Topic 1: Your Financial Compass

Core Content Resources

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Wants, Needs & Wishes (pdf) (REACH CDC) Activity: Guides participants through categorizing their needs, wants and wishes. Reflection questions about their own decision making process and past history that might affect their choices. (Wants, Needs, Wishes, Decision making, prioritization, trade offs)

Needs, Wants, Obligations (pdf) (Community Vision) Worksheet: Identify needs, vs. wants vs. obligations and their costs.

Financial Reflections (pdf) (Community Vision) Tool: Questionnaire to assess financial health. (Reflection questions, Struggles, Successes, Improvements, Goals)

Core Values (.docx) (REACH CDC) Activity: For participants to identify their core values and reflect on how these values are being expressed in their lives and how to further integrate these values into their lives. Time for participant reflection.

Activity: Money Habitudes (.docx) (Reach CDC) Activity: Explore and identify one’s dominant habits and attitudes towards money. Clarifies existing behaviors and the strengths and weaknesses of each Money Habitude. Note: This requires the purchase of a set of Money Habitudes cards (

Values Game (PDF) (Community Vision) Tool: Activity and questions to analyze how your values/ priorities guide your spending. (Values Identification, Alignment, Prioritization).

My Money Picture (10 questions) and Financial Empowerment Assessment (30 questions) (PDF) (CFPB) Tool: Questions for participants to answer to find out where someone is and where they want to go financially and assess what they know and what they don’t know, how they feel and their financial experiences. This can help you choose a good place to start (money conversations, self assessment, reflection, financial education, Financial empowerment, knowledge, confidence, experience).

Priorities- where do you want to spend your money? (pdf) (Community Vision) Tool: Space to prioritize your expenses and evaluate your choices. (Reflection questions)

Income and Benefits Tracker (pdf) (CFPB): Looks at different types of income and the frequency the income is received. Editable PDF tracking worksheet for detailing source of income, frequency, date received, and total by source.

My Estimated Monthly $nap$hot (docx) (REACH CDC) Tool: A very thorough tracking tool to estimate how much one spends in defined categories, track actual expenses and compare estimated expenses against actual expenditures. (Budget, Estimated, Actual, Expenses, Tracking)

Spending Tracker (pdf) (CFPB) Tool: details the steps to take to accurately track expenditures in order to make financial adjustments. Contains worksheets to analyze spending. (Tracking, Categories, Work Sheet) 

Money Powerup Packs: (module with supplies) (TPA) Tool: Every pack contains all the materials you need to advertise, facilitate, and evaluate an event including: flyers, welcome video, facilitator guides, group activities, take home activities to play with the whole family (in English and Spanish), and event surveys. (Heart and Brain, needs and wants)

Economic Literacy Resources

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Sharing Money Memories (.docx) Tool from Money Habitudes, Syble Solomon. A guided reflection and group discussion on how a participant’s money history and values affect they ways they relate to and manage money. (Money Memories, Money Histories, Values, Influences, Family, Reflection)

Spotting Red Flags (PDF) (YMYG) Handout: If you spot one of these sales tactics or red flags when you’re shopping for financial products or services, think twice before you sign anything. It’s always okay to walk away from a purchase if something doesn’t feel right or you see a red flag (predatory sales tactics, fine print, fees)

Why local matters (Website) (ILSR) Studies show that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, a significantly greater portion of your money is then used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — further strengthening the economic base of our whole community.

Additional Resources

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Putting Goals into Action (PDF) (CFPB) Tool: Before you can accomplish a goal, you need a plan for how to achieve it. This tool helps you turn your SMART goals into an easy-to-follow action plan (setting goals, action plan, steps, resources).

Real Wage Handout (.docx) (Julie Wang) Time and money are intertwined, and the relationship between them frames all of our financial decisions. To illustrate, you can calculate your real hourly wage. (opportunity costs, life hours costs)

Revisiting Goals (PDF) (CFPB) Handout: Common reasons you may need to adjust your goals and some tips for how to revise them (emergency savings, questions, action steps).

Setting SMART Goals (PDF) (CFPB) Tool: Defines the acronym SMART for goal setting and provide examples of how to translate individual goals into SMART Goals. (SMART Goals, Worksheet, Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, Time-bound)

SMART goals worksheet (PDF) (Community Vision) Worksheet: Questions to assist in goal setting, where you identify a goal and then answer questions based on SMART goals. (SMART Goals, Worksheet, Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, Time-bound)

Tips for managing family lending and borrowing (PDF) (CFPB) Informal money arrangements among friends and family are very common. It is natural to turn to people close to you for help when you need it and to want to help others. However, sometimes unclear communication or misunderstandings can cause strain on your relationships and unnecessary financial hardship. Discussing financial arrangements among friends and family up front can help reduce strain. It may feel awkward to have a frank conversation, but keep in mind the goal is to come up with an arrangement that works for everyone involved.

Understanding and setting SMART Goals (.docx) (REACH CDC) Tool: This handout defines the acronym SMART so that participants understand what is required to make a SMART goal. It also includes a worksheet that walks participants through the process. (SMART Goals, Worksheet, Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, Time-bound)