For the last several years, COTS has benefited from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University virtual course. Dave Ramsey is an expert in the field and offers wonderful guidance and advice. One thing that was lacking, however, was the ability to interact with him or someone like him. Now, thanks to Alan Prahl from FISC and Lisa Werner, an independent financial consultant, we recently finished up our pilot of a live interactive five-week class which focuses on the resident’s individual needs.
Residents who attended the pilot were given the opportunity to learn about budgeting basics, banks vs. credit unions, credit reports, cash flow and debt management. After the first four weeks of education, participating residents worked one-on-one with a financial planner to take a really good look at their future and gain a deeper understanding of their individual situation. As expressed by our Men’s Case Manager, Brent Wojnowski, who sat in on the pilot, “having personal interaction with the instructors is extremely beneficial for the residents.”
The following testimonial provides a sense of just how beneficial the class was:
Alec, a resident in our Men’s Program, was one of the seven individuals that participated in the pilot. Along with many other residents in our program, Alec previously completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. According to Alec, the new financial wellness class offers a “much more personal kind of touch.” He especially enjoyed being able to sit around a large table with other class attendees.
When asked to describe one of the biggest lessons he learned during the pilot, Alec replied, “Saving a little bit of money every week can really add up.” The class offered insight on how to better manage monthly program fees while staying at COTS. Alec plans to make a small payment towards his fees each week so that he has more money to work with in between paychecks.
He also learned how to decide whether or not a bank is the right fit. In fact, after having completed the financial wellness class, Alec now plans to switch his banking over to a credit union. He would like to “get a credit card for small purchases to build up credit” in the near future.
Alec truly feels that the class was worthwhile, as “it gave [him] some good ideas… [He’d] recommend it to anyone.”
The ability to understand and manage personal finances is one of the many factors that are important when working to successfully break the cycle of homelessness. We are hopeful that our new financial wellness class will help our residents to build a sound financial future, thus enabling a successful transition out of our programs and into independent and stable housing.