When I ask my clients how far back in time one million seconds ago was, I usually get answers of over one year. It was 12 days ago. When I bump it to a billion seconds, I get 3+ years. It was 31 years ago. When I ask "How about one trillion seconds ago?" I get stupefied looks in return. It was 31,688 years ago! Western civilization did not exist. Neanderthals still walked the Earth…
You get the picture?
The financial literacy problem in the United States is in such a toxic state because we as citizens have failed. We have not placed any emphasis whatsoever on financial education. I'm only 45, but when I was in school, we learned basic fundamental math and how to apply it to everyday life in America. We learned basic accounting principles and were taught how to balance a household budget. We learned about compound interest and how it could work for you or against you. We were taught how to do complicated math problems by hand (GASP!) and not to rely on calculators. Not enough of this is taking place in today's school environment, and it's leading to a sharp decline in financial literacy.
In order for the average person in today's society to be able to improve his/her financial literacy, he must first acknowledge that there's a problem. There are plenty of online resources, books at the library, courses at community centers, classes at community colleges, etc., etc. ... if the desire for education is there. Then all it takes is action and commitment. This is fairly simple stuff we're talking about here…
As far as Wall Street and the U.S. Government are concerned, in my opinion, they should stay out of financial education. After all, a million dollars ago was 5 seconds ago at the U.S. Treasury … a billion dollars ago was late yesterday afternoon.
Local government on the other hand, could help develop curricula starting at the middle school level and require that it be continued – and passed – at the high school level.
But until the average American accepts his/her role and holds the children of the next generation accountable for acquiring and retaining the knowledge through consistent and practical application, not much will change. People will still make poor financial decisions and over-extend themselves to keep up with the Joneses, not realizing that the Joneses are broke too!
As the President and CEO of TZG Financial, Mike is doing what he professionally loves the most: building relationships and providing his clients with financial security. Mr. Zaino is a qualifying and accepted member of the National Ethics Association. He is among an elite group of advisors who have passed the most comprehensive background check in the financial services industry. A rigorous background check is conducted every year to qualify as a member. Mike is also a verified Top Contributor on www.MoneyTips.com and a member of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association.