As part of the United Way of the Wabash Valley’s mission, we want people to achieve financial stability. The Financial Management Council provided funding to programs teaching literacy tools. One of the programs funded is the YMCA Financial Skills Development Course in Vigo and Clay counties. The course was taught by certified Dave Ramsey Financial Coaches and followed the ten-week Financial Peace Course. Throughout the ten-week course participants are taught keys to saving money and paying off debt.
The course cost $20 to participate; however, this was refunded for participating in 9 out 10 sessions. Participants are provided with one year of access to online resources in addition to classes. Y staff followed up outside of the weekly 1-hour classes with the goal of offering ongoing support and encouragement. The course offered multiple incentives including an end of session ice cream social, gift card for perfect attendance, incentive for reaching $400 in emergency fund, and an incentive for paying off a debt greater than $500.
The first session had 16 participants start and finish the course. All participants created and followed a budget, and one participant was even able to pay off a debt greater than $500. At the Clay county YMCA at least half of the participants were able to reach a $1000 rainy day fund. Brook, the class instructor, stated, “Participants overwhelmingly saw the value of a budget and plan to utilize the skills learned in this course.”
In an end of course survey, participants stated the following:
- I have learned that I can save and it’s not as big and scary as it seems when you stop and look at it.
- I have decided that I am going to leave a better legacy for my children in the way they think about finance and I am going to be proactive in leaving them some inheritance.
- We learned that having a budget is imperative to even begin decreasing anxiety with money.
- My thinking has changed toward all the ‘deals’ that are constantly being pushed and that they are not what they seem. I also understand how helpful budgeting is toward meeting your personal goals. After taking this class I believe there is nothing better to do with your money than to be in a position to be generous and give to others.