By Mrs. Shay Cook, CEO of Crusaders for Change, LLC (C4C) Accredited Financial Counselor® & Financial Fitness Coach®
In a world where financial literacy is vital, accessing the right financial resources and having community support can make all the difference in achieving financial security and prosperity. Whether you're an individual looking to better manage your money, a couple planning for your future together, or a family striving to secure your financial well-being, having the right tools, support, and guidance is crucial. This time of year, you also may be looking for practical and caring gifts for loved ones – and what’s better than giving the gift of financial literacy?
The Bible emphasizes principles of honesty, diligence, and responsible financial management for achieving success. It also emphasizes the role of community support and generosity in times of financial need. Galatians 6:2 (NIV) says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." This passage underscores the importance of supporting one another in times of need, including financial difficulties. When navigating financial obstacles, stress and emotions can run high. Seeking out resources and wise people can help a great deal when starting your journey to financial wellness. Biblical principles can serve as valuable guidance for individuals and families seeking financial success, security, and a sense of community in their lives.
However, not everyone starts off with resources and financial guidance available within their immediate community. That’s where we step in to help! In this comprehensive article, we'll explore the four best financial resources that cater to a wide range of needs and situations — these can be a great starting point for support for your financial journey or supporting a loved one’s financial wellness.
1. Personal Finance Apps
In our increasingly digital world, personal finance apps have become indispensable tools for managing money efficiently. These apps offer a wide range of features, from budgeting and expense tracking to investment management and retirement planning. Some popular apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), and Empower Personal Wealth provide users with comprehensive financial snapshots and insights into their spending habits.
One of the greatest advantages of personal finance apps is their accessibility and user-friendliness. Most of them can be downloaded to your smartphone, allowing you to monitor your finances on the go. They often sync with your bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts, making it easy to track income, expenses, and investment performance in real time. If you’re a visual learner like I am, these apps can provide valuable data visualization tools, helping you gain a better understanding of your financial standing.
2. Financial Counselors and Coaches
For individuals, couples, and families seeking personalized financial guidance, Accredited Financial Counselors® (AFC®) and Financial Fitness Coaches® (FFC®) can be an invaluable resource. These professionals have the expertise to create tailored financial plans that align with your unique goals and circumstances. Whether you're looking to get out of debt, manage your finances as a couple, save for retirement, purchase a home, or plan for your child's education, an AFC® or FFC® can provide the expertise and insight needed to make informed decisions.
Working with an AFC® or FFC® typically involves an initial assessment of your financial situation, defining your financial goals, and crafting a comprehensive financial plan. This plan may cover areas such as budgeting, investments, insurance, estate planning, and more. Regular meetings with this professional can ensure that your plan remains aligned with your evolving financial situation and goals.
At Crusaders for Change (C4C), we proudly go beyond the conventional role of accredited financial counselors and financial fitness coaches. We understand that individuals, couples, and families are more than just numbers on a balance sheet or accounts to be managed. We recognize the holistic nature of your financial journey and believe in addressing the whole person, their unique needs, dreams, and the importance of spiritual community.
Our approach extends far beyond dollars and cents. We strive to create a safe and supportive space where your financial aspirations align with your personal values and spiritual beliefs. We understand that financial well-being is intricately connected to your overall well-being, including your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
In addition to providing expert financial guidance, we offer a compassionate ear and a caring heart. We listen to your concerns, aspirations, and challenges, and we tailor our services to your specific situation. Whether you're navigating personal finance, budgeting, debt management, or investment planning, we are here to provide comprehensive support.
3. Online Learning and Educational Platforms
Financial literacy is a cornerstone of financial success, and there's a wealth of online resources available to help individuals and families build their financial knowledge. Many reputable institutions and organizations offer free or low-cost online courses and educational materials, and in fact, your employer may have access to some of these programs for free! These resources cover a wide range of financial topics, including budgeting, investing, debt management, and retirement planning.
Webinars, blogs, and podcasts are also excellent tools for continuous learning in the realm of personal finance. These resources provide valuable insights from financial experts and real-world success stories that can inspire and inform your financial journey.
At C4C, we love to have fun while we learn and grow in our financial literacy journey. That’s why we host the Tickle My Money Bone event where we mix, mingle, laugh, and learn all about finances, as well as our Dreamers and Doers retreats, where we bring women together to discuss faith, family, friends, fitness, and finances all while having fun!
4. Community and Support Groups
Navigating financial challenges can be daunting, but you don't have to go it alone. Joining local or online financial support groups and communities can provide you with a network of like-minded individuals who share their experiences and insights. These groups offer a safe space to discuss financial matters, seek advice, and offer support to others facing similar challenges.
Local financial support groups at churches or community centers may host regular meetings, workshops, or seminars on various financial topics. Online communities and forums allow you to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations, expanding your knowledge and perspective. Sharing your own experiences and hearing from others can be both empowering and enlightening.
Take That First Step to Seek Out The Support You Need
Achieving financial security and success requires access to the right resources and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Whether you choose to harness the power of personal finance apps, seek guidance from accredited financial counselors, engage in online financial education, or connect with supportive communities, the key is to take proactive steps toward your financial goals. Remember, financial well-being is a journey, and the best resources are those that empower you to make informed decisions and build a secure financial future.
At C4C, we recognize the significance of spiritual community in your life. Faith can be a powerful source of strength, motivation, and guidance, especially during times of financial stress or uncertainty. Philippians 4:19 (NIV) says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." This verse reminds believers of God's promise to provide for our needs.
We are not just AFCs® and FFCs®; we are partners on your journey to holistic financial well-being. We are dedicated to empowering you to achieve financial success, nurture your spiritual growth, and build a secure future for yourself and your loved ones. Together, we address the whole person, recognizing that your financial goals are an integral part of your broader life journey. Schedule a free 15-minute clarity call with us to get started.