The COVID-19 pandemic forever changed the world, and for Sophia Harris-Johnson, it also served as the catalyst for a life-changing personal decision.
“The uncertainty of COVID-19 was my exodus,” she said. “It showed me the reality that I had not lived to the potential that I wanted for my life. … I knew that my servanthood was nowhere near where it should have been, (and) I had sat on many talents that God had purposed for me.”
Determined to overcome the fear and anxiety brought on by the pandemic and begin the journey she felt God had called her to travel, Sophia took a step of faith and established Exodus Credit Counseling, LLC, with a mission to “grow communities of people who are financially literate and have the necessary skills to maintain good credit and manage their personal finances.”
“The name ‘Exodus’ has a great meaning to me,” she said. “Exodus teaches us what we should expect from God. Exodus gives us reason to trust God in difficult times. It comes from the Greek word meaning ‘going out.’
“God rescued me from my fears of worry and doubt.”
Now, through her credit counseling company, Sophia hopes to use her knowledge to help alleviate others’ fears and uncertainty when it comes to managing money. As a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Sophia is first and foremost a teacher, and she believes that education is the key to helping people achieve financial stability.
“We are not a ‘credit repair’ company. We are a credit education company,” she said. “Financial literacy is not being taught in most schools. Most of what people learn about credit and personal finance comes from family or their peers, and most financial habits are learned as early as age 9.”
Exodus Credit Counseling offers an array of credit and financial education courses and teaching resources for kids of all ages, from elementary to college students, and adults from all socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as workshops for organizations, groups, families, friends, couples and individuals. These include resources to help clients understand the components of a credit file, the credit mix, a credit history and a credit score, as well as how to read and understand credit reports.
“We’ve also added a credit plan that gives a variety of options to paying down debts, (as well as) resources that will help you plan a budget and set short-term and long-term savings goals,” Sophia said.
March is National Credit Education Month, the perfect time to take the first step toward financial literacy.
“This is the month that we focus on the importance of good credit. … We look closely at the word ‘credit’ and what it means to get and maintain good credit,” Sophia said. “How the consumer uses and manages credit has an important impact on their overall financial, mental and physical health.”