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Resources for more financial education

There are lots of options available for free training and education in the
basics of finance and money management.

Here are just a few of the web-based resources available:

  • www.MyMoney.gov is a website maintained by the U.S. financial Literacy and Education Commission that has some great links, including interactive, web-based programs to help you learn the basics of household financial management. It features free online calculators for figuring mortgage payments, student loans, rent-versus-buy analysis, and lots more. You'll also find a variety of reports and information about financial topics such as smart borrowing strategies, budgeting, and taxes. There's even a whole section devoted to interactive and informational financial training for kids.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas sponsors a site called Building Wealth: A Beginner's Guide to Securing Your financial Future (www.dallasfed.org/ca/wealth/index.cfm).This site has an interactive curriculum to show you, step by step, how to calculate your net worth, create a budget, understand the basic principles of saving and investing, and make better borrowing decisions.
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) developed the "Money Smart" program to offer financial training and information to persons "outside the financial mainstream" (www.fdic.gov/moneysmart) . The site offers a section called "computer-based instruction" that allows you to educate yourself at your own pace on the basics of banking, credit, savings, and mortgages.
  • The Jump$tart® Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy is a national organization made up of educational, governmental, industry, and special interest groups "dedicated to improving the financial literacy of kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards, and educational resources". Their website (www.jumpstart.org) features a wide array of free and downloadable publications covering many different aspects of personal financial management, both for kids and adults.

  • Moving forward with hope

    By now, if you have been applying the principles outlined in this booklet, you have begun dealing (or have successfully dealt) with the debt that is hampering your choices and preoccupying your attention and energy. You have applied the communication skills needed to work with your creditors; you have taken personal responsibility for understanding your rights and obligations as a consumer and a debtor.
    You have made decisions based on knowledge rather than fear of consequences, and you have taken proactive steps to do what is best for yourself and your family.

    Hopefully you have already felt the new confidence that comes from going through a difficult situation and emerging successfully on the other side. And hopefully you will take to heart the lessons presented here about budgeting, controlling your spending, exercising careful discernment in your use of credit, and adhering to the steps required to meet the financial goals you have set for yourself and your household.

    Hopefully you have already felt the new
    confidence that comes from going
    through a difficult situation and emerging
    successfully on the other side

    As you continue to move forward into a brighter future, remember that sticking with the basics is what separates the successful from those doomed to repeat past mistakes. Don't be tempted to fall back into old patterns. Remember that your budget is your road map to financial success, and follow it.

    Earning your financial freedom depends on making hard choices and forming good habits that don't come naturally to most people. If it doesn't seem at least a little challenging or difficult, you probably aren't doing it right! Some individuals successfully make the transition into stable, financially responsible lifestyles. Others, a year, two years, or five years down the road, find themselves back in the same kind of trouble they had originally hoped to escape.

    What makes the difference between those who are able to "kick the debt habit" and those who find themselves repeating the cycle of overspending, problem debt, and financial crisis? One word: discipline. The people who get out of trouble and stay out are those who are determined to practice sound financial fundamentals: they stick to their budgets and don't spend more than they earn; they plan ahead and save for major purchases instead of getting them with credit; they plan ahead for future needs and, over time, build the cash reserves needed to deal with the unexpected.

    We live in a time and place of almost unlimited opportunity. Regardless of the state of the economy, your company, interest rates, or any other external variables,there will always be resources available for those with the determination and discipline to seek them. By reading this booklet and absorbing the information it contains, you have taken a firm step toward becoming one of those people.

    By applying the principles set forth in this booklet, you can begin building a more secure financial future. This booklet has the specific purpose of helping you live a more stress-free, balanced, and enjoyable life. Hopefully reading it has given you both a positive vision for the future and a roadmap for reaching it. It takes determination, knowledge, and, above all, discipline-but it is possible.

    I wish you the best of luck in this next stage of your financial life.



    Material adapted from Mitchell Allen's 'A Survival Guide to Post- Bankruptcy'
    Distributed by Debt Education and Certification Foundation -DECAF