Changing Lives - Cambiando Vidas - Moving from Debt to Assets!
In 2005 GBIO launched Moving from Debt to Assets, a powerful financial education program that has helped more than seven hundred families to build strong financial futures. The idea for this program began in 2004, when GBIO decided to hold house meetings and hear what issues people were concerned about. Over and over again, GBIO leaders heard, from city and suburb, from low-income and middle-income people: “I'm drowning in debt!” “I just can't seem to save anything!” “My credit cards are just out of control!” In response, GBIO designed the Moving from Debt to Assets program. After discussions with a major financial institution, initial funding was secured, and the program launched.
The Moving from Debt to Assets program has four components to help participants learn to manage their money, create and stick to a budget, and set and achieve goals:
A class in financial education, which includes topics such as goal-setting, creating a budget, how to save money, understanding and using credit, and wise use of banking services. Classes generally meet 6 times, once a week, for 2½ hours each time.
A peer support group following the class, in which participants help each other stay on track toward achieving their financial goals. In these typically monthly (though several groups have decided to meet twice a month) meetings, led by trained peer leaders, participants celebrate each others' successes, share problems, come up with solutions, and invite in speakers about topics that the group selects.
Three sessions with a professional financial counselor. The counselor helps low-income participants create a budget, deal with credit issues, solve problems, and set and achieve goals.
4. A grant of $500 to help low-income participants to reduce debts or save for the future.
What makes the Moving from Debt to Assets program a groundbreaking national model is:
Its delivery through institutions that are part of the fabric of people’s lives – It works primarily through institutions (mostly churches, synagogues, and mosques) that can support the participants in the changes they have chosen to make through the program, and
Its ability to reach immigrant communities where the need for financial education is critical - While Moving from Debt to Assets serves a wide variety of communities, it has built a track record of providing high-quality financial education to immigrant communities where the need is particularly great. It is the leading program delivering financial education to the Haitian and Cape Verdean communities in their native languages. It is the only program delivering financial education to Boston’s Muslim community. It is one of the few program providing financial education to the Latino community in Spanish, and
Its scale – Launching 41 classes in 7 years, it has touched the lives of more than 800 families.