This past Saturday, Fairhill residents filed onto Congreso’s ground floor to learn the basics of how to properly manage their finances. A financial literacy town hall was hosted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos and AARP (the American Association for Retired Persons) as part of AARP’s Financial Freedom Tour, a nationwide initiative to teach individuals of any age how to manage money efficiently and save for retirement. Town hall attendees listened to a finance 101 presentation in Spanish by Pablo Bianchi, a certified financial planner. Univision, a local Latino television station, filmed the event as a part of their community relations program to provide educational information to the Hispanic community.
Yvette Nunez, Congreso’s vice president of fundraising and external affairs and Temple University journalism alumnus, emphasized that it is particularly important for Fairhill residents to be fluent in financial literacy. “Residents in the neighborhood are traditionally the city’s poorest,” Nunez said. “There are many families who are seeking tools to do more with their money. Financial literary 101 puts people in the frame of mind that although they may not have high income, they can still find ways to build a future for their retirement and their children.”
The presentation included tips such as 12 ways to save money on a monthly basis, how to save for retirement, what organizations to turn to for financial assistance and information about tax returns and mortgages.
“Most importantly for this population, they need to know budgeting,” said David Kalinoski, associate state director for AARP. “If they don’t know what money they have going out, it’s hard to set a long-term savings goal for themselves. They could save by not going for the big, brand name coffee or renting DVDs, and downsizing cable packaging.”
They also learned about protecting credit, down payments on utility bills, and whether or not one can receive credit from utility companies. The town hall also taught the crowd the best places to keep money, such as certificates of deposit or a savings account. AARP’s overarching message also included a focus on the importance of protecting Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations.
Nunez stated that the workshop was the first of many. “This workshop is used as an initial building block for future workshops that delve into further financial empowerment for this community,” Nunez said.
Participants took away many applicable tips to help strengthen their financial situations. “Financial security is as important as health security,” Kalinoski said. “It helps people achieve a better life for themselves and their family members.”