Chronic, unchecked stress can sabotage your physical and mental health by contributing to numerous conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Money, it turns out, is stressing out 72 percent of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2019 Stress in America survey.
Administrators in the Montgomery County ESC are keen to help their employees and the employees of the districts they serve when it comes to matters of money. Financial wellness and the improved sense of security that come with it are a key way to reduce financial-related stress.
In an effort to empower staff members to improve their financial wellness, employees are being given access to “Financial Literacy,” an online course that will provide the tools, knowledge and resources staff need to improve their financial fitness.
What Is Financial Wellness?
Financial wellness is a catch-all term that refers to how effectively you manage your personal economics. Spending habits, being financially prepared for unexpected events, having a long-term financial plan, and knowing how to access the resources you need to make good decisions are all components of your financial well-being.
Your Money, Your Life
You cannot achieve financial wellness without a fundamental understanding of how to manage your financial affairs. It’s a critical life skill, and Montgomery County high school students are offered a course titled “financial math” as part of their curriculum written. The course was created by Graduation Alliance, an organization that specializes in online education. It is available as an online class, called “financial literacy,” to ESC staff and staff of the districts served by the organization.
“Money is a big part of our life and a big stressor. This program gives you more control over your decisions about money and empowers you to relieve some of your financial stress through more effective money management,” says Laura Boyd, Montgomery County ESC college and career transition coordinator.
Financial Literacy 101
Boyd points out that there are many pieces and parts to personal finances. The class, which is broken into two semesters, covers many financial fundamentals. The first semester covers:
• Math Behind Healthy Finances
• Understanding Credit
• Online Bank Tools
The second semester addresses financial details necessary to making smart decisions on large purchases and associated loans. Units cover:
• Auto and Home Insurance
• Student Loans
• Medical and Dental Insurance
• Life and Disability Insurance
• Understanding Investments
The class is completely web based and can be used at your convenience. As an adult, you can take unit lessons independently of one another. If you have a strong grasp of banking and online banking tools, but you don’t really understand taxes and payroll deductions, you can skip the banking unit and focus on taxes. It’s designed for ease of use.
“The class is done in short lessons on basic information, and you can go through it fairly quickly,” Boyd says. “If you gain terminology and basic information, you gain a foundation of knowledge to then go out and do more research on your own, should you decide to do so.”
Not only do you reap the know-how to access more resources, but the class gives you another valuable skill: The ability to talk to your children and grandchildren about finances.
Boyd has taught financial literacy and consumer-based education for 30 years.
“How can you open a discussion with kids about finances?” she asks. “With this course. It’s full of excellent discussion triggers, including a section on college financing.”
If you are interested in taking
“Financial Literacy,” contact the Montgomery County ESC Human Resources Department.