Vermeer’s Case for Financial Literacy

Die in debt could be one approach. It worked with Dutch artist Vermeer, only it was his wife who carried the bankruptcy load after his death at age 43. But way back then, longevity wasn’t what it is today and if you could assess his financial literacy quotient, maybe he would have had the same trouble if he lived in these modern times.

By the way, his woes got heavier after an economic downturn which began a few years before his death in 1675. Sound familiar?

Our modern longevity factor on the whole, takes us well past age 43 and as we get older, we will encounter more economic spins than we would care to imagine. What’s different than in Vermeer’s time, at least in the context of the North American financial planning culture, is that we have more tools to work with. No excuses right!

Yet it still amazes me to find the number of people who don’t work with a certified financial planner who has a wide grasp of financial literacy to help take them from the “fear of the unknown “ to a place of clarity and common sense.

More on this in a future post, but Statistics Canada recently released a report about Canadians retiring with debt. In truth that can be grim for many.  Call it the Vermeer effect, things haven’t changed in over 300 years. But alas great Vermeer – what loss to you that you left us such serene colour on canvas!

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