Financial education can be empowering

Mass. treasurer, Citizens Bank take message online

FOR FAMILIES TO BREAK DOWN economic and social barriers and achieve financial security and stability, we must help them access the skills and tools they need to succeed.

Financial education is the pathway to make more informed decisions that significantly impact one’s economic future. By empowering people to empower themselves, we help to ensure greater economic stability for everyone in our state.

Both Citizens Bank and the Massachusetts State Treasury have histories of delivering innovative ways to provide resources to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, such as women, veterans, students, and seniors. Promoting financial literacy and empowerment programs have been the cornerstone of our combined efforts and the inspiration for our partnership.

Public/private partnerships are the ideal approach to successfully impact the greatest number of people. Through the Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money Initiative, Citizens Bank and the Massachusetts Treasurer’s office have collaborated on the Women’s Economic Empowerment Series. The series is a free set of workshops, sponsored by Citizen’s Bank and organized by the Treasurer’s Office of Economic Empowerment, along with the American Association of University Women.

It’s Financial Literacy Month, and we are reminded of the importance of programs like the economic empowerment series where participants are given extensive information and coaching on strategies to save and budget and to understand a broad range of financial transactions. Additionally, they experience salary negotiation training and report leaving the workshops feeling individually and collectively empowered. Studies have shown that women are under-resourced throughout their lives, ill prepared for retirement, and often saddled with debt. With tailored workshops around student debt, investment strategies, and retirement planning, this partnership enables women to traverse this economic inequality.

After bringing the program to hundreds of women in eight different and diverse communities across the state (Quincy, Newton, Worcester, Springfield, Melrose, Falmouth, New Bedford, and Framingham), we are consistently asked “when are you doing this next again…how can I get more involved?” With 92 percent of participants telling us they plan to share what they have learned with other women in their lives, our reach has become even greater. Beyond the obvious need for this kind of programming, it is the participants’ enthusiasm that makes us more invested and passionate in our work.

The collaboration does not end with in-person programming either. We recognize that in today’s busy world we need to provide more accessible information. To reach a larger audience, and so that everyone can access the information they need at any time of day, we have created online information tools. Through desktop, laptop, or mobile, we have expanded our outreach to best serve everyone. Whether it’s the Citizens Bank’s financial literacy portal, or the Treasury’s MyFinancialLifeMA.org , we have information available for every situation one can encounter.

Meet the Author

Deborah Goldberg

Treasurer, State of Massachusetts
Meet the Author

Jerry Sargent

President, Citizens Bank Massachusetts
As we move forward, we will be providing additional Women’s Economic Empowerment series workshops and other exciting programs together. Our continuing partnership is a commitment from us to providing all of you, the financial education and information all residents of Massachusetts need.

Deb Goldberg is the treasurer of Massachusetts and Jerry Sargent is the president of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts.