John McKenney is the Financial Education Coordinator for a government agency in Washington State. He provides a range of financial education workshops free of charge to organizations, schools, and groups in Washington State. He’s a partner and/or board member to governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, private organizations, educational service districts and school districts across the state, all with the underlying goal of providing financial education services to everyone, but with a focus on families, communities, and specific groups of people who have experienced generations of poverty or who have been historically marginalized and discriminated against. I also serve as a liaison between the greater public who are seeking financial related services and our state’s resources and services. He uses Money Mindset Cards to integrate coaching into his workshops..
How do you use Money Mindset Cards as part of your work?
In each of my monthly workshops, I use Money Mindset Cards to initiate discussions and elicit responses from the participants, because the willingness to talk about personal finances in a group setting can be difficult to establish. For many understandable reasons, folks are hesitant to share their personal stories, experiences, and lessons around money that they’ve learned or haven’t learned yet. The cards provide structured and un-intimidating means of starting these conversations. Many times, folks have to say little to nothing to begin their participation. But once that door has opened, quite frequently the flow of conversation and discussion takes on a new form and grows. The conversations that the cards promote are ones that can allow the participants to guide the direction of the conversation. I think despite their initial hesitation, folks want to talk about their experiences with finances, and naturally move towards the topics that allow groups to share their knowledge. The purpose of utilizing the cards is to allow for conversations to flow this way, while still providing an underlying guiding structure. The cards provide a way for everyone to become involved and for the gates of communication to open. I will frequently review the cards to help in creating lessons or to find ways to break away from the typical financial education lesson planning.
What do you believe about financial education participants?
I believe everyone can define their own idea of financial success and can set and reach their own financial goals. We all just need some guidance, reinforcement, and recollection along the way. I believe that everyone can learn a lot from our communities, families, and friends – we just need to find ways to fill in the gaps we all have regarding our knowledge surrounding finances.
What is a great day? What are the bright spots?
A great day is when I can successfully engage folks in conversations around budgeting, credit, debt, family finances, partner finances, fraud prevention/awareness, etc. and the conversations end up taking their own direction and folks leave feeling empowered to start making changes to their finances, budgets, habits, etc. The bright spots are when I can see folks becoming engaged and they begin asking questions that show they are eager to start taking further control of their money and making their money work for them.
What’s your favorite card and how do you use it?
Building Awareness of Your Money Mindset –- this card allows me to strike up conversations within my workshops most easily. It’s an easy ice-breaker card and it can allow everyone the opportunity to participate without saying much at all. Typically, someone will feel inclined to begin a conversation or make a comment about why they feel a certain way about their experience with money and the group will slowly open up more about their personal experiences with finances.