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“Lack of Financial Literacy” Might Be Costing You More Than You Think.

“Lack of Financial Literacy” Might Be Costing You More Than You Think.

January 24, 20244 min read

However, the “Lack of Investor Empowerment” is less understood and is likely costing you a lot more.

On January 11th, 401(k) Specialist magazine published an article entitled “Lack of Financial Literacy Cost Workers $1500 in 2023.

The article reported on a survey conducted by the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), which “asked over 1500 U.S. adults to estimate how much money they may have overlooked in 2023 due to a lack of knowledge over personal finances. The final number came out to $1,506 . . . (and) considering the over 240 million adults in the U.S., that figure exceeds $388 billion this past year alone . . . .”


That’s a lot. What would your estimate have been if you had been asked?

Possibly even more interesting is this question: How would you actually know how much you lost by not knowing what you don’t know?

The answer is you likely wouldn’t.

Regarding this, the article points out that “the NFEC notes that survey respondents may have underestimated these numbers, as those with lower levels of financial knowledge may not understand how much their illiteracy could actually cost them.” You can access NFEC’s full Report here.

While we agree that there is certainly a need and a case to be made for greater Financial Literacy, and programs to teach and promote it, there is something in virtually all Financial Literacy programs - something that is almost never recognized, understood, or discussed.

It’s the inability of individual investors to comparatively evaluate hundreds of thousands of investment choices, and the investment recommendations of financial services providers. 

And this lack of power to identify and chose those best for them, is likely costing investors (you) much more that any estimated losses from a lack of financial literacy.

Knowing that you lack the power to identify and select the mutual funds and ETFs that you believe would be best for you and knowing that you are likely suffering possibly significant opportunity costs (to an extent that you may never know), certainly qualifies you as being “financially literate” on that point.

But it does not really help, does it?

Would knowing that have prevented the harm you’ve suffered? Will it prevent the harm you’ll continue to suffer?

What’s been missing is a major step beyond “Financial Literacy.”

What’s been missing is trueFinancial Empowerment,” specifically (in this context) “Investor Empowerment.”

The well-known saying that “Knowledge Is Power,” is not universally true in the context of investing. Some knowledge is, but a lot is not empowering, especially if there is no way to effectively use it to your benefit.

Does knowing (or believing) that you’re powerless to comparatively evaluate tens of thousands of mutual funds and ETF choices (with hundreds of performance factors), somehow how give you power to do it?

Obviously, not.

It might enable you to realize what needs to be changed but knowing that does not necessarily give you power to do it.

That realization was a key element motivating our efforts to create our Retail Investment Tracking Application (“Rita”), to enable individual investors (you and us) to score and rank thousands of mutual funds and ETFs against all other available choices (and not just against benchmark indexes). But it took well over a decade of development and testing and millions of dollars in costs to do it and bring Rita to you.

Knowing that you have no way to comparatively evaluate tens of thousands of mutual funds and ETF choices or evaluate just how good the investment recommendations you’ve been getting are, is not empowering.

Knowing that, with Rita, you can do so and in mere moments, while filtering out all conflicts of interest, is uniquely empowering.

The next and possibly most important question for you is this: Will you use that power?

Going back to the previously unanswerable question of how much lack of Investor Empowerment may have cost you, now you can find out.

Just takeThe Rita Challenge.”

It’s free and will enable you to quickly and easily see how your mutual funds and ETF choices compare to all of the others you could have selected. The performance gaps you’ll likely see can be shockingly large, often dwarfing the losses mentioned in the article.

It’s time to change things – to stop unnecessarily losing money. It’s time for you to financially benefit from the true “Investor Empowerment” that Rita uniquely provides.

401(k)mutual fundsETFsinvestorsretirementfinancial productsiraretirement account
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Eric S. Smith, J.D.

Eric S. Smith, J.D. is CEO of Decision Technologies Corporation, and President and Investment Advisor Representative of Trustee Empowerment & Protection, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor

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