My Secure Advantage

Success Story: A Team Effort

It’s a whole lot easier tackling financial challenges – like managing credit cards, taking on student loans and understanding insurance policies – when you have a team of money coaches beside you.
By MSA Staff

It’s a whole lot easier tackling financial challenges – like managing credit cards, taking on student loans and understanding insurance policies – when you have a team of money coaches beside you.  Ryan made great progress in just two months because he could address each issue with a Money Coach who specialized in that particular topic.  Check it out.

Ryan wanted a better understanding of his situation and how he could go from good to great with his financial wellness. Through his employer, a professional athletics association, he got access to the My Secure Advantage

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(MSA) Financial Wellness program where he was able to get one-on-one consultations with a personal MSA Money Coach.

How can I better manage all these credit card balances?

Even though Ryan took advantage of credit card offers to keep interest rates low, he still found himself racking up debt.  What he needed was someone who could keep him accountable and stick to a plan that would keep him from carrying the weight of credit card balances and increasing interest.

When Ryan entered the MSA program, he started working with Veena who is a Money Coach and Certified Credit Counselor.  Coach Veena provided support, accountability and guidance for Ryan.  Here’s what he said about working with her:

“Much of what Veena and I discussed, switching to low interest credit cards, I have already done in the past.  However, when their 0% offer expired, I wouldn’t follow up to take the necessary steps to continue my plan.  Veena has been extremely good at keeping me focused and on track.  When I stumble, she is there to help me get back on track and has been a great help to me.”

Even though Ryan already worked hard on bettering his credit, his Money Coach was the extra boost he needed to go from good to great financial management: to make a plan for progress and stick to it.

How do I handle student loans?

An awesome part about the MSA program is that you not only work with a personal Money Coach but have access to a whole team of coaches with different credentials and specialties.  When Ryan had questions about student loans, Veena set up an appointment with Money Coach Katherine who is a College Planning and Student Loan Specialist.

Coach Katherine talked to Ryan about how to manage the student loans for his three children who have already graduated, as well as the options for getting more financial support for his fourth child who recently started college.  Ryan already had over $50,000 in student loans and was anticipating taking on $40,000 more, so he wanted  a plan of attack to make sure debt didn’t get the best of him.

Coach Katherine discussed a couple options for paying off debt sooner rather than later:

  1. Make principle payments higher than the minimum because only sticking to the minimum will cost you a lot of interest over time.  For example, let’s say you have $25,000 in student loans with a 6.8% interest rate, and the minimum monthly payment is $280.  If you only pay the minimum, it will take you a little over ten years to pay off the loan, and you will have paid about $10,000 in interest!  (By the way, paying just $100 more the entire time would save you almost $4,000 in interest.)
  2. Lower your interest rate because the higher your interest rate, the more you have to pay and the longer it will take to get that debt off your shoulders.  If your goal is to pay off debt sooner, then lowering the interest rate through refinancing could help you be more aggressive in your payments, but refinancing federal loans through a private company (necessary for refinancing) comes with new terms unique to your particular credit situation.  For more details on what you might face with this option, talk to a Money Coach.

Coach Katherine also suggested the debt snowball technique.  This is where you pay as much as you can on one loan (usually the loan with the lowest balance) while paying the minimum on the rest; then, once you pay off the loan with the lowest balance, you take however much money was going towards that loan and put it towards the next loan with the lowest balance.  Oftentimes, people like this strategy because it’s easier to see progress as, one-by-one, loans are knocked off the list.

Ryan was grateful for the suggestions and had this to say about working with a Money Coach:

“She was very knowledgeable, but more than that, she is pleasant and very charming and has the ability to keep me engaged and on track.  I just began in May, but she has not only helped me construct a plan; she has also kept me enthused enough so that I am very focused on becoming debt free.”

Am I over-insured?

Many people don’t like dealing with insurance, but they’re sure glad they have it when they need it.  The truth is that insurance is super important because it could be a financial lifesaver if you ever have an emergency.  Nevertheless, getting as many policies as you can “just in case” can lead to financial hardship if you’re paying for coverage that you already have available through some other means.

Ryan had a homeowner’s policy, an auto policy, flood insurance, insurance on his co-op rental and an umbrella policy.  His question was simple: “Am I over-insured?”

For this particular goal, Ryan worked with Money Coach Derek, a Certified Public Accountant.  Together, they determined what kind of coverage was actually provided by each policy, so Ryan could easily compare them and figure out if there were any overlapping benefits.  This approach not only showed Ryan unnecessary coverage but allowed him to (1) better understand his insurance and (2) fill any gaps he may not have known about previously.

Now Ryan can rest assured knowing he has the right amount of coverage, and he’s not paying for the same coverage with two (or more) different policies.

Continual Support

Ryan continues to meet with a Money Coach for accountability and education.  You can get help too with financial goals or challenges that you’re facing.  Call 888-724-2326 to get started.

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