January is Financial Wellness Month — a great time to meet financial challenges head on. Financial hardship can hit anyone, and it can leave people dazed and confused. There are many circumstances that can cause hardship. As a financial counselor, I’ve worked with individuals whose challenges run the gamut. Here are just a few of the stories that they have shared with me:
- “I cosigned on a loan with the person who can no longer pay it. I didn’t know it would hurt my credit rating so much. Now I can’t get a car loan.”
- “I didn’t know a missed premium payment on health insurance means a one-month waiting period to reinstate. I have so many medical bills now from when I had to see the doctor and didn’t have coverage.”
- “I didn’t know when I went to college, I was going to end up with so much student loan debt. For a few years I couldn’t pay on it, and now the debt is so much higher.”
- “I was used to living a certain way. Then I lost my job. I thought it would all work out. I used credit and just made minimum payments, while trying to live just like I had before. Now I have so much debt I can’t afford to pay it any longer.”
LSS Financial Counseling Can Help
Get relief and find solutions to your financial challenges. Set up an appointment with LSS Financial Counseling. Our certified counselors specialize in student loans, home buying, foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgages and debt counseling.
We do a lot of listening, learning about your circumstances, and strategizing to figure out the next best step(s). We will lay everything out on the table and work together with you on a realistic and individualized action plan.
In addition to one-to-one support, we have ongoing workshops at the LSS Training and Education Center in Minneapolis, including the free Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy classes.
I love appointments that are proactive. Even if you are in a good place financially, you may still need support with budgeting and saving goals. The earlier you ask for help, the better, because then there are often more options.
One of the people I’ve served (we’ll call her Veronica) developed an effective solution for dealing with and heading off potential financial crises. She hired a friend to sit with her when she went through her stack of mail. This friend helped her stay on task and even wrote up a “to-do” list of follow-up actions. This strategy helped Veronica find a notice of wage garnishment before a deadline that would have taken 25% from her paycheck. She called an LSS financial counselor and got on a payment plan to avoid the garnishment. Crisis averted!
Ask for Help Any Time; Be Gentle With Yourself
If a financial crisis arises, be gentle with yourself. I always tell people that when shame enters my office, we kick it out the door. Shame isn’t helpful, and it can get in the way of thinking clearly.
You can take control of your finances any time, not just during Financial Wellness Month. Ask for support no matter what stage of the financial game you are in. There is never any shame in doing so. Call our scheduling line at 888.577.2227, or get started online at your convenience.
Author Sarah Jannusch is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling.