Today Could Change Everything: What Financial Counseling and Education Means for You
Every day you make financial decisions that affect your life including where and how you spend your money, if you use credit cards, if you pay your rent, mortgage and bills on time. If some of the financial choices you’ve made are now causing you concern, LifeSpan can help whether your worries are simple or complex. Every day we work with people who come to us with questions as basic as “How can I create a budget I can live with” to the more complex, “How can I save my house from foreclosure?” So whether you have a serious financial problem or just want to make sure you are on the right track, our experienced Certified Financial Counselors will help you see your options, sort through confusing jargon and create realistic action plans that fit your needs and goals.
We are conveniently located in Hamilton, where you can meet with a financial counselor. Or you can talk to a counselor over the phone. If you are ready to take the first step, let’s work together to make positive changes.
In less than 15 minutes you can better understand your financial situation, areas in which you can improve and steps you can take in the future to better your financial state. Tell us a little about your finances by completing the My Money Checkup, a simple survey regarding your complete financial condition. Results are completely confidential and are not sent to any agency or organization.
Learn the Basics – a five-minute online introduction to basic budgeting to get you started.
99% of financial class participants report feeling better prepared to handle their personal financial concerns.
Get Started With This Financial Form
We can help you get back on track if you have fallen behind with your mortgage payments. Our certified housing counselors are experts in foreclosure prevention. They will discuss available options and work with you to create an action plan to bring your mortgage payments current.
We want to hear from you. If you are hesitant to fill out the entire application at this time, just fill out the general information and send it to us. We will contact you.
The worksheet is just that: a tool that gives your counselor necessary information in order to understand your full financial picture. It is also a starting place for you.
Much of this is information you will need to locate before your appointment in order to have a successful meeting with your counselor.
- who want to have better control of their finances
- living paycheck to paycheck
- with ever increasing balances on their credit cards
- who struggle to make even the minimum payment on their credit cards
- experiencing a life changing event such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, new job or job loss
- transitioning into retirement
First you’ll discuss your goals with your counselor.
Then the two you will work together on an action plan that will lead to you achieving those goals by reviewing your entire financial picture: Income and Expenses; Assets and Liabilities; and a Review of your credit report.
To order your free credit report:
Note: If you request your credit report online, you will be asked a series of questions that only you can answer. Do not be afraid to select “None of the above” if the answer truly is, “None of the above”.
If your request for an online credit report is denied, you will be directed to either call or write a request for your credit report. You may never know why. Again, do not be afraid; just follow the instructions for phoning in or writing a request for your credit report.
How to improve your score:
- Pay all bills on time
- If you have missed a payment on an account, catch up with your payment(s)
- Keep balances low on credit cards – less than 30% of what you are allowed to charge
- Pay off your debt instead of moving it around
- Do not close your oldest account
- Do not get any new credit
- Shop for mortgage or car loans in a short period of time
This is a general idea of what is included in your credit score. There are far more variables than this graph indicates but this provides a good idea of the major variables.
Bad credit can hurt in many ways. We all know that bad credit will cause us to pay higher rates for mortgages and car loans. We may even be turned down for credit. But there are other ways poor credit impacts our lives:
- Job applications: Almost 50% of companies say they run a credit check on job applicants before they hire them, and bad credit can cause you to be turned down for a job. (Note: Employers can pull credit reports but not credit scores.)
- Utilities: Many people are surprised to learn that utilities check your credit before extending service. Bad credit may cause you to have to put down a hefty deposit before service starts, where no deposit will be required for those with good credit. Cell phone and cable providers frequently check credit before extending service.
- Elective medical procedures: If you have a medical procedure that is not covered by insurance, bad credit may cause you to have to pay your bill in full before the procedure, rather than being offered a monthly payment plan.
- Car loans: Not only does a low score force you into a higher rate, but you might even pay more for your car. A study by the Consumer Federation of America found that buyers with the lowest credit paid an average of 3.5% more for their car than did people with better credit.
- Car insurance: Many insurance companies use credit to determine both initial eligibility and what premium will be. The worse your credit score, the higher the premium.
- School loans: Bad credit can cause you to be turned down for school loans. There are no options here; you are either approved or denied.
Financial Counseling and Education Manager
Mary applies her passion for empowering others to lead and engaging her team of skilled financial counselors and educators in our mission to strengthen families and individuals who seek to improve the quality of their lives. As a seasoned advocate for older individuals, Mary leads AARP’s BankSafe initiative in Ohio, partnering with financial institutions to equip frontline staff to prevent senior financial exploitation and scams. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering for local animal rescue organizations as a foster “parent”.