Tyler’s interest in Northwest Access Fund was piqued by our Financial Capability Program. “I was always into saving, even in my early 20s,” he explains. However, after a spinal cord injury, he had more difficulty with saving. “I needed to learn how to manage my money when I couldn’t afford what I wanted to afford,” he says. “I still had habits of not needing to pay as close of attention to my spending.” With an Access Fund financial coach, Tyler worked on developing new saving habits and setting financial goals.
Tyler and his coach created a plan to save $250 each month so that he could afford to build an accessible office at his house. At the time, he was spending between twelve and fourteen hours a day at his computer, which was in his bedroom. Meanwhile, his house had a back porch that was covered and was not being used for anything – and he had a vision of converting it into his office space.
Tyler’s accessible office is now almost complete, thanks to a combination of personal savings and grants. It features a number of assistive technologies that help him move around and work more efficiently: a door opener that can be controlled by voice, a motion sensor on the window, smart lights, a QuadStick for his computer, and an Alexa-powered smart display, the Echo Show. The only device missing is a smart whiteboard for Tyler to project notes from his computer. “So far, it’s been great. I spend all my time out here. I love it,” he says.
Tyler notes how important assistive technology has been to his life. “The first thing that turned my attitude around after my injury was a Microsoft tablet that I could control with my voice,” he explains. “Being able to do something independently with the help of technology” inspired him to help others do the same. Both his nonprofit and business are centered around helping people get the assistive technology they need.
Tyler is appreciative of the role that financial coaching played in helping him learn how to save again. “I think financial coaching is really, really important,” Tyler explains. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, there’s no judgment. If you maybe haven’t thought about this before, or even if you’re someone like me who has, you can learn how to save money. It’s good information, and if you can squeeze out an hour of your day, you don’t have to do anything after that – there are no stakes. It’s worth one hour of your time.”