Many San Diegans live paycheck-to-paycheck, without adequate savings and without an understanding of how to build a solid financial foundation. The nearly three-year-old San Diego Financial Literacy Center is attempting to improve this situation with a comprehensive calendar of workshops, seminars, and one-on-one consultation. Times of San Diego spoke with Brad Pagano, co-founder and managing director, about the center’s efforts.
What’s the mission of the San Diego Financial Literacy Center?
The mission of the San Diego Financial Literacy Center is to educate and empower individuals and families to make sound financial decisions and develop positive personal finance habits for life. By providing educational opportunities and financial guidance to help individuals and families become financially fit, the center offers an invaluable service to the San Diego community.
A short-term goal is to continue to provide information, education and training that drives the financial stability of the residents of San Diego County. A long-term goal is to increase financial literacy by helping individuals and families better understand how to manage their finances, create strong credit profiles, borrow wisely, and plan for retirement.
How financially literate is the average person in San Diego?
Statistics show that nearly seven out of 10 San Diegans who are considered low-to-moderate income would not be able to afford a $400 emergency expense. Being financially literate is more than just understanding the basics of budgeting or the nuances of credit. It’s about developing smart habits that will lead to financial well-being. San Diego is a challenging environment in which to accomplish this due to the high cost of living. Housing, gasoline and others goods and other essential services are not getting cheaper.
I think the average person strives to be financially literate, but is challenged to do so because of the myriad of obstacles facing them. Our financial acumen is predicated by our environment and experience and we only know what we know. It is important to use all the resources and tools available to you through schools, non-profits and other entities to take control of your financial outlook and develop the financial literacy needed for you and your family.
What kind of training programs does the center offer?
The center offers a comprehensive calendar of workshops, seminars, and one-on-one consultation to assist individuals and families develop the smart money habits needed in today’s complex economy. Through partnerships and collaborations, we work directly with our constituents on a daily basis to assist them in achieving financial independence. We host events throughout the year bringing together subject matter experts on over 20 different personal finance topics ranging from budgeting and savings, to investing, buying a home, starting a business and managing debt and credit effectively. Our goal is to provide complimentary, custom, comprehensive and culturally competent programming to our community to help individuals and families meet their goal of financial well-being.
How would you describe the center’s progress after nearly three years in operation?
We have experienced great success and growth in 30 months. We have developed great partnerships with the County of San Diego and their Live Well San Diego initiative as well as with many corporate and community based partners. We rely on our bevy of volunteers to help us accomplish our goals and achieve our mission. Like many non-profits, we struggle with funding and bandwidth to serve all that need our programs and services, but we have also made great strides in developing strategic partnerships that have allowed us to reach further into communities than ever before. We hope to turn San Diego into America’s Finest Financially Literate City.
How can interested San Diegans get involved?
We are always seeking additional volunteers, committee members, corporate social responsibility partners, curriculum developers, interns and subject matter experts. As a privately funded non-profit, we receive no funding from the state or federal level and rely solely on the generosity of our San Diego community. Our website offers a plethora of information about our programs, projects and opportunities to engage. You can reach us via phone at 858-810-7007 and we will be happy to discuss the best way for you, your family or your workplace to help us accomplish our goals and achieve our mission. Most importantly, your energy and efforts will be directly reinvested back into the community where it is needed most.
Times of San Diego regularly writes about nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in San Diego. Organizations wishing to participate in this question-and-answer series may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
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