How One Firm Plans to ‘Change Some Trajectories’ for Young People Through Financial Education
By Right About Money Staff Report
October 20, 2016
Tucson-based financial adviser Robert Swift believes that to build a foundation for financial literacy you must start young and educate individuals through their formative career years. Putting his dollars behind his beliefs, he recently launched a two-year financial literacy program through his TCI Foundation, a nonprofit spin-off from his TCI Wealth Advisors firm.
The program is called 3rd Decade, a reference to a time in life (your 20s) when you should begin to be in command of personal finance concepts. The course is offered free of charge to young adults between the ages of 21 and 35. Applicants must have a bachelors, associate, or vocational degree, rent or own their own home and have household income between $35,000 and $100,000. The goal is for them to learn to save at least 5% of gross income. Each “graduate” demonstrating saving skills at the conclusion of the course receives a funded $3,000 Roth IRA.
3rd Decade offers financial education and financial planning sessions. At four meetings a year, for a total of 10 classroom hours, participants engage in one-on-one sessions with an adviser. They create and manage an individualized financial plan. Participants must agree to provide financial information annually for five years. This allows Swift’s foundation to track the future successes and failures of 3rd Decade participants. The tracking is a critical element, as it will allow administrators to study what methods work best, and make adjustments.
Swift founded his firm 25 years ago and now manages more than $1.7 billion in assets across Arizona and in cities in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. He created 3rd Decade because he believes young adults especially are vulnerable to predatory lenders and other unsavory peddlers of financial services. “If I can get them for two years right in the beginning, we think we can really change some trajectories,” he has said.