Financial Capability for Helping Professionals

Encouraging Financial Conversations

Personal finances are just that – personal! Positive conversations around money are grounded in respect, confidentiality, and creating a judgment-free zone. Many helping professionals have on-going relationships with their clients and are in a position to provide resources to individuals who may not seek out financial education.

This website is designed to share proven resources used and/or developed by UW-Madison Division of Extension Financial Education professionals. All materials are free for personal use.

These financial capability resources are divided into the following core Financial Competencies:

Goal Setting

Use the Action Plan Tool to work through a plan to set your goals. The Action Planning Worksheet can help with goal setting as well.

Maximizing Income

View Dealing with a Drop in Income for advice on managing finances when experiencing a drop in income. You can print the Income Benefits Tool and Increase Income Benefits Tool for additional tips.


Budget worksheets can be valuable in helping you budget your money.

Monthly Spending Plan – One page basic budget worksheet with room to add additional expenses.
4 Week Money Management Plan – Breaks down income and expenses into weekly amounts. Helpful for individuals who get paid weekly or need to save across several paychecks to cover larger expenses.
Four Steps to a Monthly Spending Plan– Includes categories for income, monthly expenses, irregular expenses, and more. Best for people who love budgeting!

Additional worksheets to help you track your spending and find ways to cut back.

Checking Account Basics
Make Bill Paying a Habit
Track Your Spending
Where is my money going?
Cutting Back on Spending




How to Start the Conversation

Talking about money may feel uncomfortable, especially if it’s something you’re not used to doing. Check out these resources for talking about financial management:

  • Powerful questions – Starting with a question is a great way to learn more about what’s important to someone. This handout provides many questions to consider for starting a financial conversation.
  • Financial well-being – Research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that individuals who report higher levels of financial well-being share some common themes around financial security and financial freedom of choice, both in the present and in the future. Find out more about financial well-being in this handout or share this idea sheet to create your own financial well-being plan. You can also take an online financial well-being quiz from CFPB in English or in Spanish.
  • Financial problem-solving – These problem-solving guides walk you through a range of financial concerns, such as trouble making ends meet, having overdue bills, or falling behind on rent. Guides contain resources for Wisconsin families coping with financial challenges.

Financial coaching is one approach for engaging others in conversations around financial goals. To find out more about financial coaching, visit the UW-Madison Financial Coaching Strategies website.

Additional Resources

We invite you to share these Financial Management Newsletters with your program participants. These 16 two-page newsletters cover financial basics, such as creating a budget and using credit. Similar newsletters are available in Spanish through our UW Money $mart in Head Start program.

Be sure to check out our other University of Wisconsin Financial Management Websites, including the Money Matters online, self-study modules.

Educator Resources

Educator resources are available on Sharepoint.

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