Financial Literacy Month Goes Largely Unleveraged

by on May 01, 2018

Following  a 2003 Senate decree, April serves as Financial Literacy Month (FLM) to remedy a lack in American financial education through a series of targeted programs, events and tools. As FLM is already well publicized in the media, such as in Forbes and CNBC, firms should leverage this attention to position themselves as trusted sources of financial education for Americans as well as funnel new clients toward their product offerings. Only four firms—Ally Invest, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard—of the 18 covered by Corporate Insight’s e-Monitor, however, are currently taking advantage of this opportunity.

TD Ameritrade has the most impressive FLM program in the coverage group, offering a dedicated page and week-by-week immersive courses led by Managing Director of Investor Education Lee McAdoo, who tweets videos, articles and courses daily that are relevant to each week’s topics. To target existing clients, the firm also promotes these courses in a notification on the private site homepage. Notably, TD Ameritrade did not create new educational content for FLM but rather drew upon the stellar offerings it already has.

TD Ameritrade FLM Tweet

Ally Invest approaches FLM uniquely by targeting its education efforts mainly at children, under the belief that lack of financial literacy among adults “may be because basic financial skills and concepts aren’t learned at a young age.” The firm’s efforts this year build on those from last year, in which it released a children’s book titled Planet Zeee and the Money Tree. This year, Ally launched a Jeopardy-style interactive game based on Planet Zeee called What’s Zeee Answer.

What’s Zeee Answer Interactive Game

Charles Schwab and Vanguard primarily have interacted with FLM this year through sparse social media posts. While tagging posts with FLM hashtags does help the firms harness and direct public interest to existing resources, it represents a minimum for companies hoping to engage with the topic. In addition to these posts, Charles Schwab also an updated banner image on the public site Financial Education page, and Vanguard moderated a discussion in its single FLM Facebook post’s Comments section.

Charles Schwab FLM Engagement Tweet

Vanguard FLM Facebook Post

Because all coverage group firms offer some degree of financial education resources, they should take advantage of outside attention to encourage clients and non-clients alike to educate themselves and consider financial services products.