New financial literacy program aims to bolster families
The FACS financial planning program is introducing a new financial literacy seminar series for local families called Discovering Money Solutions.
DMS will provide financial planning and financial decision-making assistance to parents who have completed an eight-hour relationship enrichment program as part of Project F.R.E.E. (Fostering Relationship and Education Enrichment).
The aim of Project F.R.E.E. is to promote stable homes and brighter futures for children in northeast Georgia.
DMS was developed by FACS financial planning professors Joseph Goetz and Lance Palmer as well as adjunct professor Matt Goren and doctoral students Michael Thomas, Timi Jorgensen (pictured) and Martha Fulk.
“It’s helping people to better manage their money and it’s also helping them understand the way they think about money and how they make financial decisions as well as how they position themselves in life so they can be more financially successful in the future,” Goetz said. “This innovative program is the first of its type in the country and is expected to become a national model for greater effectiveness in financial literacy programming.”
DMS is a six-hour course divided into three sessions, each covering a different topic.
“The first session is really getting at their intrinsic motivations,” Palmer said. “What is it that people really want, more than money, such as a stable home or time with family. Once people have a clearer vision of what they want, they are more motivated to learn and engage more deeply in the tedious practices of managing their money better.”
The DMS program stresses the importance of relationships in working toward economic stability.
“A lot of these other programs are throwing facts and figures at people and just reading from PowerPoint slides,” Goren said. “We’re very cognizant of how important relationships and beliefs are in managing money.”
In addition to the three-week DMS series, parents enrolled in Project F.R.E.E. also can return during tax season to receive free tax preparation and filing services through VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which is sponsored by the ASPIRE Clinic, UGA Cooperative Extension and Project F.R.E.E.
Up to a year after attending DMS, participants will be encouraged to continue working toward their long-term financial goals.
“Hopefully as a result of DMS, people will have a little bit more engagement in what they’re driving toward and what they want to accomplish, for themselves and their family, and how to make that future even brighter,” Palmer said.
The DMS program is funded by an $8.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.