An Introduction to Money Matters

May 30, 2019 8:30 AM ET

It is estimated that nearly one-third of wealth inequality in the United States can be explained by the financial-knowledge gap1 – the distance between one’s financial goal, such as buying a first home or planning for retirement and knowing the right choices that need to be made to get there. As products and services evolve during the digital age, knowing which choices to make can be more complicated.

Financial literacy is an important way to build know-how and confidence to meet personal goals and participate in the economy at every level, from employment to accessing financial services. Recognizing that everyone approaches financial literacy differently, in 2018 we launched a new Adaptive Financial Education program in the United States for people with intellectual and development disabilities. This is the first of its kind to be offered in the U.S. banking industry. Using the insights gained through this program, a pilot was launched later in the year in Canada, called Introduction to Money Matters, with nonprofits ABC Life Literacy Canada and Community Living Toronto.

The programs were designed with input from people with intellectual and development disabilities and their caregivers and offer a series of in-person classes on financial topics such as budgeting, taxes and employee benefits, and different banking tools like ATMs and bank accounts. Throughout the year TD employees volunteer by teaching the classes. In 2018, over 12,000 participants joined a Money Matters class in Canada taught by 388 TD employees.

For more stories like this, read TD's 2018 report on The Ready Commitment.