Sir Francis Bacon is famous for saying, “Knowledge is power.” This quote is often used to relay the idea that having and sharing knowledge is the cornerstone of education and achievement. When it comes to finances, knowledge is simply not just dollars and cents. It is the ability to reason, set goals and achieve greater things.
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich recognizes that financial empowerment is a path to greater stability and future success for the people in our community. It is not enough to just help individuals pay their rent or utilities. We need to arm them with the knowledge to achieve so much more than obtaining assistance.
Catholic Charities, in partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Catholic Charities, USA, designed a program to cultivate financial empowerment for both Catholic Charities’ employees and clients. It is a four-part series of financial topics that are helpful in managing your everyday life.
• Cash Flow and the Impact of Your Financial Decisions
• Understanding Credit Reports and Their Impact on Your Everyday Life
• Consumer Debt
• Saving for a Rainy Day
Many individuals do not focus on the big picture of their financial situation. Understandably, they tend to focus on what is in front of them. The basics, like paying rent, cell phone bills, food and gas, all dominate their financial decisions. Something as simple as buying a latte every day may not seem like it would affect one’s financial situation, but, in reality, it can be an unaffordable luxury to many.
The first phase of the program required our case workers, who work directly with our clients, to attend the first three sessions, as a trainer. Based on the case worker’s response to the material, they not only found the information helpful in their personal lives but were also able to provide feedback and offer suggestions as to how the information would be received by their clients. Yahaira thoughtfully stated, “One is not born with the capacity to make sound financial decisions. It comes through education and reading the right material.”
Additionally, we engaged the help of financial partners in our communities to cover the fourth and final session of the program. Local financial specialists are on board to help design a personal financial plan for each attendee. Typically, low- to moderate-income individuals do not know where to turn for financial education and planning. There is little to no opportunity for them to get advice and guidance in financial matters. A program like the Financial Empowerment Program is a non-intimidating option for this population.
So, whatever your goals may be, your 2023 to-do list could include:
• Talk to your local Catholic Charities case worker to get more information. Offices are located in Norwich, New London, Willimantic and Middletown.
• Visit the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich website at www.ccfsn.org.
• Call Catholic Charities at 860.889.8346 for more information.
• Register for the Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Class.
By Sally Velcofsky