Demand for Financial Education Increases

The demand for CFSFC financial education programs has been growing since we began working with youth in the Piedmont.

We have reached capacity and need additional resources (Volunteers & Funds) to continue financially educating youth in their schools at no cost.

 Number of Youths helped: 2013: 1,045; 2014: 1,121 2015: 2,713 2016: 3,482 2017: 2,723

financial education, financial literacy, budgeting, money, utilities, spend, future, college, youth, Ben Smith High School, Guilford County School District

Students from Ben Smith High School during Adult for A Day. (GCSD)

Youth workshops are designed to raise awareness of money, offer financial knowledge, recognize diverse attitudes around money, improve savings and budgeting skills and offer youth motivations to succeed in their future lives.

Financial education, financial literacy, money, Parkland Magnet School, Winston Salem Forsyth county Schools, planning

Their money habit is Planning. Parkland Magnet School (WSFCS)

Quality Programs make Learning Enjoyable

Workshops include our signature, Adult for A Day, Money Habitudes®, Good Credit Game®, FETCH®, and Going to College-Counting the Cost

 

 

Youth want to Save Money

financial education, banking, money, youth, financial literacy, spending, saving

 

Youth Learn the Basics of How Credit Works

credit, financial education, credit scores, financial literacy, youth

Adult for A Day and the Good Credit Game® help youth increase their understanding of the areas of life affected by credit and how saving money and paying bills on time are the most important things they can do to have a prosperous future.

Promoting Financial Education for all Youth

With an increasingly complex world, all youth from an early age need to understand how to save money, how to get money through education beyond high school and how to spend it wisely. These are the keys to “cultivating youth for a future of financial wellness.”

saving money, youth, financial education, Kernersville Elementary, Winston Salem Forsyth county schools, financial literacy, children, youth

Summer program through Winston Lakes YWCA-Kernersville Elementary

Contact CFSFC today to find out how you can support our youth! 

Donate Now

Stop Summer Slide

Summer is here again!

The children have been waiting for the time when they are free from school, finished all their tests and can sleep late. But wait, we as parents and educators don’t want them to sleep their summer away or stay indoors tied to electronics.

We want them to have experiences, get outside and of course keep their brains active. This is especially true for middle school youth ages 11-14 who are not old enough to find a paying job and too old to stay at home with a sitter. Youth can lose precious math and reading skills over the summer.

Studies show that access to books during the summer prevents a drastic loss in reading skill – especially for kids in need.

Three of the most important things you can do to help youth:

  1. Encourage reading all summer long-Libraries are free and plentiful.
  2. Promote creativity and imagination- Kids.gov offers free activities Art & Music
  3. Keep youth moving and eating healthy.
    1. Forsyth County EFNEP helps families improve their diet and lifestyle in fun and healthy ways. Offer free classes, participants taste delicious recipes, improve cooking skills, and increase their knowledge on how to save money on groceries. Learn to Cook & Shop Wisely
    2. PBS Parents has a website full of free ideas to keep children moving. Sports & Fitness

Many youth participate in summer program through the YMCA, city Parks and Recreation and specialty art, dance or sports camps. Check out what is available for your children.

CFSFC is collaborating with several summer programs to help youth keep their reading, writing and math skills alive through fun money workshops. Over 600 youth will participate in one of our workshops this summer. Volunteers are needed to support youth learning valuable skills for the future.

Volunteer Today!

 

April is Financial Literacy Month

What does this mean? 

Why is it important to you and your family?

Financial Literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it (turns it into more) and how that person donates it to help others.

The keys to managing your money include:

  • Pay yourself first.

    • Before you spend one dollar on rent/mortgage, car payment, credit cards or any other bill, set aside $10 out of every $100 or ten percent of your take home pay.
    • Make savings automatic by setting up direct deposits.
  • Build an emergency savings fund.

    • Experts agree that three to six months of your monthly living expenses is the ideal. However, for most people that is not possible but almost anyone can manage to set aside $200-$500.
  • Reduce your spending leaks.

