Last week, the House approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As its name suggests, the bill focuses on reforming Wall Street, limiting big banks and instituting strong consumer financial protection measures.
We are more than happy to say farewell to the Great Recession and make sure a financial meltdown will never happen. But buried within the 3,200-page bill is another measure that makes us at LearnVest particularly thrilled – a plan to institute a new Office of Financial Literacy. In case you couldn’t tell, we’re incredibly passionate about financial education. As LV CEO Alexa Von Tobel always says, money is our lifeline, and knowing how to manage it is one of the most important skills we can have.
For most of us, personal finance education begins far too late. Just think about your own studies. Financial literacy is rarely taught in middle schools, high schools, or even universities. Too many people begin their financially independent lives with little idea how to manage their new salaries, save for retirement, and juggle everyday expenses. 90% of women say that they are completely insecure about their personal finances, and over 80% of students graduating from college have credit card debt, averaging well over $3,000. Furthermore, 67% of single women do not have a retirement account.
If these numbers are scaring you, trust us, they’re scaring us to. LearnVest is here to promote financial literacy, since it’s the key to financial empowerment and a happy, financially stable life.
A press release from Senator Daniel Akaka explains that the Office of Financial Literacy would be “tasked with developing and implementing initiatives to educate and empower consumers,” including tangible goals and benchmarks to measure the improvements in financial literacy levels.
What exactly will this mean for us? Well, if the Dodd-Frank bill passes, it could be a huge step towards comprehensive, accessible financial education for all Americans. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and financial education is truly the “ounce of prevention” that we need to safeguard ourselves against the costly (pun intended!) mistakes that send so many Americans into financial crises.