Financial Literacy Month is upon us and, arguably, more relevant than ever. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in the Seattle area (measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers) advanced 1.4 percent for the two months ending in February 2023.
This is on top of increases over the last 12 months: CPI-U advanced 8.0%, food prices increased 10.4%, and energy prices rose 7.1%, largely due to an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items other than food and energy increased 7.7% over the year.
Data suggests it’s getting more expensive to live in our already costly region, which indicates greater need for financial literacy and planning for residents at all stages of life.
Almost two years to the day from the 425 Business cover story on Jedidiah Collins and his Money Vehicle financial literacy curriculum for young adults, I wondered how the former NFL player and financial educator has expanded his training over the last few years.
“The past two years have seen NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) athletes and statewide mandates make financial literacy a national movement,” Collins said. “Working with high schools across the country, we have seen a new focus on addressing the one thing every high school student will have in common upon graduation — a paycheck. Money Vehicle is proud to work with school districts here in our home state of Washington and collaborate with the Financial Education Public Private Partnership group to serve our Washington teachers.”
The good news is that Collins is not alone; more regional organizations and local advisers are leading the charge for change in our region. At the college level, Seattle University, for example, provides financial literacy training and information for its students, from understanding basic personal finance concepts to learning about student loans and how those are paid back after college.
“Making choices about paying for college is often the first major financial decision young adults will make,” said Yen Ngo, director of Student Financial Services at the college. “Seattle University is committed to helping students gain knowledge and access necessary resources to make the best financial decisions for themselves and to make obtaining their degree a reality. In addition to the information on our website, outreach efforts such as on-campus events and one-on-one meetings with students are part of our efforts to help students understand the financial commitment in funding their education.”
For individuals already in the workforce, some companies are beginning to offer financial literacy benefits. According to Inc. Magazine, there is a growing trend of organizations expanding the notion of employee wellness to include financial health, with financial literacy training fast becoming a “hot perk.”
Even as people accumulate wealth, financial literacy continues to play a role. For many people who have high net worths, the focus becomes working to preserve wealth generationally. Kirkland’s Bordeaux Wealth Advisors works closely with clients to manage all aspects of their wealth, from investments to tax planning and strategy, retirement, and estate, wealth transfer and multi-generational planning.
“Financial literacy is as important (if not more so) for high-net-worth individuals,” said Jon Snare, managing partner at Bordeaux. “The focus becomes understanding how your assets are invested, your risk managed and your long-term financial security (saving versus spending). Estate planning also comes into play with topics like wealth transfer strategies, philanthropic giving and more. We work with clients to optimize their entire financial picture, including legacy planning.”
Increased financial learning opportunities offered by a variety of advisers and organizations is clearly a step in the right direction, and we applaud the “hands-on” approach of many of these groups. We look forward to following this story and seeing the dividends of this work in the future, not only for our region but nationwide.
Amy Ellisor is the director of marketing at Bordeaux Wealth Advisors.