How Advisors Can Help Clients and Their Children Increase Financial Literacy

Great opportunity for elite advisors to educate the public while generating new quality business

By Valentino Sabuco, CFP®, AEP®

Key Takeaways:

  • Half of your family, friends and neighbors do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves and their families.
  • Millions of hardworking Americans are “at risk” of running out of money during retirement.
  • The solution to the financial literacy epidemic requires teaching financial awareness, financial literacy and the essential principles of smart personal financial management.

With life expectancy continuing to rise just when America’s readiness for retirement is at a record low, there will be profound and painful changes on the financial horizon as record numbers of boomers enter what would normally be considered their retirement years. Based on the math alone, it’s not going to be pretty.

But here is an opportunity for you to build your practice and client relationships while helping solve a major global financial challenge.

For those just learning about these challenges, or who have not participated in Improving Financial Awareness & Financial Literacy Campaigns in the past, please mark your calendars to take part in National Estate Planning Awareness Week, held annually during the third week of October (this year that’s the 19th-25th) and six months later during next year’s National Financial Literacy Month in April.

Here’s a quick snapshot of items that our colleagues and participants did in the spring, and some great ideas for you to consider doing this fall.

  • Almost half of U.S. state governors provided supporting proclamations—up from 11 last spring.
    • Our goal is to get all governors to issue proclamations supporting improving financial awareness and financial literacy for each April and October.
    • Help us by contacting your state governor and requesting a supporting proclamation. This is usually a simple online request. Here’s a sample proclamation with some background information.
  • There were numerous community-based seminars and workshops.
    • If you need a free, great scripted presentation, contact us.
  • Financial service organizations provided supporting links and articles on their web sites and client newsletters. See how the South Dakota Trust Company did it.
  • National associations encouraged their members to participate within their web sites and newsletters; one even put together an Improving Financial Awareness & Financial Literacy web page. Can your company do something like this?
  • Publication and newsletter publishers provided estate and financial planning articles and checklists.
  • There were a number of fun contests for kids, including:
    • A best TED-talk video essay conveying the value of financial literacy. Winners received scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,500 from the Topeka, Kansas Securities Commissioner.
    • A Philadelphia Federal Credit Union challenge to children in grades three through five to create an original work of art that depicts a financial goal; the winners received a savings account.
  • New York philanthropist Joyce Berger Cowin made a $1 million gift to New York’s Teachers College at Columbia University to fund the development of a financial literacy program that trains educators on how to teach personal finance. Those teachers, in turn, bring the lessons and curriculum into high school history or economics classes.
  • WalletHub released its 2015 report on the Most and Least Financially Literate States. Check out how your state is doing.
  • UCF’s Zeta Phi Eta sponsored a 4.01K Race for Financial Fitness in Orlando to help raise money for Junior Achievement.
  • Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers launched a program that offers tips on financial literacy for children and adults.
  • Citizen’s Bank kicked off National Financial Literacy Month with $1 million in charitable contributions and a social media public service campaign.
  • Penn State provided its employees with an Improve Your “Financial IQ” Contest.
  • The Account Control Technology Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by the founders of Account Control Technology Inc., released “Beware the Debt Monster,” a short video aimed at building financial literacy by highlighting the dangers of monstrous or unaddressed debt.

And so much more, as you can see in the 2015 Spring Improving Financial Awareness & Financial Literacy Campaign Report & Magazine™!

With so many people on the verge of running out of money during retirement, and more than half of your family, friends and neighbors not having an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their families, we have a serious problem. This lack of financial awareness and financial literacy places a huge amount of pressure on families and friends, employers, nonprofits, and the government.


There’s a real solution to this lack of financial literacy epidemic, and it requires teaching financial awareness, financial literacy and the essential principles of smart personal financial management.

This will give people the tools to:

  • Address everyday financial decisions in a more informed manner.
  • Get and keep their financial and estate plans up to date and in order.
  • Have the best possibilities to reach and maintain their financial freedom and security, and advance their personal philanthropy.

The strategy is for the financial service and nonprofit industry to touch the vast majority of the general public with a subtle concentrated and motivating personal finance content media blitz at least twice a year through the strategic venues of:

  • National Estate Planning Awareness Week (3rd week in October: October 19-25, 2015)
  • National Financial Literacy Month (April)

This is a real winning approach to solving a major social challenge where everyone benefits.

  • Elite financial advisors benefit by being recognized as thought leaders who significantly help solve a major social problem. This will create goodwill for you and your organization that will attract new patrons, retain existing ones and build support for your own other initiatives.
  • Your employees, patrons and prospects benefit by receiving personal financial and estate planning materials to improve their personal financial position.
  • You receive a powerful campaign and program to use within your organization to generate new sources of revenue.
  • Financial advisors and their organizations benefit by acquiring new business from more informed and motivated clients.
  • Families benefit by learning the essential fundamentals of smart financial management so they can make better-informed everyday financial decisions, and have the best opportunity to reach and maintain their personal financial freedom, security and philanthropy.
  • Employers benefit from having employees who are less stressed, happier and more productive.
  • Nonprofits and fundraisers benefit with increased donations, planned gifts, alternate beneficiary selections and bequests.
  • The news media benefits by providing its audience with timely, valuable information.
  • Local, state and federal governments benefit by having more productive, happier and more financially stable residents, with less demands on their social welfare resources.
  • Everyone actually benefits with a stronger and financially sound economy.

To assist you with planning for and participation in the Improving Financial Awareness & Financial Literacy Campaigns, we have developed the Improving Financial Awareness & Financial Literacy Campaigns & Programs Overview and Planner for you to download and share with others.

Together we have the potential to help solve a major social challenge by advancing and contributing to one of the most amazing, broad-based, multifaceted campaigns for improving financial awareness and financial literacy.

About the Author

Valentino Sabuco, CFP®, AEP®, is the executive director and publisher of The Financial Awareness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Sonoma County California. Valentino has pioneered the financial planning profession for over 40 years. TFAF serves as a nonpolitical and neutral “financial awareness advocate” for the public, the professionals and their associations, educational institutions, and nonprofits. Our mission is to significantly help solve a major social problem by dealing with the lack of financial awareness and financial literacy. We believe teaching financial literacy is very important as it gives people the essential tools to address everyday financial decisions in a more informed manner. Valentino can be reached at V.Sabuco@TheFinancialAwarenessFoundation.org or (707) 586-8620.