Sarah Bulgatz Hillary John
Charles Schwab AARP
AARP FOUNDATION AND CHARLES SCHWAB FOUNDATION TEAM UP ON FINANCIAL CAPABILITY PROGRAM TO HELP PEOPLE 50+ STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET
AARP Foundation Finances 50+SM Aims to Give People Tools and Resources to Improve Financial Health and Well-Being
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2012 – In an effort to address the distinct needs of low-income workers and jobseekers age 50 and older, AARP Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation have launched a new financial capability program, which is being rolled out in seven major cities across the United States.
AARP research has found that more than 20 million people over age 50 are struggling to make ends meet. This population has been hit especially hard by the economic downturn and job loss, and the new program, called AARP Foundation Finances 50+, was designed in response. Many face overwhelming stresses from mounting debt, poor credit, insufficient savings and even loss of their family homes, while others face the added pressures of caring for adult children and aging parents. Despite the number of financial education programs in the marketplace, few speak to the unique needs of older low-income workers and their families.
“This is really a financial intervention program, designed to help people before they fall deeper into instability,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of AARP Foundation. “We know that stabilizing a person’s financial situation and increasing their financial capability can be a prerequisite for success in finding and retaining a job. This program is about empowering individuals to take control of their finances regardless of their circumstances.”
“Financial capability efforts in this country have been mainly focused on educating teens and young adults, and there hasn’t been enough emphasis on reaching older adults of lesser means,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “In light of the numbers of older Americans living on the brink of financial disaster, and the expected growth of this population in the coming years, we wanted to do something to make a difference, and we felt we could make the greatest impact by joining forces with an organization like AARP Foundation.”
The program combines the strengths of AARP Foundation -- with its deep knowledge of the 50+ population and an active volunteer base -- and Charles Schwab Foundation, which funds and promotes financial education, volunteerism and advocacy for financial fitness. The program aims to give low-income older workers and jobseekers not only the skills and tools to reduce debt, repair credit and build savings, but also the encouragement and motivation to overcome emotional obstacles and put their lives back on track.
Finances 50+ consists of three educational modules divided into the following topics: 1) assessing financial standing, budgeting and goal-setting; 2) taking control of credit and debt; and 3) building and protecting assets. Each module, delivered in a 90-minute workshop, provides participants with a solid foundation in the topic while also equipping them with the steps they can take to make improvements in their lives. As a series, the workshops are designed to enable participants to holistically assess where they are and create a plan to make immediate and long-term changes for the better.
However, what happens in the workshops is just a starting point. Participants are also encouraged to sign up for one-on-one follow-up sessions to help them stay on track. The workshops and follow-up sessions will be delivered by a combination of AARP Foundation and Schwab volunteers, as well as volunteers provided by select local nonprofit organizations.
The program is being piloted in seven cities across the U.S.: Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Denver, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco, California; and Washington, D.C., through selected local organizations that serve the older segment of each community. The organizations in the seven cities are as follows:
Baltimore: Baltimore CASH Campaign
Denver: Seniors’ Resource Center
New Orleans: United Way of Southeast Louisiana
Phoenix: Banner Olive Branch Senior Center
San Francisco: Self-Help for the Elderly
Washington, DC: The Greater Washington Urban League
The goal will be to reach 6,000 people in the first year.
Evaluation of the program will consist of assessing financial practices of participants before and after the program. A sample of participants will be tracked at three- and six-month intervals to determine the behavioral changes and impact resulting from program participation.
Also, and for those who do not reside in any of the seven pilot cities, Finances 50+ materials, including a participant workbook and volunteer guide, are available online at aarp.org/finances50plus.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation.
Charles Schwab Foundation, The Charles Schwab Corporation and Charles Schwab & Co. are unaffiliated with AARP Foundation. (0912-5831)