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Don’t Bear Your Financial Burdens Alone

Nobody should feel alone during a time of transition and financial strain. 

That's why LSS Center for Financial Resources provides clarity and support through financial counseling, education, and debt management plans—ensuring people are healthy, safe, and accepted at all points in their financial journey.

Stephanie started her plan with LSS just a few months ago, following a series of events that drastically changed her life.

"I went from being employed and married to getting fired, and shortly after finding a new job, my husband filed for divorce," she said.

Adapting to the sudden changes, Stephanie battled the competitive housing market and finally purchased her own home. Only a couple of years into her new position, and just a few months after this purchase, restructuring within the company caused her to be let go once again.

"Both times I lost my job, it had nothing to do with my performance or abilities. It was the kind of thing you just couldn't predict," said Stephanie.

After owning her home for only four months, Stephanie had no source of income and no way to pay her mortgage. "I decided to renovate the basement into an Airbnb," she said. But construction costs put her even further behind, and despite a steady cash flow from renting out the space, no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to get ahead of her payments.

"I thought, 'It would be nice if somebody could help me, but those services are only for people in poverty,'" she explained. "I'm a very independent, 'I can do it, I don't need your help' kind of person...but after a few months, I realized it was time to swallow my pride and talk to somebody."

'You don't have to be in a critical situation' to seek help, 'you just have to want to be better.'

"Right away, Dana made me feel smart,” said Stephanie, of her first meeting with her LSS financial counselor. “She affirmed that I was doing the right thing, that I shouldn't feel stupid, and that I wasn't incapable.”

Through those early conversations, Dana helped Stephanie realize that the circumstances she found herself in weren't all that different from a lot of people's, and by forming a plan, they could easily tackle the problem.

"It's like going to the gym—you don't have to be completely out of shape, you don't have to be in a critical situation, you just have to want to be better," said Stephanie.

With a plan in place by her third meeting, she could feel a weight leave her shoulders.

"It's made my finances so much more manageable...and it gives me confidence knowing that I'm doing everything I can to be in the best financial shape I can be in," she said.

Through the Debt Management Program LSS set up with Stephanie, LSS contacted the accounts she needed to pay off and spoke with creditors on her behalf to work out the best arrangements and make her debts more manageable.

"I'd tried negotiating with creditors myself, and they don't listen to me. But they do listen to LSS. That was good having an expert who knows how to negotiate and navigate those relationships," she said.

Keeping Stephanie's plan practical and achievable was another early priority for Dana, who intentionally made room in Stephanie's budget for leisure activities and the freedom to enjoy life without feeling guilty about the small, everyday costs.

"You can't say that you're never going to buy a cup of coffee or eat out with friends or go on vacation. You have to have room to live, and that's what a good budgeting plan gives you," said Stephanie, while adding that finding “room to live” can feel especially difficult as the cost of living continues to skyrocket, and the average person feels increasingly anxious about their financial decisions.

"I often ask my friends, 'Is it just me, or has everything felt financially harder recently?' And everyone says, 'Yes, oh my goodness, you're so right,'" she said. "I think we're all starting from that common ground of being in a tough economic environment."

While still early in the process, Stephanie already feels herself moving toward a much more stable future. For anyone burdened by trying to figure out their finances alone, Stephanie encourages them to do what she did—talk to someone.

"You can't always get ahead of your situation by working more," said Stephanie. "Sometimes you just have to ask for help. It's never wrong to reach out to somebody who knows more than you—they could have a better path for you to take."

For help attaining your financial goals, whether it be buying a home, getting out of debt, or another financial dream, contact the LSS Center for Financial Resources today.

LSS is proud to offer financial counseling, resources, and education to support your financial needs. The LSS Center for Financial Resources provides guidance that will help you sort out your unique financial priorities. We offer tools, tips, and expertise to improve money management skills, achieve successful homeownership, as well as manage and pay off debt.