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Principal Foundation Launches Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative


The Principal® Foundation, a global nonprofit that focuses on helping people and communities achieve financial security, is launching a new initiative called Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative. This initiative aims to use storytelling to destigmatize and promote discussions about money and personal finances.
To kick off the initiative, a national short story contest is being held in collaboration with The Center for Fiction and Short Édition. People are invited to submit short stories that reflect their experiences with money online until August 31, 2023, 11:59 pm PDT at http://principal-foundation.short-edition.com.
The finalist stories will be made available to the public through Short Story Dispensers™ installed in libraries, bookstores, and cafes in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Charlotte, and Iowa City. Visitors can press a button on the dispenser to print out a short story to read.
"People develop narratives around money and personal finance based on familial experience and those narratives tend to impact their relationship to money and inform their financial decisions throughout their lives," said Jo Christine Miles, director, Principal Foundation and Community Relations, Principal®.
"This contest is a way to inspire people, through the universal, human art of storytelling, to reimagine their narrative, resolve any struggles and, ultimately feel more comfortable having more robust financial conversations that advance their financial goals."
A new survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Principal Foundation has revealed that conversations about money are usually driven by people’s perceptions of their own personal finances and experiences growing up. The survey, which involved 3,000 Millennial and Gen Z Americans, found that like social media, discussions about money tend to focus on only one aspect of personal finance, avoiding more comprehensive and candid conversations.
According to the survey, Millennials and Gen Z are most comfortable sharing information about their salary or income, with 72% willing to talk about it. However, less is being shared about other topics such as savings, debt, and investments. For example, only 60% are willing to talk about savings or debt, 54% about mortgage or rent, and 49% about investments.
The survey also found that Millennials and Gen Z have underlying fears of being judged for their money habits. More than 40% fear being judged for their habits or earning level, nearly one-third do not want it to create social tension with friends or family, and 30% do not want to seem materialistic or like they are bragging.
Financial habits witnessed growing up can also lead to anxiety and control issues around money later in life. More than half of Millennials and Gen Z continue with the same financial habits they witnessed growing up, 40% agree that the financial situation they grew up in has led to issues controlling their spending, and 52% agree that it has led to worries about having enough money even when they are financially stable.
Interestingly, the survey found that Millennials and Gen Z underutilize financial products such as retirement accounts, investment accounts, and protection products due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds. Only 33% report having retirement savings or life insurance, 38% report not having retirement savings due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds, and 50% report not having investment accounts due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds.
The survey also revealed that women are more likely to share financial information with their partners than men. For example, 73% of women will share information about salary or income compared to 65% of men, 60% of women will share information about debt compared to 54% of men, and 57% of women will share information about mortgage or rent compared to 47% of men.
To encourage people to reconsider their own situations and habits, engage in more candid conversations with those they trust, and develop more robust plans to attain the financial security they seek, Principal Foundation is launching Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative. This initiative is designed to present diverse financial situations, views and approaches to personal finance through storytelling.
The initiative is kicking off with a national short story contest that invites people to share imaginative and meaningful short stories reflecting their lived experiences with money. The contest is free to enter and is being hosted in collaboration with The Center for Fiction and Short Édition. Stories can be submitted online until August 31, 2023 at http://principal-foundation.short-edition.com.
An esteemed panel of literary authors and experts including Mahogany L. Browne, Ava Chin, Novella Ford, Sidik Fofana, Xochitl Gonzalez, Alvin Hall, Erika L. Sánchez, Ashley Woodfolk, and Judy Zuckerman will select 30 finalists who will each receive $250. Their stories will be distributed through Principal Foundation’s network of story dispensers located at New York Public Library in New York; Sip & Sonder in Los Angeles; Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte; Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle; and Prairie Lights in Iowa City.
In addition to being distributed through Principal Foundation’s network of story dispensers, stories from the finalists will also be considered for publication in Short Edition’s global network of more than 300 story dispensers located in airports, public transportation hubs, retail centers, and other locations around the world.
To see details on how to enter, click here.