The following services are included with membership:
1) Planning & Goal Setting
Where are you headed? What are your goals and concerns? We’ll figure it out together and make a plan. Our members often describe us “financial life coaches” due to our holistic approach and emphasis on consumer psychology. We take into account more than just the $s in your accounts.
2) Banking & Cash Management
We evaluate your current banking arrangement and how you manage your cash and near-term cash reserves.
3) Credit Cards
We see if your credit cards are working for you or against you. We will help you evaluate what works best for you – cash, debit or credit. We also find ways to make your money do more. For example, our members typically get $200 to $600 back a year from their credit card company.
4) Building Your Credit Score and Reviewing Credit Reports
We examine your credit report 3 times per year, addressing problems and advising on how to build a stronger credit score. We walk you through fixing problems step by step. Please note that we are not a credit repair service and cannot negotiate directly with creditors on your behalf.
5) Home Buying and Refinancing
Whether you are years away from buying or thinking about refinancing your current home, we coach you through the process and help you plan, execute, and protect yourself every step of the way. Many of our members start with us when they are considering buying their first come homebuyer and are looking for trustworthy advice and an emphasis on
6) Debt Management
We analyze your debt load and how you manage it. We’ll set targets for paying down your debts, and hold you accountable.
We look at your inflows and outflows, as well as major expenditures. Together we identify opportunities to save. We use many budgeting techniques, and we try to identify the ones that will work best for you. If a technique isn’t working, we can quickly try other techniques.
8) Financial Product Vetting
We examine the financial products you are using and make sure they are optimal for your needs. We may suggest better options as appropriate. We do not sell any financial products; our
9) Basic Tax Planning
As we look at your financial picture, we will highlight issues that may be useful in the current tax season, and also help you plan for future years. Please note that Community Ladders does prepare tax returns directly.
10) Investment & Retirement Planning
We look holistically at your finances (e.g., retirement and non-retirement investments, housing, savings, expenses, and debt) to determine if you are on course to meet your goals. We will recommend specific strategies and passive investments (mutual funds and ETFs) in line with these goals.
Single Session for Non-Members
Our community members are our first priority. We realize, though, that not everyone is ready or inclined to engage in our sustained financial planning and coaching services at the moment. For those who only want a single session, we offer them on a space-available basis. Please see our Membership section for income-based startup time fees. In addition you may schedule an optional one-hour follow-up session for $50 within 30 days of your initial session.
Home Buying and Refinancing Single Sessions
Recognizing the popularity of our home buying and refinancing advising, we now offer single sessions for non-members relating to home buying, mortgages, and refinancing. Sessions are typically 60 – 90 minutes. At the moment these sessions are free in MD, VA, DC because Bill holds loan officer licenses there. For all other states the fee is $75.