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Raimondo Launches Empower RI

Financial Empowerment Initiative Partners with Capital Good Fund, Calls for Financial Coaching Corps Volunteers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo today launched Empower RI, a new financial empowerment initiative for Rhode Islanders. The Rhode Island Financial Coaching Corps, in partnership with the Capital Good Fund (CGF), was also launched.

"Far too many Rhode Islanders face challenges that might have been avoided through a greater understanding of personal finance," Raimondo said. "If families are more financially stable at home, our entire state will benefit. Financial empowerment can play a role in our economic recovery."

"Improving financial literacy is critical to helping families make the most of their financial resources. I commend CGF and Treasurer Raimondo for their efforts to expand access to financial education for more Rhode Islanders and offer free, customized assistance with their personal finances," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Banking Committee who helped support $81,000 in federal Community Development Financial Institutions Technical Assistance grant funding to help CGF better serve Rhode Island.

Since coming into office, finding innovative ways to help Rhode Islanders better manage their finances has been a top priority for Raimondo. From introducing an online financial literacy tool for high school students, to working with financial lending institutions to learn about how they educate consumers about safe and affordable options, she is committed to finding ways to strengthen Rhode Island's economy one person at a time through this initiative.

Financial empowerment is when a person is able to make more informed and disciplined choices in an effort to achieve their financial goals. Being empowered is setting financial goals through personal planning, understanding the risks of taking on too much debt and having access to the safest and most affordable financial services and products.

Research indicates Rhode Islanders may benefit from learning how to better manage their finances:

67 percent of Rhode Islanders say they have difficulty covering expenses and paying bills

Only 36 percent have emergency funds

Over 30 percent have no retirement plans and 62 percent have not figured out their retirement needs

The Rhode Island Financial Coaching Corps (FCC) is a unique, community-based partnership between Treasury and CGF, a Providence-based non-profit microfinance organization that provides innovative microloans and personal financial coaching.

"By partnering with Treasury, we are able to expand our financial coaching reach," Andy Posner, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CGF, said. "The FCC is an innovative and forward-thinking model that will allow us to assist more Rhode Islanders to become financially capable and, in turn, will strengthen our state's economy."

The goal of the Financial Coaching Corps will be to match volunteers with financial skills to Rhode Islanders, regardless of income or financial goals, who are looking to take charge of their finances through one-on-one financial coaching.

Financial Coaching Corps

1) Community coaching: Corps members are trained volunteers active and retired financial planners, accountants and bankers who donate their time by working one-on-one with Rhode Islanders to improve their credit, build a budget and manage debt.

2) Employer-based coaching: Rhode Island employers are encouraged to take advantage of bringing Corps volunteers into their workplaces, through an employee benefit model of financial coaching. Research shows that if employees are financially secure, their productivity in the workplace increases.

Groov-Pin, a Smithfield-based manufacturer, is piloting the FCC employer-based benefit program. About 20 employees are slated to participate over the course of the next year.

"As a company, our first impression was that this was wellness training for finance and it could be an important employee benefit," Scot Jones, CEO of Groov-Pin Corp. "Everyone who has participated has learned something valuable. The more financially empowered our employees are, the better they are to manage their personal finances and to understand our company's finances."

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Related links

Department or agency: RI Office of the General Treasurer

Online: http://www.treasury.ri.gov/

Release date: 10-16-2012

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