Looking Ahead: Tomorrow's Feats of Financial Literacy



As more state legislatures seek to add personal finance to the high school curriculum requirements, it would seem that awareness surrounding financial literacy concepts is reaching new heights. Most experts agree that increasing the financial acuity among consumers the world over is an imperative for ensuring that both the aging population and generations to come have a more secure future. While the method for imparting this knowledge is still being tested and determined, the landscape of financial literacy continues to evolve. 

It is all too easy to forget the importance of maintaining the most basic of good financial habits, and Financial Literacy Month (FLM) does a great job of reviewing and updating the best approaches to cultivating those habits. However, as people become more financially aware, it is important to keep looking ahead and to adapt the narrative accordingly. Personal finance curriculum requirements for high school students are a good start, but most experts argue that the earlier principles are taught, the more effective the results. Further, regarding those well beyond the realm of high school, who likely never received any formal exposure to financial concepts, how will future FLM initiatives account for their needs? 

Employee financial wellness programs are a necessary step forward in addressing these needs and overall adoption is on the rise. Still, more than half of all employers have yet to begin offering this benefit to employees. Technology will only continue to improve accessibility to both common and advanced financial transactions, from savings and investing to acquiring mortgages and cryptoassets. Without programs and tools aimed at guiding consumers through this increasingly complex financial territory, those already struggling to get a handle on the basics face the prospect of being left behind entirely.

This is not to say that financial literacy initiatives alone can bridge the wealth gap or upend the statistics on household, credit card and student loan debt. However, research demonstrates that it does make a notable difference, particularly in early major financial decision-making processes. So, as the door closes on another Financial Literacy Month, consider ways you can keep financial awareness alive and well throughout the year in the minds of your friends, family and clients. The MICPA encourages its members to take it further by joining the MICPA Financial Literacy Task Force to share ideas and apply your experience to exploring and guiding the future of financial literacy initiatives.

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