Financial education key to stronger Montana

2013-09-09T08:19:00Z Financial education key to stronger MontanaGuest column by CARRIE KOPPY missoulian.com
September 09, 2013 8:19 am  • 

Financial security. It’s an essential part of the American Dream and one of the basic building blocks of stable families, neighborhoods and cities across Montana. It’s something everyone strives to achieve but, particularly for low-income families, hard work alone doesn’t always lead to a solid financial footing. The truth is, assets such as a home, savings in the bank or a college degree matter economically, socially and psychologically in ways that income alone does not.

NeighborWorks Montana and its partners believe that every Montanan can save, build assets and create a more prosperous future for themselves with the right tools and knowledge on their side.

Through its new program, Montana Saves Together, we are creating a tool kit to help our friends and neighbors do just that. By providing program participants with free financial tools, savings services, advice and resources, we help participants build assets. Montana Saves Together utilizes Individual Development Accounts to match the participant’s savings once they have completed financial education classes and reached their savings goal. The matching funds come from a federal grant, private foundation grants and from Montanans across the state who have stepped up and become contributors to the program. The program simply wouldn’t work without contributors who assist our savers by donating matching funds to help them achieve lifelong assets such as a home, degree or small business.

Montanans who have the knowledge and tools to be financially savvy and build assets become positive role models in their communities. Improved health and well-being, greater employment stability, more civic engagement and increased children’s educational performance are just some of the positive results of financial security.

For more information about financial education opportunities or the Montana Saves Together Program, visit montanasavestogether.org. Research on the importance of building assets to create strong communities can be found at cfed.org/assets/pdfs/Why_Assets_Matter.pdf.

Montana Saves Together is a statewide campaign involving five nonprofit organizations: NeighborWorks Montana, Rural Dynamics Inc., Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, the District 7 Human Resource Development Council in Billings and NeighborWorks Great Falls. Join us and hundreds of Montanans across the state to help low-income families stabilize their lives through savings and financial accomplishments. Together, we can build a prosperous future for everyone.

Carrie Koppy is the director of resource development and marketing for NeighborWorks Montana. She is a philanthropic donor herself, and has adopted a family saving for a home.

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