A Washtenaw Resident Uses Financial Coaching To Change Her Life, Then Pays It Forward To Help Others

Almost two years ago, Shonda Hamilton experienced what she calls a paradigm shift in her life and credits a program at United Way of Washtenaw County for helping her to reclaim her sense of power, personally and financially. 

Hamilton found the United Way of Washtenaw County’s Financial Stability Program through a counseling referral.  She was motivated to make some big life improvements for herself and her daughter.  Her focus was on balancing single parenting with nursing school and realized that expenses like rent, a used car, and other necessities were causing her to make some financial decisions that negatively impacted her credit rating.  “My credit rating was around 475.” Hamilton explained.  She knew she had to set some goals to improve that. 

Hamilton began working with a Financial Empowerment Coach, a free service that United Way of Washtenaw County offers to help individuals lower monthly expenses, repair credit and set them on the path to gaining and sustaining assets. Hamilton met with coach Marshall Averill for hour long sessions once or twice a month.  She put the advice into practice and was motivated by quick results.  

Hamilton’s credit score increased 180 points, nearing 700 after 18 months of coaching with United Way of Washtenaw County.  She started to feel good about the financial decisions she was making. She noticed other aspects of her life improving as well.  She is now two classes away from finishing her RN to BSN nursing degree through Siena Heights University with a 4.0 average.  In March she was recognized at the Soroptimist Society of Monroe County’s Celebration of Women as a recipient for their Live Your Dream Awards.   

United Way has programs available for any individuals looking for free financial stability support.  The United Way of Washtenaw County Chapter offers workshops or coaching and other services.  Learn More.