Starting Over

Until last summer, Michael Lindman spent money freely. “I was a union truck driver for 35 years and had a good income,” said Lindman. “I owned my own home, saved a little, and tried to live within my own budget. You always think there’s going to be that much coming in, but things can change in a split second.”

The change for Michael began when he was laid off. Luckily Michael had three months’ salary saved for just this kind of emergency. In July, however, disaster struck. Michael was hospitalized for surgery, then complications required a second surgery. With his savings depleted, he couldn’t pay his medical expenses, mortgage, or other bills. In addition, he couldn’t work while he was recovering.

That’s when Michael found Iowa Saves. Michael got one-on-one coaching from an Iowa Saves coordinator who helped him find ways to decrease his mortgage payment and got him hooked up with food stamps. “I don’t know where I would be without the help of those at Iowa Saves,” said Lindman. At their suggestion, he took a financial education class—which helped him figure out other ways to cut down expenses—and a career readiness program that got him interested in school. With the help of student loans and grants, he then completed a one-semester building maintenance program at Des Moines Area Community College. He even made the Dean’s List. 

In the past eight months, Michael has restructured his finances and focuses on saving for the future. “I’m now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The first thing I’m going to do is get my emergency fund back on track again. It will take a little time, but it starts a little at time. Even if it’s just $5 a week – it adds up.”