Financial illiteracy should be a crime. That is, an activity considered a grave offense, harmful or wrong.
Look at the disastrous fallout, and the reason it should be a crime becomes obvious.
It greatly harms those afflicted. It has catastrophic consequences not just on their finances but on every aspect of their lives, from their self-confidence to their mental health. It is actively detrimental to their future success and happiness.
And to make matters worse, it not only adversely affects them but also their families who often have to face the ramifications of their bad financial decisions.
Yet..and here’s the kicker, only 33 percent of the adults worldwide are financially literate. That’s 3.5 billion adults globally, who lack an understanding of basic financial concepts.
That’s not even taking into consideration, kids and teens, who are now spending more money than any generation before them ever did at their age.
When faced with such ignominy, it’s often useful to consider why is this allowed to happen?
That’s classical latin for who stands to benefit? It expresses the view that crimes are often committed to benefit the perpetrators, especially financially.
So let’s go down this rabbit hole.
Who would benefit from kids and teens not understanding how money works?
Who would benefit from them not being able to control their impulse purchases or to delay gratification?
Who would benefit from these kids and teens not being able to identify and stay away from predatory marketing tactics?
Who would benefit from them falling prey to advertisements served up to them on their phones and tablets, by the all-powerful algorithms gods that seem to know what they want even before they are fully aware of it?
Who would benefit from them being so reliant on external validation, from the likes and comments on their social media activity that they will happily, mindlessly, spend load of money on buying the next new shiny thing?
And clueless teens grow up…
Who would benefit from these teens growing up into adults who now splurge their own money on lavish brunches and dinners instead of carefully considering how they can save and invest this money?
Who would benefit from these young adults taking on expensive debt just to buy the latest model SUV? Or to go on expensive holidays? Or to buy over priced clothes? Or extravagant gifts?
Who would benefit from them not having any knowledge of how investing really works? And what returns they can reasonably expect?
Who would benefit from these young adults believing that they can speculate their way to success?
Who would benefit from them not knowing how to identify the trademarks of a financial scam?
Who would benefit from them being so clueless about money that they willingly offer themselves up as victims to any slick tongued salesman peddling a get-rich-quick scheme?
So, cui bono?