We asked Pastor Nathan Herrlin, chaplain at SOLO Labs, to talk about how and why he facilitated a Smart Dollar class at SOLO Labs.
Why did SOLO choose Smart Dollar for our employees?
Too many people have settled into the belief that stress over money has become part of the normal and it can’t be any different. We just look at other people who have more and wish for a bigger paycheck. But I’ve found that making a bigger paycheck doesn’t usually fix the money stress— getting control of your money does.
Smart Dollar is a program that helps people get control of their money and get out of financial stress. I took Dave Ramsey’s class a while back, and after applying his principles over several years, I can attest to how much they can help when you don’t have an unlimited source of income.
What were some of the challenges and how did people overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge is getting started. We all find our rhythms and get comfortable with them, even if it’s living paycheck to paycheck and freaking out every time a surprise expense comes our way. And because it’s become normal to us, we feel like it’s the only option we have. Taking that first step is the hardest thing to do because it means: I’m admitting I could be doing something different, and there may be a better way out there. Humility isn’t fun, but often it’s the only way to move forward. So tackling that first “baby step” of saving a $1,000 for emergency funds feels more like a giant step than a baby step. But once you’ve made some progress, it starts to feel possible.
Sharing our success.
It’s been surprising how many people participated in this class right away. We’ve had 33 people sign up for an account (that’s 66% participation compared to the average participation rate of 30-40%). The lunch sessions we offered were a great success—we averaged 16-18 people in these sessions. Ten people are over 3,000 points on their Smart Dollar account, which, according to Smart Dollar, is the equivalent of a year’s worth of activity in only five months! And in that same amount of time, over $30,000 has been reported in financial turnaround, which includes debts paid off and savings added.
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