Recognizing the broad need for financial education among low and middle income earners, the New America Foundation proposes a Financial Services Corps.
Proposed in March, the New America Foundation‘s Melissa Koide published a policy paper describing the need for a new domestic corps of financial advisors and educators to help regular families sort through the morass of complex issues involved in personal financial management.
According to Koide’s proposal:
The creation of a Financial Services Corps (FSC) would help these households address their personal finances and plan for their future by:
- enlisting financial experts and advisors to deliver personalized financial counseling and planning to low to middle income households;
- providing the tools, resources, support to local, regional, and workplace based initiatives to ensure these families are effectively reached;
- collecting and analyze data to understand the short-, medium-, and long-term financial education, counseling, and planning needs of these households; and
- exploring new strategies and approaches to financial education and advice through an innovations fund.
The Corps could be modeled after the Legal Services Corporation — the Congressionally-mandated entity that oversees legal aid organizations. In that model, “the FSC would provide the infrastructure, resources, and support to engage and connect financial experts with low and middle income households and communities.”
In a New York Times piece today, M.P. Dunleavy reports that the Corps was inspired by Peace Corps.
If the concept interests you, or someone you know, also check out the separate Financial Services Volunteer Corps (established in 1990). The program sends skilled volunteers overseas for one or two weeks to educate people in “emerging market countries” about financial systems. The program is a partner of Volunteers for Prosperity.
I love this idea! I proposed that financial literacy be integrated into standard school curriculum and this is the first step: having people come and work with kids on finances!