Oct 23 2012

From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability


The old proverb goes, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Consider a chain that links consumers’ current financial status and well-being with their ideal situations. Where is the stress point? We need look no further than consumers themselves.

“From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability,” the May 2012 colloquium held at the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, DC, zeroes in on this core truth: As organizations and as an industry, we can only be as successful as the sum total of our members.

This report documents the presentations and discussions of the colloquium, which combined insights from academia and business. We examine the concepts of financial literacy and financial capability in further detail and provide actionable options for credit unions.

  • Annamaria Lusardi, George Washington University, set the stage with a comprehensive overview of both financial literacy and financial capability.
  • Ron Borzekowski, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), detailed CFPB’s research pipeline and answered questions about how the new bureau will measure progress in its mission to improve the nation’s financial capability.
  • Jean Chatzky, SavvyMoney, discussed how addressing habits and personal motivators can change financial behavior.
  • Lois Kitsch, National Credit Union Foundation, reviewed how credit unions have spent countless hours and dollars to provide financial education opportunities for members and consumers across the nation.
  • Nick Maynard, Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund, posed and answered the question: Can vampire video games really improve retirement security?
  • Piyush Tantia and Alexandra Fiorillo, ideas42, Harvard University, discussed how we can make financial literacy training more effective and go beyond financial literacy to help people make better financial decisions.
Report Number 284