Jimmy Stuart (yes, his real name!) from Compass Working Capital and Susan Schiro from Career Collaborative shared their insights about what money really means and why it’s just as important (if not more important) to have greater knowledge about money as it is to have more money.
The meaning of money.
People often think money is about security. Susan and Jimmy say that money represents so much more than that. Taking control of money helps move people from feeling hopeless to hopeful, from being passive to actively pursuing goals.
TPC funded a financial literacy course designed by Carol Guerrero at Career Collaborative. In her research, Carol realized that money management is more than helping people get what they need; it’s about helping them make financial decisions that align with their values and goals. As Susan told us, “When we meet our clients, most do not expect they will ever have enough money to make their dreams come true; the course TPC funded enables them to see how they can do this.” Case in point is Eddie, a course participant who learned how to budget and realized he had to “change things” in order to make his dream of owning a business come true. Now, Eddie has a better idea of the path he needs to take to make his dream come true.
Why it’s important to understand money.
Compass Working Capital (CWC) links understanding money to effective decision-making. The goal is to help clients translate day-to-day income into real financial security.
As CWC knows, increasing one’s income, on its own, does not guarantee that an individual is going to be secure or able to meet his/her goals. It’s important to know what to do with that income. CWC provides workshops that focus on goal-setting, budgeting, and asset building; coaching that helps people take small and consistent steps; and, incentives to save.
Jimmy told us the story of a single mom who had a job, a house, and was supporting her two children. Then the job dried up, she lost her house, and had to uproot her family and start all over again. She learned the hard way that if you rely only on what is coming in, that is not enough. At CWC, she learned how to prepare for emergency needs (like unexpected car repairs and hospital bills) so that will never happen to her again.
What advice they have for TPC, based on their insights.
Jimmy and Susan are impressed at how TPC members align money with values, as evidenced by how TPC vets its grantees. Their advice? Keep up the good work!