What does money mean to you? What is your first memory of money?
How we view and use money isn’t always logical. We don’t always do what we “should.” Our background and experiences impact our decision-making when it comes to money. For some, saving for retirement will take a backseat to helping family pay off an unexpected expense. For others, giving to their community of faith is a top priority.
Understanding cultural and emotional factors that influence financial habits is key, both for keeping our values in check while serving clients and for helping clients bridge cultural and emotional roadblocks. The aim is to improve our cultural sensitivity toward clients from different backgrounds.
More than 20 of our Master Financial Education Volunteers recently discussed the emotional and cultural factors that impact people’s decision making when it comes to money. Money meant freedom, vacations. First money memories included piggy banks and paper routes.
Other questions tackled included:
- “What is the most difficult thing about money for you? For your family?”
- How does your community of faith view money?
- “How did your family handle finances when you were growing up? Did you discuss money openly?”
- “What do you want your children, nieces, nephews and students in our programs to learn about money? What do you think they are learning from you now?”
Discussions were spurred by a new financial empowerment toolkit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed to train community volunteers to help clients with financial questions and concerns. The Bureau asked the Arlington office of Virginia Cooperative Extension to test and evaluate the toolkit before it is released nationwide. We will be incorporating toolkit modules such as the cultural and emotional discussion questions into our programming and one-on-one financial counseling.
So, what are your answers to the questions above? My earliest money memories include yard sales and saving to buy $30 roller blades, a fortune to me at the time.