Inquirers, Applicants and Candidates for Ministry
Financial counseling is an effective way to improve personal financial wellness. Those who have participated in financial counseling have incurred less educational debt, decreased their already-incurred educational debt more rapidly, increased their credit scores, paid off their consumer debt more rapidly, lessened their financial anxiety and achieved overall greater financial health.
Research has shown that those who experience greater personal financial wellness are more satisfied and healthy as leaders than those who have poor financial health. Those in good financial health are more satisfied with their household financial situation, more satisfied in their ministry, and indicate that they are in better spiritual and physical health than those who are in poor financial health.
Lutheran Social Service Financial Counseling
If you are exploring call (as a candidate, a seminarian not in candidacy, an applicant or an inquirer), you are strongly encouraged to participate in financial counseling through Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Financial Counseling, where you can engage in open conversations about financial wellness and financial literacy.
LSS Financial Counseling offers a full range of financial services that empower you to conquer debt through tangible steps and personal guidance.
LSS financial counselors help you (as an individual, as a couple or as a family) with:
- Consolidating debt
A Debt Management Plan (DMP) consolidates your monthly bills into one simple payment—often with a lower interest rate.
- Establishing a budget
Financial counselors help you develop a budget and a plan of action for debt payment based on your individual situation.
- Improving your credit score
Financial counselors help you understand your credit reports and put you on a path to a debt-free future.
- Protecting your home
Financial counselors help assess your options—whether you’re having trouble making mortgage payments, considering refinancing or a reverse mortgage, or even buying a home.
- Tackling student loan debt
Financial counselors help you navigate the repayments options for federal, state, and private loans, determine your individual eligibility, contact lenders, and develop a personalized action plan that considers your personal financial situation.
- Achieving financial wellness
Financial counselors help you create a unique plan to strengthen your financial leadership for yourself and to help others. Financial wellness is for everyone!
Program Details and FAQs
When should I seek out financial counseling?
Most simply stated, financial counseling is appropriate whenever you have a question about finances. These questions may cover a variety of topics related to budgeting, borrowing, credit or debt.
Times of transition in your life might be particularly appropriate times to consult with a financial counselor. For example, before starting seminary, a financial counselor can help you think about what it will mean to live on one (or in some cases, no) household income. Additionally, as you – and potentially your family – prepare for a year of congregational internship, a financial counselor may be able to provide advice on reducing moving costs or living on less. Finally, as you prepare to graduate from seminary, a financial counselor may be able to provide helpful ideas on how to effectively budget while you anticipate your first call.
Now is the perfect time to take control of your finances. Use the flow chart titled How can financial counseling help me achieve financial wellness? and the infographic titled Achieve Financial Wellness to help you think through how LSS Financial Counseling can make a difference for you.
How can financial counseling help others?
A majority of Americans worry about financial issues, including credit card debt, savings and retirement. Financial counseling can facilitate healthy conversations about financial concerns among couples, families and with members of a congregation and community. Use the infographic titled Your Neighbor’s Financial Wellness to help you think through how LSS Financial Counseling might add to your ministry toolbox.
How much does financial counseling cost?
You are eligible for six free confidential sessions with an expert financial counselor through Financial Choice, a service of LSS Financial Counseling, provided by Portico Benefit Services.
What can I expect in a financial counseling session?
Financial counseling sessions last for one hour and are completely driven by your financial needs and questions. A financial counselor will begin the first session by asking, “What are you looking for?” “What has been going on in your life financially?” and “Where do you want to be financially?”
The financial counselor will then work with you to address your financial concerns. This may involve going through your credit report, discussing debt repayment options or reviewing budgeting techniques. What is discussed will depend on your specific concerns.
At the end of each session, your financial counselor will provide you with a specific action plan. This plan is unique to you and seeks to address the issues raised during the session. You may set an appointment right then with the counselor to review progress on the action plan, or you may call the counselor again to review the plan.
Will I always work with the same financial counselor?
Yes. At the end of the first session, the financial counselor will provide you with his or her direct telephone line.
How do I get in touch with a financial counselor?
There are three ways to contact a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling:
- By phone (800-528-2926);
- By visiting an office in person, if you are in Minnesota or Wisconsin; or
- By going online
The most common method by which individuals participate in financial counseling is by phone. The first call is to set up a financial counseling appointment, not to have a financial counseling session. In most cases, the financial counseling appointment could be in as few as two days.
If I have had a bad experience with financial advising or coaching relationships in the past, how will this be different?
Financial counselors understand that many individuals for ministry bring feelings of shame or discouragement about their financial situations into a counseling session. The financial counselor will work with you to alleviate these feelings; they know it takes a lot of courage to make the call to a financial counselor. Financial counselors believe that the most successful approach in working with you is as members of the same team.