Meet Amelia O’Rourke-Owens of America Saves
Welcome to the 2020 Sponsor Spotlight series! As we prepare for #AFCPE2020, November 16-20, 2020, we are excited to introduce you to our Sponsors, and more specifically, to the incredible people who work for these organizations. Learn more about the organizations and the people you’ll meet in the virtual Exhibit Hall this November.
America Saves is a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America that uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
Amelia O’Rourke Owens is the Director of Youth Financial Capability at America Saves.
AFCPE: Amelia, we are thrilled to have America Saves join us as a Bronze Partner Sponsor at this year’s Symposium! Tell our attendees a little bit about your role with America Saves.
Amelia: A huge part of my role is managing our financial capability program, America Saves for Young Workers, that’s offered to young and first-time workers at their first job. The other part of my job is working with my colleagues to bring a youth focus on the many exciting programs and initiatives we have at America Saves. Whether I’m brainstorming bringing youth financial capability onto bases with my Military Saves coworkers, or translating lessons we’ve learned from adult workplace savings with Split to Save- I’m guaranteed to have a fun and dynamic week at work.
AFCPE: What inspired you to pursue this career, or what was your journey like to get to this career?
I’m originally a lawyer (don’t hold it against me!) and my background was in economic development and consumer protection. I loved empowering people and communities to financial independence, and helping folks out of predatory financial situations. I also love working with youth and young adults, so joining the team at America Saves allowed me to do both. Also, in this position there’s a little less controversy and a lot more positivity- which I feel is missing from a lot of financial conversations. Savings is a habit, not a destination and I love supporting people in reframing their mindset and developing that savings habit.
AFCPE: What are you looking forward to most about attending #AFCPE2020?
Amelia: #AFCPE2020 has such exciting keynote speakers and exhibitors this year, it’s hard to choose just one. Though not a happy subject, I’m excited to hear what the brilliant minds in our field are seeing and doing about COVID-19 and its resulting economic stress. I’m keen to hear about behavioral insights gleaned from AFCs and other providers. But mostly, I’m excited to be surprised by a session that introduces me to something completely new.
AFCPE: That’s my favorite aspect about the Symposium too – I always learn something new! What tool or resource are you most excited to share?
Amelia: I’m excited to share the behavioral aspects behind the America Saves Pledge, how it can fit into a toolbox of free resources for clients, and how our insights and beliefs around savings can change the tone of financial services, education, and planning. I’m also excited to explore the topic of building trust and expanding outreach to financial counseling during a Networking Table Topic Chat.
AFCPE: What message do you have for attendees?
Amelia: Prepare your notepad, because you’re about to get some great resources and insight on tools and best practices!
Amelia Answers the Friday Five:
- Your Why: We all have to deal with our finances (even if our choice is to ignore them), no matter your income level that should not be a source of stress. I do this work every day so people get to enjoy better financial outcomes.
- Your favorite quote: “Start small, think big.” That’s America Saves’ motto and helped me start saving; there’s no amount that’s too small to start your saving journey.
- Your hero: Martin Luther King Jr., in addition to being an incredible force in the fight against racism, he saw economic injustice as a huge threat to our nation.
- Your favorite resource: Right now, the America Saves create a budget as a family how-to and budget worksheet (https://americasaves.org/blog/1754-creating-a-budget-for-your-family) I love that it this captures the idea that families should talk about their finances as a family; I also love that it includes the worksheet so folks can put their planning into action.
- Your best advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: I’ve already said it! Savings is a habit, not a destination. If you need to tap into your emergency fund- that doesn’t make your savings journey unsuccessful! Just the opposite: your savings empowered you to respond as you wanted to in an unexpected financial situation.
- For a new professional: You’re not going to judge someone into better financial habits. A lot of people forget that joy is also a basic necessity; be gentle with your clients and respect the independent financial choices they make.
Be sure to stop by the virtual Exhibit Hall on November 16 & 18 to meet Amelia and learn more about America Saves.
In the meantime, check out America Saves’ #ThinkLikeASaver Virtual Town Hall Series, where they are bringing together dynamic and down-to-earth financial experts, influencers, and everyday Americans to address important topics around saving and debt. Visit their Facebook page to learn more about these events on October 22, November 5, and November 19.
Not registered for #AFCPE2020? There’s still time. Visit https://www.afcpe.org/symposium/