As long-held personal finance advice gets called into question in a changing economy, people involved in every aspect of finance should consider whether traditional wisdom is still valuable.
Last week, the New York Times published an article by Kristin Wong questioning whether traditional personal finance advice is still relevant in America’s current economy.1 Wong sums up the argument of one critic of financial education as, “personal finance is necessary, but not sufficient,” and it’s hard to argue with that statement. People need to be having more nuanced conversations about money; that includes not just the educators and policymakers, but business leaders as well.
Financial companies can help Americans do better by being more innovative with their offerings, giving people new ways to manage their money, and adopting business models that embrace flexibility. Even conventional features of financial products, such as interest rates and penalty fees, should be reconsidered.
Financial companies that don’t adapt to the shifting needs of Americans not only risk losing customers that no longer find their services useful, but also pass on an opportunity to help people make ends meet.