Pro Bono Work Needed to Overcome Financial Illiteracy

Panelists at AdviceTech.live advocated pro bono efforts to lower the barriers to delivering financial advice.

By Eleanor O'Sullivan

A lack of access to financial advice is an urgent global issue, a group of advisors emphasized.

The advisors were on the panel “Advice Accessibility — Democratizing Financial Advice,” and advocated pro bono work to help resolve financial illiteracy.

“If you say that only a segment of people are not getting financial advice, that’s untrue, obviously, because obviously, it’s a world problem,’’ said panelist Tryone Ross Jr., CEO and co-founder of Onramp Invest.

Jamie Hopkins, managing partner of Wealth Solutions, Carson Group, led the panel in a discussion about lowering the barriers to delivering advice so more consumers can become financially savvy.

Preston D. Cherry, CFP and founder/president of Concurrent Financial Planning LLC, said because of what he called “a great literacy race’’ among Black children in America, there is an urgency to begin financial education at an early age.

“We are at a crossroads: If an elderly person and a teen are crossing the road, we know both need to cross that road, but who needs to get help first? Maybe the elderly person, but you know, elderly persons today are fit, they are fine. So, who needs the help first?’’ Cherry questioned.

Cherry said more pro bono advocacy is needed to expand the accessibility of financial planning advice.

“Have a cash management introduction package; I have one myself for the small businesses that I serve. Maybe that package costs three hours of your time. Be accessible in those ways,’’ Cherry said.

Although Hopkins also encouraged planners to offer pro bono work, he said another issue is more pressing among those in need. “You can’t learn on an empty stomach. Kids who are hungry cannot learn and more forward,’’ Hopkins said.

Sonya Dreizler, an author who focuses on issues of gender and race in financial services, was also a panelist.

This year’s benefactor partner of AdviceTech.live was the Foundation for Financial Planning, a non-profit that provides pro bono financial guidance to families in need. Half the revenue from ticket sales benefited FFP and its charitable programs.

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