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Free Workshops: AARP Foundation Finances 50+

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From the site:

AARP Foundation Finances 50+ is a series of three free financial education workshops:

 

* Creating budgets and goals

* Taking charge of credit and debt

* Developing a savings plan and protecting your assets

Here is additional information from the United Way of Southeast Louisiana:

AARP Launches Finances 50+ Program

To address the distinct needs of low-income workers and job-seekers age 50 and older in New Orleans, United Way of Southeast Louisiana is offering a financial capability program for local residents. The program, which consists of a series of workshops on financial planning, budgeting, taking control of credit and debt, and asset-building, is designed to enable participants to make immediate and long-term changes for the better. Finances 50+ is sponsored by and developed in collaboration with Charles Schwab Foundation.

Financial Capability for Seniors

AARP research has found that more than 20 million people over age 50 are struggling to make ends meet.  This population has been hit especially hard by the economic downturn and job loss. Many face overwhelming stresses from mounting debt, poor credit, insufficient savings and even loss of their family homes, while others face the added pressures of caring for adult children and aging parents. Despite the number of financial education programs in the marketplace, few speak to the unique needs of older low-income workers and their families.

“Many people aged 50 and over in our community are struggling to get by financially,” said Gary Ostroske, President and CEO of United Way of Southeast Louisiana.  “Many are facing long-term unemployment, or caring for elderly parents, or supporting children and grandchildren who have been cut adrift by joblessness and other circumstances themselves. The Finances 50+ program will provide the practical tools and resources needed to help them regain financial control.”

Finances 50+ consists of three 90-minute interactive in-person sessions divided into the following topics: 1) assessing financial standing, budgeting and goal-setting; 2) taking control of credit and debt; and 3) building and protecting assets. Each session provides participants with a solid foundation in the topic.  As a series, the workshops are designed to enable participants to holistically assess where they are and create a plan to make immediate and long-term changes for the better.

However, what happens in the workshops is just a starting point. Participants are also encouraged to sign up for one-on-one follow-up sessions to help them stay on track. The workshops and follow-up sessions will be delivered by a combination of AARP Foundation and Schwab volunteers, as well as volunteers provided by United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

“Financial capability efforts in this country have been mainly focused on educating teens and young adults, and there hasn’t been enough emphasis on reaching older adults of lesser means,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “In light of the numbers of older Americans living on the brink of financial disaster, and the expected growth of this population in the coming years, we wanted to do something to make a difference, and we felt we could make the greatest impact by joining forces with an organization like AARP Foundation.”

The program combines the strengths of AARP Foundation -- with its deep knowledge of the 50+ population and an active volunteer base—and Charles Schwab Foundation, which funds and promotes financial education, volunteerism and advocacy for financial fitness. The program aims to give low income older workers and job-seekers not only the skills and tools to reduce the stress of debt, repair credit, and build savings, but also the encouragement and motivation to overcome emotional obstacles and put their lives back on track.

Volunteer Support is Crucial

We need volunteers to help make this program a success.  Peer-to-peer support is a key to the program’s success. Participants will look to volunteers for guidance and encouragement. They will serve as a sounding board, help participants sort out their priorities and goals, and help them stay on track.

United Way is currently seeking volunteers to serve in the roles of Facilitator and Money Mentor.

Facilitators lead the in-person workshops. They walk through the material during the sessions while facilitating discussions with participants. Facilitators are volunteers who can offer options for the informed decisions participants will make. They provide guidance and feedback and are tasked with keeping the sessions on track and managing the participants’ interaction during the workshop.

Money Mentors work one-on-one with participants over the phone after the classroom sessions. They help participants create Action Plans and complete other financial activities. Like facilitators, Money Mentors may be financial professionals; however, their role is to help provide general financial guidance, a sounding board, and individual support and motivation.

For more Info:

Finances 50+ will be offered at United Way of Southeast Louisiana from September 2012 into 2013, and individuals interested in signing up to participate or volunteer are encouraged to contact Chiquita Lattimore: 504-827-6881 or chiquital@unitedwaysela.org.

More information about Finances 50+ is available at www.aarp.org/finances50plus.

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