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Using Financial Literacy Resources to Enhance Services to our Neighbors


The Alternative Lending and Financial Literacy Subcommittee of the Systemic Change Task Force offers a list of financial literacy resources you can use. Whether you are expanding the services you offer to your neighbors through your Home Visits, or you are a financial coach for an alternative lending program, or you are working with returning citizens, you are bound to find a resource that can work for you. All resources can be used for in-person coaching or for remote (virtual or phone) coaching. And several of the agencies that offer these resources also offer online training so that you can learn suggested best practices.

There is a lot of information here. Take it a step at a time; ask questions. Vincentians who are already using these resources are happy to answer your questions.

CFPB — Your Money Your Goals


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a comprehensive set of financial empowerment resources. “Your Money, Your Goals” is a set of financial tools that organizations can use to help increase their knowledge, skills, and resources” (from CFPB website).

Companion guides that focus on the financial needs of special populations can also be downloaded from the website. The special companion guides include discussions of the special needs and resources for each of the following groups of people:

There are several handouts available to guide discussions about many of the typical financial topics that you might cover with the people you serve including buying a used car, how to open a bank account, identity theft, legal help, debt collection, and more.

  • Financial Education for Adults
    (List of resources including webinars)
  • Serving Economically Vulnerable Communities
    “For many people, the loss of a job or an unexpected bill can be the tipping point into economic hardship. From managing debt to building a credit record, use [the CFPB] resources to help people who are economically vulnerable achieve their financial goals” (from the CFPB website). https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/educator-tools/economically-vulnerable/
    Tools are available to use with the people you serve, including resources for practitioners so that they can understand some of the issues facing the people we serve, as well understanding the five principles for effective financial education. You will also find access to the current topics of the CFPB blog including information about their inquiry into Buy Here, Pay Here enterprises.
  • Guide to Remote Financial Coaching
    “To better understand the benefits and challenges of remote service delivery, the CFPB talked with leaders of nine programs that are providing remote financial coaching. This guide draws insights from those discussions to serve as a resource for programs that are establishing or refining their remote financial coaching programming” (from CFPB website). You can download a copy of the Guide from this page.

How Money Smart Are You? (FDIC)

(Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)
“How Money Smart Are You?” is a suite of 14 online games and related resources about everyday financial topics. It is based on FDIC’s award-winning Money Smart program. To play the games, participants do not need to create an account, unless your SVdP program/SVdP Conference wants your neighbor to earn certificates for verifying completion of certain topics. The individual can also set up an account so that their progress through the 14 games can be saved. To use the resources on the website: https://playmoneysmart.fdic.gov/resources?tab=Key%20Takeaways

  • Train the Trainer Videos for “How Money Smart Are You?”
  • Organizational Account
    Conferences and Councils can set up an organizational account with the FDIC. This way, the people you serve whom you refer to the How Money Smart Are You? website, can play and complete the financial knowledge games and have a copy of their certificate of completion forwarded to your organizational account. This is only necessary if you require the people you are mentoring/coaching to complete specific games to show completion of the program or eligibility to be approved for a loan. You can also use this tool with other programs run by your Conference or Council, including Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World, working with returning citizens, offering financial coaching to the neighbors you visit.

Money Smart was originally an in-person program with trained facilitators and participant workbooks. Those resources are still available, but there is a push to use the How Money Smart Are You? games going forward. The focus of the information here is on the online version. For information about the adult “How Money Smart Are You?” program, go to https://www.fdic.gov/resources/consumers/money-smart/teach-money-smart/money-smart-for-adults.html

  • Suggestions for How to Use “How Money Smart Are You?”
    • Consider creating a personal account and try out one or two of the games so you can get a feel for how it works. Decide whether you think this is easy enough for anyone to use.
    • If you have an alternative loan program and are looking for something online that your borrowers can use to gain more insight into our financial system, you can consider using this. If you want to know that your borrower has completed specific games, be sure to set up your organizational account first.
      • For more information about setting up an organizational account: https://www.fdic.gov/resources/consumers/money-smart/teach-money-smart/index.html
      • If you click on https://playmoneysmart.fdic.gov/resources?tab=Key%20Takeaways, you can view the games and resources (key takeaways, tools, frequently asked questions, and helpful links related to each game).
      • The initial advantage of this approach is that these are professionally prepared educational sessions which can be completed when the neighbor has time available. They are available on smartphones, tablets, and computers.
      • Another advantage of the FDIC Money Smart approach is it is intended for the neighbor themselves (versus CFPB’s Your Money Your Goals, which is intended for the individuals consulting with the neighbor/financial coaches). Both are excellent but they have different target audiences. The smaller booklets are targeted for the neighbor’s use with guidance from their financial coach.
    • If your borrower does not have a computer or smartphone, consider meeting with them at your local library and use the library’s computer. Help the borrower set up an account and, if they are willing, go through one of the sections together and use it as a springboard for discussion. Or have them log in and connect their account to your organizational account so that their progress is shared with you.
    • Once your organizational account is approved, you can add staff/volunteers to your account, and you can all check the status of progress for the people with whom you are working.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Resources

