INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I founded the Financial Health Institute in order to provide educational programs and content that will help people and organizations improve their financial and economic well-being. We aim to integrate the latest in behavioral economics, adult learning theory, neuroscience, and technology to improve the field of consumer/financial education and organizational development.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
After struggling for years in my own life, I recognized that there was either little or ineffective education that helps people who are having difficulties navigating an increasing complex financial and economic environment. Using traditional financial literacy and neoclassical economics as a strategy has not worked, so I have been looking for more effective ways of delivering financial and economic training – especially to vulnerable populations and the organizations that serve them.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I think we are making impact in a few areas: The people who go through our programs are more informed consumers with a greater understanding of financial and economic behaviors and how to make changes in their lives to reduce financial stress; the professionals who go through our programming better understand how to have effective conversations around personal finances and economics with their clients; and we are (slowly) changing the narrative around what is effective financial education – recognizing the behavioral, psychological, technological and environmental influences that need to be integrated into such programming to be truly effective.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
What motivates me: A strong desire to understand why many people (including myself) can be so irrational when it comes to their personal finances. Who motivates me: The brave people who participate in our programs keep me motivated.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Seeing as people will always be navigating their personal finances and economics, I would like to see these topics in a more preventative position culturally. If it could become a more central part of our educational systems and workforce development – not so much of an afterthought – that would make me happy.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Outside of the obvious desire for more funding, we are beginning the search to bring the academic and policy focused communities into our conversations and to support us in our mission.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
One of the biggest challenges we face is a belief that people “just need to learn how to budget.” The problem is oversimplified! Learning how to budget is one small piece in a much larger behavioral puzzle. People tend to think that going to one training will solve a person’s problems or lead them to make behavioral changes.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
I have a quote that I like – though it has been attributed to a couple of different people (one of which is Goethe) – it says:
“What you can do, or dream you can do – begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
That is to say – if you have an idea, let’s get started. You won’t make an impact just thinking about it.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
I would say the best thing someone could do to support us is to experience one of our programs and learn specifically what we do and how we do it – to see if it feels good and/or interesting to them. From there, the sky is the limit on ways to support us!
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