It’s no secret that financial struggles can cause stress. Traditionally a large number of people has found it difficult to make ends meet and more recently personal debt levels are increasing at rapid rates.
In the last year, the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy has embarked on a project to help individuals become more financially literate.
Project co-ordinator Kirsten Stark says you don’t have to be on low income to suffer from financial literacy challenges.
“Being on a tight budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t earn a lot of money,” she says. “You could still have an awful lot of commitments over your actual income and it’s so easy to over stress yourself.”
Stark’s co-ordinated a series of financial literacy workshops running from February through May that are designed to help participants gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully carry out financial transactions encountered in every day life.
“By using these skills participants will gain the financial skills they need to raise families that can participate fully in society,” Stark explains.
Topics include budget and money management, credit and debt management, income tax, home financing, financial planning and being a smart consumer.
Facilitators from the financial community are participating, and the workshops are being held at the library and the Women’s Contact Society, and funded by the TD Financial Literacy Grant Fund.
In the last seven months, the project has contacted 129 individuals either through Stark’s roaming practitioner work or workshops.
The practitioner work, she explains, has involved engaging with members of the community at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus, the library, Salvation Army, Miocene Community Hall, Seniors Activity Centre, Women’s Contact Society, Williams Lake Employment Services and Boitanio Mall.
Additionally, she’s developed memorandums of understanding with many of those service organizations, and others such as Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training and Education Council, Williams Lake Employment Services and the Pregnancy Outreach Program.
“I did a follow up lunch at the Pregnancy Outreach Program and met with someone for the second time, and it was nice to hear them say they’d started that battle of collecting their receipts and trying to get a picture of where they’ve got their finances,” Stark says, adding they’ve identified a gap, acknowledged they need help, and have started the process.
Stark wants to reinforce that financial challenges can impact people at different income levels. The workshops, she says, are targeted to people on a tight budget, regardless of how much money they earn.