(Dow Jones) The new client sat down in the conference room and proudly announced he was planning to retire debt-free in 15 years at age 65.

But Larry Glazer, a managing partner of Boston's Mayflower Advisors, scratched his head: the client had just taken out a jumbo 30-year mortgage on a big home.

"At the most basic level, there was a disconnect here," says Glazer.

Even more amazing was that the man had an MBA from a top-ten business school.

But Glazer wasn't surprised; he sees it all the time.

"We work with very sophisticated investors," he says, "some of whom actually work in venture capital and investment banking, but they still lack basic financial literacy skills."

It's a hot-button issue for Glazer, who does volunteer work for the JumpStart Coalition, which promotes the teaching of financial literacy to children of all ages in public schools. JumpStart is an umbrella group that works with some 300 related organizations, from the Federal Reserve to commercial banks.

In his classroom visits, Glazer sees kids pop their eyes when presented with a chart illustrating the miracle of compounded interest.

"It's really simple and really powerful," he says. "It reminds me of our grandparents who grew up in the Depression and used to say 'pay off your mortgage early' and 'a penny saved is a penny earned.' Well, today we've come up with all sorts of more sophisticated financial solutions, but those basic rules need to be re-learned."

The goal, says Glazer, is a next generation of adults who live within their means, avoiding untold stress and frustration. But the bigger picture is preventing a future financial meltdown.