When it comes to finances, many Mainers are feeling unwell. According to a recent study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)1, over 45% of Maine people are living without a rainy-day fund and 18% are spending more money than they are able to earn. These financial realities can have a major impact on one’s financial stability. Financial instability can lead to feeling stressed, and stress, especially over time, can have a negative impact on our overall health and well-being. The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has solutions to help.
FAME has long been known as the agency to help Maine businesses grow, but another important part of its mission is to support Maine people in affording higher education through a variety of grants, loans, loan repayment, college access, outreach, and financial education programs.
FAME’s new Employer Financial Wellness Roadmap provides a step-by-step guide to employers who may be interested in offering financial wellness programs to their employees. The roadmap provides evidence for why employee financial wellness is so valuable in improving employees’ lives, and in turn, the overall success of an organization. The roadmap includes resources, best practices, technical support, and research to guide development and implementation, including an overview of FAME’s employee financial wellness program.
Mary Dyer, FAME’s Financial Education Programs Manager, states: “One-third of employees rank financial wellness programs as their top employee benefit, and studies show that employees want help with their finances but may be too embarrassed to ask. In 2018, we implemented our own employee financial wellness program and the benefits have far exceeded the monetary costs. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our employees have been able make significant financial gains, including reductions in debt, increased savings, and improvement in their overall financial well-being.”
In addition to the Roadmap, FAME also provides every Maine person free access to a robust online personal wellness tool. FAME’s online financial education platform, powered by Enrich, starts with a financial checkup, makes personalized recommendations, and helps users track progress on their financial wellness journey. The online tool also offers on-demand courses and tools, including a money personality tool that helps users understand their money mindset.
A similar tool for high school and college students is also available. Powered by iGrad, the content on the site is designed to help students on a path toward financial wellness, and includes topics such as responsible borrowing, budgeting, saving and more.
“FAME is expanding our focus on financial wellness as we try to help Maine become a healthier economy for its residents and businesses. We provide outreach to families, students, and those seeking workforce accreditation of all ages throughout the state to help prepare the people of Maine for financially successful futures,” stated FAME Acting Chief Executive Officer Carlos Mello.
In addition, FAME continues to provide:
- Financial Check-Ins with FAME webinar series to reach Maine people with the financial topics they care about and through live interactive webinars on the first Friday of the month. The webinars are also recorded and available to all.
- Claim Your Future®, an interactive game designed to encourage students to explore the return on investment of various career options and financial decisions. All Maine schools and non-profit organizations that work with youth can play Claim Your Future online or request a free game kit.
- Invest in ME Reads, a family financial education program.
- Support in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Timely information and tips via reminder texts, emails and social media campaigns to help Maine people become financially fit. Anyone can join or follow to receive this valuable information.
“As State Treasurer and a FAME Board member, I want to encourage Maine families and students to focus on their financial wellness. Taking advantage of these free resources provided by FAME and others can help youth and adults develop lifelong financial wellness. This is especially helpful when it comes to saving and paying for higher education, and planning future careers and household budgets,” stated Maine State Treasurer Henry E.M. Beck.
About iGrad and Enrich:
iGrad is a San Diego-based financial technology company that offers artificial intelligence-powered financial wellness solutions to more than 600 colleges and universities, and more than 20,000 employers and more than 300 financial institutions. For more information about the iGrad platform, visit https://www.igradfinancialwellness.com For more information about the Enrich platform for employers and financial institutions, visit https://www.enrich.org.
1 – FINRA Study: https://www.usfinancialcapability.org/results.php?region=ME