Jump-Starting a Financial Makeover

Nichelle Johnson, a single mom with two teenage children, knows what it’s like to stretch a dollar. When she moved back to Virginia Beach in 2008, she provided for her family with just a part-time library position.

 

Jobs were hard to find, and she was grateful for the work. When she heard about the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Action Challenge for 500 Families Financially Fit for the Future, she thought it was a   great way to jump-start her financial makeover.  By attending 10 monthly classes and meeting with her personal financial coach, she was able to create a financial plan to see her children through college without debt and to complete her own degree in the future. During the first class, which focused on the importance of having goals and establishing savings, Johnson signed up for Virginia Saves, making a commitment to saving and gaining the encouragement America Saves offers to develop new saving habits. 

One of the components of the financial challenge was to establish an emergency fund of at least $300. Johnson said that when she began the challenge, saving was hard, and there was almost no money available to save. After joining Virginia Saves she reported that saving had become a priority, and she began saving automatically each payday. 

Johnson credits her personal financial coach, Bridgette Calloway at her local credit union, with keeping her on track toward her goals and encouraging her when decisions were difficult. “She continues to reach out to me and make sure that I am doing OK,” said Johnson. Her coach encouraged her as she implemented the steps to financial fitness and began to see results from her efforts.  

Johnson was the first to complete the Mayor’s Action Challenge for 500 Families Financially Fit for the Future.  In this challenge she established emergency savings, increased her credit score, reduced her debt, and is growing her long-term savings. Johnson admits that the challenge is not always easy and change doesn’t happen overnight.  She reports, “I have not completed my goals, but I am on my way and making good progress.”

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or ACTC until Feb. 15: http://bit.ly/2hTPLyb v/ @AmericaSaves

Share Your Tip or Story

And if we feature you in our newsletter, you get $25.

Share

Saver Stories View all »

Starting and Continuing a Personal Finance Journey

When Kiara Hardin, now a junior at Western Illinois University, became an intern with the Chicago Summer Business Institute during her sophomore year of high school, she began her personal finance journey. The program required participants to open a savings account.

Read more...

Learning to Save

Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves.

Read more...

Coping with a Lost Job

Aimee Shaffer worked as a Public Service News Director for radio for years until one day her employer downsized the company, resulting in hundreds of lost jobs, including Aimee’s.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Start Saving