Home ownership: Coaching helps retiree on the road to life-long goal

January 20, 2022

Phyllis, a Dover resident, is so grateful that she connected to the Stand By Me program at the Food Bank of Delaware. This retiree is now in the process of fulfilling her life-long dream – home ownership. Stand By Me offers personal, private, one-on-one financial coaching through a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware, the State of Delaware and United Way of Delaware.

Thanks to a neighbor, this part-time bus aide got a flyer shared by a friend who had gone to the Food Bank. The Stand By Me message caught Phyllis’s eye. “I held on to the flyer, and I gave her [Melissa, one of our Stand By Me coaches] a call. I’m so grateful. This was last summer. I trust her. She’s just a friendly personality,” Phyllis said.

Although the initial call didn’t target getting an affordable mortgage or buying a home, the goal surfaced as Phyllis developed a connection to her financial counselor. “I always wanted my own home. My kids said I was too old, but I thought ‘I’m going to try it.’,” she added. “So, I did.”

Phyllis explained that Melissa helped her learn to budget, starting with learning new spending and saving strategies. “I gave her my information, and I picked up on her kindness. When she got back to me, I looked at it and said ‘Wow.’ I could cut back on some things. She gave me good information,” Phyllis said.

Melissa’s support and coaching continued, and Phyllis is now working on building a savings account designated for emergencies. “I had savings, but she encouraged me to work on the emergency account. I go to her for advice. I want to say she is a good listener, and she never hurries me,” said Phyllis.

Keeping a goal of buying a home in mind, Melissa is helping this client navigate the steps in pre-qualifying for a mortgage.

“The process of buying a home can be daunting,” explained Melissa. “Having a coach helps you through that, being able to have someone to a call with a question, someone to advocate for you is so important.”

That coaching is so important to Phyllis who has learned that despite her age, there are some programs designated to benefit first-time home buyers. “She gives me questions to ask and has helped build my confidence, all good information. She has really helped me.”

To learn more about Stand By Me at the Food Bank of Delaware, click here.

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