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Changing Your Life Through Better Money Management

Changing Your Life Through Better Money Management: Community Action Partnerships

Individuals served by the Community Action Partnership network of agencies typically have low to moderate incomes—generally around $40,000 or less per year for a family of four—and frequently come to CAP because of a crisis, such as an impending eviction, the need for safe temporary housing, or financial assistance to meet basic daily needs.

Participants in CAP programs often live paycheck-to-paycheck, can experience frequent changes in employment and housing situations, and have no emergency savings to handle unexpected expenses.

This workshop is based on CAP’s mission to provide immediate and emergency assistance to participants and other individuals in crisis, and then work with them to create more stable futures through basic money management education.

Workshop Materials

You must agree to the terms of the Content License Agreement below to access the materials. Once the materials are downloaded, they may be used as-is or customized to best meet your needs.


Each kit provides workshop facilitators with the materials needed to run a workshop straight out of the box, or the choice to adapt any of the detailed presentations, scripts or learner action plans to suit their unique audience’s needs. Here is what you can find in each workshop.

A Presentation

Display these PowerPoint slides during your presentation to keep the workshop engaging and on track.

A Script

Consult the script for tips on how to prepare for your workshop, what your primary talking points will be, and follow-up resources.

Activities and Info Sheets

Guide your workshop participants through the hands-on activities and informational sheets to bring the financial skills to life.

Related Resources

Find additional suggested resources that can help round out your educational offerings.

FAQs

The FAQ section for each workshop can help answer your questions about working with your intended audience.

FAQs

Who will be participating in the Changing Your Life Through Better Money Management workshop?

Participants of this workshop are probably experiencing some amount of financial hardship and are looking for effective solutions and financial education to become more financially stable. Everyone attending wants to take the next step to become more in control of their personal finances.

How do I help the participants be comfortable with learning from me and sharing with me?

The best way to make participants feel comfortable during what can be a stressful time is to let them know that the environment is one of support and confidentiality. By sharing personal experiences and asking participants to do the same, relationships of trust are built and the participants will become more invested in the program. Also, presenting the information without lecturing and with more focus on discussion and activities will allow the participants to be more comfortable and open during the session.

How widespread is the problem of debt in America?

The average American household had about $24,000 in non-housing consumer debt in 2012. Because expenses have grown more quickly than income in the last 20 years, low-income and middle-income workers are struggling to make enough to support their expenses and are falling into a cycle of debt. Also, a greater number of formerly stable middle-class families have been using debt to cope with unemployment, medical crises, and other emergencies. This can become particularly challenging when credit scores are negatively affected, which can increase interest rates on debt. More predatory lending services exist in low-income and middle-income neighborhoods and fewer traditional banking services. Uninformed and desperate consumers may turn to these riskier borrowing options to deal with their financial stress. Usually, participants are doing their best to make ends meet and just need more education to reach financial stability.

I’m not a financial expert. What if I can’t answer some of their questions, or what if they ask a very specific question about financial planning?

Be honest and tell your class they should consult with a trusted financial professional. Don’t guess or dismiss any question. You might use this as an opportunity to reinforce how important it is for them to ask questions any time they don’t understand something. In addition, explain that finances are unique to each person and there are many factors to consider. Encourage the participants to learn more about financial basics so they can make the right choices for themselves.

How do I help participants of the Changing Your Life Through Better Money Management workshop decide what kind of investment tools are appropriate for their situation?

There are different types of investments that may make sense depending on the individual or family. Once the participant, and his or her family, if applicable, is beyond the immediate financial crisis, they can begin creating a spending plan and setting up an emergency fund to help with future unexpected financial issues. While low- and moderate-income individuals and families may just be trying to save for emergencies right now, eventually their goals may include having some money to invest in financial products, rental real estate, or a small business in which they have experience. If a participant is interested in saving for retirement, taking advantage of an employer’s retirement plan and any potential matching contributions is a good place to start. After that, an IRA or Roth IRA might be appropriate.

How can I be most effective as a workshop facilitator?

Be respectful to your participants and acknowledge the big step they took to attend this workshop. Encourage and support their interest in gaining more financial stability.

What if one person dominates the discussion?

Before conducting the workshop, practice a few lines you could use spontaneously to limit one person from dominating the discussion. For example, if one person is going on too long about her situation, you could say, “I appreciate your input and participation, but I am concerned about the time and we have some other topics to cover.” If one person is asking the majority of the questions, look for someone who has not asked a question and direct a query to her specifically.

Do I have to be particularly careful about my appearance before the presentation? That is, will my clothes and the overall way I look be a problem when it comes to being respectful to this audience?

It is a good idea to dress professionally yet modestly. Simply remember that you are a financial expert or community leader, and the job you volunteered for is to help your audience learn about the financial aspects of adoption.

Is there anything in particular I should emphasize in the Changing Your Life Through Better Money Management workshop? What if a participant asks a question that I cannot answer?

As mentioned previously, you may have people in your workshop from a range of backgrounds. The information in this workshop is designed to cover the basics of financial planning. For additional financial education information, you can refer them to the National Endowment for Financial Education website (www.nefe.org) and NEFE’s Smart About Money website (www.smartaboutmoney.org). For additional information about their local Community Action Partnership agency programs, you can refer them to www.communityactionpartnership.com.

Community-Based Financial Capabilities Part 1 - Groundwork

The first of a three part workshop that helps community groups create financial capabilities programs tailored to their respective audience.

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Entry-Level Wages

Help entry-level professionals create a spending plan that manages all their expenses.

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Problem Gambling Part 1

Practical steps family members and friends can take to help deal with the financial impact of problem gamblers.

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Problem Gambling Part 2

Help problem gamblers learn what actions they can take to address any financial problems created by their gambling.

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