Your Financial Future:
Programs & Projects
The core of WISER's work is the direct impact we have on women in communities across the country. Every year, WISER reaches tens of thousands of women with our workshops, trainings, print and electronic materials, and website. We accomplish this work through strategic partnerships. Below are examples of WISER's local and national projects and partnerships.
MANA - A National Latina Organization
For 19 years, WISER has partnered with MANA to educate Latinas and their families about the financial challenges they face in retirement and provide the tools and resources they need to help secure their financial futures. MANA empowers Latinas through leadership development, community service, and advocacy. Each year, WISER conducts a training workshop at MANA's Latina Leadership Institute, training hundreds of MANA chapter leaders to date through our "Latinas and Financial Planning" workshop curriculum, which includes topics such as claiming Social Security Benefits, "What to Do ‘When Life Happens'" and Issues Impacting Women During Divorce and Widowhood. The tools and resources WISER provides are then used to host local workshops and events with their own chapter members and communities across the country. Learn more about MANA at hermana.org.
West Virginia Rural Retirement Project
In West Virginia, the second most rural state in the U.S., women have the lowest workforce participation in the country, compounding the problems during their retirement years. Since 2003, WISER has been experimenting with innovative grassroots efforts to address this issue through its Rural Retirement Project. Between 2012 and 2015, WISER's Rural Retirement Project conducted the Appalachian Savings Project with self-employed childcare workers in Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia. The project demonstrates that low- and moderate-income workers interested in saving can accumulate significant savings, especially when there is a low-dollar, easily accessible savings vehicle, combined with a matched incentive to save. This project focused on childcare workers in the Appalachian regions of Ohio and West Virginia. Childcare workers--many of whom are self-employed--are among the lowest paid wage earners in the United States. Participants' total savings including the match averaged $1,150, estimated to be 5.5% of their average annual incomes. The project design can be used in other work sectors with high concentrations of self-employed and entrepreneurial workers (such as the farm, food and crafts sector), as well as promoted in lower-wage service sectors where retirement benefits are not offered, such as home-care and other service work.
For more information on the Appalachian Savings Project, including program evaluation reports, click here.
The iOme (I OWE ME) Challenge works to raise awareness about the impact of financial security in retirement on the social and economic well-being of all generations in our society. The Challenge encourages students to challenge status quo thinking about the current state of retirement and propose viable policy recommendations. Each year, student teams from across the country respond to the annual iOme Challenge question in the form of a 10,000-word essay and short promotional video. A Blue Ribbon Panel judges submissions and selects the winning team. The team wins a financial award and is invited to Washington, DC to present its submission at a forum organized by WISER, and to meet and discuss it with public policymakers. The iOme Challenge was established in in 2009. In 2015, WISER took over the management of the iOme Challenge. Learn more at iomechallenge.org.
Mothers Voices Georgia
WISER and Mothers Voices Georgia developed the financial literacy program, Smart Women and Money, which has been presented throughout the state of Georgia and beyond for more than 15 years. Led by WISER's Community Educator and Trainer based in Atlanta, the program has educated thousands of primarily older, African-American women and seniors on topics such as "How to Plan for a Secure Retirement," "Black Women and Money," and "Protecting Your Assets from Frauds and Scams." The program has been presented at numerous conferences, libraries, senior centers, community events and churches. Examples include: National Conference of Black Mayors, Spelman College, Goodwill Industries of Atlanta, National Congress of Black Women Atlanta Chapter, Lou Walker Senior Center, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Women's Employment Opportunity Project, Inc., and more.
WISER is working to establish a network of trainers available to help older adults understand retirement issues and improve their ability to manage their own finances. Together with Freddie Mac, WISER is developing basic money management workshops and easily accessible materials targeted for lower-income participants that incorporate Freddie Mac's CreditSmart curriculum. Working with our partners in the aging network, the program has trained leaders working with Hispanic, African-American and rural women across the country.
Montana Women's Financial Education
In 2013, WISER helped develop an "Introduction to Investing for Women" course that has already reached more than 200 women across the rural state of Montana. Taught by a trainer based in Missoula, this course focuses on the basics of personal financial management and provides an introduction to personal investing and planning for retirement. The course, offered in 2 and 4-week formats, has been taught throughout Montana, including courses Bozeman, Missoula, and Helena.
American Council of Life Insurers
Working together, WISER and ACLI have continued to bring the issue of lifetime income and long-term care to the forefront of discussions about women achieving retirement security. ACLI has been a steadfast partner in WISER's policy symposia and has co-hosted the annual iOme Challenge Forum with WISER that bring together policymakers, industry leaders, and other key partners.
National Adult Protective Services Association
Cases of elder financial abuse has increased in the U.S. and WISER and NAPSA have been on the forefront of educating NAPSA's network and the broader community about what elder financial abuse is, how to prevent and detect it, and what to do if you, or someone you know, is a victim. Together we have trained Adult Protective Services and other Aging Network leaders on this topic, developed workshop toolkits and published educational materials, including an 8-part series of guides on different types of financial frauds and scams, ways to prevent them, and resources for victims.
Nurses' Investor Education Project
The Nurses' Investor Education Project was a multi-year, joint partnership between WISER and the Center for American Nurses (now part of the American Nurses Association), funded by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, to identify nurses' specific financial information needs and provide them with tools to help them successfully manage and build their wealth into retirement. The Project worked with state nurse associations to train nurse leaders, conduct peer-to-peer financial education workshops, and provide no-strings-attached, straight-forward information and resources that can be easily accessed by nurses across the country. More than 800 nurses directly participated in the workshops, with thousands more reached through our print and media resources. In 2012, WISER released the final project report, Changing Investment and Savings Behavior of Nurses: The Nurses Investor Education Project. Click here to access the report and learn more about the project.