Identification of and recommendations for family financial management counselling in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Wilkinson, Shirley Dawn
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Although studies have documented the state of consumer indebtedness in terms of family characteristics, socio-economic status, and income debt ratios, few researchers have probed the role of financial institutions and social agencies in disseminating family financial management principles. A mailed Hiring Practices questionnaire and a Family Financial Services interview schedule were developed by the researcher to obtain data on a total of 16 research questions. These research questions examined the type, extent, and differences in family financial management counselling availab1e to families in Winnipeg; financial institutions' and social agencies' perceptions of the acceptability of person(s) trained in family financial management counselling; and recommendations for improving family financial management counselling in Winnipeg. Nine major findings were identified. First, involvement in family financial management counselling was acknowledged by 91.8 percent of the interviewees and denied by 67.7 percent of the mailed questionnaire respondents. Second, financial management group education was offered by 81.8 percent of the social agencies and 16.1 percent of the financial institutions. Third, credit was granted by 94.3 percent of financial institutions contrasted with 9.1 percent of social agencies. Fourth, managers and representatives were the common job titles mentioned by every type of financial institution when asked who counsels. Social agencies used less standardized, more diverse job titles. Fifth, case studies were perceived in a biased manner according to the image that particular degrees connote. Organizations rarely advertised for employees by specifying degree requirements; work related experience was considered very important yet lacking in most job applicants. Sixth, the preventive, crisis and progressive oriented framework of family financial management counselling varied significantly by organizational type. Seventh, clients were dependent upon staff for financial advice in 66.3 percent of the organizations surveyed. Eighth, the family financial management counselling system in Winnipeg was considered to be inadequate by 45.9 percent of respondents. Suggestions for improvement recommended that financial courses be implemented in educational institutions,from junior high through to universities and community colleges. Finally, a total of 94.7 percent of the respondents identified educational institutions as the most appropriate auspice for a new non-profit family financial management counselling service.