The Bartiromo Effect from CNBC to FOX, Maria Bartiromo is the face of financial media

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by amy armstrong

Educate, Educate, Educate...

and Then Advise

Be an educator first; be a financial advisor second. That is the mantra of Larry Welder, owner of Granite Financial Solutions, LLC, with offices located in Iowa and Georgia and GFS Financial Solutions, LLC in Texas.


is philosophy of educating first, works since more than twothirds of Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test. According to the annual National Capability Study produced by the FINRA Foundation, American financial literacy continues to decline significantly since the 2008 Great Recession despite the numerous economic lessons it so painfully presented to investors. In 2009, 42 percent of Americans tested could pass a basic financial literacy test. By 2016, that number dropped to 37 percent. “We promote financial literacy for all ages,” Welder said. “I found out early on in my career in financial services that while



meeting with clients, the conversation always leads back to the discussion that they do not feel they have the necessary financial education needed to meet life’s challenges.” Skills such as creating a budget, preparing a basic tax return, or understanding the principle of compound interest are ones Welder discovers many clients do not have when they come to his practice. While most people – especially Millennials – no longer have traditional checkbooks, he notes, the skill of being able to track and verify expenses versus income each month remains important for overall financial health. And, yet, many

Americans are incapable of performing this task that should be completed on a monthly basis. Granite Financial Solutions designed a financial literacy curriculum that Welder presents to college students. The curriculum was developed at the urging of his client, Dr. Cormac T. O’Sullivan, Program Director for the Nurse Anesthesia program at the University of Iowa. He doesn’t use the platform to promote his firm’s services, but instead views it as community service and hopefully a wake-up call for attendees that financial education is just as important as training in other subjects. Ideally, he would like to see financial education beginning as early as preschool. “Children can – and should – learn the basics of money and how to use it. We cannot start too young,” Welder said, adding that much of his own financial education began later in life. He spent the first half of his career as

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