Client Beat: Alexis Gets A Handle on Her Debt, Prioritizes Her Fiscal Health
As we at TrustPlus reflect on Women’s History Month, we reflect on the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our clients, 71 percent of whom in 2020 identified as women. Four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force in September, roughly 865,000 women compared with 216,000 men.
TrustPlus is here to help. Our female clients reduced $3,584,286 in overall debt, $218,095 in collections debt, and $816,581 in credit card debt in 2020. One such client is Alexis.
Today, Alexis feels in control of her finances and hopeful about her financial future. She can envision a reality in which she is debt-free and is on her way to becoming a homeowner, goals that both felt out of reach just one year ago. Before she started working with her TrustPlus Personal Financial Coach, Elise, Alexis had been working full time at a nonprofit in San Francisco, but was earning less than her expenses. She felt “overwhelmed, suffocated and crushed” by the $18,000 in credit card debt she had accrued as a result of her unbalanced budget.
Then last year, the stars aligned in Alexis’ favor when she got a promotion, a raise and a referral to TrustPlus financial coaching through HoneyBee, a fintech offered by her employer as a benefit. She knew that getting a raise meant she would finally be able to tackle her debt, but was hesitant about “telling a stranger on the phone about the thing you’re most ashamed of, or admit that you don’t know how to do this stuff.” Despite the stress and shame that came with talking about her debt, Alexis scheduled a session with Elise, who immediately helped her identify her available debt-payment options and what the best option would be for her particular situation. They decided to leverage Alexis’ good credit score to take out a personal loan from Patelco, a Bay Area-based credit union, to refinance the credit card debt with a lower interest rate. Then “once it felt like there was a solution to this problem that had been plaguing me, we could work on planning, budgeting and setting goals.”
After a year of meeting with Elise once a month, their sessions seamlessly fit into Alexis’ schedule. “Now that I’ve made the decision to prioritize my fiscal health, it’s not at all a chore. We talk once a month while I drink my morning coffee before leaving for work.” She is reassured knowing that Elise will always be there to check in, whether not much has changed over the prior month, or there is lots to catch up on and plan around.
As a result of their monthly check-ins, Alexis has managed to pay off half of the $18,000 loan in less than a year, primarily using money saved from not commuting or eating out during quarantine. Meanwhile, she has also been able to start aggressively saving money earned from a part-time consultant job she picked up this year. She now has savings to lean on in case she loses her job as the pandemic continues to press on. Or if she retains her job, she will have enough savings for a down-payment on a home in a few more years.
With Elise’s support and guidance, Alexis finally feels secure about her financial situation. “Once I started talking to Elise, it started feeling like all my problems were solvable. Talking to Elise once a month for the last year, it’s been life changing.” Soon, they’ll work together on preparing for the new challenge of filing taxes as a freelance consultant. Alexis has already referred her boyfriend and two friends to TrustPlus hoping that they too can overcome the “hurdle of admitting that no one ever taught you these things.” She concluded, “we all grew up poor and to have the tools to transcend the class you were born into has been so empowering.”