How to Help Low-Wage Workers Pay Bills
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will host a series of webinars next month for professionals and volunteers who regularly work with low-income clients and want guidance on how to help them with their finances.
People who serve this vulnerable population may want to help but don’t always feel comfortable giving advice. CFPB has assembled an online toolkit – a companion to the webinars – filled with simple, practical solutions and suggestions about how to get clients to open up about their finances or overcome the emotional obstacles to change. The agency also supplies professionals with thought-provoking questions for their clients about a range of financial issues.
“There are no right or wrong answers,” CFPB explains.
The webinars, scheduled for March, are open to everyone, including social service case workers, legal aid providers, housing counselors, tax preparers, non-profit volunteers, financial advisers, and local government officials.
The agency’s package of tips, tools and worksheets cover the basics that can make a big difference to families on a tight budget. A couple examples are a Spending Tracker to help them manage their expenses and a Comparing Auto Loans worksheet for car shopping.
Try these links for more information:
- Registration for the webinars scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 10, 17 and 24.
- Overview of CFPB resources.
- Financial Empowerment Toolkit, which includes numerous simple worksheets for clients.
- Video with tips for prioritizing bill payment when clients come up short.
- Resources (in seven languages) to guide workers on bill paying.
- Videos on how to get a credit report, negotiate with creditors and more.
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The biggest annual cost for low wage workers is healthcare especially if they are not covered by an employee plan. The bill in the US for health last year was 4.1 trillion dollars or 20% of GDP or 3 to 4x more than any other country in the world and the worst outcomes according to a recent study done by the Commonwealth Fund.