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Person-Centered Financial Education

At FHI, our goal is to create and deliver effective, safe and fun financial education for people experiencing economic stress. We know this requires a special approach to financial education for us to successfully reach people who are confronting significant challenges in their daily lives. The standard way of delivering financial education won’t be good enough.

From our experience over the past 15+ years, we have developed what we call Person-Centered Financial Education (PCFE), which is an educational approach that views personal finances and economics as an integral part of the whole person. PCFE incorporates the tools of basic finance and economics into an understanding of a person’s psychological, emotional and cultural relationship with money.

What does it mean to be “person-centered?” In Human Services, that involves a certain perspective. Instead of treating a client like a “case” and just collecting data from them, what if we instead look at the client as a whole person, with unique challenges, motivations, needs and interests? What if we listen to and consult with each client when providing our program services, to support them while they take ownership of their unique life and situation?

A person-centered approach to human services encourages and motivates the client to own their situation, thereby supporting them to be an active collaborator in our programs and in improving their life. Rather than seeing the case manager as the expert, we understand the client to be the undisputed expert on themselves. PCFE takes a similar view, encouraging participants to own their situation and supporting them to be an active collaborator in the learning process about their personal finances and economics.

Taking a step further, at FHI we are committed to helping providers of human services (and related fields) learn how to work collaboratively with their clients when talking with them about money topics. As a result, a PCFE approach prepares service providers with the ability to discuss the technical and behavioral aspects of financial and economic concepts more confidently and in a way that does not traumatize or re-traumatize their clients. This approach recognizes that people are the experts on their own lives and is therefore more applicable, useful and meaningful to them.