Financial Capability Counseling gives families and individuals from all walks of life the information and tools needed to improve credit, increase savings and build wealth. HIP’s long-term financial coaching program combines monthly small group sessions with regular individual personalized coaching sessions.
Small Group Sessions
Our Financial Coach facilitates sessions featuring expert guest speakers who dive into the nuts and bolts of specific financial topics. Discussions include methods for building emergency savings, improving credit, eating healthfully on a budget, protecting against identity theft and saving more at tax-time. Sign up for a Financial Capability workshop by visiting our registration page.
The Financial Coach will analyze your finances and help you to develop a spending plan and identify clear financial goals. At the conclusion of the first session, you will have developed a customized roadmap with well-defined steps to achieve your particular financial goal. Sign up for individual counseling by contacting Nathaniel McDonald, Financial Capability Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-699-5099.
HIP’s Financial Capability Program has proven results. In 2015, our clients demonstrated concrete increase in credit scores, reduction in debt and increased savings funds. We are ready to help you achieve your financial goals.
Our Bounce Back program currently works with homeowners – particularly those who have just escaped the threat of foreclosure. We also have a homebuyer program that contains a financial education component. If neither circumstance applies to you, we are happy to announce that we are expanding our financial coaching programs to reach more people: renters and recent homebuyers, for example. Stay tuned in 2014 for the launch of these new programs.
Bounce Back is for those who already own a home, but our Pre-Purchase Counseling Program might be a good fit for you. Being a homeowner is a way to build your assets, and some folks are closer than they think. Our pre-purchase counselors can help you improve your credit, identify good loan products, and begin building more savings. After you have worked with our pre-purchase counselor to strengthen your finances, you should attend our Homebuyer Workshop, the first step to become eligible for a number of down-payment and closing-cost assistance programs available to first time homebuyers. Click here to find out more about our pre-purchase counseling services.
Many modifications do include an increased interest rate after five years. But there’s good news: The Bounce Back program works with homeowners like you to reduce your monthly spending by creating a budget you can follow. When you join Bounce Back, we will help you plan and prepare to be in a better financial position before the payment increase goes into effect. For example, we can help you reduce some of your other obligations, like your credit card debt. And we can help you increase your savings.
Financial education is more than just learning how to balance your checkbook. The Bounce Back program will make sure that you understand the financial basics, such as budgeting, credit and debt reduction. But in the Bounce Back program, you will also receive additional financial training. Our monthly workshops touch on topics like taxes, building wealth, insurance, identity theft and maintaining your homes. For example, in a workshop titled “Healthy Eating on a Budget,” we bring in a nutritionist from Howard University and discuss practical ways you can keep fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet without breaking the bank. These workshops provide advanced financial training – they don’t just cover the basics.
At Bounce Back, we take it a step further. We will help you determine if a loan is necessary at all. Some people already have too many loans. Your Bounce Back coach is going to look at the bigger picture – for example, at whether or not you can use some existing funding stream to pay for what you need. A lot of people think another loan is the answer to their problem, but it could possibly put them deeper in debt. If there is a legitimate need for a loan – we all have those – then we’ll look with you at the details of the loan products out there. We don’t steer you to a specific loan, but we discuss the pros and cons for each loan type. And you can always reach out to your personal Bounce Back coach at any time for counsel.
Yes! It’s very important that you, for example, know not only what the term “net worth” means, but that you also know your own “net worth.” In the Bounce Back program, we do more than define and explain those terms. We will help you determine where you stand financially. One of the program’s goals is to help participants build assets. A lot of homeowners were hit by the recession. The value of their home has dropped. Their savings account has been depleted. You can’t begin to rebuild your assets unless you first understand where you are at the moment financially.
We cover a different financial topic at each monthly workshop. This means that participants have an opportunity to dig into the issues we discuss and explore them in great detail. Everyone also has an opportunity to ask questions and participate in an active discussion with peers. We bring in experts from different fields to address a wide variety of topics, such as bankruptcy, credit and investing. In these workshops, we’re not promoting that you, for example, invest in stocks. But you need to have a knowledge of how investing works. To give another example, during the workshop on bankruptcy, we have a local attorney come in and answer questions about bankruptcy – how it affects your credit and what it means for your future.
