The United States faces a financial literacy crisis, with surveys indicating most American adults don’t understand basic personal finance concepts. This lack of knowledge carries real-world consequences potentially affecting the financial security of American families, decisions of policymakers, and strength of our economy.
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), as the largest and most influential association of agents and advisors in the country, is in a strong position to address two factors contributing to the financial literacy crisis: A lack of basic financial education for Main Street USA consumers and a need for additional talented, dedicated financial professionals to provide crucial guidance, services, and products to consumers.
NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux, CAE, will launch two bold, new initiatives to promote financial literacy and ensure that consumers have access to critical products, services, and the personalized guidance financial professionals provide.
Moving the Needle on Financial Literacy on Main Street USA
NAIFA’s new financial literacy initiative delivers a fully-developed course available for NAIFA members to present in their communities. The course provides building blocks that consumers need to advance their personal financial security and peace of mind.
Insurance and financial professionals have a better understanding than anyone of Main Street Americans’ risk protection, retirement preparation, and legacy planning needs. NAIFA members work every day with families and small businesses across the country and see firsthand how financial literacy leads to good planning, security, and prosperity. They understand the challenges, know where gaps in financial literacy exist, and have solutions.
“NAIFA members are dedicated professionals who have committed their careers to helping clients meet financial challenges and prosper,” said Mayeux. “As the leading association of agents and advisors, NAIFA shares this goal and is providing resources consumers can use in conjunction with their work with financial professionals to increase their financial literacy and comfort.”
More than 82 percent of NAIFA members in a recent survey said they are sources of financial education and information for their clients. Many also work as volunteers in their communities providing financial literacy classes and programs. NAIFA’s financial literacy initiative will formalize the process, encourage producers to expand their audiences, and put NAIFA’s considerable influence and resources behind creating momentum for community-based personal finance education.
“We can have a huge impact,” Mayeux said. “NAIFA members are driven and passionate about what they do. They pursue their careers with the aim of helping others. If anyone can move the needle on Main Street USA financial literacy, NAIFA members can.”
To kick off the program, NAIFA is encouraging its members in communities across the United States to offer the financial literacy course. NAIFA is also asking for 130 insurance and financial services agencies to pledge to offer NAIFA’s financial literacy course in their communities and to contribute content to NAIFA’s new consumer-education website, www.financialsecurity.org.
Creating the Next Generation of Advisors to Serve Main Street USA
NAIFA’s second initiative aims to encourage talented and motivated individuals to pursue careers in insurance and financial services. The industry faces a potential shortage of agents and advisors over the next decade, while more Americans find themselves in growingly complex financial situations and needing professional guidance. At the same time, the existing producer force will suffer from attrition as many current agents and advisors reach retirement age.
Again, NAIFA is perfectly positioned to sell the insurance and financial services profession as a rewarding career option for recent graduates as well as people looking to make mid-career changes. NAIFA’s new consumer-facing website, www.financialsecurity.org, features articles and videos showcasing the career success of NAIFA members. In video interviews, NAIFA members will walk prospective colleagues through “a day in the life” of an agent and advisor and provide testimony on why they find their careers so rewarding.
NAIFA Is a Unifying Force on Behalf of Our Members, the Industry, and Consumers
A qualified and dedicated producer force and financially literate consumers are key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant insurance and financial services industry. A strong industry promotes the success of NAIFA members and their clients. As the leading association of agents and advisors, NAIFA takes its stewardship of the industry very seriously.
“NAIFA is constantly developing new programs and initiatives to help our members succeed,” said Mayeux. “This has far-ranging implications, because the success of insurance and financial professionals directly benefits the consumers who rely on them for products, services, and guidance. When we at NAIFA found ourselves in a strong position to improve American’s financial literacy and ensure consumers benefit from the next generation of financial professionals, we were bound to act.”