Why Financial Literacy Programs Fail

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April is Financial Literacy month, but all that elicits from the advice industry is a collective yawn.

Planners, especially those who are part of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and are engaged in financial education, can change this. The key is to change the focus from imparting “book” knowledge to educating the public about the proper financial habits and ethos.

Launched by Congress in 2003, April is the month educators, firms, non-profits and government agencies highlight programs to make consumers more financially literate.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says financial institutions spend $17 billion a year marketing, but only $670 million on financial education.

The FPA has long made financial literacy a priority. In 2022, the association reported a 212% increase in attendance in its literacy programs.