For Consumer Action staff, no time to ‘sit back and unwind’

Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Our Outreach staff have been busy conducting trainings in summer of 2018

“Summer summer summertime, time to sit back and unwind.”

When Will Smith penned those lyrics he certainly wasn’t referring to Consumer Action’s outreach and training managers Linda Williams and Nelson Santiago, who, over the summer, visited three states within two months to educate 100 community-based organizations on the organization’s three most popular training modules: Money Management 1-2-3; A Guide to Finding the Right Job Training School; and Insurance in the Sharing Economy.

In June, Santiago and Williams delivered Money Management 1-2-3 to a packed audience in Riverside, CA. The goal of the educational module is to prepare financial educators to help consumers better understand the impact that certain life changes can have on their finances. The module also educates them on how to develop a plan that will assist consumers in managing their finances at each stage of life. The module is titled “1-2-3” because it covers three stages:

1) Establish financial goals and build a strong financial foundation.
2) Maintain progress through budget updates, the accumulation of a nest egg and the protection of one’s assets.
3) Look to the future (e.g., create and implement a plan for retirement).

The training featured guest speaker Aeyoung Kim of the California non-profit Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA). Kim gave an engaging session on estate planning, explaining to the audience that ensuring your wishes are carried out in the event of your death or incapacitation is not just for the rich and famous—it’s a crucial step in financial planning.

Ric Lugo, center manager for the Cal State San Bernardino Reentry Initiative, applauded the comprehensive training, saying: “I cannot thank Consumer Action enough. Our client population consists of those who are returning to our community following incarceration. Many of them struggle with establishing themselves financially and becoming self-sufficient. The materials and resources provided by Consumer Action have greatly assisted these clients in so many ways.”

Santiago and Williams next hit the Windy City on July 20 to present Consumer Action’s job training educational module. The module was developed for community advocates to use in helping students find and choose the best vocational training program without exposing themselves to scam for-profit schools (and the often unmanageable debt that follows). The training proved to be very timely as it coincided with the U.S. Department of Education’s push to repeal its borrower defense and gainful employment rules (which were put in place to protect students defrauded by for-profit schools).

Finally, Santiago and Williams rolled out the Insurance in the Sharing Economy module in Atlanta. The widely-attended training provided grassroots advocates with the tools to educate those participating in Atlanta’s booming sharing economy on their liability and how to protect themselves with the right insurance coverage when providing goods or services through a peer-to-peer platform. This includes driving for Uber or Lyft; hosting paying guests in one’s home through a service like Airbnb; hiring oneself out to complete projects via an app like TaskRabbit; selling crafts, etc. over Etsy or other e-commerce sites; and engaging in other peer-to-peer transactions.

Jasmine Burke, a housing counselor with the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults in Chattanooga, TN, applauded the training, saying: “It was super informative and opened my eyes to a market that I engage in everyday. I am a certified credit and housing counselor and I plan to share this information with my clients in hopes that they will be better prepared in protecting themselves from shared economy liabilities.”

 

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