Besides, financial literacy is boring compared to Black Friday and the latest Apple iDevice. Maybe that’s why we need a special month.
You Already PayYou pay for advice for financial decisions relating to banking, financial planning, investments, insurance and tax. Thirty days hath November. How did your advisors specifically help you improve your financial literacy?
Maybe you received generic information from them or the financial institutions they represent. That doesn’t count. Maybe you received sales pitches disguised as advice. That doesn’t count either.
You are paying — directly or indirectly — for advice. What are you getting? Do you get emails from advisors telling you that instead of sending you a holiday card, they’re donating an undisclosed amount to a worthy charity? That’s fine but how charitable are they being to you? Information is free. Emails are free. Videos are free.
Your advisors don’t even need to create fresh, original content, They can send you links for free. What did they send you?
Too High A PriceAs you become more educated, you become more discerning and demanding. Will that make your advisor more money? If not, don’t expect much help. We saw how a pizza flyer deceives. Financial offerings are far more complex.
You pay a higher price when you don’t take the initiative to learn on your own. If you’re passive, you might get advice which is better for the giver than for you. How would you know? By improving your skills, you can ask better questions, evaluate the answers, and spot what’s left out.
Your AdvocatesWhen you’re ready to learn, you’ll find help. Here are three excellent free sources:
- Your Financial Toolkit on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website
- Get Smarter About Money from the nonprofit Investor Education Fund
- Canadian Money Forum from bloggers Million Dollar Journey and Canadian Capitalist
CautionThere are other sources of information with potential conflicts of interest. For instance, VISA offers Practical Money Skills. You won’t find standard debt-fighting advice like
- pay off your credit card balance every month
- borrow from less expensive sources (if you must borrow)
- cut up your credit card
Similarly, there’s a cost to getting advice from your banker.
Noble IntentionsWe get in the way of our own plans. You might need outside help or discipline. If you have a spouse, friend or colleague with the same goals, support each other. A 12-week Pick Four goals program may be ideal: each member has their objectives (may not be financial).
Your paid skilled advisors can certainly help you improve your financial literacy. That doesn’t mean they will. You can also improve without their help. That doesn’t mean you will. Will you?
- Riscario wiki (riscario.com)
- Forget financial literacy: check your pizza literacy
- Is the best advice free or for-fee?
- The cost of getting advice from your banker
- How to replay a nonfinancial debt
- Fraud protection and your bank card
- Protecting against identity theft
- Jim Flaherty on the economy and financial literacy
- Canadian Consumer Protection for Financial Institution Failures (website)
- Six math-free ways to financial literacy (Rob Carrick, Nov 19, 2012)
- image courtesy of Dave
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PS How do you learn?