Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Web site helps women learn to manage finances

Going through a divorce or losing a spouse is emotionally devastating. But it can also cause financial upheaval.

Louis D’Antonio, a professor of finance and co-director of the Reiman School of Finance at the Daniels College of Business, is working on a project to provide basic financial education to underserved women.

Working with partners at the California Institute of Finance at California Lutheran University, he is helping develop a Web-based program called BreakFreee (the extra “e” stands for Empowerment). The Web site provides customized education modules for women — divorcees, seniors, single moms, teen moms, low-income women and widows. The program is specifically aimed at lower income women, who often aren’t in a position to access traditional financial planning services.

This program, which is funded by a grant from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, seeks to help women alleviate financial concerns and stay out of financial difficulties by providing free, unbiased financial information.

Topics include basic budgeting, financial paperwork organization, debt management, using credit, dealing with financial institutions, retirement and estate planning. Women who need more advanced information may access volunteer certified financial planners through e-mail.

The site also links to additional organizations, financial planning calculators, books and articles.

D’Antonio has been working on the project for more than a year, developing content for the first modules.

“Once we’ve developed a few modules as illustrative examples, we will take it before women’s groups and social workers to get some more ideas on content and women’s specific needs,” he says.

He also hopes to get business students involved in developing the content.

The project has developed a partnership with the YWCA of the Southwest to help identify women who need the service and provide them with computer access.

Daniels Dean Christine Riordan says the BreakFreee project is just one of the many ways that Daniels is showing its commitment to serving the public good.

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