Services

Open to All

Who We Serve

Services provided by Center for Financial Education are available to anyone in need and are offered with confidential, nonjudgmental, and compassionate guidance. As a Christian-based organization, we strive to bring financial hope through education by allowing God to work through us for His good..

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, services by CFE are provided free of charge to our clients and their families.

In the year 2018, we were privileged to help people from 44 ZIP codes (with incomes ranging from below the poverty line into six-figures) throughout Northwest Iowa feel financial hope. Our objective with every client, no matter what their income, is to teach them to: eliminate debt, use the principle of contentment to guide financial decision making, build an emergency fund, better manage money, and understand the benefits of “paying it forward.”

Seventy-eight percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. According to the Federal Reserve Board, 40 percent of Americans do not have cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. We know there are many in our area (and everywhere!) who are one emergency away from a full-blown financial crisis. It is our desire to teach ways to manage money so that such crises are prevented.

FIND FINANCIAL FREEDOM AND STABILITY THROUGH

EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT

A

Financial Guidance

Do you find yourself always on the edge of a negative balance in your bank account? Are you wondering where all your money went this month? Do you and your spouse fight over money? Do you have enough money set aside to cover unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical bills?

Do you want to stop always worrying about whether you’re going to have enough money to cover this month’s bills?

Take charge of your finances and call us before your financial situation reaches a crisis level.

Meet with one of our financial consultants and we’ll work with you to create a customized plan for your unique situation and walk with you as you:

  • Learn how to create and use a realistic budget designed for your life
  • Learn how to organize and manage your bills so you can pay off your credit card debt
  • Learn how to live within your means
  • Learn where your money really goes each month
  • Learn how to establish an emergency fund and a savings account with 3-5 months of salary

B

Financial Rescue

Are you in trouble financially? Are creditors calling and threatening you? Did you have a medical emergency and now you’re drowning in medical bills? Have you lost your job? Are your credit cards maxed? Do you find yourself avoiding looking at your bank balance and saying, “we’ll be alright” even after you’ve received your first overdue notice?

Do you feel overwhelmed with your financial situation and think there’s nowhere to turn for help?

Call CFE. We can help you get your finances back under YOUR control.

Our money management consultants can help you get your life back in order financially. They will meet with you to examine your individual situation and work with you to create a realistic plan that is reasonable and attainable. They will help you get back in good standing with your creditors and your bank.

This may include:

  • Prioritizing your debts
  • Mediating with creditors, banks, and/or courts
  • Developing and using a realistic budget
  • Learning to live within your means and changing your spending behaviors
  • Learning how to establish an emergency fund and a savings account with 3-5 months of salary
  • Connecting you with community resources

C

Community Outreach and Education

Studies have shown that employees who are experiencing high stress in their personal life are less productive in their professional life. Financial instability and struggles can affect anyone regardless of income, age, employment status, or job position. Sometimes it’s the result of never learning how to effectively manage their finances and other times it’s because of unforeseen circumstances and unexpected bills. The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy, including rapidly rising costs, inflation, and the threat of recession, have most of us worrying about our financial future.

Are you looking for ways to help your employees or group members?

CFE can come to your business or organization and speak about a wide range of topics that will help attendees learn tips to manage their personal finances more effectively. Some topics include:

  • How do you create a budget that you’ll actually use?
  • How do you create a budget if your paycheck varies month-to-month or you have seasonal jobs?
  • Where does your money really go each month and how can you find out about those hidden costs you’re paying for?
  • Does it really make a difference if you pay with a credit card, debit card, cash, or check? (Hint: Yes!)
  • How can you create an emergency fund with 3-5 months of salary when you’re struggling to pay your bills each month?

Center for Financial Education wants you to attain financial stability, because money should bless you, not stress you.


Do you find that you have

  • Poor spending habits?
  • Maxed-out credit cards?
  • Bill collectors calling you?


Or that you are

  • Drowning in medical bills?
  • Unsure where all the money went this month?
  • Fighting with your spouse over money?
  • Facing a life emergency that will impact your income?


We meet with you, one on one —or as a couple if married — to tailor fit a financial plan to your situation. We listen with empathy, guide with compassion and pray for grace to coach individuals and families towards transforming their lives by taking charge of their finances.

A typical first-time consult includes:

  • Time to get to know you and your specific situation
  • Beginning to map out a budget for you and your family
  • Coach you through some “first steps” based on your circumstances
  • Setting up subsequent appointments to further the plan

Financial Education

What We Do

Center for Financial Education wants you to attain financial stability, because money should bless you, not stress you.


Do you find that you have

  • Poor spending habits?
  • Maxed-out credit cards?
  • Bill collectors calling you?


Or that you are

  • Drowning in medical bills?
  • Unsure where all the money went this month?
  • Fighting with your spouse over money?
  • Facing a life emergency that will impact your income?


We meet with you, one on one —or as a couple if married — to tailor fit a financial plan to your situation. We listen with empathy, guide with compassion and pray for grace to coach individuals and families towards transforming their lives by taking charge of their finances.

