Minneapolis, MN – During a time when confidence in America’s banks is lower than it has been since the financial crisis of 2008, and just as Financial Literacy Month kicks off, a Minnesota-based non-profit corporation, Penny Forward Inc, has launched their first online course for 2023, “Budgeting And Banking Basics: A Guide To Basic Money Management”. Penny Forward’s online platform is unique because it is designed to provide financial education, tools and coaching to more than seven million Americans who are blind or have low vision.
Founded in 2021 by Minnesota native Christopher Peterson, who is himself blind, Penny Forward exists to close the financial capability gap for people who are blind or experiencing vision loss. By closing this gap, Peterson believes that poverty and under-employment levels which are endemic in the blind community can finally begin to be addressed. “We have been talking about the 70% unemployment rate within the blind community for decades,” says Peterson. “So far, progress to reduce that number has been slow. On the other hand, studies have shown that financial education programs make a significant difference, especially when they focus on the unique needs of minority communities, so this is our way of helping our community build the skills we need to improve our financial health ourselves. Once we do that, we will be more employable and able to weather hard times, take advantage of rare opportunities, and generously support causes we deeply care about.”
The Penny Forward platform was designed from the ground up to meet the unique needs of people who are blind or have low vision. Every webpage is optimized to be accessible for people who use assistive technologies such as screen magnification and software that reads text aloud and/or reproduces the text in tactile braille characters. Penny Forward’s online courses also aim to address common concerns such as accessibility of financial services to blind customers. Says Peterson, “Even as I began developing our curriculum, I had to deal with many websites that were difficult or impossible to navigate with assistive technology. We’re removing those barriers so our members can focus on their financial health rather than simply trying to navigate the screen.”
Penny Forward offers affordable monthly and yearly memberships, and members can take advantage of self-paced, online financial education courses, regularly-scheduled group chats held virtually, and discounted access to one to one coaching services—all designed to help members improve their financial health.
In “Budgeting And Banking Basics”, students learn how to manage their personal finances effectively. In addition to learning the skills necessary to track their spending, make a budget, and review and adjust their budget as their financial situations change, the course covers the basics of banking and the different types of financial institutions, including banks and credit unions. Students also learn about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which ensure that their money is safe in the event of bank failures.
The course also provides a comprehensive overview of checking and savings accounts, and how they differ. Students learn how to open, manage, and use these accounts to their advantage.
Finally, the course covers the benefits of online and mobile banking, and how they can help blind people manage their money more efficiently.
ABOUT PENNY FORWARD
Founded in 2021, Penny Forward Inc is a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation whose mission is to help blind people confidently navigate the landscape of personal finance through education, mentoring, and mutual support. They envision a world where blind people have the resources to weather hard times, take advantage of rare opportunities, and generously support causes they deeply care about. Since their founding they’ve released four online courses, held over 52 group chats, and presented at the American Council of the Blind and National Federation of the Blind national conventions. More information about Penny Forward is available at their web site, pennyforward.com.
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