People Are Begging for Financial Help. Five Things You Can Do

by Joe Plemon on March 1, 2010

Help Me.
Creative Commons License photo credit: vtdainfo

The Recession is having some positive spin offs.

A report from Mintel Comperemedia revealed that, because of the current economic crises, three in four adults are trying to increase their financial know how.

Susan Menke, VP at Mintel Compermedia, comments: “The recession was a wake-up call for many Americans. They now feel unsure about investing and money management, so they are turning to friends, family and professionals for help in learning more about money."

What age group is most determined to increase their financial literacy? Young adults. Five out of six “Echo Boomers" (born between 1982 and ages 1995) say they have already become or plan to become more educated about financial matters.

There you go. People are hungry for help, especially our younger generation. And you can help. “How?" you ask. The following ideas should help you get started:

1. Offer to facilitate a Financial Peace University

FPU, a 13 week series created by Dave Ramsey, covers topics from getting out of debt to dealing with creditors to investing and college funding. Millions have taken the class and benefited from it. The key word is “facilitate". Even if you have never been through the class, you can still facilitate it. In the five times we have hosted FPU at our church, we have seen dozens of peoples’ lives change dramatically. Our most recent class of 35 participants was able to pay off $105,950 of debt and save an additional $29,620 over the 13 weeks. That investment in FPU is definitely paying dividends.

2. Get some great financial help to your local high schools.

Yes, you can make a difference at the high school level. A local businessman in our community, after getting approval from the Principal, purchased the high school version of Financial Peace University for our community high school. This class is integrated into a “Resource Management" class which is mandatory for all Seniors. Very exciting!

3. Buy great financial books for your church library or public library.

The books which have helped you will help others.

4. Help at a personal level.

I realize that offering financial help to can be intrusive, but let me give you a great listening tip – “Free Information." Here is how it works: Listen for clues, such as “There is just not enough to go around." or “I just don’t know what we are going to do." or “These phone calls are getting to me." When you hear these snippets of free information, your friend is giving you permission to follow up. If you show interest by asking, “Tell me. What is going on?", you are being totally appropriate, not intrusive. Remember: your friend brought it up; you are showing you care by responding.

Depending on the friendship level, you could offer to help them with a budget, point them to a financial counselor you trust, or offer a book that has helped you. Probably the best thing you can do is be a friend, listen and let the other person talk.

5. Point them to a great personal finance blog.

This one is an offshoot of Hint 4. In today’s online info age, sharing a site link with a friend is not normally considered intrusive. I realize that this tip might sound a little self serving, but I bring it up because you are obviously already familiar with personal finance blogs and because the Echo Boomers, who are the age group most interested in becoming more financially literate, are also highly computer literate. It only makes sense that they would love a great blog that serves them, guides them and answers their financial questions.

Are you seeking more financial information? What are your best sources? Have you been helping others financially? How? What other tips can you add to this list?

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