Tackling Student Debt
*Tuesday, September 25th, Suite 2010 6-7pm.
Financial Empowerment Clinics
*Saturday September 15, 12-4pm, Midland Library
*Saturday, October 6th, 10-4, Portland Building
Financial Household Stability Workshops
* Every Tuesday October 3-24 from 5:30-7:30, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall.
Saving for Your Future and Retirement
*Tuesday, November 6th from 6-7pm.
|Stay tuned for our next Innovative Connections Issue on:|
How Economic Policies Effect You
|For Past Issues of Innovative Connections|
Since it's the beginning of the school year, we have been heeding our own advice, by taking a step back and thinking about the future. We have been doing this as an organization- over the next few months we we will be planning for the next three years of Innovative Changes. We have been doing this individually by discussing our life goals and what we should be doing now to make them happen. In addition, a lot of our financial education programming over the Fall is focused on providing our participants with the tools they need to plan ahead.
We hope you join us in thinking about the future (and getting excited about it!) by reading this issue of Innovative Connections, coming to one of our Financial Empowerment Clinics where you can meet with a financial planner for free and discuss things like retirement, wills, taxes or life planning or attending a seminar, workshops or coaching session (read more about our upcoming financial education here) with us, or by merely having a discussion with your household, family or friends about your goals.
We hope you are enjoying the cooler weather as the Fall rolls in. We hope to see you at one of these events. If there is something you would like to see offered by Innovative Changes in the coming year, please let us know! We would love to hear from you!
Tip of the Month: When am I ready to save for my future?
Send us your tips! Each month we will collect your innovative money management tips -- these could be about resourceful ways you've saved money, thrifty activities you enjoy, helpful
insights into living on a tight budget, etc. We will enter these tips into a pool and if selected, your tip will be featured in the next Innovative Connections and you will win a $20.00 Fred Meyer gift card.
We can't stress enough that is never too early to start saving for retirement. However, before you start saving for your future self, make sure you are taking care of your present self. Here are some questions to ask yourself before setting up a retirement account:
- Am I able to pay all my bills and cover the cost of my lifestyle on a regular basis?
- If yes- great!
- If no- you may want to think about creating a budget, sticking to it for several months and then finding room for other saving.
- Do I have an emergency account?
- If yes- awesome, you are ahead of the game!
- If no- a broad rule of thumb is to have at least 3 to 6 months of your living expenses saved up in case something happens. Have this be your first goal before setting up a retirement account!
- Do I have the health and insurance coverage that I need?
- If yes- wonderful- you are doing a great job already of looking out for your future!
- If no- look into getting the coverage you need! Retirement will come sooner than you planned for if you aren't keeping yourself healthy and safe!
These are just some questions to ask yourself before you start saving for retirement. Tackling some of the above is a great step helping you plan for a more healthy future. Once you have the three necessities of living costs, emergency funds and risk management in place, you will be ready to save for your retirement!
Types of Retirement Accounts: Break it down now!
When it comes to saving for retirement there are a variety of accounts that you can chose from, some through employers and others through banks and credit unions. Here are some common types of retirement accounts.
IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts): IRAs are offered through some employers and also through some banks and credit unions. Within IRAs there are a few different types, but the most common are Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.
Traditional IRAs allow you to save up to $5,000 a year (unless you are over 60) to use in retirement. That contribution is tax deductable, so you reduce your taxable income by the amount you put in that year. If you need to take your money out before you are 70 ½ you'll have to pay a penalty. When you have a traditional IRA you pay taxes when you take the money out of the account during retirement.
Roth IRAs are similar except you do not get a tax deduction when you put the money into the account, making it a good option for people who think their income will go up in the future. Roth IRAs can also be used for purchasing a home or going to school with no penalty. You can also access what you have saved (but not the interest) at any time if you have an emergency.
IRAs can be savings accounts or investment accounts. A savings account option means the money you save earns interest, but will never decrease, just make sure to choose an FDIC insured bank! An investment IRA means what you have in your account will go up and down with the market, but since it has more risk you could also make more money. If you are going to get an IRA be sure to do more research on which option is right for you.
401(k)s: A 401k allows you to save money from your paycheck before paying taxes to save it for retirement. Unlike an IRA you can save much more anywhere from $17,000 and up depending on your age! Many companies offer a 401(k) match, but you are also invested in the companies your employer chooses. Taking money out of a 401(k) early can be expensive because there are penalties, but a 401(k) may be a good option if your employer offers a match. There is also a Roth version of a 401(k), which type of 401(k) is best depends on your age and tax situation.
Although IRAs and 401(k)s are the most common retirement plans there are many options for saving for retirement. When selecting what type of account is right for you think about your age, how much you can save, and your tax situation. Most importantly remember you can always have more than one account to save for retirement!
None of the above is intended to be financial, tax, or legal advice. Every individual's situation is unique; please consult a professional for guidance.
Written by Cassie Russell-Rupar
Misha's Advice: Are you ready to retire?
So, you think you are ready to retire. There are many things to consider before retiring. Here is a list of questions that can help you to prepare for this important chapter of your life.
