Help available for Iowans navigating new financial challenges

Money and calculator near a laptop

AMES, Iowa – It’s a scary time for Iowans who are suddenly out of work and struggling to pay their bills. Many have never filed for unemployment before and are unsure how to access community assistance and resources.

To help Iowans navigate this crisis, ISU Extension and Outreach’s family finance program specialists are providing one-on-one financial conversations. Cynthia Needles Fletcher, a professor and extension specialist in human development and family studies, says financial educators are available to talk about options for revising a budget, prioritizing bills, paying down debt and connecting Iowans with community resources to stretch reduced incomes.

“Our goal is to provide accurate information to help Iowans make decisions,” Fletcher said. “We are emphasizing research-based information, non-commercial information in an unbiased approach to help meet some of the real needs in Iowa.”

Iowans can connect with a family finance specialist by phone or email. The conversations are free and confidential. Fletcher says people are more vulnerable during times of crisis and can fall victim to scams or feel overwhelmed by the financial decisions they face.  

“We want to empower Iowans to make informed decisions. Many are facing unfamiliar financial circumstances and talking with one of our educators may make a big difference in sorting out where to start,” Fletcher said.

If you have questions, call Extension and Outreach's toll-free Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 for a referral or contact the family finance specialist for your county.