Maria shares how a money management workshop changed her life

20 March 2017
Author: Chloe Stanois
According to the 2015 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, Canada is home to approximately 6.8 million immigrants and a diverse population comprising over 200 ethno-cultural groups. In their early years in Canada, newcomers have to make many complex decisions about their financial well-being, while still learning to navigate Canada’s financial, legal, and tax systems. Some newcomers can easily navigate these new institutions and systems, but others face cultural, linguistic and other accessibility barriers as they try to access financial information, products, and services. 
 
In September 2016, Prosper Canada was pleased to launch the Financial Empowerment Champions Project, which aims to improve the financial well-being of 175,000 Canadians living on low incomes by 2020. Through this project Prosper Canada has partnered with five non-profit organizations across the country, known as Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs). These organizations and their partners are aiming to expand proven financial empowerment interventions such as financial literacy, access to tax filing, and assistance opening Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs).
 
One of these FECs is Momentum, a community development organization in Calgary that partners with people living on low incomes to build their assets through programs in financial literacy, business development and skills training. As an FEC, Momentum is expanding the delivery of their financial literacy education through money management programs. In December 2016, Momentum hosted a five week money management workshop at the Centre for Newcomers. One participant, a mother named Maria, shared first-hand how the lessons she learned improved her financial situation and her family’s well-being: 
 
Maria’s story
 
When my husband and I got married, I always thought about how my family would survive without asking for financial help from our parents. My husband and I started working, but it seemed like our income was never enough. Our daughter always gets sick and all of the necessities we need for everyday living were getting very expensive. That’s when I decided to work abroad, and my husband was very supportive of this decision. 
 
My husband and I made a great team when we moved to Canada. To make our money last, we would plan our budget at least twice a month, and write what we bought for the past few weeks to track our spending.
 
After attending Momentum’s money management workshop, I gained a lot of knowledge about budgeting for my family. I learned a lot of tips that were very helpful for us, like identifying the difference between our needs and wants. Now I use a calendar to track our spending and organize our payments; and I use jars to separate our money for groceries, bill payments and leisure. 
 
I’m very glad I attended this workshop because it helped me and my husband manage our income. It also helped our relationship as husband and wife, and as a happy family.
 
More about Momentum
 
In addition to providing financial literacy programming, Momentum supports the Financial Empowerment Collaborative in Calgary, whose members are increasing RESP take-up and hosting year round tax preparation services through the FEC project.
 
Read more about Momentum and their financial literacy programming here: www.momentum.org
 
Learn more about the Financial Empowerment Champions Project here: www.prospercanada.org/FEC
 
Note: Name has been changed to protect participant’s identity. 

THE AUTHOR

Chloe Stanois is the Marketing and Communications Officer at Prosper Canada. Chloe is passionate about using storytelling to share Prosper Canada's vision and connect with others. She has a communication studies and sociology degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a corporate communications and public relations post-graduate certificate from Centennial College.

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