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Money Smart News Idea Exchange – Summer/ Fall 2015

Teaching Money Smart for Older Adults: Lessons Learned and Practical Tips From the Field

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In this edition of Money Smart Idea Exchange, we share helpful tips from Jenefer Duane, Senior Program Analyst, Office for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), on strategic ways to be successful at using Money Smart for Older Adults (MSOA) to teach older adults how to protect their valuable information and secure their financial future.

Consider collaborating with organizations that respond to elder abuse or work with older adults. Potential partners may include Area Agencies on Aging ( (local offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that serve older Americans), adult protective services, law enforcement agencies, legal services, senior housing facilities, home health providers, and financial institutions. In some cases, you may be able to incorporate the training into other strategic initiatives in a community, such as senior-focused outreach programs.

Help develop a local or regional speaker's bureau on topics related to older adults and personal finances. Check with your local Agency on Aging about a nearby multi-disciplinary group working on elder abuse issues or a Financial Abuse Specialist Team (also known as a FAST team and consisting of professionals from public agencies or public-private partnerships who focus on complex financial abuse cases). They help older adults avoid financial exploitation and many would welcome support with their community education and outreach. If none exist in your area, there may be opportunities to collaborate with key stakeholders to form a coalition and a speaker's bureau of subject matter experts.

Set goals for training trainers in your community and make commitments to provide MSOA presentations. Setting targets for training and outreach can help unite and motivate partners to reach their goals.

Seek broader opportunities to reach a wider audience. Community groups, faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, and Chambers of Commerce are just a few examples.

Solicit sponsorship support as needed. Donations from foundations and corporate sponsors can provide operational and training costs, and even incentives such as refreshments and door prizes for older participants. Collaborating with financial institutions and others in the community —especially those that offer programming or services to seniors — can be a way to leverage combined resources toward a common goal.

Consider your local public-access television and radio stations. As noted in our Summer 2015 Success Stories, the Vital Aging Commission of Olmstead County in Rochester, Minnesota, is partnering with Olmstead County Adult Protective Services and Rochester Community and Technical College to produce a television program to raise awareness.

Maximize use of materials from trusted sources. In addition to the CFPB and the FDIC, agencies and organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority provide links on their websites to order free resources.

Use evaluation feedback to improve performance. Every module of MSOA includes pre- and post-assessments. Consider using these surveys to measure what areas of your course are most helpful and what could be improved. These evaluations also can provide opportunities to celebrate team achievements.

See more teaching tips from the Money Smart Idea Exchange (Read more.)

Please share with us any techniques that helped you make your Money Smart educational program successful. Send them by e-mail to For help or information on how to use the Money Smart financial education curriculum, contact

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