Letter to the editor: Empowering people to ‘fish’


Before beginning financial counseling, I had balances on ten credit cards, car payments and I was paying on student loans. The rest of the budget consisted of rent, food, medical care, toiletries, laundry, with little to negative room for other items.

Without judgment, my financial counselor guided me on creating a realistic budget. She encouraged me to add items I thought I had no choice but to do without. I was encouraged to keep my primary pleasure(s) (whether I smoked, employed housekeepers or a daily trip to a coffee shop).

During my less-than-10-year journey in learning “to fish”, I regularly 1) felt more empowered, 2) prioritized, 3) found creative resources (whether money, food, or other needs) 4) cut expenses, 5) set aside funds for unexpected, yet likely to happen expenses, then 6) moved from renting to a starter home 7) increased my “guilt-free fun money”, and 8) became debt-free (poof!); 9) I began saving, 10) investing and, 11) moved to a larger home in a great neighborhood; 12) soon I began paying it forward.

When I took a connected course (at that time at no cost) I was told about the originator of the training. He was a financially ruined man. He contemplated suicide but at his darkest moment, he changed his mind. One man’s choice to live, is now universal empowerment.

Here’s the course I recommend here:: www.goodwillncw.org/financial-and-debt-solutions

Also, here are “fishing” ideas for low-income and homeless:

I have had some financial challenges in recent years, and recently moved from Edmonds to Arizona. But with more people in financial distress due to the pandemic, I wanted to share these resources with people in the community I used to call home.

I think if it wasn’t for what I learned in that program back in the 1990s on spending, saving and cutting corners, it’s likely I would be homeless right now.

Lori Rasmussen
Prescott, Arizona

  1. Lori, thank you for sharing your story and these resources. You are a great example of what one can accomplish when one takes the initiative to take ownership of their situation and work to improve it. Bravo Zulu!

  2. Michael makes a great point about people taking ownership of whatever their situation is and working to improve it as Lori did. In terms of parenting, genetic inheritance of intelligence and health at birth, we are each dealt a hand based on luck alone, with fairness and equality having little or nothing to do with it. We are lucky to live in a nation where there is at least some attempt at giving everyone a fair shot in life, but nothing is guaranteed, even here, and there is no substitute for personal initiative and trying to solve one’s own problems; whether caused by others or self inflicted. There are a few unfortunate souls who just can’t cope due to health and cognitive ability and we must help them if we have any sort of empathy in our souls, but the vast majority of us can help ourselves if given the right education and we have the right mind set. Some of it is as simple as learning to like yourself and not let others define who you are or stand in your way unjustifiably.

  3. This is a great personal journey sharing from Lori. I also benefited as a young military officer from going through a 6-month “home ownership boot camp” to help me learn to prioritize, save, shop for an affordable home, and do basic home maintenance. Recently, as a commissioner on the Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission, I shared with city staff my concern that we addressed nothing to do with the knowledge needs that people need to be successful homeowners at any cost level. The commission process in wrapping up the recommendations did not leave time to discuss areas not addressed, so the knowledge piece was never considered. It should be as we move forward on housing issues in Edmonds.

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