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It was with great interest that I read Laura Enock’s op-ed regarding our country not needing financial education–only financial responsibility. Not only was your piece misguided and the tone condescending, it is also offensive to anyone who teaches financial education or has ever had a financial problem. In my 11 years of teaching and counseling thousands of families and individuals, I have met many hard-working, well-intentioned, responsible, intelligent families with financial problems. The vast majority of them want to live up to their financial responsibilities; they just need some help knowing exactly how to do that.

Enock’s statement “with the exception of the truly ignorant, most Americans already know everything that they need to know…” is just flat out wrong. Yes, there really are many otherwise intelligent people that do not know how to balance a checkbook or understand the overall cost of interest. Others may have been pressured or tricked by high pressure sales tactics from quota driven lenders. Others just think in the here and now and don’t stop to read the fine print or contemplate the consequences. Enock’s assumption that most people are in debt because they bought wheels they could not afford, borrowed against their house to take a vacation, or are merely keeping up with the Joneses shows just how out of touch with Middle America she must be. Every day, I come into contact with many people that may use loans or credit cards to buy gas, medication, groceries and pay utility bills because the cost of living is rising faster than their incomes or unexpected life events are impacting their bottom line. Most lack sufficient savings and have never learned the disciplines necessary to save money.

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