Guidewell Financial Solutions Marks 51st Anniversary by Focusing on Long-Term Client Outcomes

A nonprofit with nearly 50 years service in the community.

Taking part in Guidewell Financial”s debt management program has reduced our worry and calls from creditors. It’s been extremely gratifying to see our credit scores increase from 450 to 800. ~ Sandra S., Guidewell Financial Client

Like many of us, Martha Souder didn’t learn much about money management growing up. At age 19, she had already maxed out her first credit card, and by 2002, she owed nearly $60,000 in loans and credit card debt. For 10 years, Martha diligently worked to reduce her credit balances, but was only able to repay $10,000. Meanwhile, the interest she owed continued to grow. She says, “That’s when I realized I needed help. After doing some research, I chose Guidewell Financial Solutions. They’re a nonprofit with years of experience helping people take control of their finances.”

After receiving financial counseling, Martha enrolled in the agency’s debt management program (DMP). During the next four years, she paid off nearly $50,000 and saw her credit score rise. She says: “Living on cash during my DMP taught me discipline and how to budget and save. I’ve also gained a better understanding of how to avoid overspending. Learning to respect my money has given me confidence. My financial future is the brightest it’s ever been!”

Martha’s experience mirrors the 2016 findings of an independent study by researchers at The Ohio State University. It examined how financial counseling impacts consumer behavior and financial well-being. The study found that clients who took part in certified financial counseling and debt management plans like Guidewell Financial’s reduced their total debt by an average of $17,000, while individuals who did not seek counseling saw a rise in the amount they owed. Counseled clients also recognized a substantial improvement in their credit scores. Like Martha, 67% said the program had helped them manage their money better, and 70% reported an overall improvement in their financial confidence.

How Counseling and DMPs Work

Guidewell Financial offers free, confidential financial counseling. President and CEO Helene Raynaud says, “Every session begins with a holistic financial assessment that serves as a reality check. We then help clients set up a budget and brainstorm on ways to increase income and reduce expenses, so they have resources to repay what they owe and continue to cover their other bills.”

Counselors help their clients review available debt repayment options and come up with an actionable plan. Some like Martha qualify for Guidewell Financial’s debt management program. Under this option, they make a single payment each month to the agency, which is then…

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