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Why the traditional approach to financial literacy isn’t working

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

So why is it that we continue to develop financial literacy programs that focus purely on the technical skills and consumer practices for money? We know that these traditional financial education programs do little to inspire, educate or motivate the individuals who participate in them!

A quick search on google and you will find that there is no shortage of financial literacy programs available for women to learn about managing their money. But I know for a fact that take up of these traditional programs is often poor and they have largely been ineffective in increasing financial literacy.

So why are these traditional financial literacy programs not working? And if we know they aren’t working, why do we continue to create them and roll them out?

Managing money requires more than just being good with numbers.

And knowledge alone is not enough.

Our mindset and emotions have a much greater influence on our behaviours with money, than we may realize. In- fact our mindset can be one of our biggest contributor, or the biggest detractor from our wealth.

To instil mindful earning, spending, investing and borrowing habits we need to learn more than just technical skills. Better financial literacy comes with an understanding of what motivates us, how we make decisions and how we can develop self-awareness and self-control when it comes to our habits and behaviours with money.

Financial literacy and education programs need to blend personal finance with the key concepts of psychology and neuroscience, as well as teaching sound decision making skills and personal development skills.

To engage and motivate people we need to embrace innovative and technology and create interactive and fun learning pathways. We need to incorporate creative elements and involve gamification and apps that complement the learning and curriculum.

We need a new approach to financial literacy.


The mindful wealth movement takes a unique approach to financial literacy: teaching women to manage money using a feminine and creative, left and right brain learning approach. Personal finance concepts are interwoven with principles of well-being, mindfulness, neuroscience and sustainability and participants are empowered to integrate this knowledge with their own attitudes, beliefs and ultimately behaviours with money.

Lea Schodel is a Financial Well-being Coach & Financial Literacy Advocate, more blog posts on women and money can be found at her website www.leaschodel.com and via www.themindfulwealthmovement.com

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