Monday, May 19, 2014

GAPP grandmother shares financial lessons

Yolanda Warner, part of the Grandparents As Parents Program at MCH Family Outreach in Waco since 2010, found the help she needed to gain stability as she cares for her grandchildren.  She has full custody of her 8-year-old grandson and also frequently cares for her 11- and 6-year-old granddaughters and found herself struggling financially.

MCH Family Outreach connected Warner to a local freelance financial coach, Phil Oliver, who works with families in the community as they learn to adjust their budgets.

“I’m terrible with money,” Warner said. “Mr. Oliver showed me how some things are needs and most things are really a want. I’m learning to spend money better so it will go further.”

Oliver said the first step he takes with his clients is helping them to establish financial goals and look at ways they can be achieved. He said if they find that there is a deficiency in the money they earn, they must choose to either work more, spend less or sell something of value. He utilizes the envelope system where a budget is made and strictly followed. Money is designated for certain areas of spending, such as for entertainment, and placed in an envelope. Once that money is gone, it cannot be replenished.

He encourages the whole family to get involved in these goals and the actions necessary to change spending habits.  For Warner, this meant her grandson must also participate in the process.

“My grandson has a piggy bank now,” Warner said. She said he has been saving for three months and will get to open the piggy bank and count his savings at his next birthday. 

Warner and her grandson also help each other out at the store, reminding each other to “stick to the list” and not to splurge on extras they don’t need.

“I think it’s awesome,” Oliver said. “I get excited. It’s one thing to teach, one thing to do and another to hear about it working. I feel like this is sharing something that will keep going on down the line, sharing a legacy.”
Warner’s case manager, Rehan McNeil, commends the work Warner has been doing to get her finances under control in order to better support her grandchildren.

“The progress Ms. Warner has made is a perfect example of what can happen when clients are motivated to succeed,” McNeil said. “Ms. Warner’s partnership with Mr. Oliver is not only helping her make better financial decisions, but she is also demonstrating and modeling sound financial stewardship for her grandson.  She utilizes the financial coaching she has received from Mr. Oliver to teach her grandson money management skills that will hopefully follow him into adulthood.  This is what we long to see in working with our family preservation clients - improved life skills that will have a long-term impact on the entire household.”  

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