The board and staff of Innovative Changes wish to thank our friends at the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for the recent grant they awarded us to support our work. It is very motivating to have them as a partner in our efforts to improve the financial household stability of families and individuals. Thank you!
The recent presidential conventions reminds us that it's time to make sure you and your friends and family members are registered to vote! The deadline to register in Oregon is October 16th. You can register at any county office, or on-line at Oregonvotes.org Not sure if you are registered? You can check your registration status at Oregonvotes.org
And finally, back to school time has found us talking a lot about student loans. In a recent webinar by the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City we learned that the borrowers most at risk of problems are those who do not complete their educational program, who attend for-profit schools, who take more than the average debt load and those from low-income backgrounds. Students told the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that they worry that they will be unable to own a home, start a business or live a "normal" American life because of their debt. The statistics confirm their fears, as homeownership amongst people under 34 has hit its lowest point since 1994, at 37.7%.
The economic well being of average American families matters to us all because our economy is stronger and more enduring when we all share in the prosperity. IC$ provides coaching and seminars on tackling student loan debt, with the next public seminar scheduled for September 25th. The CFPB has a student debt repayment assistant web site, and the Federal Department of Education has a comprehensive site about federal student loans.
We can all help our students and graduates by talking to them about their situation and helping them get reliable, objective information so they can make good choices. As Franklin Roosevelt said in his second inaugural address, "In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people." Our interdependence and our united purpose are cornerstones of who we are as a nation.
Together, we can all make a difference.
All the best,
Joe is a resident of Northwest Housing Alternative's senior affordable housing. Unemployed and on a fixed income, he was having trouble paying his rent and bills, owed the state for back taxes and needed to get his drivers license and car insurance up to date in order to get work, but the costs prevented him from doing so. Joe was in a cycle of taking out up to three payday loans a month to pay his bills. He usually was able to pay them off once his social security income came in, but this process was expensive, tiring and stressful. He went in to speak with his resident service coordinator and she referred him to Innovative Changes.
Joe explained his situation to Talia at Innovative Changes. He joked that he should just move into a tent and everything would be simpler. Together, they started mapping out his bills and expenses. Joe took out an opportunity loan so that he could pay off his pay day loans and with a lot of planning and visioning, he could begin to see his way out of a hole of debt. He reflects, "When I came in to Innovative Changes, I didn't know where I was going with my money. I had never used a budget before; until we looked at everything on paper it didn't make sense. Sitting down and talking about setting up a budget helped quite a bit."
Joe came back for several more budgeting sessions. Each time he reported on changes he made to his monthly budget: he switched to a pre-paid phone plan which saved him $30 a month, he consolidated storage units, got a cheaper cable plan and collected scrap metal around his neighborhood to earn more money. He faithfully made his loan payments to Innovative Changes and started looking more seriously for a job. Eventually he found a maintenance job at an apartment complex in downtown Portland which he enjoys.
Now, Joe is caught up on his bills and "a lot of things got squared away and paid off." With a little extra room in his budget he was even able to buy himself a computer. His next step will be opening up an emergency savings account at a credit union so that he can cover unexpected expenses that comes up. Joe's advice for other people struggling to pay their bills is: "If you don't have a budget- make one! You might have a budget but you not be doing it right, so sit down with someone and get it all out on paper."
|Volunteer Spotlight: Henry Yu, The Financial Planning Association
Often our clients ask: "what's the next step?" They have attended our classes, peer groups and coaching sessions. They are following a budget, saving money, have improved their credit, and may even be coaching others on how to do all these things. These steps alone are amazing feats. But, it's always important to think: what else can I do to improve my financial stability for tomorrow, next year, ten years from now or for my children's future? There is always something more that you can do.
Innovative Changes can help people establish a foundation of financial skills, but for more complicated matters (read: estate planning, retirement, investments) we look to the experts. Experts like financial planners can be cost prohibitive, but we are lucky to live in a city with professionals committed to their community. The Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Oregon is a non-profit professional organization whose members are individuals and companies who have contributed to building the financial planning profession. The FPA is a main source of professionals who volunteer to help people access financial planning information. The FPA "believes that everyone needs objective advice to make smart financial decisions."
This is where our new financial education initiative, Financial Empowerment Clinics (FECs) come in, wahoo! At these clinics, attendees have access to professionals, workshops and resources that can help them improve their short and long term financial health. We have two FECs planned for the fall (see here for more information) and through this work, we have gotten to know some great financial planners who eagerly donate their time to help provide their services to those who wouldn't usually be able to afford them.
Next week you will find financial planner and FPA member Henry Yu teaching an estate planning workshop and meeting one on one with attendees for a free financial planning session during our FEC at the Midland Library on September 15th. Henry Yu has been involved in planning the national Financial Planning Day (Oct 6th) and stepped up to organize a series of community based Financial Empowerment Clinics at different Multnomah County Library locations like the event coming up at the Midland Library. Henry has been essential in planning, recruiting volunteers and making these FECs come to life so we wanted to hear a little more about what he does when he's not organizing pro bono initiatives and what drew him to this great work!
