Debt Management Program Newsletter - July 2020

Debt Management Program Newsletter - July 2020

Jul 22, 2020

Financial Solutions, newsletter


Summer 2020  

Enjoy a brief update from the FamilyMeans Financial Solutions Debt Management Program team! 

Former Director of Financial Solutions
Promoted to FamilyMeans President!

 Jim Kroening Headshot July 2020


After 28 years as Director of Financial Solutions, Jim Kroening was promoted to President & CEO of the agency in June 2020. He is excited to take on this new role and says “I am humbled and honored to have been chosen to lead FamilyMeans as the next president. I am tremendously energized to lead an organization with such a strong, established leadership team and a track record of success. Though the current times are difficult and challenging, I am excited to continue to work with the FamilyMeans board, funders, and colleagues to provide client-centered, evidence-based programming to impact clients and the communities we serve.”


Welcome New Director of Financial Solutions,
Kelly Hansen!


 Kelly Hansen July 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Kelly Hansen has accepted the position as Director of Financial Solutions! Kelly has been with FamilyMeans since 1999. She is eager to use her 21 years of experience in the Financial Solutions program, combined with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications from UW- River Falls, to move the program forward with continued success.

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing lots of new obstacles for our clients, community, and world. Kelly is confident that her experience will help FamilyMeans Financial Solutions and our clients persevere!



 DMP Staff Social distancing


COVID-19 Update

For FamilyMeans, the health and safety of our clients, staff, and the greater community is a top priority.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early spring, our staff have diligently monitored the rapidly changing situation, and followed the guidance of public health officials in implementing the best policies to slow down the virus transmission.

At the end of March, Financial Solutions Counselors began working remotely using company-issued telephones and equipment.  If you are struggling due to the effects of the pandemic and need a review of your financial situation, do not hesitate to call us to set an appointment with your counselor. 

Debt Management Program (DMP) staff continue to work safely in our main office location, processing DMP payments, communicating with you via telephone, email, and fax.  We are closely monitoring creditor communications and working with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) to assure we are offering all repayment and budgeting options that are available.     

As a result of COVID-19, many Americans are feeling financial strain. The NFCC has responded to these newfound hardships by establishing a modification program called Extended Modification Solutions (EMS). The EMS program recognizes consumers may fall into additional hardship after enrolling in a DMP, making it difficult to make their monthly DMP payment.  The program allows for short-term, reduced payments that will not affect active DMP status. Though beneficial for some, the EMS program may not work for everyone. If you are unable to make your expected DMP deposit, contact your counselor to discuss the pros and cons of this modification, reductions applicable for your specific creditors, and your recovery spending plan to resume full DMP payments.  

If you are interested in learning more please contact the Financial Solutions support team at 651-789-4006 or 1-800-780-2890.

FollowFamilyMeans on Facebookor check back to ourwebsite blog page for updated information regarding COVID response and support.

"We are so pleased with our experience with FamilyMeans and very grateful for our progress thus far [through the debt management program].  The courtesy and kindness of the staff was very reassuring when we decided to begin the process.  

Your service gives people hope!  Especially now that many families are unable to receive a salary and pay their bills, let alone, feed their children…Who could have predicted these hardships that have added to their burdens? Thank you!"

- Financial Solutions Debt Management Program Client



 refinancing photo of home and money

Is Home Refinancing Right for You? 

Mortgage rates are at an all-time low. Which may have you considering refinancing your home to use your home equity to eliminate remaining DMP debt. While this may be a good option for some, our consumer credit counselors urge you to lay out a solid plan and consider various questions before you sign on the dotted line.

Is the mortgage rate equal to or lower than your average DMP debt Annual Percentage Rate (APR)? Call your counselor to learn your average interest rate on the DMP to compare.

Is your financial situation stable enough to move unsecured debt to a secured loan?  Secured debt is not generally negotiable if you find yourself in a financial bind.  Use caution if your financial situation is unstable.   

Are you prepared to NOT use credit?  One major pitfall of rolling unsecured debt into a home equity loan is the potential for rebuilding credit debt.  If you haven’t implemented a strict budget, you might be tempted to use a credit card to cover expenses when cash-flow runs short.  Be diligent in monitoring spending and new credit usage to avoid re-building credit card balances! 



 new education

Zoom Classes for your Employees or Team

Did you know that FamilyMeans offers group education? Our Financial Solutions Educator, Suzy Wheeler, has over 30 years of financial counseling and financial literacy education experience, and is available for group Zoom classes to support you and your team!

Our newest class, Managing Your Finances through Tough Economic Times is a one hour workshop (via Zoom) to help your staff gain the confidence to better manage their personal finances and reduce stress.


 small student with large backpack

Are you financially ready for back to school?

There are so many questions surrounding back to school this fall, don’t let your finances be one of them. No matter if your children are learning at home or in the school building there are many expenses that your family will incur; school supplies, activity fees, school photos, and more.

Begin preparing now by putting aside a portion of these anticipated expenses each week. This way, when schools begins, you will not feel as burdened by these costs.

Need help making adjustments to your spending and savings system?  Set-up an appointment for a review of your finances and DMP by calling 651-789-4006 or 1-800-780-2890.


How to Stay on Track for a Successful End to Your DMP

Make your monthly payment consistently. Sign up for automatic payments (ACH) or use SmartPay. 

Watch your creditor billing statements to see that your payments are posting and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR ) is correct.

If you see something questionable, report this to us.

Communicate your questions or concerns.

Follow your spending plan. Contact us at 651-789-4006 or 1-800-780-2890, if you need help.


Did you know…

72% of Americans report feeling stressed about their finances?
Financial strain and debt can negatively impact your mental health by adding stress and anxiety to your life.

FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy program supports individuals, couples, and families as they work through stress, anxiety, depression, family conflict, and more. Learn more and get started on a healthier, happier life by clicking here.

AARP reports that family caregivers spend an average of $7,000 per year on expenses needed for providing care to their loved one. For many this means incurring more debt.

FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging program connects caregivers with resources and support. Our caregiving coaches can provide advice on cutting costs and providing care more efficiently. Learn more about this program and how our staff might support you through your caregiving journey by clicking here.