Taking steps towards financial wellbeing – Central West NSW

Financial wellbeing empowers people to have control of their lives and build their economic resilience. But sadly, right here in Australia, there are many people living on the margins. They face enormous financial barriers preventing them from building adequate and sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families. Our Financial Inclusion Team deliver a range of programs to address these obstacles every day.

Ecstra Foundation is supporting the team at Mary Mackillop Today to expand the Financial Inclusion Program in the Central West region with financial wellbeing sessions made available for all including women, young people, and seniors across the diverse local community.

Our financial education programs are designed for individuals or small groups to encourage them to make more informed financial decisions. When people take part in the workshops, they walk away with the knowledge and skills they need to make better money choices and feel confident about their financial future. We take a holistic approach to help people address financial challenges, not only through our education programs, but also through our No Interest Loans, Work and Development Orders, Energy Accounts Payment Assistance, and advocacy work.

Our dedicated Financial Inclusion Officer, Julie, shared the impact she has seen firsthand through the Money Talks program in Bathurst:

Taking steps towards financial wellbeing“Our goal is to empower people, to give them control over their own money decisions. We provide information and tools to assist them to make more informed choices.

Everyone is an individual – every situation is unique. We look at a person’s whole financial picture – and advocate for them where they might need it.

We tailor our program as we go according to what works for a person. Some people prefer one on one sessions, some like to attend group sessions. Some people I might work with for a short time to get them going, and some I’ll work with regularly over several months.

I’m guided by the person and the goals they want to set for themselves. It’s important for people to feel like they’re working towards something achievable.

One of my recent clients had never been on a holiday. His dream was to save up enough money to go see the dolphins in Queensland. We worked together to help him learn the difference between needs and wants in his budget so he could start building up some savings. He eventually saved enough to go on his holiday!

It means a lot when clients come back after a session to show me how they’ve adjusted their spending. They’re so excited to see the results of applying their new skills.

It’s not about going without – it’s about prioritising to reach a goal that they’ve set for themselves. And ultimately, this helps people to improve their quality of life.”