Group offers free financial services

April 6, 2011 3:17:38 PM PDT
We are in the middle of tax time, which is always a good time to think about your finances. And if it's something you can't do on your own, how about the help of your own personal financial coach?

And it's a free financial coach! The organization Family Services of Greater Houston wants Houstonians to get back on track with their finances, and with the help of a financial coach, you too can be on your way to financial freedom.

Professional hair stylist and makeup artist Umar Al-Duja has been steadily building his clientele for the last seven years.

"This is what we do on a daily basis, kinda making sure that our clients look their best," Al-Duja said.

But Al-Duja admits he wasn't doing his best managing his personal finances.

"I was spending all my money on products and then frustrated because I didn't have enough left over to meet my basic needs, which came first," he said.

So about a year ago, Al-Duja turned to the Family Services of Greater Houston and Financial Coach Richard Simonds.

"We work with people one-on-one regardless of the income. If you make $30,000 and are struggling, we can help you," Simonds said.

Even if you make $500,000, Family Services of Greater Houston can give you a coach for free to get you back on financial track. Financial coaches are all certified credit counselors to help people in various financial situations.

"We can help people with credit reports, increase income, decrease expenses, make sure they understand where their finance are, acquiring assets, how to save properly, how to budget properly, how to deal with collectors if they are calling you," Simonds said.

For Al-Duja it was the being accountable to his coach for his actions. This last year, he has been meeting with Simonds once a month. He sets goals each time and his finances are now organized. Al-Duja even took a trip to Paris to take classes for his work and he paid cash.

"To be able to take a vacation or take a class when I want to take it, I now have the opportunity to be able to do that," Al-Duja said.

"If you say this is a goal you want to achieve and you want someone to check into with, let us know and we can be that someone," Simonds said.

Now that, Al-Duja is back on track, he no longer needs to choose between buying groceries or buying products for his signature makeup line.

"I am able to afford them while maintaining clients and also growing the business as well," he said.

Family services can also help you map out a plan to help you save for a car or a home.

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