By Shawn Walsh, Senior Director of Relationship Development for InCharge
The past two years has made clear the stunning impact that relatively small financial changes can have on the lives of low-to-moderate income Americans. Basic financial literacy can not only lift an individual or family out of poverty and build their wealth, but it also will ensure a better life for their children’s children, and generations to come. At InCharge Debt Solutions, we are dedicated to improving the lives of millions through our financial literacy articles and education programs.
At InCharge Debt Solutions, our Mind Your Finances Workshop Series fills that financial literacy gap. While developed for Habit for Humanity participants, the series works for any community or adult education program, particularly those for low-income or diverse populations.
We’re often approached by organization or community workshop leaders asking if they can use our materials. The answer is always “Yes!” Mind Your Finances is free to use. Each of its seven sections are in PDF form that can be easily downloaded, printed, copied and distributed.
Our overall mission at InCharge Debt Solutions is to provide financial education that can improve lives, and the “Mind Your Finances” curriculum was developed with that mission in mind.
We understand that the concept of financial literacy may be intimidating, even overwhelming, for people who have traditionally been left out of the discussion. The course is built on basic values that make it engaging and relatable for participants who haven’t had experience with financial literacy, and to whom many of the concepts may be unfamiliar.
Diversity-The images and scenarios reflect diverse populations and perspectives, including race, ethnicity, family structure and economics.
Visual Approach-Extensive use of visuals, including photos and infographics, makes the course more engaging.
Interactive-The curriculum is primarily designed for in-person workshops, so it includes opportunities to generate discussion, group brainstorming and prompts for sharing personal experiences.
Extensive Use of Narrative-Opportunities for personal narratives to explain larger financial concepts are used, where appropriate.
We also believe the course should be fun-For example, in the first session’s ice-breaker, when participants introduce themselves, they also share what they’d do if they won $50,000 in the lottery. Most sections conclude with a low-cost family-friendly recipe.
Mind Your Finances makes clear from the beginning that participants are their own financial planner. It gives them tools to take charge of their finances. It discusses challenges, or “pitfalls,” as something to be met with knowledge, not to be ashamed of. It makes clear that financial stability and growth is possible, no matter their situation.
The seven-part series comprises:
- Introduction to Financial Literacy
- Budgeting and Organizing Your Finances
- Financial Pitfalls and Attitudes About Money
- Understanding Insurance
- Savings Strategy
- Understanding Credit and Debt
- Saving for the Future
Empowering those who can best use financial literacy to build better lives is something we are passionate about at InCharge Debt Solutions. In addition to creating high quality education materials, we offer more than 50,000 free credit counseling sessions each year. We also provide nonprofit debt management programs to help people achieve their dreams of becoming debt free.
Building financial sustainability from the ground up, building wealth, achieving homeownership and living a sustainable financial life, should be something in reach for all Americans. Having the right tools to do that is the first step.
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