The Sharpen program helps consumers address their primary financial challenges through targeted education and counseling. The program is available in English and Spanish and consists of the following:
• MyMoneyCheckUp is an online self-assessment that helps increase a client’s awareness of their own financial activities and overall financial health and provides ways to help.
• Customized One-on-One Financial Reviews take place with an NFCC Certified Credit Counselor. These sessions are intended to help clients establish goals and a personalized action plan.
• Hands on Banking for Military is an element of the financial education program specifically developed by Wells Fargo to address the unique needs of service members, veterans and their families at each stage of their careers and lives. Available nationally through NFCC member agencies and online at handsonbanking.org, the program offers 10 individual modules across a range of topics, from banking basics to planning for retirement.
• eCoaching, with automated email and text reminders, helps clients stay on track.
Wells Fargo has been working alongside the NFCC since 2013 to bring Hands on Banking for Military classes and resources to service members in the continental United States and Puerto Rico.
In addition to the group education designed to keep military personnel and their families on a path to financial stability, the nationwide network of counselors provide personalized financial reviews, budget planning and concrete solutions to pressing financial concerns.
Military and veteran groups seeking an NFCC Member representative to lead a class, or individuals who would like to schedule a session with a financial specialist, can contact the NFCC toll-free at 855-374-2773.
More than 75,000 people have been helped through the Sharpen program since it was launched in 2013, and nearly one-quarter of those are active duty military, veterans and their families. Researchers from The Ohio State University reported that:
• 67% of Sharpen participants say the program helped them better manage their money;
• 68% say it helped them set financial goals; 70% improved their overall financial confidence; and
• 73% are paying their debt more consistently
The average total debt for participants decreased by $17,000 over a year and a half after completing the program and their credit scores improved from 586 to 601. The 600 threshold opens up access to more affordable credit.