The Founding of EDSA (Educational Solutions and Awareness)
EDSA was formally founded in 1993, but its start was much earlier. In the mid 1980’s, 2 financial planning firms (one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the other in Raleigh, North Carolina) independently recognized that the financial world was much more complicated than ever before.
People did not know what they needed to be able to manage their personal financial affairs. Money lessons passed down from parents were no longer enough, as there were many new financial tools and complications – credit cards, 401(k) plans, etc. Add to that the fact that people were living longer which made funding more years in retirement a challenge, and people needed a reliable source to teach them vital money management lessons to manage their financial future.
In 1993, the two financial planning firms came together to establish The EDSA Group®, Inc., with the goal to provide interactive education to positively impact behavior and help people take action. Initially, we provided financial education to groups of working adults through their employers. Companies hired EDSA to deliver financial education with a guarantee of no solicitation.
Almost a decade later, EDSA began working with colleges and universities, as schools were recognizing the financial struggles of students (oftentimes, the number one reason for dropping out of school).
Our Education Principles
Our education programs are different. With 3 CFPs developing them – one with a background in theology and curriculum development – the lessons and the delivery were interactive. Workshops received positive reviews by all who attended.EDSA’s initial offering was one program called Money Basics®. This program taught about all the major topics included in a comprehensive financial plan. By the late 1990’s, EDSA had developed a series of workshops – referred to as the T.E.A.M. Series (Teaching Employees About Money).
The series included:
- Money Basics® – the flagship program
- Money Concepts™ – the vital topics associated with money management
- Retiring Easy® – targeting those who are 5-15 years away from retirement and helping them address retirement planning while they still have time to make changes to reach goals
- The Magic of 401(k)® and The Magic of 403(b)® – both aimed at helping workers to maximize the benefit of this offering.
Growth and Expansion in a Digital Age
In 2006, EDSA saw the need to expand to the Internet to accommodate those who could not attend live meetings, such as teleworkers and those who traveled frequently. GoodMoneyHabits.com™, an E-Learning program, was created. This program combined the value of two of EDSA’s proven programs with the availability and accessibility of the internet.
While many felt a web-based learning tool would not deliver effective education, EDSA’s program received positive marks. As with the live workshops, the program was built with adult learning principles in mind. Users clicked to learn more, completed calculators to get personalized answers, and took tests to complete chapters.
In fact, GoodMoneyHabits.com™ caught the attention of a college professor in Missouri. This professor implemented the program to teach college students the critical money management lessons. Other universities followed.
In 2008, with the input and guidance of the professor in Missouri and others, we developed Good Money Habits – Student Edition (GMHStudents.com™). The student edition included basic money management lessons from the original GoodMoneyHabits.com™, plus incorporated lessons that are unique to college students today. This program offers tremendous flexibility in delivery of the vital money lessons, and has been implemented coast-to-coast in a number of unique ways.
The EDSA Group® has always been a leader in financial education, and the need for financial education is stronger than ever before. The financial world continues to get more complex, and the pitfalls more significant.