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For the last 13 years, NYLAG financial counselors have used their knowledge and expertise to help clients navigate through and reduce the chances of financial crises. With an average of ten years of experience, NYLAG financial counselors have the following designations and educational degrees: Master’s degree in taxation, Certified Financial Planner, AFC® accreditation, IRS Enrolled agent, and certifications from Office of Financial Empowerment, National Foundation of Credit Counseling, and NeighborWorks America. Moreover, NYLAG financial counselors are distinguished by their placement in a legal service non-profit organization. We are the only ones in New York City with that distinction and likely one of a few in the nation. 

 In 2021, NYLAG’s Financial Empowerment and Advocacy Unit (FEAU) was excited to receive a scholarship from the AFCPE’s Strategic Impact Fund for AFC® accreditations and other financial literacy courses. Despite the wealth of knowledge and experience our counselors have, earning an AFC® accreditation confirms our financial counselors’ commitment to professional development and providing top of the line services to our clients. With the AFC® accreditation our team can highlight the backing of a national organization with high standards and a rigorous curriculum. 

Through participating in this process, we have placed into practice the following three changes:  

  1. Introduction of a shared language: The AFC curriculum provided a shared language with distinct concepts like remedial counseling, productive counseling, preventing counseling, motivational interviewing, Solutions-Focused Brief Therapy, Positive Psychology, etc.  
  1. A strengthening to our approach in budgeting: Counselors have adopted a new framing when discussing budgeting.    
  2. Additional objective tools: Since many of our clients are in crisis, traditional financial ratios have not been adopted in our service delivery. However, the team has discussed the potential of adding objective tools to help gauge the financial health of our clients.  

Story of Impact

Juan is a 59-year-old New Yorker who works for an accounting firm. He is close to retirement and wanted to discuss his options. Prior to COVID-19 he and his spouse used to travel they want to maintain a similar quality of life.  

After exploring Juan’s current resources, the counselor, who is studying to take the AFC exam, ran the numbers to determine at what point Juan would reach his ideal retirement income and how long the retirement funds would last. This included looking at projected Social Security Retirement Income at different ages, discussing future expenses like health and long-term care insurance, as well a referral to an estate planning professional.  

Juan walked away less anxious about his future financial prospects and is grateful that he has a financial counselor to help navigate this phase of his life. 

NYLAG thanks the AFCPE for their leadership in the field of financial well-being and for their support in strengthening the competencies of our financial counselors.  

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