Thrive Financial Coaching & Literacy

Location

Jewish Family Service, Texas

Focus Area

  • Self-Sufficiency

Partners

Jewish Family Service Houston; Jewish Family Service Austin; Jewish Family Service Dallas; BubbieCare

“With this study, we are breaking new ground by building evidence about the impact of financial coaching on financial stability, but also on outcomes like physical and mental health, for which there has never been a randomized controlled study.”

Linda Burger, CEO, Jewish Family Service Houston

The Issue

Managing your finances is a stressful job for everyone. There are so many decisions to make from how much of your income you should save to how to wisely use a credit card to how much you should be paying in rent each month. These issues are not only financially difficult, but they also add a lot of stress in our lives, which affects how we live and work.

For individuals who work as caregivers, stress management is especially important because it allows you to provide a better service to your client. This is especially challenging for caregivers when they face extreme personal or financial stress, which detracts from the quality of care that they are able to give.

Financial illiteracy is an issue that inhibits individuals from being able to maximize the way in which they save and spend their money. Issues of financial instability include the inability to pay for housing, hold a steady job, pay off debt, hold sufficient savings, and keep a healthy credit score. The problems associated with financial literacy are not only detrimental to the amount of money that a person has, but also negatively impact mental health. Previous studies have indicated that the optimal mode of delivery for these financial services could include a bundle of delivery methods, including financial coaching and classes, which cater to the varying needs of individuals.

There exists evidence that the positive benefits of financial coaching outweigh the costs of implementation, and there is room to explore how the impact of financial coaching changes when coupled with financial literacy courses.

The Intervention

The financial literacy and coaching intervention will provide BubbieCare caregivers with the skills needed to maximize their income and assets in such a way that they can improve their quality of life. By delivering personalized coaching, participants will receive lessons that are specific to the financial barriers that they face. The program is person-centered – it provides individuals with access to one-on-one financial coaching in addition to group literacy courses that help them to attain financial stability.

Caregivers who participate in this program are assigned a coach and provided with information for the financial literacy classes. This intervention is based off of the Thrive financial coaching model. Coaches and participants connect virtually in their first week of connecting and continue to meet bi-weekly (through phone, email, or zoom) for the first three months, followed by monthly check-ins up to twelve months (frequency may vary by participant). As the client is going through the coaching, they will also begin to attend virtual Finance Classes (1-6) as soon as possible.

Research Question

Do financial literacy courses and personalized coaching improve the financial and mental well-being of those who struggle from financial stress?

Intended Outcomes

  • Caregivers who participate in the Thrive financial coaching and literacy courses will demonstrate improved financial stability over non-participants, including improved credit scores.
  • They will also be report more improved mental health than those who did not participate in the intervention.

Research Study Design

This is a randomized controlled trial. Any caregiver in the BubbieCare network who is interested in participating in financial coaching and literacy courses will be eligible to participate in the study.

Caregivers in the BubbieCare network will be contacted by an enrollment specialist from BubbieCare who will walk them through the consent process. After consenting to participate in research, individuals will take a baseline survey which is meant to capture their baseline financial capability and mental health status, as well as collect demographic information that is not already collected by BubbieCare.

Because Jewish Family Services Austin, Jewish Family Services Dallas, and Jewish Family Services Houston do not have the resources or staff capacity to serve everyone in need of financial coaching, those interested will enter a lottery to participate in the program. Lottery winners will become member of the treatment group and receive one-on-one financial coaching based off the United Way Thrive model. They will also attend the financial literacy courses provided by the Women’s Resource Center. These services will be provided virtually. Those not selected by the lottery will not receive access to the financial coaching or literacy courses.

Following the conclusion of the study, LEO researchers will compare participants’ change in financial and mental well-being versus those who were not chosen to participate in the study. Outcome data will be drawn from credit bureau reports and a follow-up survey.

(Photo credit: Jewish Family Service Dallas)

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