Learning the Financial Basics is a Game Changer

January 30, 2020

After learning about Raleigh Rescue Mission, Carl Davis wanted to help. Our staff quickly realized that Carl was the perfect person to develop the financial training segment of the New Life Plan.

Carl is a seasoned financial advisor and college lecturer with a passion for teaching others the basic fundamentals of financial planning. What started as an idea to teach budgeting tools in a classroom setting quickly turned into a desire to coach clients on an individual basis to develop a savings mindset that would be consistent with the Mission’s policy of clients saving 75% of their income while they are living here. He realized that the first step in his volunteer role was to develop the savings viewpoint, and then teach budgeting skills once clients are able to move out and incur their own day-to-day living expenses.

Chris Hill, Director of Programs, agrees. “We can really see a difference. It has enhanced our program big time. I can run an internal report on clients’ savings, and the clients who are meeting with Carl and his colleague Evan are really stepping up their game. Our clients understand and respect that someone is volunteering to teach them something practical and valuable that may keep them from being homeless again. It’s been a game-changer for us.”

Carl candidly admits that his perspective on homelessness was very limited before. He’s learned that there is no one face of homelessness. “I haven’t walked in a client’s shoes, so I can’t judge. I’ve been reminded of how important it is to meet people where they are.”

What’s been rewarding so far? “Seeing somebody who’s developed a savings mentality that’s enabled them to be in a good financial position when they leave the Mission.“ And the biggest challenge or disappointment? “Knowing that occasionally someone leaves the program before they’re financially ready to leave. It puts them in danger of ending up homeless again.”

Evan Jones, early in his career as a financial advisor with Wells Fargo, has begun volunteering with Carl. Evan understands the importance of teaching people the fundamentals. “Nobody is immune from financial challenges. I advise folks in my job who are decades into their life and haven’t mastered the concepts. At the Mission, I advise people who are in a tough stage in their life. They are in a better position to save now than they probably ever will be. Once they have the tools and the mindset, it becomes intuitive.”

While Carl and Evan are excited to play a part in the building of this financial training for clients, they welcome others wholeheartedly as they move forward with budgeting and other training.

“Volunteers don’t have to be financial professionals,” says Carl. “We need help from folks who understand and manage their own personal financial matters well. Whether you can help with credit cleanup or simply relaying the concept of spending less than we make, we’re happy to share the process we’ve started. Ideally, we really want folks who can commit time to personal face to face meetings with clients, folks who can build trust and develop relationships, essentially an accountability partner for the client.”

If you have an interest in serving alongside Carl and Evan, contact Virginia Gustafson at IvetvavnT@enyrvtuerfphr.bet.