La Crosse County gets only financial coach in Wisconsin

Coach is one of 60 in the U.S.

Helping people reach their financial goals is the mission of a new service being offered in La Crosse County.

A full-time financial coach is now available to tens-of-thousands of people in the community at no cost to them.

The UW-Extension office in La Crosse County was one of hundreds from around the nation to apply for a financial coach. The position is part of a grant from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and is one of only 60 in the U.S.

This coach will be working one-on-one with families and individuals to help them reach their financial goals.

Susan Taylor is the new financial coach at the UW-Extension office in La Crosse County.

“Financial coaching, it’s giving advice and encouragement, but the process is driven by the client,” Taylor said.

The Financial Coaching Initiative is aimed at veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life and people living in poverty. In La Crosse County, that’s more than 20,000 people.

“We determine what their goal is, we discover their strengths, we link their goals to their behaviors and then we set up an action plan to move forward to help them take those steps,” Taylor said.

Majel Olson of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, said falling on financial hard times is something everyone should be prepared for because it’s not difficult to do.

“Well the thing about finances, which I always say, is that it touches everyone’s life, it doesn’t matter if you make six figures or five figures, something can always happen where you need a little extra support,” Olson said.

Olson said you should always try to have three to six months of expenses in your savings in case the unexpected were to happen.

“Somebody who is used to making a certain amount of money could potentially get into a position where they’re under-employed and then we have to make adjustments to our life and to our budget and sometimes you need a little extra help,” Olson said.

And that little extra help is where financial coach Susan Taylor comes in.

“The client determines the time it’s going to take, they determine the steps that they’re going to take, they take those actions moving forward. We provide any resources or services that they might need,” Taylor said.

Taylor will help clients find services such as job training, education, housing and social services, which will also help meet those financial goals.

The financial coach position is paid for through a two-year grant.

For more information, call the UW-Extension Office at 608-785-9593.