FPANJ Partners with US Probations to Teach Financial Literacy class
Classmates from US Probations Office US Courts in New Jersey are taking the financial tools being taught by FPANJ to increase their success in the world.
They have established a relationship with the US Probations Office - US Courts District of New Jersey to pilot a course for financial education for federal probationers and former inmates, and the reviews have been positive:
"Great interest." "Really engaged." "The enthusiasm is there."
This would be the reaction any financial planner would hope for when meeting with clients, or simply teaching about the fundamentals of money management to a group at a library. When it's a class comprised of individuals on parole, it's especially encouraging.
"Really, we couldn't have anticipated the level of interest we got from this class," said Edward Bao, CFP®, AIF®, who has been working with the group through Financial Planning Association of New Jersey along with President John J. Crosby, CFP®, and former President Thomas Duffy, CFP®.
The class of 18 began with an overview of financial topics to gauge interest, and was anticipated to take 45 minutes to an hour. However, Bao said they realized they were going on 90 minutes as the participants were still engaged in questions and comments.
In total, they are expecting the course to be four to five classes, and during its run, they have only seen two people opt out. Topics include credit, debt, budgeting, insurance and investments and utilizing free resources to help the class educate themselves on how to manage their finances. The class is assigned homework, using a workbook provided by the Dallas Federal Reserve.
Supervisory Officer Luis Gonzalez has called the experience "eye-opening"
Officer Maria Goodwater has also been overseeing the program, which had been done in the past, but she explained that the need continued even after the previous classes had ended. "Our clients continue to have questions on money, and we developed a list of those things they asked the most. We were confident that FPANJ would be able to support our goals through this class, and the success and interest in this class has been noticed by our supervisors,"
Bao said their response has been positive and heartening as they see the knowledge they are gaining through the class as empowering as they re-enter society.
"Really the conversations we have aren't any different from people we meet in our offices. We talk about goal setting, understanding the foundation of finances and the like. However the appreciation for what they're learning has been beyond what we could've expected," Bao added.
Gonzalez agreed, saying "These are people, people with jobs, some who own businesses, and are looking to improve themselves. They tell us they are genuinely excited over what they've learned, and can see it helping them as they earn money. Even our own officers have gone home to their families, sharing what they've learned in the course, to make changes in how they budget and save."
With the success seen in the first set of courses, the program may lead to more "200 level" style subjects, but Bao said they want to first ensure the program in hand is running to its best potential.
Ed Bao, Jr., CFP®, AIF®
Smallwood Wealth Management
199 Broad Street
Red Bank, NJ
Luis R. Gonzalez
Supervisory U.S. Probation Officer
District of New Jersey
U.S. Probation Officer
District of New Jersey
50 Walnut Street Room 1001
Newark, New Jersey
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