Personal Finance Coach: Hector Hidalgo

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Personal Finance Coach Hector Hidalgo breaks down how he helps clients reduce debt, strengthen credit, and build savings toward their goals.

What does a personal finance coach do?

We have four main pillars that we work with.

We help out with strengthening credit, if the client needs to either improve or establish credit, we can help out with that.

We also help out with reducing debt, so coming up with debt payment strategies for our clients to better their debt situation.

We also work on budgeting with our clients. We create a budget, review the budget, revise the budget, and offer any recommendations on where they can maybe better their spending in an effort to either build savings or pay down debt, it depends on the client situation.

And the last one that we do focus on is savings, so coming up with saving strategies, but also connecting our clients to the appropriate savings product that they’ll benefit the most from.

Do you have a favorite area of expertise?

I’m not sure if it’s a favorite, but it’s definitely one that I get excited about, and it’s when a client is going to start building credit, when they have an empty credit report and they’re in a position to build credit. It allows me to kind of talk to them about the pitfalls of what to avoid when you’re starting off. It’s something that I wish I had when I was first starting to build credit. I can meet a client before they’re taking this journey and kind of help them look out for certain things.

One of the main things I mention to clients who are applying for a credit card is simply letting them know, like, “Hey, look at this credit card as a tool to help you build your credit instead of something to borrow from.” And then we discuss the best ways to use it to solely improve your credit and not look at it as something to borrow from and accumulate debt.

Any client success stories stick out to you?

Yes, what stood out to me the most about him was just the ownership that he took of his finances. He was paying a collection account and he had a monthly payment plan, which was going to resolve with him paying off the debt. Like it’s good but it was going to take him a while to pay. I talked to him about several options including a one-time lump sum payment to kind of take care of the debt sooner rather than later.

When we met the next month he was like, “Hey, do you remember when we were talking about this debt, that I had this collection? I was actually able to settle it for, I believe, something as low as 20 or 30% of the original debt,” so he’s one of those clients that always stands out to me because he’s the one doing all of the hard work. I’m just kind of pointing things out to him. And he’s the one that’s taking action. Those are definitely some of my favorite clients that are definitely motivated and kind of just need that extra push or a little bit of guidance, and then they take it and run with it.

How did you get into personal finance coaching?

Prior to TrustPlus I worked at a bank as a teller, but I also worked hand in hand with a lot of personal bankers. And one of the things that I noticed was a lot of people from my community being denied credit.

I was always interested to find out exactly why they were being denied and what can be done for them to access credit. And that was kind of one of the main factors that motivated me to join TrustPlus, because now I’m in that position to kind of make that impact and help individuals navigate through the financial system.

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TrustPlus is a financial wellness benefit that eases everyday money worries with personal coaching and action-oriented tools and products.