“Being broke is a temporary economic condition, but being poor is a disabling frame of mind and a depressed condition of your spirit…”
― John Hope Bryant
October 15, 2018 officially marked the launch of what is now called “Philly Phinancial Literacy Week”. For the first time in Philadelphia’s history a week-long push for financial planning, economic education, and wealth building took place throughout multiple neighborhoods at no cost to residents. Along with full support from Philadelphia City Council, this series of free workshops and seminars provided some much-needed financial resources for communities that often go overlooked. Hosted by non-profit organization The People’s Innovation Movement (TPIM), the first inaugural Philly Phinancial Literacy Week established a more than solid foundation to build on for generations to come.
Among the key highlights from the week were the many informative workshops from qualified experts in the field of finance. The week started off with a Credit & Money Management seminar presented by Nisiar Smith (Founder & CEO of TPIM), who is also responsible for the vision of Philly Phinancial Literacy Week. Those who attended his workshop were able to learn how to read a credit report, manage and improve their credit score, and manage their money through effective budgeting. Nisiar’s workshop set the bar high for the remaining events of the week as participants were able to engage and learn together in a non-judgemental environment. This was followed up by another informative workshop on Life Insurance & Retirement presented by Marc Galliard (financial advisor for Mutual of Omaha). Attendees of his session at South Philly’s Philadelphia’s Palumbo Recreation Center learned the key facts and myths about life insurance, how to properly identify coverage, and pros & cons of term insurance vs. permanent insurance.
Philly Phinancial Literacy Week also featured Key Benefits of Homeownership presented by Julius Sharpe Jr., (community reinvestment lender for Fulton Bank). Taking place at Awbury Recreation Center, this session covered the overall mortgage process, the components of a mortgage payment, equity and homebuyer assistance programs. Student Loan Education, another dynamic seminar, was presented by Dionne Cerdan and allowed participants to learn how to manage student loans in addition to the specific requirements for student loan forgiveness. Northeast Philly’s Jardel Recreation Center featured a Stock Market Workshop presented by John Proctor (Founder of wearestocktraders.com). In this seminar attendees not only learned about the emotions around investing but the seasonal impact of stock trading as well. Last but not least the week was rounded out by Rachael Hannible (Author & Finance Coach) who presented the key principles found in her Amazon best selling book, “Amber’s Magical Savings Box”. This uniquely crafted workshop was targeted to both children and adults helping them learn important concepts such as the value of dollar, the importance of saving, and how to set financial goals.
Personal Reflections on Financial Literacy:
One of the greatest moments of personal satisfaction during Philly Phinancial Literacy Week came from being able to pour personal knowledge directly into the community. My own workshop, entitled “Small Business Financial Planning”, took place at Cobbs Creek Recreation Center targeting both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. The overall purpose was to teach participants how to maximize business cash flows, the pros & cons of selecting their entity structure, and the key tax shelters available for businesses. However, the most valuable takeaway was the re-discovery of purpose for all those who attended the workshop. More specifically small business owners who attended were able to identify the primary reasons why they started their business and how to make it a motivator for unforeseen financial obstacles. There was also significant time spent discussing how our business finances often becomes a reflection of our personal finances. Consequently, significant effort must be made upfront to improve our everyday personal finance habits.
Overall Philly Financial Literacy Week has hugely successful in accomplishing its objective. Residents in the heart of the community were able to receive totally free access to financial tools and resources necessary to improve our economic state. And while financial literacy should never be our final destination, it is absolutely a key step toward having a seat at the table of financial empowerment.