Importance of Financial Education

Throughout all of the programs of the African Development Center, the importance of sound financial education is stressed for the ultimate success of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee community. Moving to a new country is often filled with challenges, but few are as critical as learning how to navigate the financial system. ADC understands this need and offers culturally-competent workshops and counseling services to provide the necessary financial education to succeed.

Financial literacy is a rarity for many of this new American community. Only a few possess even a basic understanding of core concepts of the U.S. financial system, and fewer still any knowledge on how to navigate it for such actions as opening a bank account. But one thing they do know is scarcity, so it is not a big stretch for them to learn how to budget on a small, fixed income when they arrive here. They just need to be given the tools to make it all work.

That is where ADC fills the gap. Our Financial Education services not only cover the basics, but also provide personal counseling services for specific issues. In our Financial Literacy classes we offer a comfortable environment to learn the details of such actions as: how to open a bank account, how to balance a checkbook, how to conduct basic banking transactions, the importance of a credit score, and the ins and outs of budgeting for the whole family.

Area banks are beginning to understand the importance of catering to this new and emerging group of immigrants. During our classes, we provide access to local banks, who make presentations designed to welcome the refugees and make connections that may translate to future relationships. This is an important step for many of this community with inherent suspicion of the banking industry. Through this education and networking, many of these fears can be overcome for the betterment of all within the community.

For those more experienced with banking, we provide guidance on credit cards and how to use them effectively. We show people the importance of maintaining a good credit history and how to pull themselves out of poverty using the readily available tools of the financial system. We also teach how to avoid the pitfalls of predatory lending and the irresponsible use of credit cards. Perhaps the most valuable instruction we provide is how to learn to save.

Feeling empowered, students leave our classes more equipped with the tools needed to manage and even thrive in the U.S. financial system. If you would like to learn more about these services, please visit this page of our website, or give us a call at 612-333-4772.