Spring is a time of renewal. We’ve made it through another winter, and now we plant new seeds that will bloom throughout the rest of the year. Spring also reminds us that everything is cyclical. No matter how bad winter gets, there is always the promise of Spring, which brings us hope, rebirth and fertile ground.
When it comes to financial education, there is a lot that we can learn from nature. Too often, we think of financial education as something that has a beginning and an end. We focus on preparing consumers to buy a home, but then we leave them to fend for themselves after the sale is complete.
That’s something we as an industry must change. We must focus on financial education as something that is cyclical like the seasons, and something that is relevant for everybody. There is always something for our clients—and for us—to learn as we move through different phases of life. We must continuously plant new seeds of financial knowledge.
While it’s important to offer financial education to first-time homebuyers, we can’t stop there. We must continue to support homeowners so that they are able to live more financially responsible lives. Like Spring, we must make financial education cyclical. We must give clients refresher courses so that they are better equipped to handle financial challenges, no matter when they crop up in their lives.
We all have a stake in ensuring that Americans have the financial education that they need, and we must provide the support and a structured environment for consumers to achieve that goal.
HUD-approved counseling organizations are particularly well-suited to lead such a task. Homebuyers depend on us to offer guidance so they already have relationships with us and trust us to keep their best interests at heart. Rooted in the communities in which we serve, we already know the problems consumers face every day. We, as an industry, must simply expand our financial education offerings to accommodate consumers as their financial needs evolve and change.
In doing so, we will develop relationships with our customers that transcend the homebuying process. We, instead, cultivate customers for life.