The Retirement Advisor Council has launched a new financial education initiative for underserved middle school and high school students called FinLitFuture$, according to an announcement October 10.
The council started the program to reach communities traditionally underserved for retirement plan access and engagement, says Lisa Buffington, a Retirement Advisor Council member who also serves as chairman of the RAC Financial Literacy Committee. The program will send materials to or partner with advisers to teach financial literacy, budgeting and saving, free of charge, to students.
“Underserved communities or diverse communities are already tracking behind [others] relative to plan coverage or access to retirement plans,” says Buffington, a vice president of retirement services at Marsh & McLennan Agency. “There are disparities with compensation and pay that also show themselves from a retirement savings success standpoint, and we know that these communities have expressed some concern about outliving their retirement savings. Starting with financial literacy education will help people start off with stronger footing.”
The RAC initiative provides advisers and others with educational resources and nonprofit partner connections to foster “collective volunteer and advocacy efforts,” according to the announcement. The program is seeking to work with advisers, service providers, asset managers and retirement industry associations.
“We want key stakeholders to be aware of opportunities, so urban and underserved communities absolutely represent a prioritized focus, certainly, [as well as] schools and community programs,” Buffington says. “The key target audience age is in middle school, high school, but not limited to that.”
Buffington says advisers can get involved by connecting with the Retirement Advisor Council about any financial literacy education they are doing in their communities.
“Go to our website, sign up, let us know about it, because we want to, No. 1, shine a light on their efforts that they’re leading with, and, No. 2, track the progress of the industry,” she said.
Financial advisers can also leverage FinLitFuture$ by accessing a curated repository of educational resources and vetted programs, Buffington says, such as a financial literacy program available in English and Spanish for youth at different grade levels.
The organization also recommends reaching out to local organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, YWCA or Rotary Club, or local boards of education for volunteer opportunities.
Buffington says her committee will continue to partner with nonprofit programs and groups focused on financial literacy initiatives. The committee is also aiming to get involved in financial literacy advocacy efforts through the retirement council’s government affairs committee.
“I think our biggest opportunity is to leverage the connective tissue we represent, not only as financial advisers, but across the whole industry, thinking about how to inspire financial literacy volunteer efforts across your specific communities or networks,” she said.
Formed in 2009, the Retirement Advisor Council is a national organization that advocates for successful qualified plan and participant retirement outcomes.