What do you do when are not planning financial planning days?
I work my other, full time job as a registered investment advisor and a certified financial planning practitioner. Like everyone else, making sure the bills get paid!
What drew you to this work?
I was a finance major at PSU, so finance has been intriguing to me (weird right?) and I love being able to (sort of) forecast the future!
How long have you been engaged with the FPA? What type of activities do you do with them?
Been with the FPA for almost 2 years now. I'm primarily focusing on providing pro bono assistance to the community.
Why are you excited about financial planning days/financial empowerment clinics?
Just the fact that we can be out helping people who need our help the most and promoting our industry/organization.
How does Innovative Changes fit in with your daily work and/or the FPA?
IC$ fits in well in terms of connecting us with the community. They already have the structure and infrastructure in place so the FPA can simply piggy back on to delivery what we want to do.
What's your vision for a more financially fit Portland? How will that happen?
I believe that a financially responsible city, county, state and country all begins at the individual level. By educating people about the importance of a sound financial plan-whether it be as simple as having a monthly budget or one of the more comprehensive approach-one by one we can make a difference. We all have to learn to live within our means. Of course, there are genuine situations where people do need all the (financial) assistance available. I have all the sympathy for them.
|Financial Education Galore:
We are excited about the upcoming Financial Empowerment Clinics and hope to see some familiar faces there! Also, due to the holiday season, the October Financial Household Resiliency Series may be our last of 2012 (don't worry, it will be back in full force in 2013!), so come while you can!
If we are not teaching something that you would like to see more of, get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!
Free Financial Empowerment Clinics
Have a question about retirement planning, creating a will or long term financial plan for your family? Have you ever wanted to meet with a financial planner but can't afford one? Come to a financial empowerment clinic. At these clinics you get the chance to sit down with a professional, discuss whatever you want and receive pro-bono advice with no strings attached! There will also be workshops on budgeting, credit and saving and resources on other community programs and services that you can take advantage of! We have two coming up:
September 15th 12-4pm at the Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave
At this Financial Empowerment Clinic there will be financial planners there to meet with you one-on-one, budget doctors to help you make a realistic budget, workshops for kids, workshops for adults, refreshments and a raffle to win a computer!! Come and go as you please. Here is the workshop schedule:
12:15-1pm: What you Need to Know About Taxes
1:15-2pm: Eliminating Debt
2:15-3pm: Retirement 101
3:15-4pm: Estate Planning
October 6th 10am-4pm at the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave
This Financial Empowerment Clinic is part of a national financial planning day. Come celebrate with us in the Portland Building! There will be financial planners, debt counselors and mortgage specialists ready to meet with you one-on-one. There will be workshops on Managing Your Money in Hard Times, Insurance, Estate Planning and Planning for Life Goals, as well as activities for kids, refreshments and the chance to win a desktop computer! Bring your family and friends!
Tackling Student Loan Debt
Tuesday, September 25th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm
Are student loans getting in the way of you enjoying your life? Do you have trouble keeping track of your debt? Come to this seminar and start taking steps to deal with student loan debt. In this workshop participants will learn how to take an inventory of outstanding student loans, keep student loans in good standing, and create a manageable plan for repayment. Other topics of interest will include: the consequences of student loan default, how to rehabilitate student loans that are in default, the Income Based Repayment plan and its benefits, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Sign up for the Lloyd Center seminars and Financial Empowerment Clinics by calling or emailing Misha at (503)-249-5205/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:
October Financial Household Resiliency Series
Tuesday, October 2nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet
Tuesday, October 9th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Budgeting and Saving
Tuesday, October 16th 5:30-7:30 pm: Hands-On Banking
Tuesday, October 23rd 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
These classes will be held at our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2010 Lloyd Center.The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ email@example.com.
Referring Partner Orientation
Would you like to become a partner of Innovative Changes? Interested in refering clients for our loans, financial education and individual coaching sessions? Want to learn more about our programs? Attend our Referring Partner Orientation webinar.
The webinar orientation will take place on Wednesday, September 12th from 10:30-11:30am. If you or your coworkers are interested in participating please register here:
This orientation is required for anyone who would like to refer clients for Innovative Changes (IC$) loans and a great way to get to know more about IC$. During the webinar we will go through IC$ programs and services, walk you through the process of referring a client and discuss what happens after you make a referral.
You Can Help!
You care about helping people achieve and maintain household stability. Now you can join our efforts at Innovative Changes as we expand our reach to serve more clients. Your generous donation will be put to good use!
Whatever amount you can afford, you can set it up for monthly automatic payments to ease your cash flow. If you have bill pay service with your bank you can set up Innovative Changes to receive regular monthly payments. If you prefer, we can process a monthly ACH transaction on your behalf. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your monthly giving program.
Thank you for your support!
As of 9/6/2012
404, averaging $469.50 for a total of $189,828
Revolved amount: $143,034
Repaid loans: 216
Financial education clients: