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Former FISC client becomes debt management specialist

When Jodi Moynihan tells her clients struggling with debt, “I can relate,” she means it.

Jodi, who joined Goodwill’s FISC program as a debt management specialist in May 2018, is a former client who received financial coaching and assistance 20 years ago from FISC. She and her husband were about $30,000 in debt after living off their credit cards for a year after her husband left his job to start a business and Jodi had just given birth to their son and was working part time.

“We needed some help,” she said. “We were always able to make the payments, but we weren’t able to make more than the minimum payment.”

Not able to get ahead and without savings to rely on, they had to turn to their credit cards when an emergency arose. After a year with the FISC program, they were able to buy their first home, and all their debt has been paid off.

Jodi also learned important life lessons about living without material things and showing self-control until they had the money to buy nonessentials.

“There are so many things that we don’t need to buy,” she said.

Jodi now sets up debt management plans (DMPs) with the individual creditors, monitors client DMPs and helps clients when there is an issue with their DMP.

“Having been a previous client of FISC, I like that I am now able to help people improve their financial health and encourage them as they go through this process, as the team members did for me,” she said.

“I enjoy helping people, and I knew what it did for me. I knew I would be helping people be happier and enjoy their lives because they wouldn’t be as stressed out over money.”

After having worked with high school students with cognitive disabilities, assisted in Goodwill’s School-to-Work program and been a foster parent, Jodi related to the mission of Goodwill — Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment — and understood the need in the community and the role Goodwill plays in it.

“It gives me the empathy to help the clients without judging them,” she said. “Coming in, I understood the purpose to the program.”

Jodi understands, too, that people who have high credit card debt often are viewed as irresponsible and knows firsthand that assessment isn’t fair. She has talked with clients who are in their situation because they are paying costly medical bills with their credit cards so they can continue to receive needed care.

“You can’t judge everybody and think that they are irresponsible and foolish,” Jodi said. “It happens gradually and goes away gradually.”

Her role is to offer support and encouragement to clients, who go through the Power of Money workshop and set up budgets with FISC counselors before working with her, and to suggest different ways of thinking, such as choosing free entertainment options rather than staying overnight at a hotel or choosing to eat at home rather than dining out.

“It will pay off in the long run,” she said.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

 

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