The power of financial empowerment
While financial empowerment includes the concept of financial literacy, it goes beyond just acquiring knowledge.
The main focus of financial empowerment is to build the skills you need to manage money and learn to choose the financial products and services that work for you.
When you’re financially empowered you’re both informed and skilled.
You know where to get help with your financial challenges and can access and choose financial products and services that meet your needs.
This sense of empowerment builds confidence, helping you effectively use your financial knowledge, skills, and resources to reach your goals.
If you feel knowledgeable about financial topics and comfortable in your own approach to money management, credit, debt, and financial products, you can better help others face money issues that may be complicating their lives.
The modules of this toolkit teach you about important financial topics and provide tools so you can put this information into practice with the people you help every day.
This toolkit provides the tools and information you need to take steps toward financial empowerment.
It can help you:
Set goals and calculate how much money they need to save to reach these goals
Plan for large purchases and life events
Learn to effectively save money
Establish an emergency savings fund
Get tax refunds and put the funds toward achieving your goals
Track the specific ways you are using their money
Bring your cash flow budgets into balance
Make a simple plan to pay down debt
Get, review, and fix errors on their credit reports
Evaluate financial products and services
Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud
Financial decisions are about more than money
Financial decisions, no matter how well intended, are never made in a vacuum.
Many things influence both our short- and long-term financial decisions.
Your values, culture, and traditions may play a part in how you spend, save, and make financial choices.
For example, you may have to choose between using your tax refund to build an emergency fund, using it to pay down your debts, or spending it to pay off your mother’s medical bills.
Your values and culture influence your financial decisions.
THE EMOTIONS BEHIND FINANCIAL DECISIONS
When people talk about money, it’s not just about the numbers.
They’re also discussing what money means to them.
Attitudes and behaviors around money are wrapped up in feelings around security, failure, family, love, and status.
What does money mean to you?
What is your first memory about money?
What is the most difficult thing about money for you?
For your family?
When you become aware that financial decisions can be influenced by emotions and past experiences it can help you understand what drives some of your financial choices now.
It can also help you better understand your unique strengths and challenges when dealing with money issues or problems.
UNDERSTANDING VALUES AROUND MONEY
Decisions, including financial ones, are made within the very powerful contexts of culture, including family, ethnicity, region, community, socio-economic status, generation, and religion.
Each of these factors can influences beliefs, values, and experiences about money and the way financial decisions are handled.
Our unique values shape how we prioritize what we do with our time, energy, and money.
In just a single day, we make many choices about “what is more important” in terms of how we spend our money.
These choices are guided by our values, for example:
The enjoyment of eating out at a restaurant versus saving money and eating at home
Giving a loved one an expensive gift versus spending less and saving the difference
Paying for financial obligations, such as child support or student loans, before spending money for “wants”