- Do you own your home completely? If not, once you retire, will your income be enough to cover your house payments? Unless you enter retirement newly mortgage-free, most of your other expenses are likely to remain the same after you leave your job. You are probably going to spend as much or more as you spend now, especially if you plan to travel or take up new hobbies.
- Do you and your partner have adequate insurance and disability coverage? You'll probably need to shop around for the Medicare Part D plan that best meets your prescription drug needs. You will also need to prepare for long-term care, which Medicare pays for up to 100 days of nursing homecare, but a prolonged illness or chronic condition could require care for a longer period of time.
- Have you estimated your total retirement income from all sources? Is that estimate between 60% and 80% of your current income? How much you need to save for retirement depends on what your retirement expenses are and how much income you have coming in from other sources. Your savings needs to fill in the gap between your monthly living costs and your sources of income.
- Have you saved or created a plan to save for major expenses like home repairs, traveling or buying a car during your retirement? Just like having an emergency savings before you retire, you need to have one during retirement just for those unexpected life moments.
- Do you have a current estimate of what your social security benefits will be? There is a Retirement Planner on the Social Security Administration website that tells you how to qualify for Social Security benefits. It also includes a Retirement Estimator and a Benefits Calculator that helps you calculate what your benefits will be when you do retire and what will affect your benefits. www.ssa.gov/oact/anypia/index.html
- Do you have money saved for emergencies? If not, do you have a plan to maintain a cash reserve for unexpected expenses? Just because you are retired, doesn't mean that emergencies such as a leaky roof or car repairs retire too!
- Do you already have hobbies and activities that you can devote time to once you retire? You need to have something to replace the time that you spent working such as a hobby or travel.
If you answered "no" more often than "yes", you might want to more carefully consider your retirement date and begin making financial plans so you will be well-prepared when you do retire.
By Misha Staggs
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 *This Saturday!!
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
2-3pm: Budgeting for Youth!!
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.
Saving for the Future and Retirement
Tuesday, November 6th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm
When is the right time to start saving for retirement? How do you decide which long term goals to save for first and how do you start? It is never too early to start planning for tomorrow today! The sooner you start planning for your future the better and every bit you save counts! Come to this informative seminar and join Financial Planner Jennifer de Thomas as she walks us through the basics of saving for retirement. Bring your questions, thoughts and ideas and prepare for a lively discussion on retirement and saving for the future!
Surviving the Holidays Debt Free
Tuesday, November 6th, Central Library,801 Southwest 10th Avenue, 6-7pm
Wednesday, November 14th, Kenton Library, 8226 North Denver Avenue, 6-7pm
During the holiday season family, festivities and fun can also bring stress. This seminar will equip you and your family to tack the holiday season with minimal stress. We will discuss topics such as: managing holiday stress, saving and budgeting for the holidays, figuring out what the holidays mean to you and how to bring your family together during the holidays in a low cost way. We will also have information on holiday resources (food, gifts, clothes...etc) to help get you through during this time. So come, bring your family and start taking steps to get through the holiday season in an enjoyable way!
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 $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
To Register for classes or seminars: call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ email@example.com.
| We've Moved (Down the Hall)!
Lloyd Center Office: We've finally moved into a more permanent location within the Lloyd Center Mall. Our new office suite is 2010. We are still on the third floor and just down the hall from our old office. Our new office is in between the food court and the Nordstroms. If you are facing the Nordstroms we are on the left hand side of the building.
New Columbia Payment Drop-Offs: Although Cheryl doesn't sit at the front desk of the New Columbia Opportunity Center anymore, she is still available to receive your loan payments. Her new desk is just across the street in the Guardian Management Office, 4605 N Trenton St. If you go into that office, just ask for Cheryl and she will issue you a receipt for your payment.
Suggestions? We want to make our new office as welcoming as possible. Do you have ideas of what you would like to see in our new office? Send Talia an email! We'd love to hear from you!
| We Can ACH Your Loan Payments! |
You can have IC$ automatically withdraw funds from your bank account to make your loan payment.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows you to set up regular withdraws of your loan payments that gets sent to our account. If you would like to sign up for this, please fill out the form on attached here and send or fax it back to us (please do not email for security reasons). ACH is a good idea if you have a bank account and a reliable balance in your account on your monthly loan due date. If this does not fit you, ACH is not the best option. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call: 503-249-5205.
|For Our Borrowers|Are You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?
If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Misha at 503.249-5205
. How to Make Your Loan Payment
- You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 2010 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232.
- You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Gaurdian Management Office, 4605 N Trenton, Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm
- Ask for Cheryl. She has envelopes and is authorized to collect payments on our behalf if we are not in. If you are paying in cash and need change, you must contact us in advance to arrange a meeting time.
- You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2010 (2010 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm or drop it through our mail slot on other days/times.
- You can also pay via pay pal by following directions on our website here. Please note, it asks you to fill in a donation amount, but this is not a donation, it will go towards your loan payment.
We Are Here to Help!
Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee, or sending out a late notice.