Each month Extension’s financial education program is profiling an outstanding volunteer. To nominate someone, please email Megan Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Desiree Kaul
Works: part-time merchandizer, full-time mom
Desiree Kaul has volunteered as a Master Financial Education Volunteer since April 2014. She and Donna Brazier recently provided training for social workers. The training provided case workers with information and materials to use with their clients as they help them to resolve their financial problems.
Q. What do you do to relax?
A. I like to read.
Q. What’s on your summer reading list?
A. Mysteries and children’s finance books.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to save for?
A. I’m saving for retirement. It would be nice to have the option to retire earlier.
Q. What’s your favorite splurge?
A. I don’t splurge for myself, but I’m willing to spend more on an item that will last a long time, like a nice pair of jeans. If I do splurge, it’s probably on my kid.
Q. How did you become interested in financial literacy?
A. I got into trouble when I was in college. I was one of those people who only made minimum payments, and I had 10 credit cards. I bought things for other people. Half the things I owed money on I didn’t own anymore. I was using credit cards to pay for other credit card bills.
When I got married, my husband and I looked at our credit reports. He said, “What’s going on?” and I went to a financial counselor. I enrolled in Power Pay to pay off my credit card debt.
[Editor’s note: Power Pay is a free, self-directed debt elimination plan from Utah State University Extension. It is an especially helpful tool for clients with multiple credit cards because the client can enter information about multiple debts in one place, and the system will generate a payment schedule in order of highest interest rate.]
I’m one of those people who like to set goals. Power Pay made it easier to see how fast I was paying things off because it was more of a visual tool.
Q. What advice would you give to a client who is in a similar situation to when you were a newlywed?
A. If you’re willing to put in the time to repair your credit, it will benefit you greatly. If you spend the year or two to get things in order, it is amazing what you can do later. I was debt-free in two years. I was lucky that my husband paid for housing so I could pay my debt.