The mission of the FTC is “[to protect] consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.” What the FTC can offer alternative loan programs and financial coaching programs is access to information that your borrower/neighbor might need. This includes:

  • Reporting fraud
  • Reporting identity theft
  • Link to accessing the free credit report
  • Registering for the Do Not Call list
  • Getting consumer alerts
  • Ordering free financial resources

Our focus on this resource list will be to let you know the types of resources you can order (for free) from the FTC such as:

Federal Reserve Education

The Federal Reserve Education website provides links to training for a wide range of topics, including economics, personal finance, college choice, and more. At the top right of the page, there is a link to “Resources by Audience.” Choose adults and the list of resources will come up. You can narrow the options by using the filters on the left side of the page. Most of these resources go well beyond basic financial literacy, but you may find some useful topics that can help you with the people you serve.


MyMoney.gov provides one website that pulls together many of the governmental financial resources.

Finding a Local Consumer Credit Counseling Agency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides an overview of credit counseling, including what to look for when seeking financial assistance. They also provide links and phone numbers for the Financial Counseling Association of America and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. These are two agencies that can direct you to Consumer Credit Counseling organizations in your community. They also refer you to your state’s attorney general and state’s consumer protection agency to make sure that there are no negative reports about the service of the company you choose. This is an excellent service if you and the person you are coaching determine that additional help, beyond what the coach can offer, is needed.

Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey

Many local parishes are offering Financial Peace University for their parishioners. If your program can afford to purchase an opportunity for the people you are serving to attend, it can be an easy and proven way to provide some in-depth financial counseling. Sample videos are available on the website, and you can determine if this course would be helpful for the people you serve through your St. Vincent de Paul Conference or Council.

Talking to other St. Vincent de Paul Conferences

Our main goal with this document is to learn more about what financial education resources St. Vincent de Paul Conferences and Councils are using. As we learn about these programs, we will share information with you. We are also willing to facilitate the connection between those needing information to those conferences who already have programs. Below is a list of programs and people who are members of our subcommittee and are willing to be contacted. We also have a spreadsheet of all the programs we are aware of across the United States. Please contact Judy Coleman jcmacg5@gmail.com about the spreadsheet. She has categorized all the loan programs by geographic type, size of Conference or Council, types of loans offered, and whether financial coaching is offered.

  • Louise Bland: louise@svdpdallas.org
    Dallas Council, Mini-Loan Program Leader
  • Juli Maxon: jmaxon@svdpdallas.org
    Dallas Mini Loan Program, Program Coordinator and Financial Coach
  • Judy Coleman: jcmacg5@gmail.com
    Corpus Christi Conference, Cape Cod Loan program
  • Matt Pogor: pogor@ssvdp.org
    Austin Predatory Loan Conversion Program, Program Administrator
  • Steve Loftis: svdpden@outlook.com
    Denver Metro Council, Executive Director
  • Deb Zabloudil: debzabloudil@gmail.com
    Columbus (OH) Diocesan Council Microloan Program (includes Financial Mentoring), Program Coordinator
  • Louise Corken: ltcork6@gmail.com
    Dixon IL Loan Program, Program Coordinator
  • Dan Shimkos: shimkos@sbcglobal.net
    Lansing MI District Council Microloan Program, Program Chair

If you are already sponsoring a financial literacy/financial coaching program, please contact Deb Zabloudil at debzabloudil@gmail.com. Provide a brief description of your program and a contact person so that we can refer other St. Vincent de Paul Conferences and Councils to you for assistance and information. Helping our fellow Vincentians expand their services to better serve the people in our communities is an important part of our work.

If you have other resources to add to this list, please contact Deb Zabloudil (debzabloudil@gmail.com). Provide an overview of the resource, the website link, and how you can use this resource for your financial literacy program and/or alternative lending program, and we will add them.

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