CoffeeCents developed as an idea around 2007. Personal finance education was either a barrage of links via google, a confusing bookshelf (full of hyperactive colors), or bought from financial practitioners (often very difficult to figure out whether they’re informing you with information or products).
It’s also a problem that no one really talks about issues, even between couples. It’s a topic so important, the Department of the Treasury had a conference on relationship finance in 2008 that I attended. It was a good first start (but sadly, nothing came of it).
There, to me, appeared one last bastion where strangers talked to others about contentious topics: coffeehouses. The whole point of coffeecents is to take a group of people interested in improving their personal finance skills but do not want to wade the informational minefield.
Drawing on the expertise of several local DC bloggers, CoffeeCents is an attempt to provide an outline and quick road map for various financial topics. It’s not intended to sell a product (that would kind of make the whole thing disingenious) nor is it supposed to be an actual substitute for education. It’s intended to be a cup of coffee for one’s personal finance morning, something that gives a nudge to get you going. Using local bloggers and sourced information available for free on the web, CoffeeCents hopes to bring to interested participants a quick guide to getting started on personal finance.
Before pairing up with Compass Fellows, I ran a smaller project with some lower income households in the DC area under the same model. Nothing made me happier than hearing from one of the couples much later that they had managed to have Christmas without going into debt to do it. It’s a small victory, but it was a great start.
To sum it up in a sentence. Coffeecents will provide a quick start to understanding personal finance for the casual interested person. Nothing more.