At a recent local presentation I attended, the speaker finished his presentation with a slide that said “Get stuff done.” In the Q&A I asked specifically what was being done in regards to affordable housing. A Realtor that was sitting next to me later commented “You didn’t really get an answer, did you?” Sure I did.
That IS an answer, but…..
Many people ask me the same question. When it comes to credit counseling, what does the Center for Financial Resources do? It’s a great question and I hope I’ve given them all a more substantial answer than “We’re doing stuff.”
After all, financial challenges are real. An ongoing survey by the Federal Reserve (you know, the people that set money policy for the whole country) found that 47% of Americans could not come up with $400 cash if an emergency arose. They would either have to borrow it or sell something.
And think of all of the things in your life that cost $400 or more EACH – car repairs, a new set of tires, washing machine, furnace, computer, one month’s rent or mortgage, emergency room bill, or your cell phone (and how could we possibly live without one of those!).
To quote a popular social media phrase – “The struggle is real.”
So then the question remains – so what are we doing?
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling wanted to be able to answer that exact question. They partnered with the Ohio State University for research involving over 6000 people who sought out credit counseling and another 6000 who did not get counseling as a control group. Their findings will tell you exactly what we do.
Those who got financial counseling reduced their revolving debt (think credit cards) by $3,600 more than the control group in the first 18 months. Even more telling is that, while the average overall debt of those who sought financial counseling decreased by almost $9,000, the average total debt of the control group actually WENT UP about $2,300.
Now, numbers are great and all. Who doesn’t love a good math story problem over coffee with a friend?
The study also looked at the emotional effects of credit counseling. They found that over two-thirds of those that sought credit counseling were more optimistic about their financial situation and were helped in setting financial goals.
At the Center for Financial Resources, we have had the same response. Our clients feel happier, more hopeful, and more stable after going through credit counseling. Who couldn’t use some more of that?
So who do you know? Who has had that coffee conversation about the stress of money? Who has avoided activities due to a lack of funding? Who has had to put off a non-essential bill to keep the lights on? Who has had to use the duct tape approach to keep the car running? Who can just never quite seem to reach those goals they set for themselves?
It doesn’t have to be crisis or poverty. We see people in all stages from crisis to management to prevention. We see people who have no money to those making 5-figure incomes in a month. We see people that deal with money.
For those people that come see us, we provide direction. We provide guidance. We provide hope.
To be a part of that, call the Center for Financial Resources at 605-330-2700 or schedule an appointment online.
After all, those more than 4,000 people from the study can’t be wrong.
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net