It is Tax Season in our office, so our Financial Coaches are busy again.
They helped 378 Members file income-tax returns for free in 2022, generating almost $1 million in credits and refunds. And since the calendar turned to 2023, they have been meeting with Members and collecting information to file even more returns this year.
It has become a significant part of our Financial Wellness program, because it provides a tangible and immediate return while also serving as an introduction to the value of financial coaching.
In order to qualify for free tax filing, a Member has to meet one-on-one with a Cincinnati Works financial coach, who will introduce other elements of a larger financial wellness plan. In ensuing meetings, the coach and Member can discuss budgets, credit, savings, and more – engaging in strategies that can open opportunities for years to come.
We have invested in additional financial coaches in recent years because we have learned that it is essential to fulfilling our mission. A job helps our Members put money in their pockets, but financial wellness helps them break the cycle of generational poverty.
“Initially, many of our Members may have a short-term mindset,” said Lisa Mauthe, Director of Financial Wellness. “How will I pay this Duke bill today before they cut me off? Where can I go to get my child school clothes and supplies? My hours were cut and I won’t have enough to cover rent. Over time, as Members learn about their own financial habits and techniques for navigating financial systems, they become empowered to look into the future and work toward goals that once were unspoken dreams.”