Saving for Your Future and Retirement
*Tuesday, November 6th from 6-7pm.
Surviving the Holidays Debt Free
*Nov 6th- Central Library, 6-7pm
*Nov 10th- Midland Library, 10:30-11:30am
*Nov 14th- Kenton Library, 6-7pm
Making the Most of Tax Time
*Jan 8th- 2010 Lloyd Center, 5:30-6:30pm
|Stay tuned for our next Innovative Connections Issue on:|
Surviving the Holidays
|For Past Issues of Innovative Connections|
With two presidential debates, one vice presidential debate behind us and less than a month til voting day, the election season is in full swing! Soon we will going to the polls or sending in our ballots (find out how here). It's hard to say what exactly will change depending on who gets elected in local and national elections, but this got us thinking, what legislation and policies affect our programs and our clients? Many things are up in the air: tax policies, military spending, how to balance the national budget. However, over the past few years there have been great strides in consumer protections and funding for asset building programs.
The Consumer Financial Protections Bureau, just established last winter, has been busy collecting stories from consumers, investigating and charging financial companies and institutions who have made a profit off of consumers in a predatory and illegal way and developing resources for consumers such as the Student Loan Debt Repayment Assistant (which we are a big fan of!). Following the lead of Oregon's new legislation which mandates mediation between a mortgage holder and the mortgage company before a house goes into foreclosure, The CFPB is proposing national regulations that would require mortgage servicing companies to be more transparent, easier to work with and provide more options for mortgage holders who are close to foreclosure. Read more about it here.
Assets for Independence Act has supported thousands of savers go back to school, buy a home or start a small business. If you are in school, planning to go back to school or have a loved one who is in that situation- check out our matched savings accounts! We will be enrolling new savers into our IDA matched savings program over the next few months!
Also very exciting, the section 8 waiting list will open up for the first time in six years starting November 1-10th. See if you qualify for subsidized housing and find out to how to get on the waiting list here.
Not policy related, but equally awesome, we are offering a new tool to make tracking your spending easier! Tracking spending is one of the hardest barriers to creating a realistic budget. This method is very convenient because it is all text based! Check it out here.
Also, come to our great upcoming seminars on Saving for the Future and Surviving the Holidays Debt Free. This will offer great ideas and resources for planning ahead and entering the new year on top!
Happy voting and happy reading,
Tip of the Month: Go Vote! 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.
Whether you are a democrat, republican, independent, green, libertarian, a member of any party of your choosing- NOVEMBER 6TH is the day to exercise your voting power. Mail in your ballot in before hand, drop it off at a library or a dropsite near you (find one here) or go to a county election office, but whatever you do: GO VOTE!
|October 16, 2012||Voter registration deadline|
|October 19-23, 2012||Ballots mailed (other than long-term and out-of state)|
|November 6, 2012||Election Day|
|December 6, 2012||Certification of election results|
Here is some more information about voting taken from the Oregon Secretary of State website:
Who can register to vote?
You can register to vote if you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Are you a resident of Oregon?
- Are you a US citizen?
- Are you at least 17 years old?
Can I register to vote if I am homeless?
Yes, if you are a US citizen, an Oregon Resident and at least 17 years of age. Your residence address may be any place you sleep within the county. You must describe the physical location where you sleep. A homeless person may use the mailing address of the county elections official of the county in which the person is located.
Can a person who has been convicted of a crime register to vote?
If otherwise qualified, any person can register to vote unless the person is currently serving a jail or prison sentence for a felony conviction.
Where can I register to vote? (The deadline to register was Oct. 16th).
You can register to vote at:
- any County Elections office
- the Secretary of State's office
- any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
When should I update my registration?
You should update your registration if you do any of the following:
- change your home address
- change your mailing address
- change your name
- want to change or select a political party
You can update your voter registration online at My Vote or you can fill out a voter registration card and submit it to your county elections office.
A New Tool for Tracking Spending: Juntos Finanzas
Do you ever wish tracking your expenses could be as easy as responding to a text message? Or would you like a friendly, personalized text reminder to encourage you to save? How about getting a monthly statement in the mail showing you where your money actually went? Our friends at Juntos Finanzas have developed just the tool for you, and no smart phone needed, just texting capabilities!
Juntos was founded on the recognition that 106 million Americans prefer to use cash, and the personal financial management industry leaves cash-based spenders in the dark when it comes to tracking expenses. The brain child of Ben Knelman, was recently named one of The World Economic Forum's "Global Shapers" under 30, Juntos is a simple text based tool that was designed for the underserved cash-transacting market - especially for the first-generation Latino community here in the U.S. It is available in English and Spanish. Ben has graciously offered the service to Innovative Changes clients for free!
- To get started tracking expenses, just text ICS EN to 510-863-8305
- To set a savings goal, text ICS EN to (510) 344 6637
- Track expenses by texting ICS ES to 510-344-6637
- Set a savings goal by texting ICS ES to (510) 344 6637
Its fun,easy and free! If you want to hear more about it- all of us at Innovative Changes have started using it to track our expenses and save. Give us a call to learn how it's going for us!
|Update on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
In the wake of the financial crisis, Congress formed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) "to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans" by ensuring that the associated costs and risks are clear to the consumer. One of the newest actions of the CFPB has been to propose new mortgage servicing rules. The proposed rules emphasize communication and pre-foreclosure intervention. Here are the highlights:
Identification of Mortgage Loan Servicers and Access to Servicer Personnel- Servicers would be responsible for keeping borrowers informed, and records updated, when a loan is transferred to a different servicer.Servicers would also be required to provide "readily available telephone access" to servicing personnel who can assist borrowers who fall behind on their payments!
