6 Months, 3 Goals, 1:1 Coaching

Unreliable transportation, lack of health and auto insurance, and high student loan debt weighed heavily on Delessa when she learned about the Financial Opportunity Corps, with Accounting Aid Society in Detroit, Michigan in partnership with Bank of America and CNCS. When asked about why she started with the financial coaching program, she responded, “I felt lost and needed direction. I was always told to save money, make a budget, fix your credit, but I had so many issues that I didn’t know where to start.”

Delessa was partnered with a volunteer financial coach, Howard, and promptly began working on budgeting, money beliefs, and SMART goals. Through those financial coaching tools, Delessa was able to pinpoint which goal she wanted to achieve first: purchasing a new car. Delessa and her coach examined her income and current expenses, and calculated her maximum payment per month ($225). “My coach is a coach, he gives me the tools needed…and leads me in the direction I need to get the job complete and I accomplish the goal.” Now she was able to reach a big milestone; buying a new car. An opportunity to purchase a relative’s car for $3,000 arose. This option was far cheaper than her maximum budget of $15,000 for a new car. Now presented with different circumstances, she and Howard returned to the money beliefs and wheel of money/life tools, in order to prioritize her wants and needs. “I did a priority of list of wants and priority list of needs, and I only focus on a few at a time (2-3).”

Using those tools, Delessa made the choice to purchase her relative’s car. She also purchased health and auto insurance, and now has reliable transportation. In six months Delessa and her coach Howard achieved goals and reached milestones – but Delessa isn’t done yet. She and Howard have decided to partner past the 6 month mark, and set new goals and milestones for Delessa to conquer, “Now I’m working on completing taxes, tackling student loan debt and paying off $3,000 – 5,000 per year to lower her debt balance.”

-Kelsey Budnick, AmeriCorps VISTA Member

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