Why financial literacy is important

April 16, 2015 | Alissa Green

We attended the #FinLitSummit held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago yesterday – and wow, were we blown away by the insights shared by a diverse group of global finance and tech leaders. In particular, it was an honor to hear the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, speak about how he and the President are working to improve financial literacy across age groups.

The focus of the event was about Millennials, but in hearing Perez speak, it’s clear that everyone from mid-career adults to pre-retirees, many of whom have large mortgage debt, could use financial literacy help.

While the telecast will be available to watch on-demand streaming for anyone interested, we wanted to pull out some interesting nuggets...

We’re not our grandparents’ generation. We need to pay attention to retirement products.
“It used to be that IRA was the guy who lived down the street and 401K was a highway in Colorado. No more. We’re no longer in the Leave It to Beaver World.”
      – Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor

Thankfully, the government wants to make sure we’re not squandering our savings on bad advice.
“You don’t want to see your doctor and have him or her tell you what’s a suitable plan. You want the BEST plan for you.” That’s why Perez and President Obama have just unveiled a proposal mandating that financial advisors advise their clients in their clients’ best interest – not their own. Find out more about this proposal here
      – Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor

Mobile banking is an amazing technological advancement, but it comes with great responsibility since all our money is accessible at anytime of the day or night.  
“Louis CK once told a story where when he was growing up, he’d have $20 in his wallet on Friday. If he ran out of money over the weekend, he’d have to wait until Monday when the bank re-opened.”
      – Steven Ciobo MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment (Australia)

There’s great hope for us as global citizens, led by millennials. 
“There are certain characteristics common across millennials. They have an impatient desire for change. They want to make a difference – 84% of millennials think they can change the world for the better.”
      – Governor Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)

Financial Literacy’s no. 1 priority should be ensuring that people don’t feel ashamed about what they don’t know.
“It takes a lot of courage for people to ask about financial literacy, for those that are already supposed to know the answer.”
      – Georgette Jean-Louis, Executive Board Member, Banque de la République d'Haiti (Central Bank of Haiti)

There’s gross mistrust of big banks.
“71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than go to the bank. Meanwhile, 83% of Americans think banks exist to steal their money.”
      – Jason Young, CEO and Co-Founder, MindBlown Labs

Finance is only scary if you don’t put any work into understanding how it works.
“It’s tempting to see the world of finance as a world of wizards and machinery, but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s up to you to find out how it works. “
      – Jake Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder, General Assembly New York.

Alliant’s model of putting our members’ interests first is the best business model to have!
“When you put your customer’s interest first, it is, indeed, great for the customer and great for you.”
      – Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor

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