Dr. Ryan Decker, CFP® is a Professor of Economics and Finance. Dr. Decker is also the Founding Director of North Central College’s Center for Financial Literacy and the founder of Wealthency.
Our education system fails our citizens when it comes to preparing us for financial decision making after high school, or college. This has placed the burden of learning on the adult individual. As we demand more from our employers, they have the opportunity to provide needed financial education for their people.
While I’ve always had an interest in finances and wealth management from my early time at UBS Financial Services, my foray into financial education really began at PwC. When I worked at PwC in international financial markets, it became clear that my peers did not understand PwC’s financial benefits. My coworkers held advanced business degrees – PhD, JD, MBA, CPA, CFA, LLM – and if they didn’t fully understand personal financial concepts, I figured the rest of society might be worse off. I knew I had to do something about it.
At the behest of my firm, I ran financial education programs related to PwC benefits to staff and I began volunteering with PwC’s Earn Your Future program which allowed me to train K-12 teachers how to teach personal finance. I gave speeches across North America about financial illiteracy, what we can do about it, and the opportunity employers have to provide this benefit to their people.
When my wife and I had our first son, my priorities changed, and I sought out a more flexible job teaching. When I started at North Central College, a private institution outside Chicago, IL, I also launched the Center for Financial Literacy (“Center”). In the classroom, I developed and teach one of the nation’s few collegiate level Personal Finance courses, among other finance and economics classes. Outside of the classroom, the Center allows me the opportunity to run financial education programs for high school and college students and staff, not-for-profit organizations, libraries, and corporations.
I believe I can do more, and I believe corporate financial education is a developing opportunity.
Wealthency was born.
I have intentionally chosen to forgo managing money because I believe education can go a long way. Before someone rushes to pay a wealth manager, let’s first see if they have the capacity to manage their own finances.
No one knows everything about money management. Even the experts have questions. Most don’t know what questions to ask or who to ask them to. I believe that with a foundational understanding of their own financial situation and options, one would be better equipped to manage their own finances, talk with an expert, ask the right questions, and understand potential implications from their decisions.
I believe financial education programs work at all levels. This is how I enjoy spending my time, and I hope to have the opportunity to assist you in empowering your people with financial education.
Follow and connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryandecker
Visit my faculty webpage at North Central College: https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/profile/rmdecker
Watch my TedX talk on “The Fallout of Financial Illiteracy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nYL_zS4GVE