MoneyWi$e empower Delaware consumers

Published: Monday, June 14, 2010

Community Outreach Manager, Linda Williams, traveled to Delaware to conduct a MoneyWi$e America Saves training. The training was hosted by the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute. MoneyWi$e is a renowned financial literacy program developed by Consumer Action in partnership with Capital One.

A key goal of the state-run First State Saves program in Delaware is to give its citizens the information they need on topics such as money management, banking, homeownership, and starting and growing a small business. The Delaware Financial Literacy Institute took a giant step towards achieving that goal by hosting MoneyWi$e America Saves training on May 26, 2010. The “train the trainer” roundtable, which featured MoneyWise modules such as Micro Business Basics, Keys to Homeownership, Successful Homeownership and How Adults Learn, drew rave reviews from over 35 community and faith-based organization, as well as prospective micro-business owners from across the state who attended the training. MoneyWi$e, a joint project of Consumer Action and Capital One is a renowned financial literacy program.

CA’s Community Outreach Manager Linda J. Williams opened the training with a participant-centered presentation on how and why adults learn. As part of the how adults learn presentation, Williams facilitated an interactive activity that focused attention on when the learning process begins for adults and she helped participants identify the learning barriers, such as lack of time, money, information about learning opportunities, confidence, child care, and transportation, that can prevent their clients from fully participating in the educational process. Williams pointed out that trainers must recognize that adults have many responsibilities they must balance against the demands of learning.

During the session on Micro Business Basics, Williams told participants that in order to be successful entrepreneurs they would not only need the background and expertise to make a business thrive, but also the time to research the market to determine if their idea is ready for start-up. Then she divided the participants into small groups and introduced “Vivacious,” a newly created learning activity that aids potential entrepreneurs in using demographics to determine the target audience for a fictional women’s gym. Williams told participants that target marketing can be a particularly valuable tool for small businesses, which often lack the resources to appeal to large aggregate markets or to maintain a wide range of differentiated products for varied markets. Participants were asked to identify five reasons why the women of Delaware would be interested in a gym membership, as well as five disadvantages of having a membership. Trainees also performed other marketing techniques such as identifying the best age range of women to target for the gym and ways to market a gym membership to this audience. Setting these goals helped participants relax, interact with peers, and have fun while learning how to use marketing tools to train their clients on making a business grow and thrive. The activity was well received by participants, with 85% saying they would use the activity to train their clients and would look for it on Consumer Action's website.

Williams ended the training with a presentation on Keys to Successful Homeownership. An integral part of the First States Save program is moving Delawareans’ towards Homeownership by helping them become financially prepared for this major achievement. The “Successful Homeownership” module was designed to educate new and established homeowners on the ins and outs of maintaining and successfully keeping a home. Williams stressed the importance of teaching prospective homeowners that saving their homes from foreclosure begins long before the actual purchase. She pointed out that it begins with educating homebuyers on how to purchase the right home for them, choosing a reputable lender, reading and understanding loan documents, designing a realistic monthly budget, and preparing for a financial emergency.

After the training, 95% of the organizations surveyed felt they had gained a better understanding of the MoneyWi$e financial literacy program, and that the facilitator was helpful and well–informed, with the activities reinforcing classroom learning.

 
 
 

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