Storm Proofing Your Finances



 Storm Proofing Your Finances


They say a tree with strong roots can withstand all storms. The old adage rings true in nature, but also for many people when it comes to safe-guarding personal finances. Guidewell Financial Solutions works to educate people about their finances, as well as potential risks all consumers face, so they are more prepared in the event of an unforeseen life-changing event. Two ways you can stormproof your finances include saving money regularly and investing in insurances that protect your interests. 


Get Out of Debt


The higher the debt, the more difficult it is to focus on future goals, like building up emergency-proof savings. Clearing debts can enhance your personal sense of security and enable you to overcome obstacles from your past which may have caused financial strain. Resolving debt can also prepare you for financial challenges that may come up with as an unexpected financial challenge, such as a storm or theft. At Guidewell Financial Solutions, our goal is for you to become debt free so that you can prosper, but also so you can remain confident when facing risks you don’t always see coming.  (Guidewell Financial Solutions offers a debt-management program to condense and to tackle your debts).


When You Save, You Prepare


People often consider their futures with high hopes when asking, “what will I do when I get out of debt?”, “how will I be spending the holidays?”, and “how can I become a millionaire?” But by thinking simply about the basic necessities of life and how they can change in the matter of a moment, we can better position ourselves for both normal and abnormal circumstances in health, career or family. Setting money aside from every earned paycheck can help you grow a savings that withstands these variations.


Guidewell Financial Solutions Counseling Manager, Ericka Blagmond recommends to her clients that they put 10 percent of their income in savings each month. If they are uncomfortable with committing that amount to savings monthly, she recommends a minimum personal contribution of $20 per paycheck. Starting small to accumulate a large savings is the first step to putting down strong roots and stormproofing your finances. (Guidewell Financial offers comprehensive counseling sessions that can recommend a monthly savings as part of your budget.)


Spend a Penny; Save A Fortune


Per an article by The Washington Post, only 17 percent of homeowners residing in the Houston area hit by Hurricane Harvey had current flood insurance. Investing in proper insurance today can protect your family’s assets against the event of storm damage. Homeowners insurance is often a requirement by most mortgage lenders to protect their assets, as well as yours, but it is still important to shop around and find the best policy for your situation and investment. Spending a few pennies on insurance today might save you and your family a fortune tomorrow.


Ultimately, more money in savings and proper insurance coverage of assets and investments typically offers more assurance when faced with less than ideal circumstance. When you protect your assets by being savvy and preparing for risks, you’re are storm proofing your finances like planting a tree with the strong roots.




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Maryland-Based Guidewell Financial Solutions Accelerates Growth with Opening of New Office in Los Angeles


Guidewell Financial Solutions

BALTIMORE (Oct. 4, 2017) – Guidewell Financial Solutions, a fully-accredited, HUD approved nonprofit housing and credit counseling provider based in Maryland, will open a new office in the Los Angeles Metro area and offer home equity reverse mortgage counseling services in LA County. The office is located within a Los Angeles suburb approximately 15 miles from Los Angeles at 1050 Lakes Drive, Suite 225 West Covina, California 91790.

“The decision to expand our presence to Los Angeles was a logical step in our business growth strategy and our commitment to strengthen our nationwide footprint with comprehensive education and budgeting services. Ultimately, this lets us reach more people – more consumers – who need financial guidance now more than ever,” said Guidewell Financial Solutions CEO, Helene Raynaud. “In addition, we’re now able to offer in-demand financial counseling services on reverse mortgages to a community in California who will benefit from it greatly. This new office is a step in the direction to further expand and service current and future markets as many report that credit card debt is at an all-time high.”

The new office will offer Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Counseling, better known as reverse mortgage counseling, at both the local and national levels. Reverse mortgage counseling is a pre-requisite step in filing and receiving a reverse mortgage in any given area nationwide per federal Housing and Urban Development regulations.

Guidewell Financial Solutions’ in-person counselor, Housing Outreach Specialist Dan Grafius will lend more than 20 years of financial education experience to educate clients on the process of reverse mortgages and provide them with the means to make an informed decision about their finances and housing. Grafius joined Guidewell Financial Solutions as a certified HECM counselor following a long career as a financial credit counselor at Clearpoint Financial.

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What the Equifax Data Breach Means for You


Guidewell Financial Solutions Identifies Ways You Can Protect Yourself

Data Breach

Reports estimate that nearly 143 million U.S. consumers were affected by the recent Equifax data breach.  In the era of becoming #CreditConfident, it is important to monitor your risk in the aftermath of one the largest data breaches in recent history.

Why a Data Breach Can Be Devastating

The Equifax data breach has potentially compromised the private information of millions of Americans. Individuals’ names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and driver’s license numbers were stolen. This may result in full identity theft for those affected.

Medical identity theft, tax fraud, and new identity creation in the form of bank accounts and 401k/retirement plans are major damages which can result due to the loss of consumers’ personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims of identity theft pay, on average, $631.00 per incident to recover their identities and expend an average of 600 hours managing related problems.

Identity theft can also lead to job opportunities being denied, credit being destroyed, and difficulty taking out a mortgage or car loan. Victims ultimately experience a sense of personal violation and loss of peace of mind.

How Can a Data Breach Occur?

In today’s digital world, the increasing challenge of minimalizing and managing cyber threats is an issue across industries.  As a consumer, it is important to take measures to right credit wrongs and take advantage of identity protection services to avoid falling prey to these types of breaches.

At Guidewell Financial we offer comprehensive credit counseling to assist in rectifying credit statements across varying accounts. We also recommend securing privacy by sharing your private information only with secured, reputable agencies.

How Long After a Data Breach Can I Be Affected?

To remedy the breach in data, Equifax is offering consumers one year of free credit monitoring.  This does not mean that your information will be safe after just one year. 

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Guidewell Financial Solutions’ Helps Shred 4,000th Consumer Credit Card This Year

Guidewell Financial Solutions, a nonprofit, fully-accredited financial services provider based in Maryland, will celebrate National Cut Up Your Credit Card Day with its 4,000th shredded consumer credit card this year alone, each one cut up by a counseled client. National Cut Up Your Credit Card Day is a nod to the reality that U.S. credit card debt has reached record highs. As of late 2016, the average American household was carrying roughly $16,000 in credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

Guidewell Financial Solutions counselors combat that statistic by helping their clients cut up credit cards every day in credit counseling sessions. Financial Counselor, Debbie Murphy has helped clients cut up thousands of credit cards throughout her 20 years at Guidewell Financial Solutions and adds them to an empty, five-gallon water jug. The Guidewell Financial Solutions office in Catonsville fills several five-gallon jugs full of cut up credit cards every year – amassing to more than 50 pounds of cut up plastic annually.

The jugs are littered with cut up credit cards of consumers’ past. “These water jugs say to our clients: ‘I am not the only one looking for help with managing my debt’,” says Murphy.

Guidewell Financial Solutions Counselor of seven years, Carol Morningstar said, “cutting up the card helps you make a psychological change because instead of getting used to swiping a card and forgetting about it, you have to get used to paying with cash or seeing a deduction on your debit or checking card balance.”

Morningstar recommends clients keep open at least one credit card with a low-to-zero balance while going through a debt management program like those offered at Guidewell Financial Solutions. This allows her clients to use the credit card account strategically to increase credit score ratings while also managing debt smartly. Otherwise, Guidewell Financial Solutions’ long-standing principle to encourage the dicing of consumer credit cards and closing credit accounts has helped its thousands of clients draw a line in the sand with their debts, while also amounting to hundreds of pounds of cut-up plastic to prove it.


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