Money-Smart Kids/ Nice try, Mr. Farrell
Yes, I said a few months ago that I don't like to use my article to vent ... but here I go again.
His article can be read at: www.marketwatch.com/story/financial-literacy-is-a-big-fat-wall-street-hoax-2011-11-08
Nice try, Mr. Farrell, trying to jump on the "Occupy Wall Street" band wagon with this article. His effort is hugely unsuccessful.
While the article is interesting and accurate about the mistakes investors make on their own personal investment strategies, there is little to no link of the "Wall Street Con Game" as being the reason that financial literacy programs aren't working.
Yes, you can find cases where it seems disingenuous for the banks that might have put profit motive ahead of their clients' well-being to be the one's rolling out these financial literacy programs. He's right about that connection. However, what he's done in this article is take the most insignificant data point on the financial literacy spectrum -- clients making bad investment decisions -- and made it the focal point of his argument for the reasons financial literacy programs haven't been as successful as we'd like.
Let me help all his potentially misguided readers as the primary goals of financial literacy problems in our country today -- which I agree are very real. It's that our kids are growing up without the habits and skills to save, spend and invest. Some would include donate, but let's leave that out for now.
And, if I were to put those three skills in priority order, investing would be third on the list. Why? Because if you don't know how to spend, there will be no money to save, and thus nothing to invest.
In fact, a Federal Reserve study found that "in states where financial literacy training is mandated, students save more and accumulate more wealth than other adults."
By making the connection that Wall Street profit motives that are fueled by poor investment decisions made by the ordinary person is the main problem is like saying the reason you can't drive from Westport to Florida is that there is a red light in Virginia, so you have to wait for it to turn green before you even think of getting on the Merritt Parkway.
Yes, there is a red light down there, but so what? Shouldn't you worry about that problem when you really have to worry about it? I'm not worried about making my kids investment savvy, yet. But I am concerned that they won't develop a habit of saving and spending properly.
By the way, living in Connecticut, where a lot of Farrell's proclaimed "Wall Streeters who don't want smart investors," I can tell you while you might find a few unscrupulous people like this, the overwhelming majority of them are amazing people and parents. If Mr. Farrell thinks that he can hide behind the cowardly laptop and write a condemning article stereotyping those people without being called out, he's got another thing coming.
Wall Street manipulation isn't the reason financial literacy programs haven't had the effect that they would like. It's our own parents and schools who haven't yet prioritized financial literacy up there with English and Math.
The key word is "yet," and Mr. Farrell, let me help you write some positive articles and be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.