Now more than ever, Americans are recognizing the importance of effective financial counseling. With the fluctuating economy, increasing debt, shifting loan rates, unstable healthcare costs and growing financial investment options, proper guidance can help a person to take control of their financial future and achieve their financial goals.
Financial counseling plays a very important part of a person’s overall financial planning strategy. It can sharpen financial skills, pinpoint areas of improvement, identify objectives, and remedy financial challenges yet to come or that have already appeared. An effective strategy will include focus on:
- Personal and Family Budgeting and Management Plan
- Business Financial Goals
- Credit Report Analysis and a Plan to Improve Credit Scores
- Debt Repayment Strategy
- Tactics to Review Bankruptcy, Foreclosure and Repossession
- Steps to Obtain Future Financial Goals
When a person speaks with a financial counselor, the following process will take place:
- Gathering of detailed financial information
- Outline of overall financial profile
- Development of Plan-of-Action and Budget Options
- Planning focused on effective means for paying down debt. Case Example: Raising credit score faster by paying off smaller balances which have high interest rates
- Recommendations and development of a plan to help achieve financial dreams such as purchasing a home or card, saving for a vacation, going to college or funding retirement
How does one identify an effective financial counselor? Financial counseling and education is offered through organizations such as Suffolk Federal who empowers their members by offering a unique service through their strategic partnership with GreenPath, a financial education and counseling program. GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, nonprofit financial counseling and education organization, which has been empowering people to lead financially healthy lives since 1961. Their financial experts partner with consumers to empower them to ease financial stress, manage debt, save for the future, make smart financial decisions, and achieve their financial goals.
“A good financial plan must include the commitment of regular reviews annually so that current changes in the market and trends and personal financial differences taking place are incorporated into the overall plan,” explains Ralph D. Spencer Jr., President & CEO of Suffolk Federal. “With the proper guidance, a person can use the expertise of a credentialed financial counselor and assure their financial future is based on a firm foundation that they can build upon,” he continued.
Over a period of time, careful adherence to a long-term plan will lead to a healthy and bright financial future.
To learn more about Suffolk Federal’s access to free financial counseling services, visit www.suffolkfcu.org/open-apply/become-a-member/benefits-of-membership.