RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI), a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages, is pleased to launch two new services – Assure Money Services and WiseTrac. Since its inception in 1998, CESI has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide improve their money management skills and experience debt-free living.
“These two programs are geared to different audiences – active workers and retirees – but with the same goal of helping consumers reclaim their financial freedom,” said Diane Chen, CEO of CESI. “Assure Money Services assists older consumers in budgeting for their future to ease the financial stresses of retirement. WiseTrac enables employers to offer a financial literacy program to their employees, therefore increasing their productivity and relieving the stresses of money management.”
Assure Money Services changes the way seniors view money management
Assure Money Services (AMS), www.AssureMoneyServices.org, is an innovative financial services product that enables older consumers – and their caregivers – to plan for and live a financially-stable retirement by linking our financial counseling with a suite of CESI products including online bill pay, budgeting, educational tools and benefits analysis. AMS is available for purchase directly from CESI or through partnerships with government agencies and associations that serve the seniors marketplace.
Studies at the Center for Retirement Research show that one-third of this older population faces “severe financial stress” due to unexpected medical bills or life events. A significant number of the lower-income households in the United States do not have a financial relationship with a bank or credit union from which to draw in an emergency. The result is that many older adults find themselves losing their independence and requiring assistance from family members. AMS seeks to eliminate this stress for the older adult and their family.
After an initial assessment with a trained financial counselor, the client is set up with a tailored online educational program that addresses any issues they might be facing. The counselor and the client start an action plan to deal with debt, cash flow and savings, as well as looking into options that save money and time such as online bill pay. The client’s existing banking services are, as necessary, expanded to include checking and savings accounts, as well as long-term retirement funds.
“The AMS program is relevant and timely to retired seniors during their individual life stages, immediately actionable with clear goals and activities set up front, and ongoing through monthly individual phone counseling, monthly bill pay and cash management and online assistance and alerts,” said Neil Ellington, Executive Vice President at CESI.
Ellington continued, “The positive impacts of the AMS services will be far-reaching for consumers and their families. Through the ongoing personal counseling and tools available, the majority of enrolled individuals will meet the goals that were set at enrollment with the help of the CESI counselor.”
WiseTrac enables employers an easy way to educate their employees on finance
Through WiseTrac, www.TheWiseTrac.org, CESI has developed an innovative, behavior-driven financial education program geared toward pioneering employers that focus on the financial well-being of their staff.
WiseTrac counselors will work with individual employees to identify their specific financial goals, determine what behavioral modifications are necessary to achieve them, map out a customized action plan to monitor incremental behavioral change and track major indicators to determine success.
“Each participant will complete a comprehensive financial analysis that includes pre-testing to determine their level of financial education and post-testing to help determine advanced knowledge of each behavior modification necessary for success,” said Ellington. “It’s important to note that after each interaction, the participant will be given a specific action plan based on their own level of engagement.”
Company benefits from offering financial education include saving money through improved productivity, reduced health care costs, lower absenteeism and turnover, and better use of employee benefits. According to a 2009 Financial Literacy Partners study, the typical ROI for employers who provide employees with access to quality financial literacy programs is 3:1 or more.
WiseTrac by CESI offers three different levels of engagement for companies to provide its employees:
- Guided – Self-reporting through a secure CESI website to gauge level of understanding and opportunity for advancement.
- Monitored – Monthly reporting sessions where CESI counseling staff reviews major indicators with each participant.
- Managed – This level of service includes monitored service and a more intensive, detailed counseling session where all financial activity is verified. Using the client’s current financial relationships, we use tools to design the optimal solution and confirm success each month by setting up a specific pre-pay schedule for debt and savings.
By offering these varying levels of support, CESI’s comprehensive approach enables consistent, positive decision making, which leads to incremental behavior change. This is vitally important, since studies show that individuals attending financial education workshops desire the benefits of better financial fitness. They also express a desire to increase their savings, pay down credit card debt and contribute to their retirement plan. Following the workshops, attendees claim to have an increased confidence in making financial decisions. Unfortunately, history tells us that these insights are short-lived.
“WiseTrac is practical, financial education courseware that offers one-on-one coaching and teaches the basics and advanced skills for personal and professional finance management,” said Ellington. “The courses are designed to effect long-term change of behavior in finance management versus focusing solely on the transfer of knowledge.”
Courses available through the WiseTrac curriculum include understanding credit, debt management, housing, 401(k) investing and many others.
CESI is a not-for-profit organization that helps consumers achieve financial freedom by offering a complete life cycle of services: debt management, housing counseling, credit counseling, financial education and pre-bankruptcy counseling. For more information, please visit www.CesiDebtSolutions.org or call 1-855-716-2451.