Financial Foundations A Big Success

Last night’s class for Financial Foundations was a big success. We are grateful for our partnership with brightpeak and all they are able to help us with as well as the good food from Fallon’s Gourmet.

I was able to interview Tomesha about the class and financial literacy in general. Here is what she had to say:

What’s your name?
Tomesha Thompson

How long have you been with habitat?
Since April 2008
How long have you been teaching financial literacy?
I have been teaching financial literacy for almost two years now.

How did you start teaching financial literacy?
Since starting at Habitat I have always had my hand in educating our clients as it relates to their finances but with homeownership being the end goal. When I moved into the education and outreach position (I was initially sales specialist) I began to educate, support, coach, and guide clients in establishing and reaching any financial goal they set for themselves and their families.

Why is financial literacy important?
Wow I could go on and on about why it is important but let me see if I can be brief…understanding your finances empowers and benefits an entire household. How many more memories could we make if we weren’t so focused on earning money and paying bills? What kind of charitable giving could we engage in if we weren’t living paycheck to paycheck? Ultimately, being in control and understanding your finances can open up so many doors for a family. Married or single, children or not we need to take back the hold money has on us and financial literacy is one of many ways to do just that!

How did this new class come about?
We (myself, our CEO, Chris Monforton, and my dept. head Erica Higgs Bateman) got together with brightpeak financial (a subsidiary of Thrivent Financial that happens to be a huge HFH partner and contributor) and said “what kinds of cool stuff can we do given our platforms and reach?” So we begin video meetings weekly on all the stuff we had in common: financial education, financial coaching, financial products and services and all things cool (cause that what’s we do) and we decided to start first with developing a course that lays a general concept of financial fitness or financial foundation, if you will, and build on it. So far we have offered the classes to three different audiences privately and it has been well received.

What do you hope attendees will get out of going to this class?
I hope attendees will see that being fiscally responsible doesn’t mean you always get it right BUT is a more proactive approach to managing your money. Tracking your spending, saving, and reducing debt is a process and the best way to start that process is by taking small steps. You didn’t get into debt overnight and you sure won’t get out of it overnight. Our attitudes about money are derived from our upbringings, circumstances, and certain decisions we’ve made. Financial Foundations helps you acknowledge how you feel about money, how you act with money, and the changes that need to be made to improve your money!

You were recently invited by Habitat International to teach at the Americorps’ National Service Leadership Conference in Talledega. How did you like it?
It was an amazing experience! It was a younger group which is not typically my audience but it was refreshing to see such a large group of young people empowered to take control of their financial futures. Unfortunately, personal finance is not at the forefront of public education so a lot of things I share in these courses can be life changing if retained and applied. I hope they took heed and it changed their outlooks.

Tomesha is a born speaker and teacher. She is so much fun and makes talking about your finances surprisingly painless. Check our calendar for future scheduled classes or you can email Tomesha at tjohnson@hfhmgc.org about coming to talk to your group!