We all hope our children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews and tomorrow's youth across the board will grow up to make informed, effective decisions when it comes to their financial well-being and thrive as contributing members of society.
Unfortunately, in recent decades, research shows that roughly half of American adults lack a basic understanding of finance fundamentals. According to a March 9, 2019, Investment News article, “Financial literacy: An epic fail in America,” financial literacy in the United States ranks slightly higher than that of Botswana.
Lack of financial literacy education is not just a mere tactic used to scare the average American. The consequences of financial illiteracy are very noticeable in the modern American culture, as the average college debt per student has more than doubled over the past ten years through 2016, topping close to $30,000 per student. Arguably, if students were taught financial literacy concepts from an earlier age, this overall debt picture may look different.
When a young adult applies for a credit card, sets out to purchase their first car or secure their first mortgage, are they prepared with knowledge about what the implications of these decisions really are? Do they understand the true costs of debt? When they start their careers, are they armed with the skills to negotiate their salary and ready to create a budget to live independently within their means?
In many cases, the answer is no. So how do we support a shift towards greater financial literacy?
The growing need for financial education has become recognized in states such as Florida. In fact, the Florida legislature recently proposed a new bill that would require high school students to take a course in financial literacy and money management matters. The goal is to provide students with a more solid financial foundation so that students would not only reduce debt consumption but also increase overall savings. If you feel we need to focus on financial literacy, please write your Representative in support of the bill!
Locally, the Allegiant Private Advisors team is making a difference in financial literacy for children and young adults. Several years ago, the team created a Young Professional Mentorship Program operated by their credentialed financial professionals, Chartered Financial Analysts and Accredited Investment Fiduciaries®. Allegiant has provided consulting services, on a volunteer basis, to several young professionals as they navigate pivotal decisions in life. From choosing to leave a job to start a new business, learning how to control the use of credit cards, or simply learning how to budget, save, and invest, Allegiant has helped guide young professionals by acting as “thinking partners” through complex decisions affecting their financial well-being. While family members, friends and mentors can help provide support in so many ways, oftentimes conversations involving money are considered off limits, even in the most trusted personal relationships. Talking about money has long been frowned upon in some ways, so developing a relationship with a trusted fiduciary advisor who always has your best interests in mind has been invaluable to participants of Allegiant’s Young Professional Mentorship Program.
The wealth management firm based in downtown Sarasota has also partnered with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, local schools (elementary to college), not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to teach and promulgate financial literacy.
Allegiant’s dedication to charities, nonprofits, and foundations is based on a desire to do good—while helping others to do good at the same time. Through donations of financial management expertise, time, money, service on boards, and consulting work, the Allegiant Private Advisors team proudly gives back in many various ways.
The commitment to expanding financial literacy is one cause the entire team passionately supports. If you’d like to reference additional resources about financial literacy as well as in-depth articles and white papers about financial planning and investment topics, browse Features published online at www.allegiantpa.com.
Allegiant Private Advisors is located at 240 South Pineapple Ave., Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34236. For more information, call 941-365-3745 or visit www.allegiantpa.com. Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, a Registered Investment Adviser.