Guest Post: I Was Up to My Eyes in Debt, part 2; GAP Financial Services
Hey, everyone. Steph here–again! (Are you tired of me yet?) Yesterday you may have read my post about being in debt. I was drowning in debt but had no idea what to do about it. I thought I’d share my story if you’re in the same boat and don’t know what to do or where to go. I talked to a financial services company. This solution may not work for you but it definitely worked for me. They helped me pay off $24 thousand in debt in only 3 years!
Here is my Q & A session with Sandie Miske, founder of GAP Financial Services.
Sandie began her career in the financial industry in 1979 as a manager trainee for a finance company. After 12 years of successful service managing two different finance companies, Miske felt the need to utilize her financial management skills to assist people in a way that a financial institution could not.
In 1993, GAP (Guidance, Assistance, Planning) Budget Service was born. GAP initially started as a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), able to provide both counseling and a bill payment service. It was never Miske’s vision for GAP Budget to become a large CCCS operation. Instead, personalized service and an emphasis on training were the goals. Within three and a half years it became apparent that, to provide the best benefits for GAP clients, GAP would either have to become part of a large national CCCS organization or change its services. In late 1996, a decision was made to discontinue the bill payment portion of the service. This service would now be referred to a local but nationally affiliated CCCS office. This change of focus allowed Miske to place more emphasis on financial wellness and training.
In September 2004, GAP Budget Service became GAP Financial Services. The name was changed to better reflect their expanded counseling services. A permanent satellite office now resides in Green Bay to better serve their clients.
Green Bay Consumer: Sometimes managing money is a bit overwhelming. How does someone come to you and get started?
Sandie Miske: We set you up with your initial consultation. Your consultation will be with Meg Hemery in our Green Bay office. Meg is a highly trained counselor that can analyze your financial situation and offer you solutions that will change your financial future. You can expect that your consultation will last about 90 minutes. During this consultation Meg will review your debts, income and household expenses. Everyone’s situation is unique, so as Meg discusses options with you, she will provide you with the pros and cons of those options so that you are able to make well informed decisions.
GBC: What services do you offer?
SM: There are several. We have a Practical Planning, Time Saving, Organizational Tool! A Personalized Spending Plan. A spending plan, allows you through planning, to relieve stress about how and when you are going to pay for everyday needs. It also allows you the freedom to spend, without guilt, the money that you set aside for a specific item or occasion. Another word for spending plan is budget. Sometimes people have negative feelings about budgets and think that they are constricting. Many people have partial budgets that may cover the major bills but do not cover all of the living expenses. For a budget to become a spending plan, you must be aware of every thing that you spend money on. This allows you to account for where your money is going. It also allows you to be in charge of your money, instead of your money being in charge of you! Ultimately, that brings freedom and peace to your financial world.
GBC: Are there any other services you provide?
SM: Rapid Debt Repayment
Many of us have debt and have no problems making our payments each month. The frustration for us, is that we feel like we will be paying off debt forever. What we don’t realize is that if we are smart about our strategy, we can get out of debt sooner and save lots of money in interest. This is not a program that requires payment to be made through an agency. This is a plan, made by you, paid by you, without the involvement of anyone else.
GBC: That could really help some people out! I remember that you had something called a Keys manual. Can you tell me about that?
SM: The Keys Manual is a comprehensive tool that will provide you with the Knowledge needed to Enable You to Succeed. This is a self study manual that covers six areas that affect your financial world.
- Financial Difficulties – Understanding the six major causes
- Goals – Learning how to set and define your goals and why that is important
- Priorities – Understanding how your priorities affect your decisions
- Budget = Spending Plan – Step by step instructions to help you determine how much money you spend and what you spend it on. Once you have accurate figures, you will learn how to create a spending plan that works in the real world and not just on paper.
- Money Management – Record keeping and how long to keep documents, smart shopping tips, teaching kids about $, understanding insurance coverage, saving by multiplication – the rule of 72, how to complete a net worth statement, how to use credit wisely, understanding credit ratings and credit bureaus.
- Your Rights and How to Get Help – Fair Debt Collections Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Opt Out, Identity Theft, Consumer Assistance Agencies
Occasionally employers, creditors, or other groups of people, have requested that a seminar be brought to their location. Popular seminar topics are any of the six points that are covered in the KEYS Manual. We are happy to discuss this option with your group.
GBC : Thanks so much Sandie! I am very grateful for all you and your great staff did to help me out. I hope if anyone else out there feels like GAP could give them a hand they won’t hesitate to call.
If you would like more information on GAP Financial Services or just want to get in touch with them, check out their webpage. All their information is there as well as more in depth answers to most of your questions.