By Barbara Freeman, LaMedichi Creator & Team Leader
Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, one of the most affluent communities in the world, there are people living with high levels of fear, vulnerability, and financial insecurity. According to the 2018 Manaus Survey of the Roaring Fork Valley, more than 60 percent of the Latino community could not come up with $200 tomorrow. Nearly half do not have savings at any given moment and are living one problem (e.g. car repair, medical or dental issue) away from not having money for rent, food, or other essentials. In order to cover an unexpected expense or emergency, often people go into debt, sell things, default or forego paying a bill, such as gas or rent. At best, they are helped by friends and families also struggling to manage their cash flow. At worst, they are preyed upon by money lenders or others who levy extortionate fees and wield power over them.
Families with a savings cushion cannot avoid the financial shocks and income disruptions (e.g. an illness that limits the ability to work) that life inevitably presents. They can, however, better withstand them.
According to a 2016 Urban Institute study, middle-income families with no savings are more likely to experience hardship after a financial emergency than low-income families with at least $2,000 in savings.
LaMedichi is changing the way families from Rifle to Aspen save money. It is a project of Manaus, one of the most trusted nonprofit funds for immigrant families in the Roaring Fork Valley. LaMedichi is not a bank or credit union, but rather a safe place to save, which combines the trust of community savings clubs with the security and ease of a mobile app. The LaMedichi mobile app is free, easy to use, and in Spanish (as well as English and Portuguese). There are no hurdles to opening an account, no fees and no minimum deposit.
People are encouraged and supported as they build the habit of savings, which includes classes in financial literacy and personal guidance. Once in, and when savings have built up, people can borrow up to twice their savings in case of emergency.
LaMedichi is replacing fear and vulnerability with hope and possibility. As one member explains, “I like being part of LaMedichi because little by little I’ve been able to save money I thought I never could… and I feel good.”
Join us in our social mission to enable all families to achieve financial security. Learn more at www.lamedichi.info or contact Dr. Barbara Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.