DES MOINES, Iowa — Last month, Polk County announced the opening of Iowa’s first Financial Empowerment Center, offering one on one financial coaching as a free service to local residents.
Des Moines Area Community College is the service provider for this program. DMACC and Polk County have been working on this financial empowerment center for over a year.
The program manager for the center, Deidre DeJear, said the mission of the program is to help Iowans look long term at their finances.
“What our coaches are trained to do is really focus on people’s personal financial goals and the goals that they have for their families, DeJear said. “They create spending plans and strategic plans that are in line with those goals to help individuals achieve the things that they want to achieve.”
One of the biggest subjects coaches discuss with clients is stimulus checks, urging Iowans not to spend this money all at once.
“If you thought you knew what you were going to do with this, this stimulus check let’s take a step back and really look at your whole financial picture,” DeJear said. “Let’s also look at what COVID could potentially look like within the next two to three months. And so our goal is to make sure that you’re utilizing those dollars in a way that’s going to be more advantageous for you in the long run.”
Staff is made up of four financial coaches who’ve been taking three to four virtual appointments a day, along with various partnerships that assist clients with other matters such as legal issues.
The Financial Empowerment Center has been helping those with low to moderate income and is free to the public due to Polk County’s investment into the program. DeJear said they are hoping local residents take advantage of the center.
“Our goal for our clients is that they level up in this process. We’ve had credit score increases in the midst of his COVID season. We’ve had people acquire capital in the midst of this COVID season. And so there are some things that can actually happen for people as it relates to achieving our goals. You don’t have to put your goals and your dreams on hold because we’re in a pandemic,” DeJear said.
To schedule an appointment, visit Polk County’s website.