In the news: Inside Sources: America Scores an Average ‘C’ Grade for Financial Literacy Month

Thanks to Kate Patrick for the opportunity to contribute to her story with InsideSources “America Scores an Average ‘C’ Grade for Financial Literacy Month”. Here's my comments:

“We don’t learn personal finance anywhere in school —some schools have very limited financial education — so for those going through the education system, they’re not much they’re learning in terms of practical life skills. Most school systems don’t even touch financial skills.”

“Companies spend so much money on their group insurance benefits and yet employees every time when it comes to open enrollment, they have no idea what they’re really doing. They really don’t have enough knowledge to make an informed choice.” 

Steuer advocates for Americans to read all documents before choosing insurance or signing a loan. Hidden fees and other terms and conditions lurk in the fine print, and not everyone knows what to look for when choosing a financial product.

While educating Americans about their financial health is critical, Steuer thinks the financial services industry — the insurance companies, lenders, hedge and mutual fund managers of the world — doesn’t do enough to make the process transparent and easy-to-understand for consumers. “These products are not financially easy, they’re complex. The financial services industry continues to put out really opaque materials and not simplifying their products and services in a way that people can easily understand. …Financial services companies could dramatically simplify what they do.”

“People need to make a decision that they’re going to start to get informed. They need to be dedicated to that and spend as much time searching for a financial product as they do searching for the perfect TV or car. [Most people] might go to Lending Tree and run two or three quotes for a mortgage, but don’t take the same amount of time as searching for a TV, and they can’t tell you the difference between two different mortgages and how that will impact them. I think it’s a matter of sitting down and identifying your goals and priorities.”

Read the full article (here)  (4/2019)

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