Building Financial Security Amid Inflation

Rising gas prices. Inflation continues. Finances are definitely a priority for many people these days as they feel pressure on their wallets.

This year, the inflation rate hit its highest level since 1981, leaving many individuals and families worried about their financial security.

When individuals and families have a strong financial footing, they have the opportunity to save, support themselves financially, and help ensure that their children have the best chance of being healthy and productive citizens.

At United Way, we are committed to helping local people achieve strong financial security through programs and services that will set them on the path to success – a worthwhile investment in the overall health of our community.

An example of the support we provide is connecting people to immediate financial help through our 2-1-1 helpline. 2-1-1 connects people with resources like rent and utility assistance, food pantries, transportation, medical bill assistance, and more.

We also support financial education programs to help people develop better money management practices. United Way’s Access, Savings, Support, Education and Training (ASSET) program focuses on financial literacy and economic mobility by pairing participants with financial coaches who help them build better credit and set financial goals. Plus, every April, we partner with the St. Louis Regional Financial Empowerment Coalition to host dozens of events focused on financial literacy and money-saving tips in what we call Money Smart Month. .

During tax season, we partner with groups to provide free tax preparation services to low- and middle-income individuals and families. This support helps local families save money through free tax preparation assistance and helps ensure they receive all the refunds to which they are entitled. This program not only helps the family, but the region as a whole, as research shows that families use their tax refunds locally for groceries, household needs, transportation, housing and education, which which stimulates the local economy.

We are proud to partner with several other agencies and nonprofits who are committed to helping us break the cycle of poverty in local communities and improve financial stability. When more families are financially secure, the whole region benefits, which is something we should all be working toward.

Debbie Irwin is Director of Community Economic Development for United Way of Greater St. Louis

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