Joshua Van Every, AFC® candidate is a financial counselor at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. He oversees a program that allows him to work alongside and assist clients in equipping them with the tools imperative to achieve financial peace.
AFCPE: What inspired or led you to pursue a career in this field?
Joshua: I was inspired to pursue a career in this field due to my direct experience of growing up extremely poor and wanting to assist those experiencing a similar journey. Outside of my family, the underprivileged and underserved population is what drives me. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to show me how to properly manage my finances and I learned at a young age that money was “grown folks’ business”. I was not taught how important it was to develop healthy behaviors or the impact that this knowledge can have on your financial future. All of these reasons are personal driving factors in why I chose this field.
AFCPE: What is the most rewarding career experience you have had so far?
Joshua: The most rewarding experience I’ve had so far is the ability to serve an underserved population who may not otherwise have immediate access to the information or direct one-on-one opportunities, due to affordability or other reasons. The most exciting, and also rewarding experience I’ve had with an individual client, was being to be able to help a man who suffered a massive heart attack and needed lifesaving surgery, pay off his $100K medical bill. At the time, the only other option he had was to file bankruptcy. Through advocacy, amazing resources, and approval through the state, we were able to get that total off of his credit report which also allowed him unfettered access to his health care appointments again. It was a joy seeing his renewed confidence and improvement in his overall mental health without this financial stress.
AFCPE: What is one myth/misconception about your job?
Joshua: One misconception is that people often believe that financial counselors are all the same in terms of duties and responsibilities across each industry. Another myth is that we are synonymous with a Financial Advisor.
AFCPE: What is something you wouldn’t have known when you started your career that you know now?
Joshua: Something I was oblivious to before starting this career, and am now learning more about, is how much resilience, focus, patience, education, self-care, and self-advocacy are required when wanting to build a program of excellence while also continuing to broaden the umbrella of financial services for underserved clients whom have experienced a lot of trauma. Also, I’m learning about the challenges of building a program from the ground up, while creating ways to help those with low literacy develop comprehension.
AFCPE: Why did you decide to become an AFC®?
Joshua: I decided to become an AFC® because, for me, it was the perfect opportunity to be directly trained in an area that no one in my workplace could help with or speak to. Overseeing a newly created position in my organization, also provides me with the imperative tools to succeed in my current and future role.
AFCPE: What is the most valuable/surprising thing you’ve learned or gained through the AFC® program?
Joshua: Given I’m in the early stages of the AFC® certification program, I haven’t even come close to learning all there is to know. However, one thing I’ve found valuable and somewhat surprising was how important the space, lighting, and location was when conducting counseling sessions. It’s helped me be mindful in what to ask and advocate for on behalf of my clients.
AFCPE: What would you say to another young professional thinking of pursuing this certification?
Joshua: I’d encourage them to do it and remind them to always remain conscious of taking what they learn and strategizing how it’d best look serving their specific group of clients within their respective industry.
AFCPE: What is your hope for this field, your community, and the future?
Joshua: My hope for this field is that it continues to grow and get the respect it deserves. My hope for my community is for there to be more opportunities and spaces for those in the various financial fields to network, gather, and game plan tangible ideas in educating those of all levels of the financial literacy. Furthermore, in the future, my personal goal is to be a part of a team that creates a Financial Opportunity Center as well as spaces geared towards the upcoming generation that couples financial education and extracurricular activities.
Connect with Joshua:
Facebook: Joshua Van Every