How To Develop A Parent Workshop, by Brenda Martin-Lee
The following blog post comes courtesy of NGPF Fellow, Brenda Martin-Lee of Seneca High School in Tabernacle, NJ.
How-to of the event: It was very informal. I actually interjected myself into an existing event at the local library. It was a Game Night event where parents and students were attending. The number in attendance was around ten. I presented Ten Financial Principles to get the audience thinking about how they are currently managing finances and to hopefully take some of the fear of money away. The audience consisted of people of color, who don’t always have access to sound financial advice. Communities of color are too often faced with mountains of debt while trying to survive off of low wages. They are trying to balance mortgages (or rent), credit cards, student & auto loans, sometimes even faced with payday loans. Debt is both a cause and a consequence of the racial wealth divide and discrimination in the financial system. According to a 2018 study by Prosperity Now, “At the national level, more than 27 percent of Black households are late on paying their debs compared to 15 percent of White households, even though Black median debt ($30,800) is about half of White median debt ($73,000)”. Although they are struggling to build wealth, people of color are still spending money. However, they aren’t saving or investing their money, typically having less than $2,000 in a savings account, a small fraction to fall back on in times of financial need. Financial knowledge and planning is a way to meet households of color where they are so they can better manage their credit and debt and eventually begin to save and invest. My goal is to follow-up with that same group and go into more detail about each of the foundational principles I shared with them. NGPF certainly has great resources to do so.
Reflection: The audience was very attentive and appreciative of the information I shared. They asked for more of the same information, acknowledging that it’s needed in communities of color. One parent commented that she wished she had gotten this financial knowledge when she was younger, she would have managed her finances differently and could have been in a better financial position than she currently is. I don’t know that I would have done anything differently because I felt that the foundation was laid for preparing a generation of students to start building positive financial habits and navigate the many pitfalls and discriminatory roadblocks that they will face throughout their financial lives. Although incomes are oftentimes lower in poor communities, learning to properly manage finances can help remove some of the anxiety and stress of managing everyday living expenses.
About the Author
After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!
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