Mad Money

NYSE prez to Cramer: 6 yr olds can learn financial literacy

US needs financially literate society
US needs financially literate society

Jim Cramer knows that Thomas Farley is the embodiment of the future. As President of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Group since the closing of the NYSE Euronext acquisition in November 2013, he has demonstrated the importance of strong leadership in a tough environment.

Schools all over the U.S. offer classes on topics such as wood work and auto mechanics, but not investing, so the question becomes how to educate future leaders on the importance of financial literacy.

Are there really that many people whittling wood in their spare time?

Thomas Farley shared his opinion about the lack of financial literacy in the U.S. in an interview with Cramer at the CNBC 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday.

"The percentage of Americans that hold individual stocks is at a 16-year low. I think it's for two reasons: One, the market is very complicated. And two, we don't have enough financial literacy education," he said.

Thomas "Tom" Farley, president of NYSE Euronext, speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Farley has used his own financial literacy and leadership skills to build a qualified team at the NYSE that has handled some of the largest IPO's in the world including the debut of Alibaba in September 2014, the worlds' largest listing ever.

"Part of the benefit in educating for financial literacy, is educating the benefit of holding stocks and how great of an investment it is," Farley said. "It is a problem when the lower class, lower middle class and even the middle class isn't participating in significant wealth creation."

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Just how soon is too soon to start teaching America's children about investing? Farley confirmed that he has already begun to teach his own children about the importance that investing plays in wealth creation.

"At NYSE we fund financial literacy programs that start in the first grade," he said. "I think a 9 year old and a 6 year old can learn the basics of financial literacy."

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