Financially Fit: Educate Or Legislate?

As a retired adult educator I found two articles that crossed my desk last week to be rather troubling. The first one from The Economist – Anti-Choice suggests that Americans have poor, to very poor, financial literacy. This seems to be especially true for baby-boomers and those close on their heels. The article concludes with some despair that financial education doesn’t appear to work–they don’t mention how the knowledge was imparted to the students or any other pertinent information like age-range, sex, socio-economic, etc. But the gist of the article seems to reinforce the idea, that because of their inability or unwillingness to educate themselves, legislation is needed to “protect” people from their own ignorance.

The second article from the Canadian Payroll Reporter – Nearly one-third of millennials ‘not at all knowledgable’ about RRSP savings: Poll  restricts their poll demographics to Millennials; although, their sample size is very small–just 613 Millennials (18 – 33 years old) were polled. Another 1,502 older than 33 years old were also polled but those results were not mentioned in the article. In any case, they appear to have tested those polled on their knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) — 401(k) for my American readers. The article points out the rather weak knowledge these young adults have about RRSPs. Can this lack of knowledge about RRSPs be used as an indicator of more general financial illiteracy, as discussed in the Anti-Choice article? I don’t know.

If you’re an adult and you feel you don’t know enough about managing your personal finances, you’re not alone; but this stuff is important! Important for you; for your spouse; for your children; for your working life and for your retirement. I admit, the math and the jargon can be intimidating, but so was other math and jargon you’ve learned–baseball, hockey, football–you know it all. The only difference is that sports jargon and stats have no bearing on you, your family or your retirement, so make the effort to learn this stuff. Get yourself FINANCIALLY FIT and it will only enhance your life.

Ask your family and friends, find out how they educated themselves and what you can learn from them. There are many free seminars given by financial advisors who are incredibly knowledgeable and want to share their knowledge with you. And consider hiring a financial advisor; a big part of their job is to educate you.

As a retired adult educator, I have to believe that education and not legislation is the solution. In my opinion, we already have far too much legislation designed to protect us from ourselves and we pay dearly for civil servants to manage and enforce it. So do yourself a favour and learn.

This is what it’s like to be retired?

This is what it’s like to be retired?

Did you see the following quote on Facebook? Someone was passing it around.

Them awkward days between Christmas and new year when you don’t know what day it is, or what you’re doing with your life.

Did it ring true with you over the holidays last month? Did you think that the Christmas break was too much? Christmas eve and day were fantastic! Family, friends, food, fun. Perhaps boxing day was also fun.

But then what happened?

Everyone went home, or you went home. You played with your new toys for a while, read the new book or magazine, watched a few movies, ate and ate and ate; then what? Many companies closed for the entire week and so you were off until January 4th and, you hate to admit it but, you were bored stiff. You couldn’t wait to get back to work, back to your buddies and eight hours a day that were already planned for you. After all, relaxing all day with nothing to do is tough!

If you think the days between Christmas and new year’s were awkward, consider what it will be like for you when you retire … Exactly the same, only much, much more. Days of it, weeks of it, months of it. Dare I even say YEARS of it.

Retirement won’t go away, so why not start planning for it now, so you WILL know what you’re doing with your life. I wrote Retire Fit, Fit, & Fit to help you get in financial, physical and emotional shape for what I hope will be years of fun for you.

At the printer!

Just sent my book Retire Fit, Fit & Fit  to the printer today and I’m excited that we’re on track to launch in late March or early April (stay tuned for the date of the launch party). There is only so much one can put into a book and eventually one must call a halt to the edits and send it to the printer. Meanwhile life goes on and with it, new thoughts and ideas come to me: through the media, from friends, and from you.

I welcome your comments on my posts and you can make comments by clicking on the title of each post.

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome!

I’m so happy to welcome you to my blog and my website. I hope you enjoy my posts and I hope you will comment when you want. This blog will be all about my new book Retire Fit, Fit & Fit.

I plan to post something new each week, so check back frequently and let me know your thoughts on what I’m posting. You can make comments by clicking on the title of each post.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and lengthy retirement.

Howard