthy is this nugget tucked in that the end.

"Only 15% of Gen-Xers said they had incomes that exceeded their current expenses and only 46% track their incomes and expenses on a monthly basis -- two red flags that make it clear that they're in desperate need of financial advisory services if they're ever to reach their retirement goals."


What is Americans' Biggest Financial Worry?

Is it medical costs? Credit card bills? Mortgage? Nope.

According to a new survey by Gallup, it is not having enough savings for retirement.

66 percent of those surveyed were either 'very' or 'moderately' worried about running out of money in their Golden Years.

The survey is not surprising, but it is a good reminder that as pensions and other benefits disappear, we need to help Americans fill the void.

Prudential on the African American Financial Experience

Prudential has a new study out looking at the "African American Financial Experience." The whole study is worth a look.

Some things that jumped out:
  • African American ownership of IRAs is significantly lower than the general population 35 percent to 52 percent.
  • 58 percent don't know or can't find an advisory they trust.
  • Yet almost half admit they need help.
The survey is the latest in a long line of research that supports efforts to expand the population of qualified financial experts throughout all communities.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bad Economy is Bad for Retirement

The Daily Chronicle out of Dekalb, IL, has a good look today at how the bad economy is affecting Americans ability to save for retirement. There is some good news in that experts see younger people focusing on retirement. But there is also some bad news. Specifically more Americans dipping into their savings to make ends meet.

A great quote:
“[Retirement savings is] more and more of a concern. You’re not thinking about retirement at 65 when you’re worried about employment at 35."

The article is a good reminder of why public policy makers must do more to help make sure Americans have access to good, qualified financial advice and products.