    • Many of us spend money on things that are not necessary to life. Think of stopping for coffee, sweet tea or soda and of course fast food. If you reduce some of those items, you can put money you are already spending into your emergency fund. Spending Leaks Worksheet

Talking about money with your family

It is vital that families begin talking about money while children are young to help them be ready for the challenges they will face as adults. Make it simple and age appropriate. Pointers for Parents at Every Stage

  • Make the concept of money real by showing youth how much things cost like your electric or cable bill.
  • Show them an ATM machine and explain how you have to put money into your account from working so you can have cash when you need it. Bring them inside your financial institution for a tour and to take some of the mystery out of what happens there.
  • Use going to the grocery or retail store as way to show them how much things cost, to compare prices and when older, what discounts and clearance items are all about.
  • Involve your children in budgeting by planning a family activity that will require them to give up something like a trip to McDonalds or the movies to save for an activity that will leave a memory.

Increasing your own financial knowledge

At the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) we help individuals find out what their habits and attitudes are towards money and the things they value most in life. Then, we guide them to accomplish the goals they desire and fulfill our vision of “Helping people build assets leading to a comfortable financial future for them and their family.” We offer this assistance to adults through a Financial Wellness Checkup.

 Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by “Investing in our Youth”

on April 18, 2017.

 Register now

What will you achieve in 2017?

reynolds-princessWorldwide uncertainty for the future, deaths, births, tragedies and joys abound in the news for 2016.

What does the future hold for you? Will you spend some time looking back or will you strive to look forward with hope?

We recently concluded a five-week series of classes with over 40 high school students remanded to in-school suspension. Each week we featured a different topic to open their eyes to the need for change in their lives. In order to see what their desires and hopes were for the future, we asked them to define their idea of success. A simple worksheet contained a list of 24 items they could choose from. Although we asked them to pick their top three, many teens asked if they could check more.

Having goals, making money, enjoying life, being educated and happiness were their top five goals. One young man summed up his definition of success as “when you are happy with how you are living“. Many of the teens also recognized the need to set goals. What does success mean to you?

Define your success

Every year we make resolutions and most of the time we don’t keep them. Some set a big overreaching goal with no steps along the way.  A few set goals because of what others think they should do, “you should make more money, get more schooling or change jobs”. And many make resolutions that don’t tie into their values or the success they want to achieve.

While there is no magic pill for success, there is a practical model you can follow. We use   S. M. A. R. T. goals. Research indicates that a goal written down is more likely to be obtained. We are also creatures of habit, setting a plan and sticking to it includes making it easy for yourself to accomplish.

Think of saving money as a goal and let’s make it S. M. A. R. T.smart-goals

  • I want to save $100/month over the next six months to apply for a secured credit card to rebuild my credit.
  • I will have $50 taken out of my paycheck on a bi-weekly basis and deposited into my savings account.
  • When I reach my target goal of $600 I will apply for the secured credit card at my local credit union.
  • I will charge one tank of gas each month and pay the balance in full each month.
  • I will also review my credit report for free at Annual Credit Report
  • I will use the tools at Power Pay to  develop a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan. Powerpay

 

CFSFC offers life advice and encouragement “to empower all individuals to achieve financial wellness through all stages of life”. Sign up for an Individual Financial Wellness Check-up

What will you seek to achieve in 2017? Know you can accomplish anything if it fits with your values and goals!

“Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream”.Marlon Wayans

Tell us your goals for 2017.

 

 

 

 

SAVE YOUR REFUND

Save your refundAmericans to win big again in 2016 by putting part of tax refunds directly into Savings

Taxpayers across America once again will have a chance to win cash prizes just by saving a portion of their tax refund through the Save Your Refund campaign, thanks to a new partnership between the Doorways To Dreams Fund (D2D) and America Saves, an initiative of the Consumer Federation of America.

The Save Your Refund campaign creates fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time, when households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year. A chance to win a $25,000 grand prize or one of 100 smaller weekly prizes has proven to be enough to turn saving skeptics into savings winners.

