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Monday, November 28, 2022

Financial literacy program to teach everything from budgeting to risk management

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OneAmerica and the American College of Financial Services will launch a virtual financial literacy program in August. The program is available for anyone but suited for college students. It was initially developed and piloted on HBCU campuses.

OneAmerica saw the students’ success and pledged $1 million toward a slightly different version in Central Indiana. Participants can access the program through mobile devices or computers. Those who participate will build upon their knowledge of basic and complex concepts of personal finance. For example, a person will learn everything from budgeting to risk analysis.

“It is about financial wellness and empowerment to create access to financial concepts that can meet learners where they are,” said Jen Pitman, vice president of community affairs.

The program will be funded for five years. Martin University, Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis Urban League and others will collaborate to deliver it to the public for free. More information about how to register will come later.

The main goal of the program is to increase the number of people making informed financial decisions.

OneAmerica representatives often talk about generational wealth, which is the idea that a person’s family in the future will benefit from their financial decisions today. The company feels its program can give people the tools to obtain generational wealth.

“Our focus initially was on closing the racial wealth gap,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kim Thomas.

The racial wealth gap is a measure of income inequality across different racial groups in America.

According to the Brookings Institute, of all American household wealth Black households have about 3% of it. The Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances reports the median white household has a net worth of $171,000, which is 10 times the net worth of the median Black household at $17,100. Historically, national banks have played a role in discriminatory practices against African Americans, including issuing a disproportionate amount of subprime loans to Black homeowners.

By the end of the online program, OneAmerica wants underrepresented communities to have confidence in their financial decision making. Pitman feels that this can lead the Black community to gain trust in financial institutions.

“True financial literacy extends beyond the individual,” Pitman said.

Contact intern Mesgana Waiss at 317-762-7848 or email at adjwouw@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @theavgjourn.

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