The OFE’s last blog post described how the Financial Check Up helps residents learn about and improve their credit and financial well being. Today, we want to introduce you to one of our volunteers who helps us serve Boston residents year round:
My name is Joe Amerena. I am an accountant with over 20 years of experience, and I learned about the Boston Tax Help Coalition from the Mass Society of CPAs. I began volunteering in 2010 as a Tax Preparer, and have volunteered for the last six years, three as a Financial Guide. The experience has enriched me, sharpened my skills and provided an opportunity for me to pass knowledge to clients. I’m happy to participate in a cause I personally believe in.
As a Financial Guide at Dorchester House, I have seen a variety of taxpayers with different needs and interests. My favorites are returning clients because that shows they valued the services we provide. For one returning taxpayer interested in building financial capability improvements, I was able to provide her with a Financial Check-up for the last two years. She remarked she had followed the recommendations I gave her last year and she found herself in a better financial state. She agreed service referrals were helpful, resulting in a more involved feeling in her community. From the conversation and her increased credit score, I see she is more fiscally responsible and has developed knowledge about how to save her tax refund and manage her disposable income. Because of the results from the Check-up, she was considering joining the Financial Coaching Program to achieve her long-term financial goals.
Financial Coaching over a 12-month period can touch on one’s financial life and help achieve financial goals. I joined the OFE’s Coaching Program and have become a Financial Coach as a year-round volunteer. I was assigned two clients and have met with them once a month for 5 months covering budgeting, savings accounts and more, to achieve their personal financial goals. I really like what the Coaching Program has been providing clients – it is a more specific, in-depth way to approach people who have been struggling with financial disadvantages, and with the help of the Financial Coach, behaviors can be changed. A series of recommendation to build more healthy financial habits can be provided. The person can empower themselves in achieving personal goals and becoming fiscally healthy. I’m happy that I can be part of their growth. If you are interested in these free services, the Financial Check Up or Financial Coaching, please contact the Office of Financial Empowerment. You can also check the Boston Tax Help Coalition website to find out the tax site closest to your home or office.
Thank you to Joe and to our intern, Sophia Santos, for this post!