Some Final Words

The Village Family Service Center

The Village Financial Counselors who worked with each of the Forum Financial Fix-up families had a few final words they wanted to share.

Joshua Huffman, financial counselor for Annette and John Graves
Annette and John fully invested themselves in this process. After fully tracking their expenses for 30 days, we reviewed their budget using the newly tracked figures. It was an eye-opening experience for them to identify their actual monthly expenses. They are fully committed to making changes wherever necessary and have made great progress already. I think this experience was a valuable one, and I am confident they will continue to improve their situation. Congratulations John and Annette!

Tracy McFarlane, financial counselor for Steve and Meghan Dockter
I want to thank all three of our featured families for their willingness to share the details of their personal finances with our readers. Through this process you have encouraged others to reflect on their personal situations; and through your blog posts you have introduced some of the invaluable basic budgeting skills and tools that promote positive change.

The Dockter’s were not able to meet with me after their initial appointment because of their hectic schedules, but I look forward to meeting with them in the future. I wish them success in their journey and encourage them to continue to schedule time each week to sit down with each other to discuss their finances.

Morgan Almer, financial counselor for Nathan and Brenda Richman
I believe the Richman’s will be very successful in their financial future going forward. The goals they set were what I consider SMART goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. To some degree, the financial counseling sessions did more to affirm the financial decisions and lifestyle changes they had already made, than to offer new ideas. If they follow the advice provided by the financial planners at State Bank and Trust, they will be well on their way to achieving their long-term goals of retirement planning and saving.

Thank you to Sherri Richards and The Forum for inviting The Village to participate in this worthwhile series, and to each of the families for opening up their financial lives to the Forum and blog readers. That is not an easy thing to do.

If you have questions about your own financial situation, contact The Village at 701-235-3328, 1-800-450-4019 or

2 thoughts on “Some Final Words

  1. I think that banks and financial institutions cause more problems than they do to help average consumers and keep people in financial shackles. Here are some examples:

    1. Banks make huge money on overdraft fees and our local/regional banks have become very successful by raking in lots of money from families/single people who are living paycheck to paycheck from $30 overdraft fees on $5 checks. This is why there are many pay day loan businesses in the F-M area.

    Meanwhile, lending is extremely conservative at our local banks, which may be a good thing, but shows where a good deal of their income is derived from, which is fee income. The last time I was at the bank, 3 out of 5 people were discussing their overdrawn accounts. This is nothing new, but the squeeze is getting tighter and tighter.

    2. A lot of financial advice for families under water usually involves a dual income family- both employed. What about single moms and dad’s, self employed people, the disabled, or unemployed, they still have finances to take care of and frankly, they are the one’s that need the most help right now in our economy. The problem is, there is no easy fix to showcase with these people.

    3. Investing advice via mutual funds is an interesting topic. What a shame most funds underperform the stock market with the advice- just keep on saving! Meanwhile, on wall street, traders make hundreds or thousands of electronic trades per day, making the stock market nothing more than gambling.

    Banks borrow money from the fed at 0%- and lend it out at 4%-35%, or in the case of the current economy, buy treasuries and sit on the interest income. Meanwhile, saving rates are less than one basis point? What a great racket, except for the guy trying to get their finances back in order or someone looking to save money and make a nestegg.

    Its was laughable to go into a local F-M area bank with my sons jar of quarters only to find a kids savings account was paying 3 tenths of a basis point. Please. We cashed the money in and bought a Nintendo DS game, at least he can enjoy a game now, while his dollar is worth something, rather than let the money set in the bank to get eaten up by inflation.

    No wonder there are so many people struggling.

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