Knoxville, Tenn. – Financial strain and growing personal and national debt have a stranglehold on Americans in a sluggish economy that has now crawled 43 months with higher than 8 percent unemployment. But what if our depressed personal finances are not just a function of the economy, but also a function of a crisis of education? Crown Financial Ministries this week is launching a new and improved MoneyLife Coaching Program that begins with a little old fashioned schooling.
“Today in America 36 states require some financial education before a student can graduate from high school – and that is a good beginning. But most people have never been taught how to handle their finances. Generations are struggling without the right tools,” said Crown Financial Ministries President Robert Dickie III. “Crown wants to fill the Financial Education Gap that exists in the lives of so many Americans.”
Earlier this year, USA Today examined the financial literacy of young people in particular – and found a serious problem.
Reporter Hadley Malcome wrote: “The Treasury Department and Department of Education have teamed the past three years to assess financial literacy in U.S. high schools, and the results haven’t been pretty: the average score of almost 76,900 students in 2010 was 70%. Last year’s testing of about 84,000 students and this year’s of about 80,000 students were both a point lower: 69%.”
“We can’t expect people with zero financial skills to make insightful choices,” said Dickie. “But MoneyLife can help.”
MoneyLife education begins with an intricately designed series of assessments that includes a Money Life Indicator that measures financial health, an on-line test that can be taken as often as desired to “take the temperature” of your financial health and ensure you are on-course. More than 10 years of experience with MoneyLife and more than 35 years in financial counseling has uncovered an interesting truth: this kind of training can really help couples.
“One of the things we’ve learned when working with couples is that money stress usually begins with conflicting views on how to make a decision,” said Dickie, who noted that more than 25 percent of people surveyed recently by Yahoo! and Fitness magazine reported that they fought most over money. That is more frequently than about chores (13 percent), kids (8 percent), sex (8 percent) or even the infamous in-laws (8 percent).
“We’ve seen that a plan like ours helps people find common ground over what is a very stressful topic: family spending,” said Dickie.
Rather than a cookie-cutter formula, MoneyLife is personal, strategic and tailored to fit the needs of each individual or family. For a one-time fee of $49.95, people will first go through a personal and financial assessment to get a plan created for them alone. Also available: easy to understand materials and personal education.
But Crown does not leave people alone in the process. While the assessments and materials come with a slight cost, financial counselors will meet privately, on-line or in person, for 5 free sessions so that everyone can ask their most difficult questions of people who are giving their time and knowhow to help. And it is all confidential.
“Real people don’t have one-size-fits-all problems or solutions, and too many so-called financial experts push a single solution or formula for everyone,” noted Dickie.
To learn more MoneyLife, visit www.crown.org.
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About Crown: Crown, a non-profit, helps people and businesses integrate their values into business practices, debt reduction, and financial decision-making. For more than 35 years, Crown has been offering economic analysis and advice based on timeless truths. Theirs is a strong, international grassroots organization with offices in the U.S. and overseas. Crown experts work one on one with individuals and business leaders, as well as through workshops and seminars, teaching people how to build on a strong foundation that includes the business principles and practices found in the Bible. It is well known for its cutting edge materials first developed by its founder, the late Larry Burkett. For more information, go to www.crown.org or call 800-722-1976.
To schedule an interview with a Crown specialist or to talk with people and experts whose lives have been changed through these tools, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.