New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Financial success program helps lower debt, increase wages

October 13, 2014
Creighton University
Financial literacy education program helps low-income single mothers reduces debt, and improve their income with an added benefit of lost weight due to a reduction in stress.

In a program where the mantra is "Cash is Queen," low-income single mothers spend nine weeks in two-hour training sessions, receive ongoing financial coaching for a year and have access to dinner and childcare during the meetings.

Through hope and humor, participants in the Financial Success Program, part of Creighton's Financial Hope Collaborative, are able to change their financial behaviors and, in turn, improve their health. More than 200 women have gone through the program since it began in 2009.

Income for these women increased on average by almost $7,000, more than 30 percent experienced weight loss, 52 percent had a reduction in body-mass index (BMI),and 41 percent reduced body fat percentage. Many of their children experienced reductions in BMI and as well.

Research shows that 60 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a record number are living below poverty level, says program director Julie Kalkowski of Creighton's Heider College of Business. For these people, managing monthly finances is difficult and can severely limit their social and professional mobility.

Taxes, banking procedures, avoiding predatory lenders, savings strategies, cash flow management and budgeting are among the topics covered in the program.

Kalkowski creates innovative programs and financial products that help low- and moderate-income families and individuals gain access to the financial mainstream. Her efforts are producing results.

Kalkowski found that while 37 percent of the single mothers in the Financial Success program had used a payday loan services three or more times in the year prior to starting the program, that dropped to 4 percent a year after graduating from the program. Graduates also had significantly fewer overdrafts and utility shut-off notices. Participants were able to sign up for level payment plans with utility companies and some obtained debt consolidation loans.

"Financial stress should be addressed through education, and that's what the Financial Success Program does," Kalkowski says. "And when designing multifaceted community-based cardiovascular risk reduction programs, the impact of financial stress should certainly be taken into consideration."

Kalkowski says the Financial Hope Collaborative is the first program to report the impact of financial education on the health and well-being of low-income single mothers. In addition to improved financial outcomes, participants demonstrated a significant reduction in fast-food consumption and improvements in hopefulness and their perceived quality of life.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Creighton University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cite This Page:

Creighton University. "Financial success program helps lower debt, increase wages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2014. <>.
Creighton University. (2014, October 13). Financial success program helps lower debt, increase wages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2024 from
Creighton University. "Financial success program helps lower debt, increase wages." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 21, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily