State of Texas: Using Money Habitudes as part of classes on how to avoid future bankruptcy
The State of Texas mandates that any Texan who files for bankruptcy must attend a bankruptcy class which focuses on how to avoid bankruptcy in the future. Beverly Mercer, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee based in Waco, TX, is tasked with teaching those who have filed for bankruptcy how to be financially successful for the future – and doing so in a way that is non-threatening and engaging. That’s a tall order for Mercer, who teaches 3-5 classes per month with 15-30 people, but using Money Habitudes has helped make her job easier. The classes where attendance is mandatory include a diverse audience of young and old people, those with kids and without, and participants of varying education and experience managing their finances. Some ended up in bankruptcy due to job loss, family crises or medical emergencies, and others from simple overspending.
Using Money Habitudes as part of the state’s mandated bankruptcy class has helped:
- Ease participants into discussions about money. Mercer’s workshop participants are already stressed and expected to be judged for filing bankruptcy, so diving into a discussion on budgeting doesn’t work.
- Help people declaring bankruptcy better understand what has gotten them into financial trouble and motivate them to take steps toward responsible money management.
- Make talking about money not just personal and relevant, but also entertaining and effective.
- People understand the big financial patterns in their lives by starting with small, nonjudgmental, easy-to-comprehend statements, and then moving onto where they may have had problems and how to work on them.
How They Use Money Habitudes
- The 2.5 hour bankruptcy class starts with a 20-minute video about the bankruptcy process.
- Mercer then uses the next hour to help her students come to understand their own philosophy, habits and attitudes related to money. Each attendee uses an adult deck of Money Habitudes, while Mercer talks about how these personality traits and behaviors have shaped their lives and finances. Discussion is augmented with setting and achieving financial goals.
- Each student is given a handout to take home of the table included in the Money Habitudes Professional Guide. The last hour focuses on the practicalities of managing money and budgeting; Mercer developed most of her curriculum in collaboration with other bankruptcy instructors.