What does financial education really mean?

Let me start by answering my own question. After reviewing a number of credit union websites, I have no idea. This being said, I do have some thoughts on what financial education should mean.

Years ago, when I was at Raoust+Partners, we had a credit union client in Washington DC that used the tagline “Live Well, Within Your Means.” That positioning was very much in tune with the CEO of that credit union, who genuinely believed it was his responsibility, and that of his employees, to help members improve their own financial well being, while assuring them that they could live a happy, fulfilling life. To this day, I still believe this could be a cornerstone of the credit union movement.

Our daily financial challenges are many, and regardless of financial well being, seemingly endless. We are faced with choices that impact our short term and long term financial futures. With choices come questions, ones that every credit union should be able to address. Here are some of the more traditional questions that come to mind, that may be typical of your membership:

  • How much money do I need for an emergency?
  • Should I lease or purchase a car?
  • Should I rent or purchase a home?
  • Should I refinance my mortgage?
  • Is debt consolidation right for me?
  • What is the impact of increasing my 401k or IRA savings?
  • Should I fund retirement before I fund my kids college education?
  • What is the value of reducing my daily expenses?
  • When should I start saving for my kids education?

Some of you may be prepared to answer the above. But does it stop there? Financial advocacy and education goes way beyond the “typical” asset/liability mindset of the average financial institution. Consumers are faced with new questions, that many of you may not be addressing, even though they are topics of daily mainstream news. Here are some to consider:

  • How do I keep my financial information secure?
  • How do I limit my exposure to breaches, such as what we have seen at Staples and Target?
  • Who is going to keep me informed of the risks of identity theft?
  • What are the latest scams I should be concerned with?
  • How do you protect my data?
  • How can I track and manage daily spending?
  • How do I know what I can afford, based on my income, debt and goals?

Our financial lives are growing more complex, so I believe it’s time we better define financial education. Well informed members and their households are better able to take control of their financial circumstances, enhance their quality of life, while ensuring a stable future for themselves and their families. Financial education should be about inspiring financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life, while addressing the daily challenges and threats we see or experience every single day. You want to help members make informed, thoughtful, and beneficial financial decisions that impact them daily, as well as in the future.


Bryan Clagett

Bryan Clagett

Bryan is on the executive team and singularly focused on driving revenue growth through a variety of new initiatives that help financial services and fintech become ever more relevant to ... Web: https://www.strategycorps.com Details