Media credit: Grace Hromin | Main photo editor
Andrea Hasler, deputy director of the center, said research data shows that only a third of adults are financially literate.
The School of Business’s Global Center of Excellence in Financial Literacy hosted a virtual panel on Monday on international inequalities between financial knowledge and skills, as the center celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Financial literacy experts presented GFLEC’s findings from a study that assessed how demographic groups faced different levels of financial illiteracy during the event, moderated by Fiona Zhu, Associate Director of Development at the School of Business. The experts also reviewed their mission to improve global financial literacy through the center, which was founded in 2011 and aims to increase financial literacy through research, education, program development, and assistance in drafting U.S. and international policy.
Andrea Hasler, deputy director of GFLEC and assistant research professor in financial literacy, said only a third of adults have financial literacy in 148 countries, according to research data from the center. She said that in this population, women and minorities represent the smallest proportions of literate individuals.
She said her research also covered lower income levels and people without a graduate degree, who are also much less likely to have financial literacy. She said the US financial system is largely based on financial independence, which makes it especially essential for citizens to plan for their own financial security.
“It’s so important to make the right decisions so that you can live the life you want and have the freedom of choice,” Hasler said.
Mari Adam, a certified financial planner and GW alumnus, said she supports the inclusion of more financial education services that will last from college to college and target families at home. She said many young adults graduate without basic financial knowledge, like how to get a medical plan at their workplace or how to allocate their 401k, an employer-sponsored retirement account.
She said families need to start having “dining room” discussions about financial independence, expressing empathy and asking questions to develop solutions for the literacy gap.
“We are taught not to talk about sex, religion, not politics at the table, but the money shouldn’t be there,” Adam said. “There is nothing wrong with talking about money.”
Kristen Burnell, Executive Director of GFLEC, said financial literacy research should reach “underserved” and vulnerable groups, and diversity should expand among education and career counseling services. financial literacy.
The center published a webpage last fall that offered suggestions and resources to help people manage their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burnell said GFLEC often leads the way in this area of research and has raised awareness of adding financial illiteracy to the agenda of policymakers, educators and private sector leaders in the world. over the past 10 years. She said GFLEC has encouraged other researchers to study financial literacy.
Elders can to contribute philanthropy, become GFLEC Ambassadors, or help share the organization’s work with others in the community to gain better financial literacy support.
“It’s a project of happiness, it’s about giving people choices – that if they have the financial knowledge to build their wealth and be more secure and resilient financially, they are in a better position to pursue their dreams.” said Burnell.