Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Biggest Financial Question And Why We Should Ask It

There are many questions one can ask about the financial world in its current state.  For example, is the dollar going to fall?  At which prices are our favorite commodities a smart buy?  How can we execute our tax procedures with maximum efficiency? And what about retirement?

I have worked with True Contrarian for four and a half years and attribute most if not all of my financial knowledge to my experience with True Contrarian and primarily to Steven Jon Kaplan. And as I grew more invested, for lack of a better word, in the financial realm, I started to notice that even basic knowledge about personal finance is not readily available in society.  We may be taught the standard theoretical concepts of supply and demand in an economics class.  We may be told by our banks that opening a credit card at a specific day or time is optimal.  But where are we taught how to open a simple investment account and advised how to use it?  Where are we taught about tax procedures so that we are prepared when we first start making an income?  I find that many people believe that management of personal finances is only for people with significant wealth to manage. But financial empowerment can and should be a universal feeling.  I believe that basic knowledge about financial planning should be readily available to anyone who has goals for the future.  Moreover, I believe that financial planning should be something more valued in society as a concept that transcends one's current economic status at the time.  

How can we train ourselves and the next generation to be financially literate?  In other words, how can we provide resources to society that both educate the public about their finances and make them believe that this education is necessary?  In my opinion, people should have a basic knowledge about savings, taxes, investing and even retirement plans before even enrolling in higher education.  It seems a little skewed to me that information on such practical skills appears to be the hardest to find.

A long term goal I have for True Contrarian is to take on this responsibility.  I would love to set up programs within schools where brief courses or at least some education materials are promoted and readily available to students.  Between Steve's connections with the New York City public school system, mine at the preparatory programs I attended, and our mutual connections at universities, spreading such knowledge is a feasible goal.  However, in the meantime, all we want is to make advice on financial planning accessible to anyone who wants it for a reasonable fee.  

Our new financial coaching program at True Contrarian is meant to provide knowledge to those who ask and also to promote the idea on a larger scale that information on these practical topics is necessary in society. I want financial empowerment not to be about how much money one has but rather the attitude with which people approach whatever they might have.  Our coaching program is a small start down that path and I'm excited to see how it develops in the near future.  If you would like more information about our program, click here.  

Danielle Kerani Oberdier
VP | True Contrarian