Thought Leadership Thursday
Investing in our families beyond Financial Literacy Month
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
Financial Literacy Month may be coming to an end, but as State Treasurers we should leverage the excitement and stay connected with our constituents past this annual event. To do so, we must engage people all year long by every means possible.
Through my Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE), we seek to support people of all ages and walks of life. By offering free and accessible financial education, promoting wage equality, and developing programs that create opportunities, we hope to provide a more financially stable future for families and children across our state.
Social media has become an important tool for government agencies in communicating with those they serve. However, from what I have seen, interactions on public sector accounts tend to remain static and one-sided while more traditional approaches are proving to be far more effective. The return of in-person events brings increased opportunities to connect with those of all ages and backgrounds.
Our kickoff to Financial Literacy Month began by distributing 200 OEE-branded financial education kits to all of our State Representatives and Senators. This kit consisted of a reusable tote, with an easy-to-use checklist on ways elected officials can be "champions" for financial literacy access in their districts. Included inside were free informational items promoting the BabySteps Savings Plan, MyFinancialLifeMA, and many of our other initiatives. I received a lot of positive feedback from many who received this and much interest about delivering this information to constituents.
In addition, our office partnered with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The goal was to spread the word through local libraries on the availability of money management educational opportunities. OEE also provided a newly designed booklet on hosting Financial Literacy Library Activities for all ages, as well as coloring sheets, bookmarks, and ideas for social media outreach. We are hopeful that this partnership will continue throughout the entire year.
Our staff planned events throughout the state. Beginning with our new FinWell Coffee Breaks, team members visited Massachusetts State Lottery offices in four different cities. The coffee was accompanied with special cookies decorated with a QR code promoting our free financial wellness platform for state employees. This platform was made possible through the collaboration and generosity of the NAST Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation.
Throughout this spring and summer, we will be at Department of Corrections Re-Entry Fairs and Family Resource Fairs in cities and towns throughout the state. The goal is to provide information on all available educational programming and resources that will lead to making informed financial decisions. Meeting residents where they are and listening to their stories improves the value of our office’s services and enables my team to tailor responses to individual circumstances.
We are also very excited about our new OEE Community Ambassadors. Chosen for their networks and existing commitments to supporting their fellow residents, these ten Ambassadors will receive training and be prepared to spread awareness of financial education and empowerment initiatives to their friends and neighbors within their area of the state. OEE will likewise be able to tap into their community knowledge and leverage from their experience and feedback to help shape future programming.
Financial literacy is relevant to everyone at every stage of life. Yet as you know, it can be difficult to gain attention to its importance year-round. My office is committed to utilizing every available avenue, whether through one-to-one contact or online, knowing that building relationships is key to our success.
As Chair of the NAST Financial Education Committee, I look forward to working together with you to help our constituents achieve the financial stability they so deserve.
Deborah B. Goldberg
Massachusetts State Treasurer & Receiver General