No, when you join the Bounce Back program, we will schedule a private one-on-one session with you to discuss your personal situation. During the workshops, it is entirely up to you whether you choose to join in the conversation with your peers. People in these workshops are often very open. They often ask numerous questions and share generally about their situation. When folks in a workshop hear another person’s story, they are often able to identify better with that person. They also often realize that they are not alone. Over time, everyone becomes a little more open and realizes that we’re all in this together. So you can learn from others’ experience, but you’re not put on the spot to share your own experience – you do so only if you want to.
The first step would be for you to meet with one of our Foreclosure Prevention counselors to determine your housing options and to pursue every avenue available to help you avoid foreclosure. One of the advantages of the Bounce Back program is that it works in collaboration with our Foreclosure Prevention program. You might not have received a loan modification, a pre-requisite for joining the Bounce Back program. But if you are struggling to prevent a foreclosure, you would work with one of our Foreclosure Prevention counselors. At the same time, you’d have access to Bounce Back workshops that will provide some education on non-housing related financial issues, like credit, debt reduction and budgeting.
We would need to ask you additional questions to find out what kind of financial assistance your parents need. We do have a bilingual Bounce Back coach in our Montgomery County office. If your parents are just having problems managing their money, and they have a loan but haven’t applied for a modification, then we would recommend they first speak with one of our Spanish-language Foreclosure Prevention counselors to see if we can help them with a loan modification.
Yes! Our expert housing counselors can assist you with your new financial situation, because if your husband left you, that’s probably half of your income. It could possibly be all of your income. Meeting with a housing counselor can help you assess your financial situation and develop a strategy for the future. If you haven’t had a loan modification, we will connect you with one of our Foreclosure Prevention counselors. If you have had a loan modification, we recommend you work with our financial coaches through the Bounce Back program.
We know you’re busy, so we try to accommodate your schedule by allowing you to set up a one-on-one appointment anytime during our office hours, Monday through Friday. We also offer two workshops per month – one on a Saturday and the other on a weekday evening. (Click here to see the current workshop schedule.) A small investment of your time will create a big payoff. Active clients in our Bounce Back program have seen their credit score increase by 35 points, on average. Despite the challenges of the current economic downturn, our Bounce Back clients have been able to meet their monthly debt obligations and have not re-defaulted on their mortgage. We know you have other obligations, so we try to provide a little extra incentive for folks to come out: We have drawings to win a $25 gift card at our workshops. And anyone who graduates from the program receives a $50 gift card.
Yes! But did you know that you might already have enough income to pay your bills? You can actually increase your net income by reducing unnecessary expenses. At Bounce Back, we can help you better manage your current income by working with you to create a financial budget and to identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses. We also offer a workshop titled “Increase Your Income.” This is a complete workshop devoted to giving you ideas for new income-generating activities. It is led by a past client who had trouble with her mortgage and made it through. Now, she’s coming back and sharing her experiences. We start by helping you get a grasp of your expenses and ask people to write down daily where their money is going. By cutting out waste, people usually find a minimum of an additional $50 every month. We also provide specific ideas for creating new income – like babysitting pets or walking dogs for folks who are out of town on weekends. And we provide practical tips to make your purchases go further. For example, you can spread your usage of dish-washing liquid and skin lotions by adding just a little bit of water. You can do comparison shopping. And did you know that high-price items in the grocery stores are often right at eye-level? So if you go to the bottom shelf, you can probably save money by buying cheaper or generic brands.
It’s important to have a healthy sense of skepticism when seeking financial advice. You should always do your research. That said, you should know that Housing Initiative Partnership is a counseling agency that is approved by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD has certified our services – including our Bounce Back program. The department audits us every two years. We would recommend that anyone looking to get housing counseling go to a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. You want to make sure you’re with an agency that’s trustworthy.