Consumer Action thinks BIG

Consumer Action’s Outreach Manager Linda J. Williams used the celebrated MoneyWise Financial Educational Curriculum to train hundreds of federal, state, and local government employees at the BIG Conference, a meeting that focused on staying fiscally healthy in a tough economy. The MoneyWi$e Financial Educational Curriculum was developed by Consumer Action in partnership with Capital One.
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Blacks In Government (BIG) 31st Annual National Conference recently held in Baltimore, MD brought Joe Wynn, Legislative Advocate for the National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS), and Linda Williams Community Outreach Manager for Consumer Action together again. This time it was to train federal, state, and local government employees, advocates for veterans, homeless, disabled, families and individuals with limited means to better understand how to manage their finances during a rocky economy.

A session on veteran’s issues kicked off the national conference, and provided Williams the opportunity to train veterans’ advocates on identity theft. Williams told participants that ID theft occurs when someone steals another person’s personal information, such as their name, Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, driver license or passport to commit fraud. She discussed with participants steps to take to prevent fraud from occurring such as frequently checking financial information, placing passwords on bank and credit accounts, and reviewing one’s credit and specialty consumer reports regularly. The ID theft training was well received by participants, with many lingering after the training to comment on the timelessness of the information.

Each of Williams’ remaining four training sessions on money management also drew huge crowds.

Williams shared with conference attendees the importance of creating both a savings and spending plan and using both as a blueprint to control and manage their savings, spending and investment habits. Without a savings or spending plan, Williams told participants, "money is like water running through the holes in colander." She led participants in an interactive discussion on barriers to savings, ways to track their spending, and items that should be included in their budgets. During each session there was a lively discussion on ways to cut expenses. Participants were eager to offer various tips such as learning to read the electrical meter, unplugging appliances, shopping in bulk, and creating shopping cooperatives or clubs as way to cut down on expenses and survive during this harsh economy. At the end of the training sessions, many participants approached Williams to request a copy of her PowerPoint presentation and to pick up order forms for the free MoneyWi$e materials. There are 12 modules in the MoneyWi$e series. For more information on the MoneyWi$e series, please visit the website MoneyWi$e website.

The conference organizer published daily updates during the event, which included attendee’s opinions and their experiences at the conference. A participant from Atlanta area noted that he truly enjoyed Williams’ workshop and that it was one workshop that every BIG participant should attend.





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