When Amy’s mom told her and her husband Harry about the Akron Financial Empowerment Center, the information came at just the right time. Amy and Harry were struggling financially. “We were falling behind on all of our bills,” says Amy. “We could barely make our mortgage payment, our car payments. We were taking out payday loans to try to make ends meet.”
Created through a partnership between United Way of Summit & Medina and the City of Akron, the Akron Financial Empowerment Center provides free financial coaching services to local residents. By meeting regularly with a trained financial coach, individuals can develop the skills to budget and save, establish healthy banking relationships and raise their credit scores. The Akron Financial Empowerment center has helped residents achieve over 80 financial empowerment outcomes, including adopting new savings behaviors and establishing productive banking relationships.
Amy and Harry were some of the first clients to receive coaching at the Financial Empowerment Center when it opened in the summer of 2018. Meeting with a financial coach taught them ways to better track their spending habits and develop a plan to get out of debt. Within eight months, Amy and Harry paid off their payday loans and caught up on all their bills. They have a savings account and are working to build their savings so that if they ever run into financial trouble again, they won’t have to resort to costly loans.
Amy and Harry still attend monthly coaching sessions at the Financial Empowerment Center. It’s important to them that they model healthy financial behaviors for their son. Amy says she wants her son to understand that “you have to be very responsible with your money and to save your money to pay your bills.” With the help of their financial coach, Amy and Harry have maintained their healthy spending habits, which is important, because they’re hoping to save up enough money to buy a new home closer to their son’s school.