Between rising inflation and the ups-and-downs of the stock market, it’s not surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation.  And financial literacy is one way to sooth all of this "money stress."


One Northwest-based credit union is trying to share these skills with people who need them, regardless of age, background or education.  Frank Alvarez a branch manager at P1FCU in Walla Walla, WA, said his passion is teaching financial skills, and he's partnered with the local nonprofit Blue Mountain Action Council to share that needed knowledge for free.  Alvarez said one topic they emphasize is creating savings, and how it can prevent the need for borrowing money at high interest rates.


"It comes to budgeting because while it's okay to lend against your credit and such, there are just ways of doing it without putting you behind."


According to a recent Bankrate survey, 58% of people are concerned about the amount of emergency savings they have, an increase from the 44% reported in 2020.  Participants in the class have ranged in age from 15 to 65.  Alvarez say he'll often teach classes to older people in Spanish.  People from that class then bring their children, and he'll teach the younger students in English.  He notes it's important to have these lessons in Spanish.


"I can teach it in English as well. I just know that there is a higher need in Spanish, and it takes longer on that class itself." 


Alvarez added the financial education classes meet once a week for six weeks, with a different topic every week.  Those who complete the class get a certificate and money sent to their bank or credit-union account.  Participants he noted, don't have to be P1FCU members to attend.


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