“Financial literacy” are buzzwords you’ve probably heard quite a bit over the last few years, but what does this actually mean, why is it important, and how can we help support increased access to financial literacy?
Why is Financial Literacy Important?
Financial planning is growing more and more complex — Americans have to navigate credit, FICO scores, mortgages, savings, investing, taxes, and so much more. And relatively few have any sort of formal education when it comes to navigating their finances. Financial literacy is the ability to understand and effectively manage one’s personal finances, yet studies show that Americans are falling behind on some of the basics:
- 41% of Americans expect to run out of money in retirement
- U.S. household debt is at a record $15.24 trillion
- 69% of Americans say they face at least one major roadblock to financial wellness, citing lack of income and constant expenses as top concerns
For many, financial planning can feel like a black box. Money is still a relatively taboo topic, and conversations around money can feel awkward, or even bring about feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Indeed, we found in a recent study that 53% of Americans say that their financial situation is closely linked to their overall feelings of self-worth. So when financial literacy is elusive, and the emotions around seeking financial guidance are fraught and complicated, how can we make a difference? And when someone decides to seek help, where do they go?
That’s where Operation HOPE comes in.
About Operation HOPE – Championing Financial Literacy
“I am an overcomer, and you too can overcome.”
“It’s never too late to gain financial dignity.”
“I’m no longer defined by one mistake.”
“I feel like I have a new sense of purpose.”
These are all sentiments from people who have worked with Operation HOPE, a non-profit organization working to disrupt poverty and empower financial inclusion for youth and adults. Through their community-uplift model, Operation HOPE provides programming and resources that help Americans access the tools and knowledge they need to create a secure future. And they do this at no cost.
With 164 locations serving 46 states and Puerto Rico, Operation HOPE has served over 35,000 individuals this year alone with financial empowerment services including group education and one-on-one coaching. This programming translates into tangible results, like increased credit scores, reduced debt, increased savings, homeownership, and small business creation. What’s more, 3 out of 4 HOPE clients report feeling less stressed about their finances after participating in these programs.
For the second year, Personal Capital will be making a significant donation to Operation HOPE on behalf of our clients and employees to support their important programming. Democratizing access to financial tools and resources is core to our mission at Personal Capital, and we’re proud to support this wonderful organization.
To learn more about Operation Hope, please visit operationhope.org.