THE S.A.F.E. APPROACH TO FINANCIAL LITERACY
David J. Scranton is one of America’s most respected and successful financial advisors. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to help many people better understand their monetary situation and achieve their financial dreams. Over the past 25 years practicing, he has spoken to over 10,000 people about financial literacy. David still believes that this is one of his true callings and there is a real need for financial education within the community. Consequently, he developed a three-pronged approach to help individuals better manage their money and combat financial illiteracy in the United States. David put his knowledge in writing, created a mentorship program, and became a benefactor.
In his first book that he authored, which was called Financial Insanity, David’s goal was to help the average investor avoid many common financial mistakes. In his concise easy to understand style, he details the history of the stock market and Wall Street’s and the media’s involvement in trying to shape America’s financial system. David continued his educational mission with his follow up book titled, Return on Principle: 7 Core Values to Help Protect Your Money in Good Times and Bad, which was released in September 2016. This book helps the average person by detailing seven individual principles that are necessary when investing and working with a financial advisor.
In 2008, David also created a mentorship organization called Advisors’ Academy, whose mission is to teach high-level financial advisors achieve a greater impact by reaching more people. David has teamed up with financial advisors across the country to share his knowledge and philosophy, which is simple. No matter what—Always put the interests of clients first!
David’s last piece to help combat financial illiteracy was creating Scranton Academy for Financial Education (S.A.F.E.), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education to individuals regarding the principles of finance, as well as investing and personal portfolio management.
David founded S.A.F.E. with the belief that the problem of financial illiteracy is broad and not limited to one segment of the population. To create an impact, David decided that services must be free, diverse, and holistic in nature. As a financial planner, he is aware that the basic concepts of finances remain stationary while the needs of individuals are ever changing. To ensure services are scalable, while meeting individual needs, programs are developed for three target audiences:
- It’s About Me – ages 15 through 25: typically this group is in school, recently graduated or entering the workforce for the first time. It’s fundamentally important that they understand: basic financial literacy, budgeting, interest rates as they are applied to credit cards and student loans, as well as how to complete all that ‘first-job’ paperwork (including 401k planning).
- It’s About My Family – ages 25 through 55: while this group should have the same understanding of finances as the previous group, it is also important that they start thinking about investments and retirement. Understanding investing principles and practices are key during this time.
- It’s About Us – ages 55+: the financial awareness of this group should include that obtained in previous groups. If they haven’t started saving for retirement – the time is now and the need for education is even greater. In addition, it’s time to start talking about social security and life after work.
Understanding these groups and appreciating that they come from diverse backgrounds, socio-economic conditions and geographic locations is key to the educational process. Collaborating with others, utilizing mixed media and developing important partnerships will enable us to broaden our reach and deliver quality services. S.A.F.E.’s collaboration with organizations such as JumpStart and other like-minded associations is intended to advance our common goals of promoting financial literacy. By communicating knowledge, sharing resources, and engaging in group problem solving, we can work together to make a significant contribution.
Given our goal to reach a wide geographic range, it is necessary for us to deliver services using varied channels. In-person presentations are preferred, so that individuals can engage in meaningful and direct conversations. However, we also believe that approaches using internet based services, social media, as well as publications will allow us to bring creative and cost-effective financial education to a wider audience.
Nationwide partnerships with knowledgeable agencies and individuals enable us to reach that all-inclusive audience. Building from David’s national connections allows us to develop a network of qualified financial professionals, who volunteer their time to conduct educational classes. Each presenter is rigorously selected to ensure that all services are: aligned with S.A.F.E.’s mission, vision, and are consistent with David’s philosophy and approach.
Scranton Academy for Financial Education (S.A.F.E.) understands the pressing need to provide education on the principles of finance, investing and personal portfolio management. As a non-profit organization, our effort to help educate people make informed financial decisions can’t take place without the support of our community.