Financial Counseling Project
This project is designed to give the student some initial experience in applying the concepts taught in this course. The course project will include elements of the first three stages of financial counseling, which are initiation, exploring, and understanding. Due to the short 8-week duration of this course, the final stage of acting will only be lightly addressed.
- Demonstrate how to educate clients on sound financial principles including; managing money, credit and debt, consumer protections, financial risks, major purchases, and the basics of investments, retirement, and estate planning.
- Demonstrate how to gather client information.
- Construct financial statements, ratios, and client action plans.
- Apply various financial counseling skills, processes, techniques and strategies that will help clients; modify ineffective behaviors, learn basic debt survival strategies, overcome financial indebtedness, and achieve their financial goals.
- Demonstrate how to support clients as they work through their financial challenges, opportunities, and perspectives on money.
Students will be paired up to simulate a financial counseling relationship. You will take turns playing both the role of the counselor and the client. As you play the role of the counselor it is recommended that you have a minimum of two phone/video consultations with your client. The documents that you turn in will include specific financial information. It is understandable that you may not want to share your personal financial details with your classmates; therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to substitute different values for items like income, net worth, and specific expenses. It is important however to keep the amounts you substitute consistent with the challenges and goals you share with your counselor. If you are fortunate enough not to have any major challenges in your current life situation you can make some up or use some past situations that you have made it through. The closer you are to sharing your actual current situation the more natural the counseling simulation will feel. Use your best judgement.
Create the following documents for your client. See the textbook for examples.
- Client Information Sheet
- Goal Planning
- Action Plan
For reference purposes, include the following documents that your client will provide you.
- Income Worksheet
- Debt Payment Worksheet
- Monthly Spending Plan Worksheet
- Periodic Expense Planning Worksheet
Based on the information gathered on your client, create a list of recommendations. Include an explanation on why you are making each recommendation. Include some context to the sequence and priority of these recommendations; what your client needs to work on in the short-term vs. long-term, and which items are most critical to their situation.
Counseling Process Notes
As mentioned, you need to have two or three sessions with your client (minimum of two). These can either be in person, over the phone, or video calls. Before each session, prepare in writing some thoughts on what you hope to accomplish. Include thoughts on self-awareness, diversity, critical conversations, motivation, behavior modifications, and other material from the text. After the session, document what techniques you tried to use, your thoughts on if they were successful or not, and what you might try differently next time. This is meant as a reflection on the counseling process itself. Summarize both your pre- and post- session notes and turn them in as part of the project submission.
Follow the general APA guidelines of 1” margins, double-spaced, and a highly readable font (12 pt. Times New Roman or similar). Use proper spelling and grammar throughout. There is no minimum page requirement; however, the ‘Recommendations’ and ‘Counseling Process Notes’ sections should each be limited to no more than five pages each.