Organization helps central Indiana residents get free financial help

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- At some point in time, most everyone needs financial assistance, or just some good advice. That’s where the organization known as COFFE comes in.

It’s spelled with one “E” and stands for Community Outreach For Financial Education. They are a non-profit organization created to bring financial literacy into communities.

“I was paying the minimum balance but I wasn’t getting anywhere on my bills. It's like you're spinning your wheels in the mud,” said Sue Ferrell, Coffe conference attendee.

That’s one reason Ferrell decided she needed help, and fortunately she found that help for free. The founders of COFFE say as a nation we have not stepped up to the plate to take on this big financial responsibility because millions of Americans lack the proper knowledge.

That leads to bankruptcies, foreclosures, underfunded retirement plans, and even failed marriages.

“Our mission is to provide these educational tools to empower lives by helping people become more aware so they can make better financial decisions and live better lives,” said Josh Bach, Chairman and Founder of COFFE.

Members of COFFE have a variety of skills and talents they gained from their financial jobs and they volunteer those skills for others to provide a variety of essential educational classes to libraries, churches, clubs and schools. All the classes are offered free of charge.

“There are no fees for COFFE or any of its resources. Most of the professionals that are teaching classes on behalf of COFFE are doing it for free.

It's a mission for financial literacy in the community so there shouldn't be a charge for it,” said Bruce Ford, COFFE Co-Founder.

Ford and his professional volunteers teach people all about their budget, and managing money. Part of the reason Americans need help is because most families don’t talk about finances. They just hope everything will work out.

“As a society, most families don't want to talk about money matters. Sometimes it brings out embarrassment because maybe the father feels like he should be making more or the mother should be making more and the expectations of the children are if Johnny has it down the street why can't I have it,” said Charles Guynn, Executive Director COFFE.

For those who want to learn about upcoming classes, there's a calendar at COFFE’s website that will be filling up over the next several months. It shows where and when you can get help. Organizers say they would also love to have more volunteer help from professionals, lawyers and CPAs.

The reason Ferrell came to the Fortville Library class recently is sad, but it’s a reality many will experience.

“We just lost our son and I'm going to get a little bit of insurance money. So today we came back out to talk to Bruce about the best to use that money. He’s helped us out in the past with our finances, and even though it’s not a lot of money, we want to use it well,” said Ferrell.

That is something Ferrell wanted to share to let others know there are many situations involving finances, and you should never be afraid to ask. In this case, when she asked, the help came free.

“There are different levels of where you might be in your understanding of finances and we try to elevate you from that point on,” said Guynn.

If you want to volunteer your financial expertise, they even train the trainers. They also offer people college prep and employer help. COFFEE is based out of Indianapolis, but they are in 27 states. They recently started the Central Indiana Education Initiative.

“Because of the people at COFFE, I learned about “rolling over” my bills. I paid off my car, then rolled that $400 into another bill.  And before you know it, I've got 3 or 4 of the bills aid off,” said Ferrell.