Baltimore, MD, September 03, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- At one time or another, many of us have told ourselves, “I need to take better control of my finances,” only to continue managing our money the very same way. But Kevin isn’t like many of us. When he recognized he could do a better job budgeting and paying his bills, he decided to make a change. He also decided he was more likely to achieve these goals with the help of a Guidewell Financial Solutions coach.
“For years, I wasn’t able to get my spending and the amount of debt I owed under control. In 2007, I even enrolled in a debt management plan with Guidewell Financial Solutions, but after leaving the program early, I still had problems paying bills on time and overspending. Finally I decided to take the bull by the horns once and for all. When I called the agency this time, they recommended their new financial coaching program.”
The Client – Coach Interaction
Kevin’s financial coach Pam Wilson says program candidates like Kevin are the reason she looks forward to coming to work. “One of the things I like best is seeing clients grow and experience a series of ‘ah ha’ moments. They really have to have a strong willingness to change and be open to trying different things.”
Financial coach Shirley Benning agrees, “From the beginning, we talk about the 90 – 10 principle: Once clients are in the program, we listen, we help them set up realistic goals, and provide encouragement and resources, but they do 90 percent of the work. We guide their discovery by asking the right questions and helping them brainstorm. We also supply them with useful tools like MyBudget Coach.”
How Financial Coaching Works
Financial coaching clients who enroll with Guidewell Financial generally stay in the program for up to a year. During this time, they may set and achieve anywhere from one to three personal finance goals. Wilson says these vary depending on what each client hopes to accomplish. “Sometimes they simply want to learn to budget or begin to save. Other times they have bigger dreams. Whatever goal they select, the first step is to see if it’s doable. The SMART worksheet helps us evaluate their goal choice: Is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely?”
Goal Setting and Achieving
Over the course of Kevin’s program, he accomplished three major goals. To start he wanted to do is develop an emergency savings plan. He says, “I was always good at saving change, but when I tried saving dollars, I always ended up spending them before very long. During coaching, we talked about what I could do to change this outcome. My solution was to open a savings account at a bank branch a distance from my home.” Kevin also looked for ways to increase the amount he could contribute to savings.
The second goal Kevin set for himself dovetailed with the first: He wanted to get a handle on his monthly expenses so he could pay his bills on time. He says, “For many years, I paid bills when I thought of them, but it was hit or miss. I didn’t always send in what I owed when it was due. This led to late fees, and in some cases banks even threatened to close my accounts. Before I knew it, my credit rating was shot.”
Financial coaching helped Kevin reverse this trend. After strategizing with Wilson, he organized his finances. “Then at our next session, she asked, ‘Now how can you make reviewing your bills a habit?’ After discussion, we came up with a solution.” Now every Monday Kevin takes a look at what’s due.
Kevin’s final financial coaching goal was to get his credit card debt under control. When Wilson asked how much he felt he could pay off, he decided to reduce his credit card balance by $1,700. To attain this goal, he made payments to creditors each time he received a paycheck and limited further charges. He says, “That’s probably one of the most important skills I gained. I learned how to say, ‘No.’”
The Final Result
Participating in financial coaching, Kevin clearly developed better financial habits. But this isn’t his only reward: Five years ago, his credit score hovered around 460. His score today is 710.
To learn more about Guidewell Financial Solutions’ financial coaching program, please visit the agency website at http://www.guidewellfs.org or contact Pam Wilson or Shirley Benning at 1-800-642-2227.
Guidewell Financial Solutions (also known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware) is an accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency. Maryland License #14-01 / Delaware License #07-01.