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Financial Skills Can Make Other Goals Easier to Reach
Iowa Ag Connection - 03/16/2017

Money often plays a role when people are trying to reach their goals or deal with difficult issues in their lives, notes Barb Wollan, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

"Whether you're a professional whose job includes helping others young couple consults with financial adviseror a concerned friend, you may wish you had tools to help with the financial issues that may be holding people back," Wollan said.

"Your Money, Your Goals," a course from ISU Extension and Outreach, is designed for professionals and volunteers who want to help others with their finances. The training equips participants to effectively use the financial empowerment toolkit created by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The toolkit is made up of "teachable moment" tools that helpers can use as needed when their clients have financial challenges, questions or needs.

Wollan, who specializes in family finance, has facilitated the training.

"I've been impressed with participants' responses to the toolkit and the training," Wollan said. "They typically are excited to gain some easy-to-use tools and strategies, and feedback from our program evaluation indicates that they feel much more prepared to help others with financial issues. Three-months after the training, many said they had used the tools with clients. They also like the fact that the material is non-commercial and consumer-oriented."

A wide range of professionals, including social workers, bankers, clergy and human resource managers, have found the training useful, as have volunteers and other concerned individuals.

"Even when the helper's role focuses on job performance or parenting or something else that seems to be completely non-financial, they have seen that money problems can interfere with reaching goals, and that having financial skills can make goals easier to reach," Wollan said.

The 10-hour training includes two half-day, face-to-face sessions plus a two-hour online session. The suggested fee is $75 per participant, although seeking local funding from a central source often can reduce the cost for each individual.

"If you are interested in the training, consult with your ISU Extension and Outreach specialist in family finance to see if a training is planned in your area. In many cases, when specialists know there are even a few interested individuals in a community, we can plan a training and advertise it more broadly," Wollan said.

For more information about "Your Money, Your Goals," contact any ISU Extension and Outreach human sciences specialist in family finance or visit http://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/your-money-goals.

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