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Editorial: Financial knowledge a power NM really needs

As 2015 ended, a new survey showed only one in three adults around the world was considered financially literate. Consider that the survey, from the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at The George Washington University, asked just four questions about what should be basic concepts – risk and diversification, inflation, interest and compound interest. It makes it all the more valuable that private-sector entities like financial giant Fidelity Investments step up and teach teachers how to impart knowledge on those concepts.

The multinational financial services corporation, which has an office in Albuquerque, offered a free one-day financial literacy teacher training course recently, geared to helping teachers incorporate the concepts into their curriculum. It covered stocks, bonds, risk management and compound interest, along with the psychology of spending and saving. And it got teachers thinking about their own habits as they considered how to get students to think about theirs.

The seminar, in its second year, is available in 11 states to teachers from all grade levels.

Annamaria Lusardi, academic director of the GWU center, said in December “financial literacy is a global problem” and “you have the rise of a middle class around the world and, unfortunately, it’s made up of people who don’t understand what it takes to repay a loan.”

In New Mexico, where almost a quarter of the 2 million residents receives food stamps and one out of every 2.5 is on Medicaid, that ignorance puts what’s needed to climb out of poverty in sharp focus and underlines that knowledge truly is power.

And, thanks to Fidelity, Albuquerque Metro area teachers, and thus their students, are gaining some.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.