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A success story from Stephan

I am so proud when I say that each month all of my bills are paid and paid on time. And I am a homeowner!

I reached out to LSS Financial Counseling after being turned down on a mortgage application. I wanted a home in the worst way for my family. I am married to an amazing woman and together we have two daughters who are 3 and 18 months. I currently work as a finance manager for an automobile dealership in the Twin Cities. Being turned down for a mortgage was just the eye opener I needed. I knew my credit was in disarray and I knew it was due mainly to naiveté on my part.

When I was younger, like most young people, I did not think credit mattered. I would splurge on items that I didn’t need and would be slow to pay on the debt. As a result, my student loans went into default and I had charged off credit cards. Namely, a lack of budget and discipline got me into this financial situation. I was extremely nervous about calling someone to discuss my financial situation. But I knew I needed help.

I was so naïve in my thinking that I thought my credit score would magically jump up multiple tiers when I finally caught up on my bills. Nevertheless, I was still turned down for a home loan and it really opened my eyes. I heard about LSS Financial Counseling Service through a homeowner’s workshop that I attended. I was so nervous to ask anyone for help because I did not want to be put down or lectured about my situation. I wanted to start fresh and talk about ways to move forward. After reviewing the LSS website and reading testimonials, I decided to pick up the phone and call.

Right away I was connected to Financial Counselor Linnea Stephan. I cannot stress enough how professional she was, especially regarding the topic as deeply personal as ones’ finances. Linnea gave me the option to meet in person or have a counseling session by phone. I personally felt like a phone session sounded perfect for me. The call was completely proactive in nature, and focused on the present and building a plan for the future which was just what I needed.

Linnea proved to be extremely knowledgeable and understanding. I walked away from our meeting feeling empowered. She provided me with a plan of action, a budget and strategies for dealing with collectors. Throughout the process she never made me feel embarrassed or ashamed … even when discussing outstanding bills or late medical payments. I am so thankful for that.

After my counseling session, I put the budget and action plan steps into practice. It took some time to re-build my damaged credit. But within a year, I had re-established myself, and within two years I was able to purchase my first home. We were able to pay off all our outstanding balances and we couldn’t be happier with our current financial situation. We have not missed or been late on a payment in over 2 years! I attribute this to the guidance, tools and advice Linnea gave us.

I wish I could say that following a budget was a piece of cake; however, that just isn’t true and every day is a work in progress. But I am so proud when I say that each month all of my bills are paid and paid on time. And I am a homeowner! My future goals include building an emergency savings!