The new partnership ensures the program will be able to have an even greater reach in 2016. America Saves will promote the program to an extensive network of volunteer income tax assistance (vita) sites, where taxpayers can learn about the savings prizes and get free help filing returns. Assistance and information will also be available through other VITA, volunteer, and community offices.

Save Your Refund changes lives for the better, by letting people see for themselves that saving, even in small amounts, is possible and that they can take a positive step for their future,” said Tim Flacked, D2D Executive Director. “We’re excited to work closely with America Saves to bring fun and prizes to tax time in 2016.”

Some 6,000 people saved more than $5 million through Save Your Refund so far.

More than half of all Americans have no savings to help them cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year.

“Our partners across the country hear every day from people who know they need to save and think they have no way to even get started,” said Nancy Register, America Saves Director. “We’re pleased to work with D2D this coming tax season to show people it’s easy to start saving. The best time for many to start saving is at tax refund time, and a great way for people to take that financial action is with the potential for a prize.”

The winner of the 2015 grand prize was living with her family of five in a single motel room when volunteer tax preparers in Lakeland, FL, told her about Save Your Refund. Mary Bunch said the possible prize motivated her, and the volunteers and the Save Your Refund program enabled her, to start a new habit of savings.

“It’s not about the amount of money that you save or that you have in the bank,” Bunch said. “It’s just knowing that it’s there. There used to be such a pressure on my chestSaving gives me back my quality of life.”

For information on how to save and enter Save Your Refund contests or to support Save Your Refund efforts across the United States, visit www.saveyourrefund.com. More about America Saves and its mission to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth is available at www.americasaves.org.

Scholarship Applicants Raise Their Financial IQ

One of the requirements in competing for the 2015 Johnston Financial Education scholarship was for applicants to attend two financial education classes.  This year, thirty-three individuals applied for one of three scholarships. Twenty-nine individuals, six (6) adults; nine (9) Hispanic/Latinos; and fifteen (15) youth completed all requirements.

Many of the applicants faced obstacles in attempting to go to college or paying to finish their schooling. Several faced legal barriers to financial aid and almost all of the applicants work part-time or at multiple jobs to finance their education.  Yet this is a goal for all of them as they echo what Paula said ‘Going to college is just the door step to where I see myself in the future. College will prepare me with knowledge, experiences, and skills … I believe I know what comes first in my life, and college is definitely one of them’.

The first class, ‘Going to College-Counting the Cost’ revealed the true cost of college and tips that all individuals can use to reduce their reliance on student loans. This class was featured on Time Warner Cable Channel 14 Money Matters in April. http://www.twcnews.com/stories/2015/04/28/m/money-matters-paying-for-college.html

Two other classes, ‘Finding Money for Free’ and ‘Money Habitudes®’ gave applicants ideas on how to keep better track of their money and helped them developed a better understanding of their habits and attitudes around money.  All the participants gained a solid financial foundation to guide them as they move forward in life.

College1a

Jessica said, ‘to help avoid unnecessary debt … I am going to make a plan to see what I spend my money on. After that I will begin writing down if I NEED the item or if I WANT it. Being that I am a spontaneous shopper, (thank you money habitudes!) I think coming up with this plan will help me cut down on all the things I don’t need to buy right at the moment.’

Greicy shared the confidence she and the other students will need in facing their future when she said, ‘I am confident that I can exhibit the restraint and the discipline required to commit to my budget and avoid falling into unnecessary debt in college. These positive habits will not only alleviate financial matters, but will also help me build the confidence and character necessary to become a fiscally responsible and independent adult.’College4

Miah summed up their learning experience when she stated, ‘College is a time to learn, discover, find myself and create new paths. One thing I will work to not discover, find or create is unnecessary debt because I want total control in my choices, life and future…I am thankful for learning that from classes at the Center for Smart Financial Choices.’

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU & MAY YOUR FUTURE BE EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IT CAN BE!

Money Habitudes

Money Habitudes®money_habitudes

 Money Habitudes cards are a great money conversation starter and money personality test. A fun, hands-on tool that makes it easy for people to talk about money. People quickly come to understand how their spending habits, attitudes and values affect their financial decisions.