Financial Education is year-round for Mountain America Financial Guides
SANDY, UT (April 11, 2022) — For the past 22 years, April has been recognized as Financial Literacy Month. Originally established by the Jump$tart Coalition in 2000, April has evolved into a month where financial institutions and organizations across the country promote events and activities to increase awareness of the importance of financial literacy throughout an individual’s lifetime. A study funded by NEFE found more than 36 percent of working adults in the United States are financially fragile, meaning they could not secure $2,000 in 30 days. With historic inflation rates and rising costs for everything from gasoline to groceries, the need for effective financial education is more apparent than ever.
Over the years, Mountain America has grown its programs and resources to promote financial education not only in April, but also year-round.
“We’re not going to judge you by any means. We’re going to encourage you,” said Peter Carrera, a financial guide at Mountain America Credit Union. “We’re not going to make you buy a product. We’re going to give you the tools that will help ultimately guide you to your next steps.”
Launched one year ago, Mountain America’s Financial Guides program is a unique, free service offered regardless of membership. The idea blossomed from a desire to help people struggling with financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We came up with the idea of offering one-on-one coaching in the midst of the pandemic because we saw a chance to innovatively approach providing help and education on a more personalized level,” said Jason Rogers, senior vice president and chief member service officer. “Not only do they get help identifying their financial dreams, but they’re also learning important money-management skills.”
Since March 2021, more than 2,500 individuals have received free, one-on-one financial coaching sessions from guides like Carrera. The service is offered to anyone seeking a personalized analysis of their unique financial situation and recommendations for how they can stay on track to achieve goals like credit and budgeting.
Carrera says he loves the role because he’s passionate about helping and teaching others. “We don’t have agendas when we go in,” says Carrera. “We want to empower people. It’s helping people to dream.”
Carrera recalls meeting with a woman who was struggling with managing her personal finances. Initially, she was reluctant to keep her appointment due to feeling embarrassed about her situation. By listening to her and making her feel comfortable, Carrera helped her overcome her shame and feel safe. With Carrera’s compassionate guidance, she was able to identify her primary monetary motivations and create simple, actionable goals toward achieving them.
These complimentary one-on-one financial counseling sessions are available to anyone by phone or virtual meeting. To schedule a session, contact your local branch or call (800) 748-4302.
In addition to helping launch the Financial Guides service, Mountain America’s Financial Education team gave over 350 free financial education presentations to nearly 13,000 attendees at various schools and businesses in the past year. Nearly one million members of the public engaged with Mountain America’s other free financial education resources, including podcasts, blog posts, financial education games, live presentations and more.
About Mountain America Credit Union
With more than 940,000 members and $11 billion in assets, Mountain America Credit Union assists members on the right path to help them identify and achieve their financial dreams. Mountain America provides consumers and businesses with a variety of convenient, flexible products and services, as well as sound, timely advice. Members enjoy access to secure, cutting-edge mobile banking technology, over 95 branches across five states, and more than 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Mountain America—guiding you forward. Learn more at macu.com.