In the United States, many individuals struggle with managing their money. In fact, a recent study by Mintel found that only 19 percent of respondents would rate themselves highly on their financial knowledge. As the Director of Public Education at Experian, this finding, while concerning, is not surprising.
Since joining Experian twenty years ago, my team and I have spoken with thousands of consumers across the country about personal finance. From bank presidents to blue-collar workers, the individuals I speak to all want the answer to one question – “how can I plan for my financial future, taking into consideration life’s ups and downs?” The Mintel survey found that 21 percent of Americans today are not at all confident about reaching their financial goals, but my team and I are working every day to change this.
We are committed to working with various communities within the U.S. to help them better understand their finances. We provide training for young men and women in the Air Force about how to succeed financially while on active duty and when returning to civilian life as part of a program with the Hero’s at Home organization. In partnership with the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, we also educate young adults at historically black colleges and universities, answering questions about building credit and managing money.
Through the LifeSmarts Competition, we challenge high school students to compete on knowledge of personal finance. And through some of our other programs, we work with low-income women and immigrant populations to promote financial inclusion by helping them establish credit or understand loans.
Through these experiences, we’ve met countless inspiring individuals from various backgrounds with compelling success stories. For example, a member of the Air Force once told us that, following one of our sessions, she was able to improve her credit and buy her first home. Stories like this are why I am so proud to be part of the only dedicated financial education team in the industry. I am excited to continue empowering people from all walks of life to reach their financial goals.