This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
There are dozens of entities devoted to educating you about all things financial. Congress funds a commission and a website, Mymoney.gov. Schools have added “financial literacy” to their curricula. Banks put out pamphlets, and every major investment brokerage has Web pages devoted to educating people on how to invest wisely.
But none of it is working very well. Neither children who are required to take financial literacy classes in school nor adults who are randomly assigned to such courses perform much better on financial skills tests than those who don't, nor do they make better financial choices or enjoy better financial outcomes.
Paradoxically, the opposite may be true. Participating in these programs can increase risky behavior as people gain a misplaced confidence in their ability to make financial decisions.
Read the complete op-ed.