Jonathon was in a tough situation when he enrolled in The Women’s Center of Tarrant County’s integrated services partnership program with Family Pathfinders of Tarrant County in October 2015. He was unemployed, his credit history was thin and he had neither a checking nor savings account at a bank. When he enrolled in the program, Jonathon said he wanted to get a job with higher pay than his previous employment and improve his credit score. To build a plan toward these goals, Jonathon worked with a Pathfinders financial coach through the partnership’s career development “fast track” workshops and entered skills training for information technology (IT) security.
Through work with his financial coach, Jonathon set more specific goals to open checking and savings accounts, create and maintain a budget, establish credit and repay his child support debt. His coach helped him with strategies to realize these goals, which included entering into an agreement with the state to settle the child support debt, safeguarding money saved through budgeting and getting a credit card to establish reportable credit activity.
Although Jonathon had a plan, he had some fears about it. For one, he was hesitant to open any type of bank account, because he was afraid the state would garnish his earnings for the child support once he became employed again. His financial coach suggested he ask the state if the agreement would include any type of wage garnishment and encouraged him to move forward with his other goals.
In a follow up conversation, Jonathon told his coach that he learned the state would not garnish his earnings. At this point, he was working 36 hours a week at a warehouse earning $11.50 per hour while also attending IT training. By their next meeting, Jonathon had successfully opened checking and savings accounts and his bank approved him for a credit card, which would help him improve his credit.
Five months after enrolling in the program, Jonathon completed IT security skills training and planned to start a new job at an IT helpdesk with earning a wage that would give the income he needed to reduce his debt. His credit score improved by 58 points.
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