Periodic Statements- Servicers would be required to provide periodic statements. The proposed statements will include servicer contact information, amount due, interest rate, payment due date and the application of past payments.
Access to Information and Error Resolution- Servicers would be required to respond to verbal requests for information and to borrower concerns about possible errorswithin certain time frames.
Notice of Upcoming Interest Rate Changes- Servicers would be required to notify consumers of interest rate changes on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) approximately seven months before the first rate adjustment.
Early Intervention- Servicers would be required to make a "good faith effort" to contact delinquent borrowers in person or by phone. The purpose of the proposed contact is to inform borrowers of overdue payments and advise borrowers of alternatives to foreclosure.
Evaluation for Alternatives to Foreclosure- Servicers would be required to review borrower applications to determine whether a borrower qualifies for a loss mitigation option (LMO) in lieu of foreclosure.
Prompt Crediting of Payments- Servicers would be required to apply payments on the day received. The proposed rules also clarify the handling of partial payments.
The Regulation Room at regulationroom.org is a great resource for information on, and discussion of, the proposed changes The public is invited to weigh in with comments
By Elaine Lord
Financial Education Galore
It's not too late to sign up for a workshop on retirement or come to one of our Surviving the Holidays Debt Free seminars at a library near you! Read below for the details!
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!
The seminar is $5 and fee waivers are available for those who qualify. To Register: call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surviving the Holidays Debt Free!
Tuesday, November 6th, Central Library,801 Southwest 10th Ave, 6-7pm
Saturday, November 10th, Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave, 10:30-11:30am
Wednesday, November 14th, Kenton Library, 8226 North Denver Ave, 6-7pm
During the holiday season family, festivities and fun can also bring stress. This seminar will equip you and your family with tools and resources to tackle the holiday season with minimal stress. We will discuss topics such as: managing holiday stress, saving and budgeting for the holidays, figuring out what the holidays mean to you and how to bring your family together during the holidays in a low cost way. We will also have information on holiday resources (food, gifts, clothes...etc) to help get you through during this time. So come, bring your family and start taking steps to get through the holiday season in an enjoyable way!
No cost and no registration required!
Making the Most of Tax Time
Tuesday, January 8th, 5:30-630pm, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall
Tax time brings a window of opportunity. With the added boost to your budget from a tax return you can start paying off some debts that you've been worrying about, check off items from your wish list, or set up a savings account for your child's college education....the possibilities are endless! However, it's important to remember, even with this extra money, planning is key to using it effectively. We will cover topics such as the mechanics of getting a tax return, how to wisely budget and save your tax return, Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and more!
| Going Back to School Just Got a Little Easier: Enroll in the IC$ Education IDA Today!
The IC$ IDA program offers a 3:1 match for those saving to attend an institution of higher education. Savers must put at least $25 into an account every month, complete financial education requirements and plan to go back to school or already be attending school. Savers can save for themselves or a loved one.
If you are interested in the IDA program, or know someone who may be interested, sign up for an IDA orientation today! The next orientations will be:
- MONDAY, OCTOBER 22ND FROM 5-6PM
- THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH FROM 5-6PM
You only have to attend one. The orientations will be held in 2010 LLOYD CENTER (on the 3rd floor between the food court and Nordstroms) and people can RSVP that they are coming by calling us at 503-249-5205 or emailing Misha, email@example.com.
For more information about the IDA program visit our website here.
|Assets for Independence Act
For those of you who are saving in an Individual Development Account (IDA or a matched savings account), chances are it is supported by the Assets for Independence Act (AFI). AFI allocates federal dollars to go toward match in IDAs. The law is meant to help people save for a home, an education, or a small business.
In addition to providing money the law also states how it must be spent. As a saver this can be frustrating, but it helps ensure that the government in able to continue providing support for the program.
Instead of just providing money and containing regulations AFI also allows for AFI specialist to help programs grow and make sure savers are getting what they need. Specialist are trained in the rules and also provide information on how to fundraise, complete grant reports, and recruit savers.
Like many laws the AFI Act could change and often faces budget cuts*, many Senators and Congressmen may be unfamiliar with AFI and the impact it has on peoples lives, visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ to
find your representative and tell them that you support AFI!
*If you are a current saver, please don't worry, Innovative Changes has already set aside money for you.
by Cassie Russell-Rupar
|Get on the Section 8 Waiting List While You Can!!
Low-income residents who need help paying their rent will be able to apply for the Section 8 rent assistance waiting list this November. Home Forward, the agency that administers the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in Multnomah County, is accepting online applications from November 1, 2012 through November 10, 2012.
The list last opened in 2006 when the agency received nearly 10,000 applications in two weeks.
"We're very pleased to be able to open our Section 8 waiting list," said Steve Rudman, Home Forward's executive director, "A voucher makes a tremendous difference in the lives of individuals and families who have limited incomes. We expect demand to be especially high this year, given the state of the economy and rising rents in the Portland metro area."
The Section 8 program helps low-income residents afford rental homes and apartments at normal market rates. Home Forward's program currently assists about 8,700 households throughout Multnomah County.
This year the agency is accepting applications online for the first time. Applications are not prioritized by date, so people can apply at any point during the 10-day opening. Three thousand (3,000) households will be randomly selected from all of the applications to be added to the Section 8 waiting list. Once a household is on the list, priority selection is provided for seniors, persons with disabilities, and people who are working or engaged in education or training programs.
Applicants can visit a special page on Home Forward's website for more information. The application will be available online beginning on November 1 through November 10, 2012.
To find out more about Section 8 and the application process click here.
* This press release was taken from the Home Forward website.
|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.