EY Personal Finance runs EY Navigate, a service dedicated to providing objective, comprehensive financial education and counseling services to employees of large organizations. It also operates a financial literacy summer camp targeted at the children and grandchildren of clients and employees. “This year’s summer camp offered eight 30-minute Zoom sessions,” said Eck, on topics such as budgeting, banking and building credit.

Financial firm Edward Jones partners with EVERFI, an online-educational consultant, on a program called Financial Fitness. “With a goal of building financial knowledge and confidence, we aim to address financial health by reshaping conversations around money in younger generations,” said Vanessa Okwuraiwe, principal in diversity, equity and inclusion at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

The curriculum includes “brief, interactive modules to help clients build financial knowledge around milestones, from getting a first bank account to preparing for financial caregiving, and everything in between,” said Okwuraiwe. As of August 2022, the program had educated more than 400,000 participants.

Partnering With Community Groups
Other firms partner with community groups. For instance, GYL Financial Synergies in West Hartford, Conn., works with Junior Achievement, a global nonprofit dedicated to preparing the next generation for success.

“[We] visit elementary schools and provide a primer on a variety of financial literacy subjects,” said GYL’s CEO and cofounder, Gerald B. Goldberg. “It is better to expose children to these concepts when they are younger.” The sooner this information is taken onboard, he said, the better the odds they will “avoid bad habits and major financial mistakes.

But even those who aren’t formally involved in education programs can contribute. “Having conversations with clients about how to teach their children to make disciplined, responsible financial decisions can have a major impact on [their] financial literacy,” said Jeff Mattonelli, a financial advisor at Van Leeuwen & Co. in Princeton, N.J.

Mattonelli‘s firm also runs an internship program for high school and college students who are interested in finance.

Other practices have the younger generation attend client events and meetings. “[Try] inviting your clients’ children and family members into the financial planning conversation early and often,” suggested Isabel Barrow, director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines in Alexandria, Va. “Encourage your clients to share their newsletters, books, webinar links, etc., with their friends and family.”

Edelman also hosts many webinars and radio programs on a variety of financial topics. “If you aren’t hosting webinars [and] seminars, or creating a client newsletter, then that’s a great place to start,” said Barrow.

Taking an active role in educating clients’ children is part of the job for Jon Ekoniak at Bordeaux Wealth Advisors in Menlo Park, Calif. “We offer in-person and webinar training targeted specifically for young adults,” he said. “This core curriculum helps prepare them for their financial future, independent from their parents.”

Topics covered include setting financial goals, budgeting, and cash and debt management. Some of the educational content has been recorded for Loyola Marymount University.

Cast A Wide Recruitment Net
Besides educating young people, some firms focus on expanding access to the profession.

“Becoming a financial advisor has become more and more complicated over the years,” said Paul Chong, head of investments and retirement at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisc. Obtaining the necessary training and licensing is “hard without support and guidance,” he said, “and that represents a major barrier to entry, especially for young professionals of color.”

CUNA Mutual’s recruitment and retention pipeline includes “training programs such as the Multicultural Financial Services Internship Program,” said Chong, which seeks out diversity.

Henske, of the Total Cents program, stresses that spreading financial literacy is good for an advisor’s brand and reputation. “It is not hard to do, costs little money, and has huge relationship-building benefits,” he said.

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