George Washington University Panel Explores Financial Literacy Challenges

Only 24 percent of millennials understand basic financial topics.

Only 24 percent of millennials understand basic financial topics.

Without a fundamental understanding of financial concepts, people find it difficult to make informed choices about saving, investing, borrowing, and more, and that puts them at risk in a system, like ours, that expects people to be responsible for their own retirement savings and financial well-being.

Mari participated last week on a George Washington University (GWU) panel exploring financial literacy challenges across the globe.

The event was in recognition of the 10th anniversary of GFLEC, GWU’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, located in the School of Business.

GFLEC is an internationally renowned think tank for research, advocacy, and education in the field of financial literacy, and is led by Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, one of the world’s leading experts on the subject.

Panel participant Dr. Andrea Hasler, deputy director of GFLEC, noted that “only a third of adults are financially literate across 148 countries,” as reported by the GWU Hatchet.

“The U.S. financial system is based largely on financial independence,” she observed, “making it especially critical for citizens to plan for their own financial security.”

In her comments, Mari supported requiring more financial literacy training at home as well as the school level, lasting from middle school through college.

“Many young adults graduate without basic financial knowledge, like how to sign up for a medical plan at their place of work or how to allocate their 401k, an employer-sponsored pension account,” Mari noted.

Women typically lag behind men when it comes to financial literacy, so it’s especially critical for parents, employers, and mentors to involve women in conversations about money and investing at work, at home and in everyday settings like around the dining room table.

People with higher financial literacy “have the financial knowledge to build their wealth and be more financially secure and resilient,” putting them in a better position to pursue their dreams, stated Kristen Burnell, the executive director of GFLEC.

The Takeaway: Congratulations to GWU and GFLEC for 10 years of outstanding achievement, and helping us understand how financial literacy contributes to our Economic Freedom(™).

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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