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Financial literacy a life skill for all

Financial literacy a life skill for all

Financial literacy a life skill for all

16 October 2019

Salvos help everyday Aussies prevent hardship over money matters.

By Nicky Gangemi

Do you feel financially secure? If you don’t, you’re not alone – over two-thirds of Australians are in the same boat.

Yet too many people leave it until they are at crisis point before they do anything about it. Many people think that financial literacy and counselling programs are needed only by those who find themselves in a debt crisis.

But the services offered by The Salvation Army Moneycare program are helpful for all because everyone has to deal with money on a daily basis.

Moneycare has been part of Australia’s financial counselling landscape for more than 30 years and its flagship program, You’re the Boss, has been running for 10 years.

This financial capability resource was born out of the Army’s desire to create a learning space that was vastly different to the heavy, schoolroom learning, which often focused more on the theoretical side of dealing with money.

“We discovered that this kind of learning is having little or no impact on people’s dealing with their finances,” says Tony Devlin, the National Manager of Moneycare. “So, we began to develop a simpler, practical program, which hones in on the key areas people need to know. It has been having a real impact on people’s lives.”

A client who accessed Moneycare’s services described the experience as the best thing she could have done.

“I was worried about how to manage the debt after I went to a debt collector, as they were calling all the time,” she says. “Now I have a system in place on how to deal with it. The best thing I ever did was talk to someone at Moneycare.”

Kristen Hartnett is a regional manager for Moneycare and the creator of You’re The Boss. “The Salvation Army is in the unique position of seeing where things often go wrong with money and so we are able to see what good preventative measures should be put into place to help people, and this is where You’re The Boss comes in,” says Kristen.

“Each day our Moneycare team see hardship and injustice and each day they are living, loving and fighting alongside others, transforming Australia one life at a time, with the love of Jesus.”

“Whether you are 18 or 80, money is something we are all managing. Financial literacy and understanding money is relevant for all people and it is our desire to work collaboratively with all faith and social services across The Salvation Army to help people in this area.”

The You’re the Boss program is delivered by over 130 trained facilitators across the country and Kristen and her team ensures the program is constantly evolving to fit the landscape.

The program has a holistic approach towards managing money, moving beyond talking only about technical things like budgets, to using behavioural science and helping people to understand their often unspoken relationship with money and how to be a good steward of it, in line with their value systems. Kristen says the program is for everyone.

“It is for people in the corporate sector, we do workshops in workplaces, we can go to a women’s Bible study group, or we can even visit schools and retirement homes.” 

Moneycare Day 

Anti-Poverty Week is held annually in October. This year it runs from 13-19 October.

The Salvation Army, as part of raising awareness of Anti-Poverty Week, holds Moneycare Day, this year on 16 October.

On or close to this date, many corps open their doors to the community to help promote the services on offer through Moneycare.

Statistics reveal that 35 per cent of Australians find dealing with their finances overwhelming, and more than 66 per cent feel financially insecure.

“Moneycare has been able to help thousands of people find finances less overwhelming,” says Tony Devlin, National Manager of Moneycare, adding that there are numerous stories of people’s lives being changed for the better.

Tony says increasing people’s financial literacy can help them avoid getting into dire financial situations. “We want people to realise that The Salvation Army is there for people who are struggling, but also can be there for people before they get into a crisis situation.”

If you or someone you know would benefit from accessing Moneycare or the You’re The Boss program, contact Kristen Hartnett at

Nicky Gangemi is a resource writer with the Territorial Mission Support Team.



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