Texas program makes a difference with CA Moneywise modules

Annie Tinsley, Better Living for Texans Regional Program Manager of Texas AgriLife Extension in Dallas County, Texas, shares how the University's AgriLife Extension program has been using the MoneyWi$e modules. The MoneyWi$e financial education curricula is developed by Consumer Action in partnership with Capital One Bank.
Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A lack of basic money-management skills is widespread among Americans. The unfortunate results include increasing consumer debt, low saving rates, home foreclosures, lost job opportunities, bankruptcy, and a perpetuating cycle of poverty.

A few facts:

  1. From 1992-2000, disposable personal income rose 47%, but personal spending climbed even more to 61%. At the same time, the overall personal savings rate fell from 8.7 % of disposable income in 1992 to zero in 2000. (1)
  2. The average American household with at least one credit card carried a credit card balance of $7,942 in 2000, compared with an average balance of $2,985 in 1990. (2)
  3. Of those Americans who say they are saving for retirement, less than half have actually taken time to calculate how much money they will need to live comfortably. (3)
  4. Sixty-two percent of women responding to a survey did not know the correct age at which they will be eligible for full Social Security benefits. (4)
  5. More than one million Americans have filed for bankruptcy every year since 1990. (5)


  1. U.S. Commerce Department, as reported in The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 5/21-5/27, 2001
  2. CardWeb.Com, 2000
  3. Employee Benefit Research Institute, '2001 Retirement Confidence Survey'
  4. Employee Benefit Research Institute, '2000 Women's Retirement Confidence Survey'
  5. The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2000

The cornerstone of a strong community is a strong family. Yet the pressures of modern life, including economic pressures, place a huge burden on the American family. The unfortunate results include rising rates of divorce, child abuse, and incidents of domestic violence.


Implementation: Texas AgriLife Extension instituted a financial management program in collaboration with Consumer Action in Dallas County in 2003. These programs targeted grandparents raising grandchildren, incarcerated individuals (Wilmer Hutchins Correctional Custody), Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers (Nexus and Family Gateway/Help Is Possible), and the general public. Through the programs, Dallas County families learned effective ways to manage their personal finances so they could have time and energy required to nurture themselves and their children. The classes available were Budgeting, Banking Basics, Credit, and Bankruptcy. Financial management workshops/conferences were conducted for grandparents raising grandchildren and roundtable events were conducted for agencies.

Marketing: Twenty radio stations marketed the financial management classes in Dallas County. The programs were also advertised on the Texas AgriLife Extension website, flyers and through word of mouth.

Outcome: From January 2003 through February 2009, we held a total of 110 classes, 4 workshops , and one conference. 1,700 individuals attended these events and 3,500 contacts were made.

To improve financial management programs, evaluations were conducted randomly. The results are as follows:

2008/2009 – 140 evaluations were completed for the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren seminars/conference. The overall rating for the financial management activities was excellent. Some of the comments included, “Excellent program and information,” “The information will help me organize my budget effectively and improve my overall life style,” “I understand how to improve my credit score,” “I have to focus more on my needs versus my wants,” “I understand the banking system better,” and “I need to cut up my charge cards.”

2006/2007 – 27 evaluations were completed for the Banking Basics classes. The average score for six categories were 1.1 score with 1 representing strongly agree and 4 strongly disagree (understanding of personal banking, understanding ChexSystems, understanding how to select a bank, instructor well informed, material easy to understand and would like to attend another class). The overall rating of the class was 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

2005 - Forty-six questionnaire evaluations were completed on the Banking Basics and Credit classes. The evaluations showed on a rating of 1-5 (5 being the highest) the class content and instructor were rated 4.4.

2004 - Financial Management classes on Managing Your Money, Banking Basics, Credit and Bankruptcy were conducted, with a total of 158 evaluations completed. The evaluations rated the class content and instructor 4.8, on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest) . The rating of the overall class was a 9.6, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest.

Workshop participants also provided other recommendations and or suggestions for future training:

  1. Make the classes longer
  2. Want more information on how to restore credit problems
  3. Facilitator is doing a great job, want to make the classes more advance
  4. Would like to know more about when to open an account

Success Stories

An individual at Wilmer Hutchins Correctional Custody Center, after being released from the drug and alcohol program during which he attended our financial management classes, visited the class instructor and stated that he was presently using the financial management information that had been provided. He said, “I am now budgeting my money. I have a job at Albertson’s and only receive $6.50 an hour. My wife works, but we have a baby on the way. If I want something in life, then I have to know how to budget my money. Thank you for the class.”

Another individual from Wilmer Hutchins sent a card to the instructor after she was released. She thanked the instructor for the information that was provided to her. The participant stated, “I am using the budgeting and credit information. It is helping me get my life back on track. I now know I have to limit my spending in order to effectively pay my bills and to accomplish my goals in life.”


Texas AgriLife Extension in Dallas County plans to continue financial management classes as well as including a focus on stretching your food dollar. The Texas AgriLife Extension in Dallas County wishes to thank Capital One Bank and Consumer Action for the support of its classes and events for many years.




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