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MyStartingPoint: Life Cents available to Southeast Alaska

Posted: April 14, 2013 - 12:03am

In recognition of April - Financial Literacy month, the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA) will launch MyStartingPoint: Life Cents, an innovative financial education program to serve rural Southeast Alaska communities in its regional footprint for services.

MyStartingPoint: Life Cents makes use of the newest techniques to help people learn easily, including 29 individual videos covering such topics as: the benefits of using a bank, how a budget can help, sticking to a budget, credit unions, credit cards and credit scores.

Featured topics within the program encompass budgeting and savings, money matters, banking, credit management, homeownership and investing.

“The communities we serve can only be accessed by ferry or plane, our goal is to bridge that gap and provide continuing education once Financial Cent$, THRHA’s Financial Literacy Program, classes have been completed” wrote Dawn Wesley, THRHA Loan Servicing & Financial Skills Specialist, in a press release. “Empowering the people of Southeast Alaska to be self-sufficient and, in turn, create self-sustaining communities one individual at a time is our objective.” MyStartingPoint: Life Cents will allow financial education to be present in our clients’ minds a lot longer that the annual classes that are given now.

“I could see how this program would help us with our large geographic service area, but also because it has features of pre- and post-testing, and incentives to spur usage that many programs just don’t have. Also the videos are an easy way to deliver messages to people,” said Jocelyn Ramirez, Vice President of Tribal Services and Operations, who was introduced to the online program during a presentation at the National American Indian Housing Council 2012 Legal Symposium held in Las Vegas last December.

“The system is helpful to the housing authority because it has pre- and post-testing to determine how much users have learned. This is important to the Housing authority as well as to funders who want to be reassured that a program produces desired outcomes,” said Ramirez.

The MyStartingPoint: Life Cents financial education program is created by the Community Financial Education Foundation in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to empower the American public and reach underserved communities, teaching meaningful financial life skills.

“We wanted to teach people in a way they are used to receiving information,” said Jane DeMarines CFEF Executive Director. “In this digital age of cell phones, apps, computers, and Twitter messages, communicating using these same techniques is necessary. We also incentivize people to go back to reaching their personal goals, by offering contests with prizes, when a user has completed goals. The chance to win something is a big motivator, so we incorporate this to spur people to work toward their goals.”

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