Toni L. is a 70+ year old woman living in New Jersey who joined Operation HOPE at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When she began the Credit and Money Management program with her financial wellbeing coach, Regina, she was already in the throes of seemingly insurmountable personal and financial challenges. A woman of faith, she was intent on allowing her faith to make the tangible difference she needed in her life. Here is her story of victory and overcoming:
“Before I became a client of Regina Osei, my financial situation seemed overwhelming and stagnant. I met Regina through a mutual friend who invited me to attend a “Girl Get Your Money Right!” workshop. Regina was facilitating the workshop and shared important information about women and finances and how we must start thinking to make wiser money and credit management decisions. She was able to not only give me hope, but a strategy to build a foundation of wise decision making that would eventually turn my financial situation around. For example, she showed me the benefits of being an authorized user on someone’s account who had an excellent credit score. I followed her advice, and that boosted my score tremendously. Also, when I began connecting my auto payments with the credit bureau, it allowed my creditors to view my on-time payments, which was to my financial advantage. I also discovered that paying off the smallest debts first and applying those payments to the next smallest debt after paying off the original debt, allowed me to go from 11 creditors to 4! I have been blessed by Operation HOPE much more than I could ever express. Beyond the coaching I received from Operation HOPE, I also received a special one-time grant for clients who were experiencing financial challenges due to the pandemic. As a recipient of that gift, I was able to make additional payments towards my mortgage which also helped me put more money towards smaller debts to pay them off sooner.
As a Christian I’d become accustomed to helping others, but Regina encouraged me not to loan money at that time, and to be mindful of what, where and why, I was spending. This awareness helped me make wiser decisions about saving, giving, and spending. It was not an overnight process. In fact, it has taken years, but at the beginning of myjourney, my credit score was 416! When I joined Operation HOPE it was in the low 600’s. Since starting my Operation HOPE journey, my score has increased more than 80 points!
Financial freedom does not have an end. The plans, goals, and strategies Regina has encouraged me to use, I will continue to implement, making only changes that will benefit my goals. I am very happy with the results and am looking forward to the sale of my condo and the purchase of a new home in the future!
Despise not small beginnings because the Lord is truly directing my path!!
Thank you much Regina! You are indeed a partner in this victory!”
– Toni L., Credit and Money Management Client, HOPE Inside Trustmark Bank, Memphis, TN