It is the financial literacy month in the US. So obviously there are many programs around the country spreading financial literacy. Many colleges like Wake Tech Community College and universities like Tennessee University are among the more prominent and interactive ones.

My take on financial literacy is, it should be a FINANCIAL LEARNING program and should have the buy in of the participants. It is easy for me to ‘convince’ the head of a university that such programs are necessary. All I need to do is to incetivise the decision maker and I will get paid sessions and many ‘compulsory attendance’ victims.

If it was a financial learning initiative it means the students / the other participants have taken the INITIATIVE to organise the session, so THEY will want to learn something. If it is a free session sponsored by some company (worse by a BFSI player) the message COULD be biased and the people uninterested. Also I realise that how much money you have is a function of your EQ more than IQ. It is not your ability to understand the following:

1. Live within your means

2. start early, compounding, …etc. THESE ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND, but

what impedes financial success is the inability to resist temptation. Like for a FAT foodie like me – the inability to choose idli over bhel puri or samosa. It is the implementation, attitude, seeing the advantages / disadvantages of investing and saving…that is the REAL ISSUE….

So I would do financial behavioral change  efforts in the following way:

Also have found that most of the kids I meet know a lot of things, but are unable to DO it. So as far as I am concerned I am convinced that I should do the following:

Lecture session

Write a book on the basics of Investing and Finance

Set up a website to answer general and specific queries

Help set up support groups like ‘let us reduce our debt’ or ‘live without your credit card’ or ‘how i ensured that my SIP happend without a break’ or ‘how I know how much to trust my agent’…..

A call centre which would send occasional messages like ‘congratulations hope your credit card balance has been reduced to Rs……by now’ or ‘i hope you have paid Rs. 39,000 into your SIP by now’. It could also have counsellors who will help in the day to day FINANCIAL living.

I want to do all this without a BFSI sponsor – and YES I surely do not want the govt or its ‘controlled’ regulators as a sponsor.

Question is who will be willing to sponsor something like this?

McDowells? Well, well Vijay Mallaya himself is not a great role model….

Damn….I do not even know who to approach!!

Why do I not want a BFSI player to be a sponsor? Because If I do a ‘safety driving seminar’ sponsored by Honda, I cannot really say Toyota Corolla is a good car, right?

Why do I not want the regulator? Because I have NO energy to approach the exchanges, regulator, ……and maybe have only about 10-12 years to live. Does not work…..please

 

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  1. Best financial literacy course (of action) is (to read) Subramoney.com

    The author is the only entity, I can point to, who does not have any kind of professional or emotional conflict of interest.

  2. Exactly Subra
    may you live many more Sane years…

    The respect you have earned is phenomenal and inspiring

    Would like to have 1% of the respect you have earned and not 1% of your wealth..

    Thank you many more times

  3. Subra, Your financial learning program is running round the year and its free!! (your blog)
    Just like other US culture of Mother’s & father’s day, calling them only once a year! this US program won’t help the credit card loving country.

    Thanks,
    Nikhil

  4. I totally agree with you on the financial education scene. Most financial literacy initiatives are totally hare brained and are not effective. The other initiatives are basically a marketing platform for the BFSI guys.

    Having said that, I also feel that the buy-in from participants in any education is non existent. There are a large number of kids (even us when we were kids) who take education as a burden. So it is with education.

    The best we can do is to make education interesting. Just like you have done with this blog.

    btw, how about approaching Maruti/Hyundai for financial education “road”shows? 🙂

  5. We too need such financial literacy programs in India. Most financial workshops which are held by finance outfits or training houses are more for personal gains than for creating awareness. Have been to a few of them which claim to be “free”.. The main focus is on promoting their products and increased sales.

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