Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

Through its Life-Improving Financial Tools (LIFT) program, Ladder Up helps clients build a lasting foundation for self-sufficiency through two sub-programs: the Higher Education Access Initiative and Financial Literacy Program. Ladder Up helps students, adults, and families build a foundation for financial stability by working with them to secure financial aid for higher education and to gain the skills needed to make sound financial choices.

Ladder Up’s Financial Literacy Program is founded on the belief that developing financial practices is a vital part of the journey to financial freedom. Ladder Up provides free financial literacy education and coaching to help individuals gain the knowledge and tools needed to make sound financial decisions:

  • Financial Literacy Workshops – Interactive sessions delivered at partner sites throughout the Chicago area, covering topics such as banking and saving, credit control, budgeting, consumer responsibility, and personal income tax.
  • Financial Coaching – One-on-one sessions for individuals interested in creating an effective budget, reviewing and building their credit histories, opening a checking or savings account, preventing identity theft, and more.
  • Save Up – Services offered at select Tax Assistance Program sites during the tax season that help tax clients access free and safe savings vehicles such as prepaid cards, savings accounts, and savings bonds.

Workshops for Partners

LIFT staff members facilitate workshops on various financial topics (listed below) at partner organizations throughout the Chicago area. Workshops can be tailored to meet the needs of different interests and audiences, whether as a stand-alone session or a series of sessions over several days or months. We have a particular interest in developing workshops sensitive to the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, crime victims, veterans, clients with concerns related to their immigration status, and clients with disabilities.

If you are interested in scheduling workshops for your school or organization, please use our online request form.

Budgeting
Topics include strategies for budgeting, fixed vs. flexible expenses, setting financial goals, tracking expenses, and how to use online applications to maintain a budget. A budgeting exercise helps participants see where they can spend less and save more.

Credit Control
Topics include how to manage credit wisely, what factors affects your credit score, the need for a good credit score, and how to build and maintain a good credit score.

Banking and Saving
Topics include how to choose the right bank account, the power of compound interest, strategies for saving, how to maintain a checking account, and how to find high-yield savings accounts.

Understanding your Tax Return
Topics include knowing when to file, common tax forms, determining your filing status, deductions and credits, and preparing a return. We also discuss the importance of filing, tax penalties, and resources available to help taxpayers file their returns.

Consumer Responsibility
Topics include setting priorities, planning big purchases while avoiding debt, consumer rights, common consumer scams, and preventing identity theft. For high school students, the workshop focuses on advertising, online privacy, and spending money wisely.

Special Topics
Please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page for more information about special topics, including Facilitated Self-Assistance (FSA) tax preparation sessions.

Financial Coaching

Ladder Up staff members meet one-on-one with individuals and families to help them achieve their financial goals. Activities include:

  • Accessing and reviewing your free credit reports
  • Building and re-building your credit history
  • Creating and maintaining a household budget
  • Opening a checking, savings, or retirement account
  • Preventing identity theft and avoiding consumer traps
  • Devising savings strategies and more!

For more information, call our hotline (312) 458-9105 and leave your name and contact information. If you are interested in receiving free one-on-one financial coaching, apply by using this form. If you would like a one-time credit pull session, please complete this form.

Save Up

Save Up provides Ladder Up tax clients with the tools and resources to save and build financial stability at tax time:

  • Free prepaid card enrollment
  • Free savings account enrollment
  • Savings contests and prizes

Save Up services are available at all Ladder Up tax sites.

Resources

mint.com

A free and secure online budgeting tool that consolidates financial accounts and organizes bills.

mymoney.gov

The U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics of financial education.

360financialliteracy.org
Information for people of all ages, even retirees!

annualcreditreport.com
The ONLY source for a free annual credit report.

bankrate.com

A tool to help you choose the best bank accounts, credit cards, and loans for your needs.

creditkarma.com
Learn how to read, understand, and improve your credit score. TransUnion and Equifax credit scores are updated weekly with a free account.

sba.gov

Tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration for entrepreneurs on opening a small business.

irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed

Wide variety of topics and information for those who are self-employed.

Testimonials

“This program provided useful information about budgeting and handling money efficiently. After these presentations, I realize how different my life can be if I start saving now.”
Irene L.

“The thought of tracking money has always been overwhelming for me, but Ladder Up really gave me a reality check about my personal habits and spending.”
Olivia S.

“My experience with Ladder Up was extremely positive. The tools I’ve gained from this workshop will help me manage my finances once I’m away at college.”
Luis M.