Financial Videos’ Message: Please Deal

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Reflecting a lofty ambition to educate Delaware residents about financial management, state government officials put together some terrific videos.

This is not high-level finance – the speakers tell stories about real people facing up to the dimensional challenges of money and retirement.  Viewers outside Delaware might also find one of the 10 online Tedx talks valuable to them. Here are three:

Javier Torrijos, assistant director of construction, Delaware Department of Transportation:
His take on the immigrant experience in a nutshell: “The parents’ sacrifice equals the children’s future,” said Torrijos, who has two sons and whose own father left Columbia for a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, in 1964 so his children would have a shot at escaping poverty. Today’s immigrants are no different. But the pervasive ethos of family above all else, he argues, is responsible for some of the Latino immigrant community’s financial instability.

When required to make the impossible choice between going to college or straight to work to support family, family usually wins. “That mentality still exists” but needs to change if Latinos are to improve their lot, he said.

Susan Getman, deputy director, $tand By Me Delaware financial education program, and Anna Maria Chávez, chief strategy officer and senior vice president, National Council on Aging:
This blog’s readers should be familiar with the difficulties workers face in saving for retirement, from a shortage of employers offering 401(k)s to longer life spans and more time in retirement. Getman and Chavez give one piece of advice to workers and another to retirees: “start putting in time and effort” into retirement planning; and look for financial aid when retiring.

They described one older man who regained his independence after seeking help through his local senior center – these are “not just places where older people play bingo,” Getman said. After the man, a former Harlem Renaissance makeup artist, retired, he had reluctantly moved into his son’s place. But then his senior center connected him with an adviser in Delaware’s Stand by Me program who found him meal assistance and another $1,000 a month that he was eligible to receive from Social Security. The man moved back into his own apartment.

Karen Odom Walker, cabinet secretary, Department of Health and Social Services:
Credit card bills at the beginning of the school year, cable and Internet, car payments, the orthodontist, stagnation at the bottom of the wage scale, and expensive medical care – “your list,” Walker said.

Walker, a family physician, illustrated the strong links between health and money by recounting an extreme situation. Her former diabetes patient couldn’t always afford housing. When she couldn’t stay at a friend’s, she slept in a shelter that had no refrigerator available to store her insulin.

Poor people die younger. Debt is known to cause stress. Financial struggles cause blood pressure to rise. “Don’t let anyone tell you that your financial health doesn’t have anything to do with the health of your family,” the doctor says.

The remaining videos address the racial wealth gap, the job market, the path to homeownership and neighborhood revitalization, and “the three c’s of financial grit.”

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