Member Success Story: Turn Bad Habits Into Best Behaviors

financial habits

Like 76% of Americans, Ariel was living paycheck to paycheck,1 and she found it harder when transitioning to a single income.  With a broken relationship, student loans, surgery, and the end of a lease, the emotional distress certainly wasn’t helping.  Luckily, Ariel found hope and support through the MSA Financial Wellness program, so she could transform poor financial habits into best practices and better behaviors.

Ariel’s steps toward a better financial future started with an opportunity provided by her employer.  Her employer offered a 90-day budget workshop through MSA.  As a workshop participant, Ariel attended three financial education classes, received financial tips via email, and engaged in one-on-one consultations with MSA Money Coach Lee.

After breaking up with her boyfriend, Ariel needed to adjust to a single income of $1,700 a month, so Coach Lee suggested the creation of a spending plan.  That way, she could get organized and put her money to good use.  “I was struggling financially to not live from paycheck to paycheck.  Lee helped me to spend my money more wisely.”  Together, they budgeted for things like eating out, different kinds of debts, retirement savings, entertainment, and so forth.

Their meetings involved more than jotting down a budget; they encouraged behavioral changes and resulted in better financial habits.  In order to make sure that Ariel was staying within the budget, Lee showed her how to track expenses.  Consequently, Ariel realized that she was eating out more because of emotional distress, causing her to spend almost double the amount originally budgeted for food.  Coach Lee immediately came alongside her, offering support and guidance to help Ariel make better choices. According to Ariel, “Lee is awesome!  He is very personable and does not make you feel bad about your spending choices.  He understands that life happens and helps you to move forward.”

They broke down Ariel’s financial challenges into manageable steps with multiple options.  When Ariel expressed her frustration with taxes and withholdings, Coach Lee connected her with a MSA tax specialist who could explain all the different withholding options available to Ariel and how each option would affect her financial situation (e.g. Option A would result in getting a refund; Option B would allow her to break even, and so forth).  Talking through her finances also gave Ariel the insight she needed to decide that extending her lease and getting a roommate would be the best financially.

When asked about her experience, Ariel said, “[Lee] helped me to look at my finances in a better light to help me plan for my financial future.  Also to save money that I need….  He is real!  He does any and every thing that he can to help you understand your finances.” Overall, Ariel became more aware of her spending, wanted to change her bad habits, and she got the direction and support to do so.

When Ariel first came to MSA, she took a financial wellness survey and got 3.1 out of 10, indicating high financial stress.  After three short months, the accountability and guidance of a Money Coach enriched her life with a whole new perspective and positive financial behaviors.  The result?  She raised her financial wellness score to 7.6 out of 10!

If you’re interested in providing a financial wellness program for your employees, or you want more information about financial wellness workshops, call 888-724-2326 today.

 

1Steiner, Sheyna.  “Many Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck.”  Bankrate.com.  N.p.  26 Nov. 2012.  Web.  9 Sep. 2013.