What's Missing from Financial Capability Training? Our Money Mindset.
What was the last significant financial moment of your life? Maybe it was brought on by a financial misstep: you took on more debt than you can manage or you maxed out your credit card. It could have been a big financial choice: you bought a car or a house or you adopted a dog. It could have been a big event that strained your finances, like having a child, losing a job or a health crisis in the family. No matter what the moment was, you probably could not have predicted how or when it would happen.
Many workforce programs have taken the initiative to integrate financial literacy and capability into their curriculum and services to make these financial events more manageable. They may choose to integrate services like financial coaching, credit counseling, credit building and most commonly, financial education. Yet despite research showing that financial education impacts behavior minimally, many programs continue those services by default. But what if there are overlooked elements of financial capability, such as elements that precede more technical financial information and are more accessible for workforce programs to integrate into their programs?
With support from JP Morgan Chase, The Prosperity Agenda sought to learn more about the challenges and opportunities that exist in workforce development programs to integrate financial capability services.
After listening and learning from staff and students in workforce development programs, The Prosperity Agenda created Money Mindset Cards, which are activity cards that help staff facilitate conversations that allow students to develop their own path to financial well-being. We learned that financial capability integration is not about delivering more information more frequently, but about building awareness of a mindset when it comes to the culture of money by talking about it early and often. Through discussion generated by activity cards, we inspire clearer goals and meaning when it comes to money, build healthy identities with financial wellness and unlock intention for the financial future students want.
The goal is not to change mindsets, but to create awareness in people that we all have a money mindset that impacts our day to day lives, our decisions and our future. In this way, we can start acknowledging there are no good or bad financial decisions, there are just decisions we make that are in our best interest at the moment. Money Mindset cards enable a student-driven discussion, so we can start acknowledging the savviness, intuition and strength of people experiencing financial insecurity.
Money Mindset Cards are dialogue-based activity cards that generate discussion to build inspiration, healthy identities and intention when it comes to money.
We’ve heard from workforce program staff that using these cards allows them to start conversations from a place that truly matters to both staff and students. This way, they can make technical knowledge relevant because they learn what matters most to their students in these financial discussions. Staff say that their cohorts bond faster because they create a safe space to discuss the financial realities they are facing.
That we don’t have it all together when it comes to finances is a difficult, but transformational thing to admit when it comes to personal and professional growth. Staff facilitating the cards say they are learning right alongside their students when using the Money Mindset Cards. Not only are they learning more about their student’s lives, they’re also uncovering what drives their own decisions and what challenges they have with their own money mindsets.
The Financial Capability Integration Project was funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMC). Thank you to JPMC and our project partners: Seattle Goodwill’s Youth Year-Round Program (YYRP), and Apprenticeship & Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW), for their guidance and support in developing and testing our design product, Money Mindset Cards. For more information, go to http://www.theprosperityagenda.org/financial-capability-integration-project.
About The Prosperity Agenda: We partner with non-profits and government agencies to build financial wellness and career readiness for families. Poverty does not inherently limit the potential in anyone, which is why we focus on designing solutions that fuel people's desires to achieve their career and financial goals leading to lasting economic security. We do this by teaming up with staff and participants at nonprofit organizations and government agencies to design programs that result in increased income and assets for the individuals and families served in their communities.