Our History

Shawn B. Young, founder of the Financial Health Institute, began delivering life skills classes in 2005 while working in retail management. By 2007, Mr. Young started a nonprofit organization, Advocates for Young Adults, focused on providing life skills education, including financial literacy, to low-income and underserved individuals.

After recognizing a significant missing component to financial education for people who were homeless or struggling economically, in 2008, Mr. Young set about creating an educational curriculum that blended healthcare education and financial education, but focused primarily on financial behavior modification. This new curriculum, titled “Bootstraps Asset Building Education” and its behavior modification approach was rapidly successful and has been adopted by several nonprofit organizations and human service agencies as their primary financial education program.

In 2010, due to the success with the clients of these organizations and agencies, Mr. Young began receiving requests to provide Bootstraps to their employees and again found the information to be very applicable and effective. By 2011, employees of these nonprofit organizations and human service agencies began asking for Mr. Young to provide the class to their friends, spouses and other family members, with participants whose income ranged from $0 to $150,000 – again the program was well received and successful – regardless of income range or socioeconomic status.

In 2011, Mr. Young began noticing the intense amount of stress in people’s financial lives and he began investigating the ramifications of that stress. This investigation led to the newly developed educational model that focuses on behavior modification around finances. Specifically this educational model takes a systematic look at the link between a person’s financial stress, the impact of that stress on other behaviors in their life and how those behaviors impact or increase the likelihood of chronic diseases.

As a result, in 2012, the Financial Health Institute re-defined the concept of Financial Health to be more in line with the World Health Organization’s definition of health and subsequently began offering additional programs and services around the concept of Financial Health.

To date, Financial Health Institute’s courses and services have been delivered to over 10,000 people across the U.S. We remain steadfast in helping people of all income levels control finances, reduce stress and improve health.