Tag Archives: financial coaching

Virginia Cooperative Extension Selected to Host Financial Coach to Help Economically Vulnerable Clients

The Arlington office of Virginia Cooperative Extension announced today that it has been selected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to participate in the federal agency’s Financial Coaching Initiative. As part of this initiative, VCE—Arlington is hosting a full-time financial coach to work with its clients to help them with their financial goals.

“Diana Yacob started as our financial coach on March 30th,” said Jennifer Abel, Senior Extension Agent and Unit Coordinator. “She originally served as one of our Master Financial Education Volunteers, has a master’s degree in personal finance, is an Accredited Financial Counselor, and speaks Spanish. She has already begun meeting with clients and has a substantial caseload. We are very excited to be able to add this professional service to the array of financial education programs that we offer to Arlington and Alexandria residents.”

Millions of consumers are economically vulnerable, including the 49.1 million people living below the poverty line, and the more than 68 million who are financially underserved. These consumers are the most likely to lack access to traditional financial services, which may include products that are more appropriate to their needs and less costly. In-person, individualized and trustworthy guidance can help these consumers make good financial decisions and reach their financial goals.

The CFPB Financial Coaching Initiative provides financial coaching services at critical points in consumers’ lives as they move along the path to financial stability. The program helps both veterans as they transition from active duty status as well as economically vulnerable consumers seeking other services from social services and other providers.

VCE-Arlington was selected as part of a competitive process involving hundreds of organizations nationwide. All of the nonprofit organizations selected to host financial coaches for economically vulnerable consumers also provide services that complement financial coaching, such as job training and education, social, and housing services.

The coaches hired for the program have experience working with the populations they will service, are accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, and will be trained in financial coaching techniques.

More information on the CFPB’s Financial Coaching Initiative is available here: www.consumerfinance.gov


Welcome Graduates from the First Money Smarts Pay Course

On November 13 five women graduated from the inaugural course of the Money Smarts Pay program at Arlington Mill Apartments. All of them took specific actions to improve their money management habits such as creating and sticking to a budget, saving money in an emergency fund, saving toward a down payment on a house, and working on paying down debts.

Money Smarts Pay is a new program that we began in August 2014 in collaboration with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). It combines two of the services that we have been providing for more than 20 years: one-on-one financial coaching and money management classes. Participants take three classes, each separated by a month, on the topics of goal setting and budgeting, credit and debt management, and saving strategies. In the weeks between the classes participants meet with volunteer financial coaches who help them practice the skills that they learned in the class sessions and take the specific actions that we outline for each session. The course culminates in an awards ceremony to honor the achievements of all of the participants.

Participants pose with their certificates and coaches

Participants pose with their certificates and coaches

This hybrid approach will hopefully achieve better and longer lasting results for clients than either the coaching or classes have done by themselves, and the initial data from this first course are bearing that out. Participants are sticking to the positive behavior changes that they have adopted and are saving money toward concrete goals.

We also started Money Smarts Pay courses at two other APAH properties in September and November—Columbia Grove and Buchanan Gardens. These courses will end in December and February, respectively. When another organization, Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless, heard about the program they wanted it for their clients too, so we began a program for them in November.

We will be leading a total of six Money Smarts Pay programs for APAH in fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) and are looking forward to expanding the program to other organizations as well. If you would like more information about this program, please contact Jennifer Abel or Megan Kuhn: jabel@vt.edu or megan.kuhn@vt.edu.