Written by Carrie Johnson (former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist).
This project continues, expands, and improves upon Montana State University Extension’s Solid Finances web-based financial education series. The project supports two webinar based financial education programs. The first targets working Montanans in their place of employment. The second targets South Dakotans in their place of employment. This project shares the educational model with other financial educators through capacity building in South Dakota and Idaho and presentations to national or regional audiences through conferences and/or webinars.Relevant financial education is needed by many Montanans and South Dakotans. In 2012, Montana’s median household income was $45,456, while South Dakota’s was $49,091 (U.S.: $53,046). The U.S. Census Bureau also reported that over 14% of Montanan’s and nearly 14% of South Dakotan’s can be defined as living in poverty. Financial education opportunities in rural areas can be extremely limited. Montana and South Dakota’s low population density provides little incentive for-profit educational providers to offer in-person trainings. These opportunities that do exist are often “sales pitches” disguised as education.
Survey responses from past Solid Finance program:
- “I really don’t have too many people to ask about this subject. Hearsay does not have enough substance when it comes to your finances!”
- “I think a lot of people are afraid of it and knowledge always helps alleviate those fears.”
- “The series is relevant and beneficial information is pertinent to daily living and immediately adaptable to practical use.”
Private and Public Value Statement
The private value of this program is that participants will increase their financial capability and capacity. As participants learn to spend and borrow responsibly, save for the future, and gain control over their financial health, the public benefits through less reliance on public assistance programs thus impacting the budgets of local, county, and state government.
In 2005, Financial Literacy Partners, LLC found that an employee's personal finance problems had a direct negative affect on their employer's profitability. The study found that personal finance problems reduce productivity on average about 20 hours per week, increase work accidents, cause health and welfare problems, increase employee turnover, and take up to 10% of Human Resources time. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that as participants improve financial capability, they will become more productive in the workplace thus benefiting their employers.