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Anthem Strong Families: Teaching personal finance in relationship skills classes

Kara Shade, the Director of Adult Programs at Anthem Strong Families, wanted to include a module about personal finances in her relationship skills curriculum that would emphasize fun, interactive activities, while leading people to understand and change their behaviors toward money. Anthem Strong Families focuses on vulnerable and at-risk populations including teens, single parents and low-income groups, engaged and married couples. They also conduct workforce development. Anthem Strong Families takes a behavioral approach to relationship education and life skills.


Since integrating Money Habitudes into the personal finances curriculum, Anthem Strong Families has:

  • Infused new energy and enthusiasm into the rest of the programs classes
  • Allowed a vast majority of participants to feel “more confident” in making “decisions about family finances” after taking the class.
  • Given a majority of attendees more awareness of how their “spending habits affect their children.”

How They Use Money Habitudes

  • Anthem Families offers three levels of classes for individual adults (this may include singles and parents attending by themselves). After completing Level I, participants can enroll in Level II classes, including “Strength Training,” “Anger Management,” “Parenting Piece by Piece” and “Money Habitudes.” The Money Habitudes activity occupies the majority of the 3-hour Level II finance class.
  • Money Habitudes classes usually have 10-20 participants. Participants look at their formative environment, attitudes and emotions as a component of making real behavior change. Classes are all interrelated; for example, the topic of “emotional triggers” will be discussed in the anger management class, the parenting class and the finance class.
  • The class begins with quick icebreakers and discussion about the money messages people receive. One quick icebreaker is to share “What would you say to money and what would money say to you, if it could talk?”
  • After the facilitator asks the class some quick money personality questions and introduces the idea of different money personalities, each participant gets a deck of Money Habitudes cards and does the basic sorting activity. Students then get to see and interpret their own money personality.
  • Discussions from the Money Habitudes lesson leads to larger group discussion about how people see and use money. Group discussion and sharing life experiences play a large role in all of Anthem Strong Families’ classes. The curriculum stresses activity and engagement over lectures.