Subsidized-advice idea misses the mark
obert Shiller may have gained some new fans when he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in October, but he probably lost some with his idea that low- and moderate-income people need financial advice and that the government should help subsidize access to such advice. Readers were quick to respond to reporter Liz Skinner's story on his idea, which he talked about at a virtual conference this month. Most called the proposal, which he has mentioned before, noble (pun intended, no doubt) but off the mark.
“Noble idea, but there's no money for this; the government is already way over budget. Instead, reform the tax code to make it simpler. The poor aren't so much making bad investing decisions as just simply not having any money to invest. Basics of money and career management should be taught in the public high schools along with typing and driver's ed.” — KeyLimePie
“I used to think the basics of money should be required in high school, but most of it tends to go in one ear and out the other, as very few students can apply it to real-life situations. Even if they have part-time jobs, most of their financial "goals' are related to socializing (in whatever forms that may take!). Even when I try to explain the importance of an early start to retirement savings to people in their early 20s, I can't get through. I might as well be trying to explain quantum physics.” — AssnapKined
“Really? That's your best idea? The U.S. government (completely broke, by the way) should step in and pay for "advice' to people who essentially have no investible assets? I have an idea. How about you reduce the burden on employers who will employ these people and give them an incentive to save in the employer-sponsored, tax-qualified retirement plan. While you're at it, why not increase the incentive rather than scrutinize the existing tax favorability of the employer-sponsored retirement plan?” — Ken Kreusman
“Ridiculous. Most banks already have financial advisers on staff who will talk to you. There is no need for government funds.” — craigzimmerman12
“The idea is noble. But to be of any value, two conditions must exist:
1. The client must recognize the need.
2. The client must seek the advice.
Most who are subsistence workers will not seek medical services until something is wrong ... even when preventive care is free (to the patient). Similarly, it is unlikely that financial assistance will be sought unless there is some form of financial crisis. Proactive financial planning has never been integral to the proletariat.” — BRUCE_MILLER
“I have no desire to be on the government's dole for any work. That's simply one step closer to becoming an employee of the federal government. This is exactly what is happening to doctors now with the rollout of Obamacare.” — Alertman32
“Good grief! What else can we come up for the government to subsidize?” — David_Sullwold
“Another dumb idea from a Nobel Prize holder. There are already plenty of free and nearly free resources via books, seminars, newspaper, radio, TV and Internet that everyone can take advantage of. Why don't those people get a library card and use what is already available? Most would rather watch sports or some mindless TV show than use that time to increase their financial literacy. As Zig Ziglar told us: "Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.' I don't expect that to change in the near future!” — The Ronald