Gina Richardson April 1, 2022 at 11:57 AM

A Community's Financial Wellness Begins with You

One of my favorite moments as a financial wellness educator came at a local school during a SAFE Credit Union Bite of Reality educational fair. A 10-year-old girl was figuring out strategies to manage a mock personal budget. She thoughtfully reviewed our workshop assignments and then her eyes locked on me, as if to say, “OK, I got this!”

Moments like these make being a SAFE financial wellness educator rewarding. As we kick off Financial Literacy Month in April, I’m so proud to share we are very involved in teaching the fundamentals of financial literacy to employees of area businesses and public agencies, members of our communities and chambers of commerce, nonprofit volunteers and clients, and students throughout the Greater Sacramento region.

At SAFE we understand a community’s financial health is dependent upon each individual’s financial wellness. If we are not purchasing goods and services from neighborhood business owners, then our communities can deteriorate. Through SAFE’s many financial education efforts, we help individuals maintain financial wellness so their communities can remain strong.

Strengthening Our Communities One Person at a Time

At area businesses

We partner with 19 Sacramento area chambers of commerce to ensure they get financial education resources to support the businesses in their communities.

At Nonprofits

Each year we provide specially-designed workshops for several area nonprofits. Most recently, we offered a seminar on financial wellness at the Sacramento Office of Education for members of the nonprofit organization Improve Your Tomorrow. The Sacramento nonprofit works to increase the number of young men of color attending and graduating from colleges and universities.

In Schools

I like to think we are creating future millionaires through our Bite of Reality fairs. During our hands-on educational assemblies, we give students the fundamentals of living within their means and maintaining a budget. Literally. Each participating student is given a profession with a corresponding salary and then let loose to purchase items they need and want. Some get larger debts than others and some have spouses and children to support.

They spend their money at nine “merchants” and must make sure they have enough to pay for housing, groceries, credit cards, big money purchases and entertainment. Some even must deal with returned checks. The touch of reality comes when they are done and can see whether they overspent.

Our most recent Bite of Reality fair was held virtually through the Twin Rivers School. Hundreds of students participated. Our next one will be held in person at Wheatland High School in April.

Our fairs began eight years ago. Since then, we have reached thousands of students from Roseville to West Sacramento. Participating districts and schools include Adelante High School and the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. So far this year we have held two Bite of Reality fairs impacting 2,000 students. Last year during the pandemic, we held seven virtual Bite of Reality fairs with more than 200 attendees.

In the Workplace

Our Workplace Financial Wellness seminars are held at many of the area’s largest employers – the City of Sacramento, Intel, the Los Rios Community College District, Schools Insurance Authority, SMUD, and the State of California. We have also worked closely with the Sacramento City Fire Department to bring financial education to many of their cadets. And we continue to look for future partners to help educate employees on financial wellness.

With Videos

SAFE recently premiered our “Five Factors of Credit” video series where we break down how payment history, credit utilization, length of credit, credit inquiries and mix of credit impact your credit score.

With Webinars

SAFE experts gave 255 live webinars and workshops in 2021 that reached 8,299 attendees. And this year we are already going strong, offering more live webinars on everything from understanding the housing market to how to manage and pay off a student loan. So far this year, we’ve held 32 webinars and workshops with 857 people attending. Our webinars are easy to access and are free of charge.

Learn More

To find out more about our Financial Wellness events and resources, visit us here.


Gina Richardson

Senior Financial Wellness Educator