PUTTING THE “POWER” IN FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
The Need for Professionalized Financial Counseling
Effective financial counseling is vital in the face of economic challenges at all levels in our society – but had not been professionalized with a common set of standards and preparation. Working across multiple organizations nationally, we set out to create an approach that would professionalize financial counseling and institute a set of rigorous standards.
A Credential with Rigorous Standards
Specifically, we aimed to develop a recognized, portable professional credential for counselors embedded in community-based organizations, government agencies, educational institutions and other organizations. The charge was to: 1) create a standardized and rigorous financial education curriculum, 2) make the program scalable and replicable, and 3) enable financial counselors to empower their individual clients through education and knowledge/skills transfer.
Moving from Crisis to Stability
Acceleration Group’s co-founder Joyce Moy’s innovative approach to training financial counselors maximizes their ability to empower clients to move from crisis to stability. This empowerment represents the foundation for improved quality of life, financial security, career opportunities, wealth-generation, and self-sufficiency.
Giving People the Power to Make Choices
Acceleration Group addresses the counterproductive economic behaviors that keep communities from building wealth. These range from resource scarcity, which keeps people living in survival mode and not reaching beyond that, to associations of money with negative emotions and experiences. Our approach reframes the internal dialogue to create a deliberate and empowering mindset: it’s no longer about making sacrifices but about making choices. This emphasis is coupled with comprehensive and standardized financial education content that gives counselors real command of the financial, and regulatory levers affecting their clients.
Qualitative Impact – Professionalized Financial Counselors Nationally
To supercharge counselors’ effectiveness, the programs we implemented support training in the essential skills of financial literacy with powerful workshops in counseling, coaching and negotiation skills. Counselors hone these skills in role-plays of live counseling and negotiations situations and further their understanding of the impact of financial issues by reviewing current news and journal articles and media clips that illustrate the plight of citizens dealing with student loans, foreclosure, and having to work well beyond retirement age.
Quantitative Impact – Millions in Personal Balance Sheet Improvement
Acceleration Group’s approach and curriculum have been adopted by 14 cities nationally. In New York City alone, organizations that have adopted this approach have trained several hundred counselors. These counselors have served more than 25,000 clients, enabling low-income New Yorkers to amass savings of over $2.5M and reduce debt by $15M.