Getting People to Care About Personal Finance

There seems to be a disconnect between those who read personal finance blogs, magazines, and websites like SavingAdvice.com and those who need to read them. Most people who read about personal finance already care about their finances. But the people who need to read about finance, who are in the most trouble, don’t. So the question I ask today is: How do we get people to care about personal finance?

We know the reasons that people should care: Financially responsible people are good for the economy. Irresponsible/uninformed people are a drain on the economy. You will likely be responsible for your own retirement; the government won’t help you. Out of control spending can lead to

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10 Responses to Getting People to Care About Personal Finance

  1. Emily says:

    This is a great article with a lot of good points. I would be interested in finding out more specifics about how the financially illiterate hurt our country and our economy.

    I do wonder who you mean when you say “We have to do something to avoid a huge crisis down the road.” Is that the government? Personal finance bloggers? Corporate America? I don’t know the answer, but I know families are generally the best place to start and schools would be a nice second.

    Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more.

  2. fathersez says:

    I am a great believer that PF should be taught in schools, much like the 3 “R’s'”.

    I am now trying to catch up for lost time, and seeking to instill in my children a foundation level PF.

    Thanks for your article.

  3. Excellent points! This is a topic of discussion amongst our family and circle of friends quite often. We’re of the mindset that it may require a few generations of us (the parents) setting the proper example and spreading financial responsible habits through friendships made throughout our lives.

    Kind of a “word of mouth” kind of advertising effect. It’s not always the fastest spreading, but it can be effective.

  4. Brian says:

    I am also a big believer in teaching it in schools and early on. However, you are more likely to get everyone (teachers, admin, and parents) to agree on sex ed before financial ed. I think “mon and dad” are better equipped to handle junior coming home from school and asking them a question about sex than they would be about personal finance. Asking “mom and dad” about their cc balances and how mucg debt they have would be more taboo. That’s my rant, but I do believe it should be taught in school. They should go over savings and checking accounts, investing (401K’s as well as how to invest outside of them), mortgages, signing contracts such as apartment leases, etc… I was fortunate to have parents that knew some, but not all, of this stuff, so I could ask. If I didn’t have that, I would have been lost – and that’s what a lot of people are.

  5. Jay Gatsby says:

    When I was in high school (back 20 years or so), part of the home economics class involved writing and balancing a checkbook. These days such classes are few and far between.

  6. baselle says:

    I have a fantasy that the hot new reality TV series would be _The Greatest Saver_, something along the lines of the _The Greatest Loser_. Of course, Ima Saver would win hands down. :D

    Also a shoutout to Michelle Singletary, another great minority personal finance voice on MSM – she writes for the Washington Post and NPR.

  7. Hilary says:

    At my college we had an optional seminar for seniors about finances. We talked about credit cards, loans, savings, retirement, renting apartments, buying homes, etc. It was a really great resource.

    However, many would argue that senior year of college is too late…

  8. Ben Dinsmore says:

    Number 6 is so true. I started my financial blog, and friends and family asked why I would want people reading about my financial situation!

  9. Marjorie says:

    Love your article. Currently, I’m thinking about including my children in paying our bills. That way they see how we manage our finances. Help us write out the checks and log it in the register. I think if I was more involved in paying bills at a young age I’d have a better understanding to organizing myself. It helped my sister so I think it’s a start.

  10. Carry Jones says:

    your advice to start young is right on target (at home or in schools).
    my daugher loves sammy rabbit books and music. http://www.itsahabit.com
    i found them in article at kiplinger’s personal finance magazine.
    these are great tools for parents. i love the fact that the materials
    focus on habits!

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