Find balance

beyond your balances.

The Allegheny County Financial Empowerment Center offers professional financial counseling 
as a free public service for everyone.

Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

We understand that you may have questions as you embark on your financial empowerment journey with us. Here, we’ve compiled a list of answers to the most common inquiries we receive. If your question isn’t addressed or you’d like further clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to provide you with the knowledge and support you need to make informed decisions about your financial future.
What can a counselor help me with?

FEC counselors can help you with a range of topics from personal finance to business finances. Counselors help clients better manage their money, improve their credit score, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and provide access to safe and affordable banking products. Counselors can also help to create a customized plan to address student loans, buy a house, build financial goals for your business, or start an emergency fund.

How long are counseling sessions?
Counseling sessions can range from 30 – 60 minutes. Your initial session may be 70-75 minutes in order for your counselor to fully understand your financial situation.
How can I ask a quick question to a counselor?

If you have a quick question either email us at fecinfo@fecpgh.org or call toll free 1-800-298-0237. If it is more complex than you originally thought, we will ask you to schedule an appointment.

What can I expect from my first counseling session?
Your first session is the longest (60-75 minutes) due to us getting to understand your financial situation. We go through a Financial Health Assessment, fill out an initial Money Tracker, pull your credit report, figure out your initial goals for counseling, and create a service plan.
Where can I schedule an appointment with a counselor?
What should I bring to my initial counseling session?

You are not required to bring any documentation for the first session. However, documents such as pay stubs, account statements, bills, and other financial documents could be helpful in developing a budget and understanding debt and credit issues.

How many times can I meet with a counselor?

You can meet with counselors as many times as needed. There is typically a one-month period between appointments, but this timeline is based on your needs.

What happens if I am late or miss my appointment?

If you feel as though you will be more than 15 minutes late, please go to your confirmation email and reschedule your session. There are a lot of people waiting for appointments and we would like to be able to serve them as quickly as possible.

Can I have a counseling session while I am driving or at the grocery store?

Please be somewhere quiet, safe and confidential when you call for your appointment. If we feel as though you are not somewhere we can have your full attention, we will ask you to reschedule.

Can you help me with my taxes?

No, but we can help you find a certified professional to assist you with tax questions.

Do you offer financial assistance?

No, but we can help you find financial assistance and programs you may be eligible for.

What is the difference between financial advising and financial counseling?

We can help you think through how to save for retirement, but can’t help you on what funds or types of funds to invest your money in.

What languages do you offer?

We offer services in multiple languages with interpretation by phone and ASL interpretation in-person/teleconference. If you’re interested in conducting a session in a language other than English, please let us know when you book your appointment.

Are counselors certified or trained?

Counselors are trained and certified through the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund curriculum and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). They are required to complete the training course and pass the certification exams.

Is any of my personal financial information collected by FEC counselors?

FEC counselors do not access nor collect your financial information. FEC counselors only have the financial information you provide to them. (i.e, we do not ask for bank account information, only that you bring us documents.)

Will counselors come to my home and do sessions?

Counseling sessions are done at each of our sites or virtually. Counselors can conduct phone or video sessions if we are able to collect signatures on the disclosures before the initial session.

Ready to take control of your financial future?

Allegheny FEC - featured image 4

You’re at the right place.

We empower you with the knowledge, tools, and support you need to achieve your financial goals.