Richard Simonds and Josh Reynolds are social workers in Houston. Richard is the Director of THRIVE Connection at Family Houston. Josh is the Director of United Way Care for Elders, an initiative of United Way of Greater Houston that is a collaborative of aging service providers.

One avenue of our collaboration has been a program called Financial Coaching at Family Services of Greater Houston. In aggregate we have run the program since 2007 – Josh from 2007 until the end of 2010, and Richard since that time. Financial Coaching and the more traditional Financial Education have been a part of a suite of economic programs at Family Houston, which has included a car loan program for working parents with poor credit, a (healthy) alternative to a payday loan product, and employment services. Financial Coaching and Education are also part of a larger community collaborative, United Way THRIVE, which is a coalition of 20 organizations focused on family financial stability in everything from job training to a full-service credit union and tax preparation services.

Financial Coaching is financial education personalized and stretched out over six months to a year or longer. It is a best practice program that helps clients set a budget, reduce debt, save for their goals, and accomplish amazing things like home ownership or launching a small business. Also, because every decision and every relationship in life can have a financial component, Financial Coaching has the potential to touch on aspects of counseling, case management, family reunification, and many other elements of family function/dysfunction. It is one of the most comprehensive and impactful programs either one of us has come across in over 17 years of management.

Key Take Away Points

Joshua Reynolds is the Director of United Way Care for Elders, Adjunct Professor of Social Work at the University of Houston-Downtown, and most recent Board President of The Community Cloth. Care for Elders, an initiative of United Way of Greater Houston, is a collaborative of more than 50 organizations focused on aging including nonprofits, public sector, healthcare, and other faith-based and community groups. University of Houston-Downtown is a recognized Minority-Serving Institution, and more than half of the 14,000 students are the first in their family to attend college. The Community Cloth is a microenterprise initiative empowering refugee women from six countries in Southeast Asia. Josh was previously the Director of Planning and Evaluation for Neighborhood Centers Inc. and Vice President of Emerging Programs for Family Services of Greater Houston. Josh holds an MSW, MBA, and BA in Psychology from the University of Houston and a certificate in Executive Leadership from Rice University.

Richard Simonds is the Director of THRIVE Connection at Family Houston where he manages a team helping Houstonians reach financial stability. Before coming to Family Houston Richard worked for a fortune 500 financial firm where he helped individuals and families accumulate, protect and pass on multigenerational wealth. Richard and his team serve over 7000 people a year in the Houston area. Richard has spoken locally, regionally and nationally about behavioral change, financial coaching, money management and credit. Richard is an Adjunct Professor of Social Work at the University of Houston – Downtown. Richard received his B.A. in Sociology from the University Of Miami (OH) in 2004 before moving to Houston and obtaining a Masters of Social Work from the University of Houston in 2007.