A typical first-time consult includes:

  • Time to get to know you and your specific situation
  • Beginning to map out a budget for you and your family
  • Coach you through some “first steps” based on your circumstances
  • Setting up subsequent appointments to further the plan

Guidelines & FAQ

Dealing with Creditors & Collection Agencies

Always remember the following values when dealing with collection agencies:

  • Always keep your composure
  • Never stoop to their level
  • Tell the truth
  • Your priorities

Collection agencies will try to make you believe that paying the debt is the only thing that matters. Maybe to them, but not to you. Your priorities are:

  • Food
  • Basic Clothing
  • Shelter, Including Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Insurance (Homeowners, Vehicle & Health)

Once you have these taken care of, make room in your budget because you should pay off the debt.

5 Steps for Dealing with Collection Agencies

1

Check Your Credit Report

Make sure the debt is yours! You’d be surprised at how many weird things show up on a credit report. You can get 3 free credit reports every year from www.annualcreditreport.com. We’d be happy to assist you with reviewing your report.

2

Know Your Rights

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives rights to consumers and regulates the practices of collection agencies and creditors. Become familiar with what creditors can and cannot do. If they violate any of these rights during the phone call, tell them specifically that they are violating the FDCPA and if they continue to do so, you have legal options. Then end the call.

4

Protect Your Information

Some creditors have been known to abuse access to bank accounts, should this happen to you, contact us.

3

Negotiate A Settlement

If the debt is really old, try to negotiate a settlement with the creditor. If you do come to an agreement for a settlement amount, get the agreement in writing.

5

Make A Plan To Pay Off Your Debts

A plan can help you maintain focus when talking with individual creditors. Contact us today to learn how.

FAQ

Yes. We deal with collection agencies frequently. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Center For Financial Education Recommends Asking For:

  • A Lower Interest Rate
  • Accrued Interest To Be Waived
  • Late Fees, Penalties, and/or Legal Fees To Be Waived
  • The Loan To Be Extended or Restructured, Giving You A “Grace Period”.
  • A Payment Plan That Would Allow You To Pay Off the Amount Currently Owed, But With No Added Interest or Fees Added in the Future.
  • A “Lump Sum” Settlement (sometimes as little as 35-50% of the total owed)

You may or may not have success, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Contact us for assistance.

Under the FDCPA, you can demand that the phone calls stop and have them correspond with you only in writing. This request has to be made in writing via certified letter (so you have proof it was received). They will have 72 hours to comply. If they don’t, you have significant negotiating leverage.

social security

Representative Payee

Do you receive Social Security benefits but have trouble managing your finances and paying your bills each month?

Do you have a family member who receives Social Security benefits and you’re the one responsible for their money but it’s tearing your family apart?

You don’t have to take on this responsibility.

CFE can help and make life easier and more peaceful for you and your family.

Through our Representative Payee (RP) program, the financial consultants at CFE are appointed by the Social Security Administration to work with those who cannot manage or direct the management of their own finances.

We see our RP clients on a regular basis and ensure that bills are paid, all income and expenses are tracked and recorded, reports are filed correctly with the necessary agencies, and there is appropriate spending on food, clothing, personal items, housing, medical, dental, recreational activities, and savings. We deal directly with the Social Security office for our clients.

But in alignment with our mission, CFE takes this obligation a step further. We know that this is a long-term commitment and want to see our clients thrive in their life as much as they are able. We make sure they are safe and that their needs are being met. For some, this means teaching them to shop for groceries, clothing, and other needs versus wants. Sometimes, this means taking them shopping on a regular basis. We work with Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurances to make sure deadlines are met and coverage does not lapse. For many of our RP clients, we provide an opportunity for social interaction where they may otherwise have very little contact with other people. We make sure they are okay.

Because of the generosity of our donors, this service is provided at no cost to the client or their family.

  • Phone

    712.722.3527

  • Mailing Address

    PO Box 343 | 313 N Main Ave
    Sioux Center, IA 51250

  • Email

    info@cfeministries.org

  • Fax

    712.722.3521

Christ-Based Financial Education in Northwest Iowa

Helping those in crises

Needs & Cares Fund

The Needs and Cares Fund is a program designed to help people who have no other resources cover unexpected emergencies and urgent financial needs. Without assistance, these needs can trap them in a cycle that can quickly spiral from a one-time financial emergency to losing utilities, a job, or even their home, thereby creating even bigger crises.

But we don’t just hand out money.

Our goal is to teach financial responsibility while providing a hand up and nonjudgmental encouragement to help them get on the path of moving forward and becoming better parents, citizens, employees, and contributors to the community.

Clients are referred by other community agencies and organizations. This program is not for those who chronically misuse their resources – it is for those who have come up against a dire financial situation with nowhere else to turn and want to make their budget work and learn better financial habits.

The Needs and Cares Fund works as a complement to our other programs. After assessing each individual’s financial situation and availability of resources, CFE staff will determine if monetary assistance can be offered and how much. This is frequently done in collaboration with other community agencies, businesses, and groups. Clients are then required to meet one-on-one with a financial consultant to get help with budgeting, debt prioritization, establishing an emergency fund, etc.

  • Heading Here

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.

  • Title

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.

  • Heading Title Here

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.