Many people ask me what I do. When I answer that I’m a credit counselor, they stop and think for a moment and then that’s when they ask for clarification. You do what? What is that? A lot of people haven’t heard of such a thing and when I explain, they all agree it’s a good thing.
This month, we’re talking about financial literacy, and how it can help us to manage our money, plan for the future and live with less stress.
After all, financial challenges are real. The April supplemental survey by the Federal Reserve showed that 72 percent of adults were either “doing okay” financially (43 percent) or “living comfortably” (29 percent). This is down from the 75 percent of adults who were at least doing okay financially and the 36 percent who were living comfortably in the fall of 2019. Thanks a lot COVID!
At least 40% of households cannot cover an unexpected expense of $400. And that number is from 2019. And think of all of the things in your life that cost $400 or more – car repairs, a new set of tires, washing machine, furnace, computer, one month’s rent or mortgage, emergency room bill, or your cell phone.
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 (like 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. But it’s about so much more than the numbers. 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? Is it you? Is it a family member or friend? Who has had to put off a non-essential bill to keep the lights on? 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 bringing home thousands in a month.
For those people that do come see us, we provide direction. We provide support and accountability. We provide hope.
To be a part of that, call the Center for Financial Resources at 1-888-258-2227 or visit our website at www.lsssd.org to schedule an appointment.
Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator
Photo credit: http://www.lsssd.org
LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities