Margaret Sherraden is a social work educator focusing on the multiple dimensions of “social”. She strives to help others understand the relationship between the economic and social dimensions of people’s lives. Connecting that goal to efficacy, she has authored four books helping professionals and students worldwide grasps the concept of this relationship.

In November, Dr. Sherraden will speak to AFCPE Symposium attendees on “Financial Capability and Asset Building in Vulnerable Households”. Today she offers us a glimpse into the passion behind her work.


AFCPE: What inspired you to pursue this work?

Margaret: In the early years of the social work profession, economic well-being was a central focus. By the time I started teaching, the profession had moved away from this kind of practical problem solving. But I found students were very excited about ways to improve financial capability and it encouraged me to think about how to integrate it in social work education.

AFCPE: It’s great to hear that so many students – our future leaders – are excited about improving financial capability! As a researcher, what’s your approach to bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners?  

Margaret: My research is applied, but it’s not enough to disseminate study results. It really requires working with practitioners and policymakers to generate ideas and test them in the real world.

AFCPE: So true! Collaboration is so critical in bridging the gap. In 140 characters, what’s your definition of financial capability?

Margaret: Financial capability is the combination of people’s ability to act with their opportunity to act in ways that improve financial well-being.

AFCPE: As one of the keynote speakers at our 2018 AFCPE Symposium, what are you most looking forward to about the event or sharing with the audience?

Margaret: Our professions have much in common, especially a focus on solving problems and improving people’s lives. I very much look forward to a dialogue that builds interdisciplinary approaches to improving people’s financial well-being.


Margaret Answers the Friday 5

  1. My Why: I believe we live in a world with ample resources to ensure that everyone can thrive but it takes work and great cooperation.
  2. My Favorite Quote: James Baldwin, who we quote at the start of our book, makes an important but largely unrecognized point: “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”
  3. My Hero: Jane Addams, a social worker and activist, a founder of the Settlement House movement and first woman to lead the National Conference on Charities and Corrections, a researcher and sociologist, a feminist and suffrage leader, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Who else?
  4. My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: The many excellent resources created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  5. My best advice:
  • For someone starting the journey to financial wellness: Your goals can be an important source of inspiration, but don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you can, lend a hand to others as you become more financially secure.
  • For a new professional entering this field: Spend time listening to people—lots of people—about their hopes and dreams, their financial troubles, and how they manage them. 

September 21, 2018
Interview with Margaret Sherraden, AFCPE® Member

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *