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Teaching Better Financial Habits to Habitat Residents

Cadence Bank provides hands-on learning for all ages

Teaching Better Financial Habits to Habitat Residents

At Cadence, we seek to empower the communities we serve by improving financial literacy through financial investments and volunteerism.


Amanda Hall, a Cadence Branch Manager in Macon, Georgia, sits on the selection committee for the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity, helping to review the credit records of families who have applied for Habitat homes. Each year, the committee helps coach the applicants on how to clean up their credit scores and develop a budget for buying a home.


After serving on the selection committee for 12 years, Amanda was perplexed that there wasn’t a follow-up program to check in with the homeowners to see how their financial skills were developing and if the budgets were working for them. “With Cadence’s commitment to promoting financial literacy, I thought this was an excellent opportunity to develop a program that would help with that essential part of homeownership – managing the budget, paying their bills and so forth,” says Amanda.


Amanda focused on Macon’s Lynmore Estates neighborhood, where Habitat for Humanity has built more than 40 homes over the past 10 years. She helped organize a community day in September 2019 for Lynmore Estates residents. She also rounded up 34 Cadence associates to volunteer for the event, which drew 20 residents. The community day offered the residents a financial second look, to assess how they were progressing in their financial literacy and fiscal health.


Teaching Better Financial Habits to Habitat Residents

Hands-on learning for all ages


“We wanted to make it both fun and educational, so we planned activities not only for the adult homeowners, but also for children – babies to pre-k all the way through high schoolers,” says Amanda. Activities included number blocks for the littlest ones, math-focused card games (like Uno) and bingo games that help kids learn checkbook skills.


High schoolers learned the challenges of working within a household budget. “I gave them each a mock salary and challenged them to figure out how to make that work to support four people in their household,” says Amanda. “I had them break down their pay by month, by week and by hour and calculate the amount of taxes withheld, so they could see what their net income was. And then we gave them four different categories of houses to choose from (and the bills associated with each) and four different types of cars to choose from (and the expenses attached to each choice).” Their household budget worksheet also included allocations for savings and “fun money.”


The adult homeowners were counseled one-on-one about improving their credit and got an assessment of their current budget and bills. They also received coaching on the importance of documenting and tracking their finances. “We talked about savings and fun money with the adults, too,” says Amanda.


Meaningful lessons for participants and volunteers


For one unique case, Amanda worked with a young woman who was living with her sister but had a goal of being able to move out and support herself. “She wasn’t making enough to do that at the time, but we talked about her interests and skills, looked online for job opportunities and then developed a budget in reverse. We estimated what her house payment, expenses and so on would be and determined the amount of salary she’d need to cover all of that, so she’d know when she was applying and interviewing for jobs what salary she’d need to reach her goal.”


“That was an unexpected teaching opportunity for me,” says Amanda. “And I think there were quite a few of the Cadence volunteers who had some eye-opening experiences and developed a new appreciation for financial literacy and stability.”


Cadence supports our communities


Cadence Bank is proud of Amanda and all our associates who donate their time in the communities where we live and work. When people come together to make a difference for others the positive impacts can be witnessed for years to come. Read more about our mission, vision and values.


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