JF&CS News Winter 2012

Do you have a savings account? Know how to apply for a loan? Balance your checking account? For some of us, these tasks are simply time-consuming. But for those in need, a lack of money management skills can be disastrous.

The new JF&CS Financial Literacy program seeks to overcome these barriers to financial stability with an innovative combination of one-on-one counseling, training, and seminars to help families in our Basic Needs programs become more knowledgeable and improve their financial situations.

"Our clients want to save and build better financial futures but don't know how. They are looking for education, advice on how to set and achieve goals, and are willing to work toward changes in their lifestyles to achieve stability," said Michael Ibanez, JF&CS Financial Literacy Specialist.

Financial knowledge is crucial for all adults, yet a recent study found that most people do not actively seek out financial information but acquire it by chance. With this new program, JF&CS is teaching clients how to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.

The Financial Literacy program, which is part of our Center for Family Assistance, empowers individuals and families by offering a holistic and unique approach to financial education. Clients are encouraged to meet with a financial specialist for a minimum of three sessions to learn basic yet critical financial educational components.

"We are here to assist anyone who wants to become better educated in any area of daily finances and is committed to changing his or her lifestyle to reach short-, middle-, and long-term goals," said Michael. "Every client's situation is different and we meet with them to address their specific financial needs until they feel stable."

In addition to free workshops open to the community, staff will also offer training for JF&CS employees to help them better assist their clients. Michael recently taught a class on budgeting to participants in our disabilities program. "We want to coordinate with other JF&CS programs and be a resource for staff," said Michael.

The program will cover a broad range of topics including the advantages of having a bank account and how to set one up, credit cards and reports, tax preparation, budgeting, prioritizing debts, and payment strategies. The first workshop on Tax Filing Preparation is on February 1, 2012 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline.

"Living month to month is a reality for most. We try to make that situation stable so they don't fall behind on bills, help them make changes to their lifestyle, and teach them to plan for their future," said Michael.

For more information or to register for the Tax Filing Preparation workshop on February 1, please contact Michael Ibanez at mibanez@jfcsboston.org or 781-693-1239.