By Hang Nguyen
The San Diego Union-Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jim Chilton, the CEO of “The Society for Financial Awareness” shares his thoughts on financial literacy and how you can best prepare your family for the future.
A marriage destroyed because a husband paid for a pool in the backyard, nice cars and frequent dinners at restaurants, money he should have been squirreling away for his son’s college tuition.
Young people who are broke but who will put thousands of dollars in tattoo purchases on credit cards.
Parents who dip into their retirement funds to pay for a daughter’s wedding.
Jim Chilton offers those stories as examples of financial illiteracy. He’s the CEO of The Society for Financial Awareness, a nonprofit he founded in 1993 and based in San Diego.
The group’s members, who include estate-planning attorneys, financial advisers and CPAs, give free finance seminars at clubs, churches and companies, which are affected when an employee under financial strain can’t focus on the job.
“We know about drug and alcohol addiction,” Chilton said. “But we don’t we talk about spending as an addiction. Spending money makes us feel good and is habit forming. Our economy thrives on spending. Not enough people understand the importance of saving until it’s too late.”
April is Financial Literacy Month. Through SOFA, which is funded mostly by membership dues, Chilton is trying to spread the word that knowing how to manage money is critical to health and happiness. Without it, it can lead to bankruptcy, divorce and even suicide, he says.
Chilton is not just giving advice. He talks from experience. He didn’t become financially savvy until he was 26. He is now 63. When he was younger, he started a business using a line of credit and racked up a lot of debt.