Alternative Investment

Communicating About Financial Literacy Across Audiences

Abby Salameh, Chief Marketing Officer, CAIS & Head of CAIS IQ.

People who are empowered with financial literacy can be at a distinct advantage. The continuing acquisition of knowledge can benefit us all, including those who are just beginning their financial-life journey and those of us who are “practitioners” within the industry. And just as in all aspects of our lives, the more we learn, the more we can benefit.

Financial illiteracy continues to be an important societal problem that can impact people from all walks of life in multiple ways. And as the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) recently showed us, those impacts are very real. In an alarming statistic, the NFEC revealed that, based on survey respondents’ own estimates, financial illiteracy is estimated to have cost Americans more than $352 billion in 2021.

This emphatically underscores why it’s important for our industry to seek to deliver the resources people need to make smart financial decisions and help them achieve financial wellness. And within this industry, the role of communications is pivotal. As we educate prospects and clients on financial literacy, we can be instrumental in supporting our firms’ goals for growth and sustainability. I believe it’s our responsibility to invest time and resources to take the lead on these initiatives.

Financial Literacy Within Our Industry

Ironically, the financial services industry itself can in many cases be a barrier to financial literacy in this country. Our reliance on jargon and otherwise insufficiently explained complex strategies to pursue wealth appears to be a constant among professionals in our industry. I often hear stories from retail investors who are invested in products and solutions they simply don’t understand. This state of affairs concerns me and may be of interest to us all.

We as an industry should be a part of the solution. More specifically, we as communications and marketing executives can be the tip of the spear. We should seek to deliver robust financial literacy programs to the full spectrum of audiences that are easy to consume and designed to help them make better financial decisions.

As we’ve established, financial literacy comes in all shapes and sizes, and people may need it at all stages of life. At CAIS, providing financial advisors with resources to help make smart decisions on behalf of their clients is pivotal to what we do. With that goal in mind, we developed a platform to deliver an alternative investment education to systematically build knowledge, increase confidence and enhance communication skills for the financial advisors we serve.

A Call To Action For Communicators

The example of our platform encourages me to think about what we as communications executives can do to infuse our industry with knowledge that may have the ability to assist in the fulfillment of the responsibility we have as financial professionals. Most importantly, our internal teams should be trained on topics that are relevant to our firms and our industry. Our marketing should reflect and clearly communicate our knowledge and offer a value that can reach beyond increasing brand recognition.

It is important that we share our own industry knowledge and experience, especially when it comes to financial services. Communications teams should regularly participate in industry conferences or community-based financial empowerment organizations. Participating on panels and appearing publicly can both be great tactics for imparting knowledge to a wider audience. If more of us take these steps toward advancing the greater goals of financial literacy and helping more people intelligently pursue their financial goals, that could be the biggest win of all.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

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