Jennifer Harper believes practical financial planning should be accessible to more people, especially young adults.
For many years, Jennifer worked in the financial services industry. She earned her MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2001 and became a certified financial planner in 2006. Between those times, Jennifer started to develop a financial literacy program, which eventually led her to our CO.STARTERS for Causes program.
In 2005, Jennifer developed Common Cents, a financial literacy program to help guide young people toward an independent and responsible financial future. Common Cents is a 501c3 that focuses on students ages 16-22, which is a critical time for developing positive financial habits. After just three years of being in existence, Common Cents was awarded a $5,000 grant from AVON’s Hello Tomorrow Fund. In addition to founding Common Cents, Jennifer also started her own firm, Bridge Financial Planning, LLC.
Through the curriculum, Common Cents offers interactive courses and workshops with subjects ranging from setting financial goals and providing career connections to avoiding common financial pitfalls and student loan considerations. What sets the program apart from other financial literacy programs is the approach. Shying away from typical classes, Common Cents offers lessons in which young adults can relate. Because of this, they see real results in their students.
In 2015, Jennifer joined our CO.STARTERS for Causes cohort to gain knowledge and tools to help Common Cents reach its full potential. Over the last few years, Common Cents has partnered with a host of organizations like Girls, Inc., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the YMCA of Greater Chattanooga. The success and reach of Common Cents’ programming continues to grow as Jennifer has developed ways to accurately measure the program’s success. Pre and post test evaluations are conducted to measure the program’s effectiveness and find room for improvement. Jennifer has found that through the program, there’s a 22% increase in students’ level of confidence in being prepared to make personal finance decisions.
Earlier this year, Jennifer welcomed her first employee. Laura, Common Cents’ new Program Director, will help expand the financial literacy program into additional schools and community centers. Also planned for this year is the launch of a new initiative, Wallet Wellness, a financial education program designed specifically for the workplace.
CO.STARTERS for Causes is a nine-week program that helps individuals put ideas into action, turning a passion for bettering the community into a sustainable and thriving endeavor.
Jennifer enrolled in Causeway’s CO.STARTERS for Causes program to gain knowledge and tools to help Common Cents reach its full potential. Common Cents is a nonprofit providing financial literacy to young adults, ages 16-22. At the core, Common Cents believes being able to successfully manage personal finances is a critical skill that affects everyone, regardless of income and age.