The Hebrew Free Loan Association is bringing a new essential service to 15217—financial coaching. Appointments will be free and open to the public, regardless of religious affiliation.
The service will focus on helping individuals and families achieve the financial goals of their choosing, whether that be saving more, raising their credit scores, decreasing or eliminating debt, planning for retirement, budgeting, or applying for public assistance programs.
Free individual appointments with the financial coach will be available weekly on Tuesdays at the HFL office in Greenfield. Appointments will be offered during the day as well as in the evening.
“These services are an important way to augment the resources we already offer,” said Shelley Daniels, president of HFL. “Interest-free loans are such a valuable tool for helping people in the moment they need money, but we know there is a bigger picture people often want to address.”
Daniels said HFL’s new services will be provided by one of Pittsburgh’s most expert financial coaches, Shay Port. Port is a CPA who has been working in the financial services industry for more than 20 years and as a financial coach for 10 years. She was previously on staff as the financial coach at JobLinks, a program of the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, and now provides services through her own company, Financial Wellness with Shay Port.
Port works with people at all income levels, from those receiving public assistance with minimal or no income to people earning six figures. She has also been hired by several other nonprofits to write financial training programs for community service providers and has most recently become a certified trainer for a city program that also offers financial counseling. Port also prepares tax returns for individuals and small businesses.
“I am excited for people to meet with Shay because she is so knowledgeable, approachable and has so much at her fingertips that can really help people,” said Daniels.
The 2017 Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study indicated a great diversity of financial realities among Pittsburgh’s Jewish households. Notably, almost half of those households earn $75,00 per year or less. And almost a quarter of households reported that they are “just getting along or nearly poor.” More than 10 percent of respondents said they had skipped a rent, mortgage, or utility bill in the past year.
“Everyone uses money. And knowledge is power,” said Port. “The more people know about how to use their money, the better off they are, no matter how much they make. One-on-one coaching is really a game-changer in helping people accomplish their financial goals, so it’s amazing that HFL is offering this crucial service.”
Port can help people negotiate with their creditors, make a plan to reach financial goals like affording a car or college, and make referrals to programs and resources that can support a person’s path toward greater financial stability.
“Financial pressures on families today are enormous,” said Daniels, who in addition to her volunteer leadership of HFL, has been a leader in the financial services industry for over 30 years. “We know that today’s wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. We want to make sure individuals and families have the support they need to keep their heads above water.”
The new financial services at HFL are being made possible by a grant from The Fine Foundation.
Appointments with Port require a $10 deposit that will be refunded at teh end of the individual coaching session. Appointments are available and can be scheduled online.