Upping Our Financial IQs


Do money smarts really pay? We think so, and plan to prove it through an exciting new program.

We are combining classroom instruction with one-on-one coaching to better help people establish positive financial habits through a program we’re calling Money Smarts Pay.

In 3 months, Money Smarts Pay participants will tackle:

  • Goal setting & budgeting in class 1
  • Credit & debt management in class 2
  • Strategies for saving & choosing financial services in class 3.

Robert and Femia

During the weeks between classes, participants meet with the same financial coach for in-person cheerleading and over the phone check-ins. We hope this extra encouragement will help people make the lasting changes they learned about in class.

We inaugurated Money Smarts Pay last week at Arlington Mill Residences, the first of six places where the program will be introduced. Arlington Mill Residences is a rental complex owned by our Money Smarts Pay partner, the nonprofit affordable housing developer Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). APAH serves individuals and families earning between $20,000 and $60,000 per year.

Jay and Joan

Money Smarts Pay at Arlington Mill is being taught in English, and an English session will be offered at Buchanan Gardens starting in November 2014. Money Smarts Pay will be offered in Spanish at Columbia Grove starting in September 2014.

The materials we are using for Money Smarts Pay is a mix of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Your Money, Your Goals toolkit and the FDIC’s Money Smart for Adults curriculum.

Our 2-year partnership with APAH is possible through a generous grant from the Arlington Community Development Fund, which awarded the program a total of $27,000.

A very big thank you to our Master Financial Education Volunteers who are making the Arlington Mill series possible: Femeia Adamson, Roger Brown, Shauna Dyson, Nichole Hyter, Desiree Kaul and Joan Smith. Another thank you goes to APAH’s Arlington Mill staffer Carla Marin for the heavy lifting on-site, including classroom setup.

If you would like to coach a participant or teach a class in an upcoming series, please send an email to Megan.Kuhn@vt.edu.


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