In today’s challenging and uncertain times, financial knowledge and literacy is a key skill for most adults. Peter Johnson took Landmark’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program in San Jose this summer, and out of it created the Financial Literacy Project, which is designed to bring financial professionals and consumers together in community bookstores. Consumers will have the opportunity to get one-on-one coaching and attend presentations in local bookstores, and interact with experienced professionals who enjoy making a difference in people’s lives.
A strong step forward came in August, when the Garrett Planning Network (financial planning network) reached an agreement to work with the Financial Literacy Project in bookstores, libraries and other community centers throughout the United States.
“The Garrett Planning Network is the ideal partner for this effort, because their goal has always been to counsel and educate the mainstream consumer, without the potential conflicts of interest that can arise with transaction-based compensation,” said Johnson. “Our goal is to educate and inspire, and we couldn’t have found a better group to work with.”
The current plan is to start a pilot program in the bay area this month, to be followed by a national rollout in October.
In January of next year, a leading independent bookstore, Kepler’s Books and Magazines, of Menlo Park, CA, will also partner with the project. This program will feature an ongoing series of seminars, private consultations with personal financial planners, and a special bookshelf featuring recommended books on the subject.
“Kepler’s is thrilled to be able to offer face-to-face financial education in our community at this critical time in our country’s economic history. Bookstores have always been places of serendipitous discovery and learning, and we see the opportunity to make learning and literacy a personalized experience by partnering with The Financial Literacy Project,” said Clark Kepler, President, CEO and Chairman of Kepler’s.
The original idea for the project came to Johnson through his partnership with Pilgrim’s Way, a small, independent bookstore in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The owners of the bookstore, Paul Fridlund and Cynthia Fernandes, have long offered the services of consultants to their store visitors. As a financial planner, Johnson was one of those consultants and he got to see firsthand how everyone wins through such an arrangement.
The bookstore earns extra revenue through increased foot traffic, fees for consultations and additional books sales; the public gains access to high-quality financial expertise and information, and financial planners get valuable community exposure.