Johnie Reed is an AFC® based in Cleveland, Ohio. When asked about his profession, he shares with people that he’s a teacher by training, trade, and occupation. In his role as a financial counselor, he develops relationships based on trust and professional respect. Johnie helps clients change and improve upon their current credit and savings habits. A component of his practice is helping clients overcome generational habits. Through a process that requires some trial and error, he helps clients discover the financial management process that gives them the most traction, a process that they can own and thatfits them the best.
AFCPE: What inspired you to do this work?
Johnie: As a mortgage professional (in a past life) it became clear to me that most of my clients, who were not qualifying for mortgages, were not necessarily neglectful or bad managers of their credit. They just wanted an easy process of cash management and “did not know what they did not know.” The idea of managing their credit use to achieve the most positive impact was not a concern until they needed credit (for mortgage approval, as an example). The idea of using savings and checking accounts as a tool to manage their spending and saving offered challenges. The “ease of use” check cashing operation close to their place of employment, or a “cash card” that they load their paycheck on and use as an all-purpose card, were easy options. My goal at the time was to increase their mortgage qualifications. I quickly realized that I had to educate my clients for long-term homeownership and saving for possible repairs to their home. That need to be helpful beyond the mortgage closing propelled me into the space that I currently occupy.
AFCPE: You recently obtained your AFC®. Congratulations! What does it mean to you to hold the AFC®designation?
Johnie: The AFC certification is another tool in my tool belt that validates my experience and training. For clients, it tells them that I am a part of a larger organization of professionals that work with integrity and within a standard of ethical behaviors and practices. The certification states that I have the education and experience that lends itself to a level of understanding and knowledge that sets me apart from those say they do financial counseling.
AFCPE: Very true! We are grateful to have professionals like you in the AFCPE community. What does it mean to provide financial counseling in your own community of Cleveland, Ohio?
Johnie: In my community, I am proud to say that I have been involved in training others who have successfully completed the AFC exam. Their hard work and perseverance serves as a model for me to continue in my practice to help others. The financial managers that I have had the honor of training have successfully worked with thousands of clients in the greater Cleveland area. Many of these clients have become homeowners, have increased their credit scores, and have improved their savings practices. These men and women get to know their clients by building positive relationships that are predicated on credit and financial management but go well beyond just the numbers that build great credit and savings. These men and women positively change lives every day.
AFCPE: What’s next for you? What has you most excited?
Johnie: The next step for me, is writing a small, easy-to-read book, based on my personal financial management journey. I want to share tools that could be useful to other counselors, as well as the layperson who just wants a clearer understanding of managing their credit and savings. The idea of helping people, especially across a greater distance, is exciting.
Johnie Answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: To guide people in moving from where they are to where they want to be.
- My Favorite Quote: You don’t know what you don’t know.
- My Hero: My godfather. Although he has passed away, his idea of helping others will always live in me.
- My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: My peers – those whom I have trained and those whom I have learned from during my journey.
- My best advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial wellness: Do not be afraid to share your story. You can help others feel a little easier about their journey.
- For a new professional entering this field: I’d give the same advice. As a professional, we should be able to let our clients know that we have had some of the same struggles and have learned to make the behavioral adjustments to move positively forward.
Want to connect with Johnie?
He can be reached at 330-817-6363.
*PLEASE NOTE: Certification and Membership are two separate entities of AFCPE.
Bonus! Johnie provided some short strategies based on the acronym A.C.T.I.O.N.©:
Activate – Do not let fear control your steps. Decide on a path and motivate yourself to make it happen.
Continuous – Always look for growth opportunities that make sense for the direction that you want to travel.
Talents – Engage with those that have the information that you do not; talk with those that have been where you want to go.
Include – Do not hold back information. Be transparent when working with your client or counselor.
Optimism – Someone else has overcome most of the challenges that we are faced with. You can do it!
Never – Never give up on the dream of financial security. It can be realized.
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