CFPB Launches Nationwide Effort to Provide Financial Education and Tools to Low-Income Consumers

As posted on July 30, 2014 on www.consumerfinance.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it is partnering with national and local organizations across the country to train social services staff to provide financial education and tools to clients with low-to-moderate incomes. As part of that partnership, the CFPB unveiled a new online toolkit called Your Money, Your Goals, a comprehensive guide to empowered financial decision-making that covers topics like budgeting daily expenses, managing debt, and avoiding financial tricks and traps.

“Since we opened our doors, we’ve worked to equip consumers to make informed decisions that will help them reach their personal financial goals,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Your Money, Your Goals opens a new channel for connecting consumers with low-to-moderate incomes to the Bureau’s information, tools, and resources through the people they know and trust.”

Staff of nonprofit and public social services programs are in a unique position to help the people with low-to-moderate incomes that they serve navigate complex and sometimes overwhelming financial situations. Their clients already know and trust them, and in many cases, they are sharing their financial information. The financial stresses consumers with low-to-moderate incomes face may interfere with their progress toward other goals, like finding and keeping secure housing, staying in school, or even landing a job.

Your Money, Your Goals trains social services staff to help their clients learn financial decision-making skills and to help them avoid the kinds of financial missteps that can erase hard-fought gains. It includes information, checklists, and worksheets consumers can use in their everyday lives. For example, clients in job placement programs who secure a job are often required to receive their pay via direct deposit. The information and tools in Your Money, Your Goals can help the newly employed worker weigh the benefits and risks of various payment methods. The topics covered in the Your Money, Your Goals toolkit include:

  • Making spending decisions that help reach goals
  • Ordering and fixing credit reports
  • Avoiding tricks and traps in choosing financial products
  • Making decisions about repaying debts and taking on new debt
  • Keeping track of income and bills
  • Deciding whether to open a checking account and understanding what’s needed to open one

As part of today’s launch, several national and local organizations announced that they are joining the CFPB in training social services staff to use the toolkit. Each participating organization has set a goal of training at least 500 staff that provides direct services to their clients. The participating organizations announced today include:

  • Catholic Charities USA and the Community Action Partnership will offer training to staff of their affiliates.
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs will begin training county and area nonprofit case managers this fall.
  • The National Association of Community Health Centers Community HealthCorps is equipping the 500 AmeriCorps members it places in community health centers across the country to use the toolkit.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension located in counties throughout the country will deliver the training for social services agencies in their communities.

The Your Money, Your Goals toolkit has been rigorously field tested. Through a pilot program last fall, 26 organizations led educational workshops in 21 states and the District of Columbia that introduced 1,400 case managers and other frontline staff to the materials. Workshop participants came from organizations that provide homeless services, veterans’ programs, mental health and emergency services, case management for Head Start, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well from as housing authorities, health clinics, and faith-based organizations.

Your Money, Your Goals is available online in English and Spanish. Interested parties can sign up for news on upcoming training events and updates to the toolkit’s content. The staff that will be trained with Your Money Your Goals will have the opportunity to share new information and tools with thousands of consumers with low-to-moderate incomes in an effort to make a difference in their financial lives.

The toolkit is available at: consumerfinance.gov/your-money-your-goals