Hello! I’m Cindy Couyoumjian and I want to invite you to read my book, Redefining Financial Literacy. One of the disturbing ironies of American economic power is that we have one of the poorest financial literacy rates in the industrialized world. Consider the following statistics:
- 40% of adults rate their own knowledge of personal finance as extremely low and state that they need guidance.
- 60% of adults have no budget.
- Less than 50% of Americans live within their means or have saved for an emergency.
- More than 30% of Americans pay only the minimum on their credit card each month.
- The average American family’s credit card debt is $15,000, and they owe $33,000 in student loans.
- 85% of Americans are worried they are not ready for retirement.
What we are witnessing today appears to be nothing short of a social crisis, unprecedented in scope and far-reaching in its implications. Financial illiteracy does not, of course, occur in a vacuum. The financial planning industry spends around $17 billion a year to market products and services to consumers, but it spends only $670 million on educating those consumers. Although many financial advisors recognize the problem of financial literacy, “only 4 in 10 advisors are doing anything to address the problem, meaning the majority are ignoring the issue.” With a reasonable level of financial literacy, you can advocate for your own financial future.
One of the reasons I wrote my book is to first address the financial literacy crisis and to also expand our definition of what it means to be financially literate in our complex, globally interconnected world. For financial literacy to be effective, it must include an awareness and understanding of the hidden forces that intersect and overlap in such a way as to influence your hard-earned money. My book explores these historical, political, economic, psychological, and even social media forces and how they can impact your investment and retirement strategy.
Why the 60/40 Strategy is Potentially Broken
One example of how poor financial literacy can hurt your investment strategy is the popular 60/40 portfolio. This strategy allows you to invest 60% of your money in stocks and 40% in bonds. What made this portfolio popular was the inverse correlation between stocks and bonds. In other words, if stocks moved down, bonds would move up to protect you and vice versa. Bond yields today are at an all-time low, and have been for several years now, thus negating the inverse relationship that made the 60/40 portfolio attractive in the first place.
A REALM of Possibilities
Now, why would you expose yourself to the uncertainty of the stock market without adequate protection? There are actionable steps you can take to protect your assets. For example, my flexible and customizable multi-asset class REALM model can potentially offer you consistently strong returns while managing risk. I urge you to buy my book to educate yourself about these hidden market forces while also improving your financial literacy.
1. Douglas P. McCormick, “Financial Literacy—The Big Problem No One Is Talking About,” Huffpost.com, June 3, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/financial-literacythe-big_b_10264622.
2. Greg Iacurci, “Financial Literacy: An Epic Fail in America,” Investmentnews.com, March 2, 2019. https://www.investmentnews.com/financial-literacy-an-epic-fail-in-america-78385.