NEFE Think Tank Provides Insight on Motivating Clients to Improve Financial Behavior

Bowditch, Debbie
July 2005
Journal of Financial Planning;Jul2005, Vol. 18 Issue 7, p54
Academic Journal
This section focuses on a 2004 think tank sponsored and hosted by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) which provides insights, recommendations and best practices for how planners as educators can work with individuals in the U.S. in modifying their financial behavior. All of the participants submitted relevant papers and articles in advance of the think tank. Although the specific causes of negative financial behavior are many and complex, discussions throughout the think tank focused on the role of change agents. Several participants described an apparent lack of connection between individuals and financial services professionals. For professionals, they listed several significant factors, including marketplace pressure and an emphasis on sales over service. Some members of the group cited a failure of professionals to focus on their clients, and others alluded to a lack of caring on the part of many professionals. Discussion and research repeatedly stressed the need for practitioners to adapt their approaches to individual needs rather than vice versa. One of the participant papers presented a financial decision-making matrix designed to pinpoint reasons for the financial failure or success of an individual. In providing basic financial information to clients, planners face the same challenges and obstacles that confront educators on a regular basis. Participants in the NEFE think tank discussed extensively the role of planners as educators and compiled a series of insights and recommendations for application in dealing with individuals who need to modify their financial behavior in order to achieve their goals. Think tank participants also created an extensive list of tips for individuals who are ready to improve their financial behavior, including taking responsibility for managing your own finances, beginning with a single step, start saving early, keeping debt under control and sharing financial information with your family among others. INSET: Executive Summary.


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