One of the co-founders of an innovative money management tool tailored to individuals in early recovery recalls the degree to which financial management challenges threatened to compromise his own long-term wellness.
“My father had tried working with me, but I had no concept of the value of a dollar,” says Eric Dresdale, co-founder of the Next Step Prepaid MasterCard. “And a lot of the things I learned quickly disappeared as I was coming out of treatment.”
Dresdale and business partner Ryan Jaffe, who met during their stay in a halfway house program, had batted around the concept of a card resembling a college meal plan card that would help control reckless spending by individuals in recovery. They took their idea to a third individual, Louis Fisher, who had been in primary treatment with Dresdale and had a good deal of business experience. The idea would evolve into the concept of a prepaid card under which a parent, spouse or other significant person in a recovering individual’s life would be able to plan, manage and oversee the individual’s spending.
The process of working with a bank and with MasterCard to establish the program took about 18 months to complete, and the Next Step card was launched in late October.
“We have a number of cardholders who have continued to use this; they are thankful for it and think it’s terrific,” says Dresdale, who with his business partners established Next Step Network, LLC. “The average age of the user so far has been 20 to 30.”
The co-founders explain the numerous ways in which families are utilizing the benefits of the Next Step card’s features:
· Daily spending limits and monthly transaction maximums can be imposed—the message is that spending should take place responsibly and therefore in a systematic fashion. Says Dresdale, “You don’t want them going to the store three times a day. They should plan their purchases.”
· The parent or other supporter has the opportunity to receive customized electronic alerts regarding the recovering individual’s card balance and transactions. “They can receive daily or weekly updates,” says Jaffe.
· A photo image of the card user can be included on the card, in an attempt to discourage the selling or trading of the card.