Creating Financial Education for Tribal Communities
Financial wealth for mental health—it’s a mouthful to say and it’s something that is so important, yet often overlooked. Financial stability is one of the key ingredients in having a good mental health outlook on life. Why? Because when you’re worrying about money, you’re not worrying about anything else.
Financial education is vital for tribal communities who have been historically marginalized and left out of mainstream financial conversations. When tribal communities have access to financial education, they see improvement in their mental health, overall wellness, and economic status.
In this blog, we’ll explore how financial literacy is the key to unlocking financial stability and mental health for tribal communities.
Current Financial Landscape for Tribal Communities
It’s no secret that tribal communities have been dealt a hard hand when it comes to financial stability. From being forced to move off of their ancestral lands to being shut out of mainstream financial institutions, tribal communities have had to create their own unique financial systems. This has led to higher rates of poverty and financial insecurity within these communities.
In fact, according to a report by the Federal Reserve, American Indian and Alaska Native households have a median income that is just 60% of the national median. This financial insecurity can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety, which can impact mental health.
According to a report by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), “nearly half of American Indian and Alaska Native adults say they don’t have enough money to live comfortably, and four in 10 say they are not saving enough for retirement.” The same report found that only 40 percent of AI/AN adults feel “very” or “somewhat” confident in their ability to manage their finances.
There are many factors that contribute to financial instability and poor mental health in tribal communities. Some of these include historical trauma, systemic racism, and lack of access to resources.
Many tribal members live in poverty and do not have access to traditional banking services. As a result, they often turn to high-interest payday loans and other forms of predatory lending. This can lead to a cycle of debt that is difficult to break free from. Financial education can help tribal members make better decisions about their money and avoid costly mistakes.
There are several barriers to financial education in tribal communities. One barrier is a lack of accessible and culturally relevant resources. Financial education materials that are not culturally relevant or understandable can be ineffective.
Another barrier is a lack of trust in financial institutions. Many individuals in tribal communities have had negative experiences with banks and other financial institutions. This can make it difficult to build trust and open up about finances. Finally, a lack of financial literacy among adults can make it difficult to teach children and youth about money management.
Financial education can help to mitigate some of these factors by providing tribal communities with the tools and knowledge they need to build financial stability. Financial education can also help to improve mental health by teaching people how to manage their money in a way that is beneficial for their overall wellbeing.
Steps to Creating Financial Wellness
Establish Financial Literacy
Start with the basics. Financial literacy is key. This means having a clear understanding of money, how it works, and what it can do for you.
It’s crucial to increase financial literacy. This can be done through financial education programs that are specific to the needs of tribal communities. Financial literacy will empower individuals within these communities to make sound financial decisions and build wealth over time.
Provide Access to Financial Education
Create opportunities for financial education. This can be done through online resources, community events, or even one-on-one conversations.
Increasing access to financial institutions and products can be done by working with financial institutions to create products that are accessible and tailored to the needs of tribal communities. It’s important that these products are culturally relevant and meet the unique financial needs of these communities.
Financial education teaches people about:
- Money Management
- Saving and investing
And covers topics like:
- Credit and debit
- Interest Rates
- Financial goal setting
- Home ownership
- Financial scams and fraud
Financial education can be taught in formal settings like schools or community organizations. And it can also be taught informally through conversations between family and friends.
Another solution is to provide Financial Literacy Ambassadors in each tribe. These Financial Literacy Ambassadors would be responsible for delivering financial education to adults and children in the community.
Help Make it Easy
Make sure that financial education is “user-friendly” and easy for everyone to grasp. This means breaking down complex concepts and making them understandable for everyone. Most importantly, financial education should be culturally relevant. This means that it should be tailored to the specific needs of the community.
Creating financial education and wellness for tribal communities is so important because it can have a ripple effect of positive change. When tribal communities are financially stable, they are able to invest in their mental health, overall wellness, and economic status. This creates a cycle of positive change that can lift up an entire community. Financial literacy is the key to unlocking this potential. By providing access to financial education, we can help tribal communities thrive.
We at RWM Financial Group, specialize in working with tribal communities and offering tribal services. We are committed to the independence, excellence, and pursuit of your tribe’s sovereignty and financial goals. Reach out to our team to learn more.