Need financial guidance? Financial Pathways offers help for seniors

Vera Guthrie

Need financial guidance? Financial Pathways offers help for seniors
August 29
00:00 2019

By Vera Guthrie

I first met Gray when he came to Financial Pathways initially for bankruptcy counseling. He had advanced stage Parkinson’s and had entrusted his sister to pay his bills for him. She did pay his bills, but, they were paid late which caused him to incur late fees. She also over-drafted his account, which again incurred more fees and it became clear she was also taking money. It was later revealed that she had opened some credit cards in his name that he was unaware of and he had one of his own that he paid off monthly.

We first reviewed his budget, looking for avenues to avoid bankruptcy but regretfully, there were none. At this point he was relying on friends to handle his financial affairs and I could see it was becoming a strain on their actual friendship. I explained to Gray and his friend Russ that Senior Financial Care provides a bill-pay service. They both lit up and felt the bill-pay service would be a fantastic option. Gray completed the bankruptcy education session, received his required certificate, and I made an appointment for the first Bill-Pay session for the following week. We worked together through the monthly process and set up the next visit. When asked if Gray felt okay with what had been accomplished, Gray smiled and said, “Great”!

The added benefit was working with someone who would be an advocate for him so he can continue to live as independently as possible with his physical health issues.

This is just one story among many about older adults who Financial Pathways’ Senior Financial Care ® has helped to improve their financial situation.

Statistics show that the 60+ aging population is the largest growing age group nationally and that because people are living longer independent lives, their needs will also continue to grow.

Seniors face a number of challenges to their financial well-being. Frequently they are targets of financial scams, fraud and predatory lending schemes. Income sharply decreases at retirement and many seniors struggle from one social security check to the next in order to meet their basic needs.

Senior Financial Care® became a program of Financial Pathways of the Piedmont (formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Forsyth County, Inc.) in 1987 in order to provide in-home financial services for older adults who had mobility issues getting to our office. Our agency is dedicated to helping adults age 60 and older prevent and solve financial problems through education, monthly expense management, counseling in health insurance and budgeting, advocacy, debt management and information and options counseling. In 1995, SFC became certified to provide Reverse Mortgage counseling.

Our SFC counselors are nationally certified housing, credit, and student loan counselors through the National Foundation of Credit Counselors (NFCC). They are certified Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselors to assist seniors to navigate through Medicare, supplements, and prescription programs based on their health and financial needs.

Senior Financial Care counselors can meet with a senior in their home (Forsyth County residents only) or in our office to assist with:

*Check writing and bank statement reconciliation (bill-pay)

*Medical insurance guidance (SHIIP)

*Personal budgeting

*Credit and debt counseling

*Benefits check-up – may reveal other programs or benefits the senior is eligible based on income

*Reverse mortgage education.

*Bankruptcy education – required in order to file bankruptcy

*Student loan counseling – provides options for repayment and informs of consequences of default.

*Fraud awareness and prevention (one-on-one or workshops)

*Options counseling – process approved by NC Division on Aging to help older adults make informed decisions about services and support.

*Information and referral services – if our agency doesn’t provide a service a senior may need, chances are we can refer them to an agency that can.

For information about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call our office 336-896-1328.

Vera Guthrie is a certified housing, credit and student loan counselor through the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) and a reverse mortgage counselor through HUD. She is also a certified Information and Options Counselor in compliance with the Area Agency on Aging.

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