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Innovative Connections
MARCH 2013: Relationships & Money
In This Issue
Talk to Your Kids About Money
What's Your Money Personality?
Finances as a Couple
Financial Empowerment Clinic
Financial Education Galore!
For Our Borrowers
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Upcoming Events



May Financial Household Resiliency Series

*Tuesday, May 7th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

*Tuesday, May 14th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

*Tuesday, May 21 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

*Tuesday, May 28th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


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As spring bursts around us, the light lasts longer and longer and it's more pleasant to be outside, we naturally open up. This month we urge you to open up about your finances with yourself and your loved ones.


In light of Valentine's day last month, and with the impending Supreme Court decisions, we have been thinking about money and relationships. Money is the leading cause of arguments leading to divorce in the U.S.. It's the elephant in the room that we want to avoid, but inevitably will break down the door if we aren't careful. Whether it's with you parents, siblings, children, partner or roommates, having a conversation about money is important. A participant in one of our classes once told us after learning about credit, that she will now begin her first dates by asking the person their credit score. We're glad that she became gung-ho about bringing money talk to the forefront, and we don't all have to take it to that extreme, but in this issue we aim to give you the tools to bring it out in the open and communicate about your money needs, wants, hopes and realities.


And, a great way to get the convo going, with no pressure on you, is by bringing your whole family to the next Financial Empowerment Clinic coming up Saturday, April 20th from 10am-3pm at our office in the 2010 Lloyd Center Mall. There will be a workshop specifically on "How to Raise a Money Smart Kid," and dealing with debt and building credit. There will be activities for kids, food and the chance to meet with a financial planner for FREE to plan for a successful financial future! See more information about this great event here.


Happy Reading, 

Innovative Changes
Start a Money Conversation with Your Kids!numberone


Dealing with money is a life-long topic for a family. It's important to teach your children the proper way to spend money. Instead of fighting with one another, join forces! Sitting down and talking about money can bring your family a lot closer. Here are several steps you can do when talking with your children:


Step 1: Start with reassurance

Primarily, you want to remember that children are calmed when they sense their parents taking control of a situation. This doesn't mean the parent has to have the answers but rather that parents are working together to care for the family.


Step 2: Share your experiences

According to a 2011 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, one in three parents with adult children say their own generation had it easier than their children's generation. And 37% of parents say they have had financial difficulties in the past and do not want to see their children struggle the same way.

Encouraging your child to be forthcoming about their finances may mean opening up about your own money situation. Consider talking about:

  • Your own struggles with money when you were starting out
  • How you were able to achieve a financial goal
  • A financial mistake that you made and how you recovered
  • The financial help that your own parents provided you
  • The fact that it's never too early to start planning for retirement 

Step 3: Outline a simple plan and ask for your kids' input

Here's what you can say:

  • Here are some of the money changes that will be happening...
  • Here are some of the things we'll continue to have money for...
  • Here are some of my ideas about how we can have fun and nice family time while we're making these changes...

Step 4: Keep the communication open

You've already broken the ice, so keep the conversations going. The more you talk about it, the easier it gets and the more frustrations you can avoid. Keep planning, discussing and decision making as a family unit.


By Jianing Yu

What's Your Money Personality?two


money personality This past February brought to mind Valentine's Day and Valentine's Day brings to mind love! While you and your love may be compatible when it comes to "matters of the heart", nothing can spoil that compatibility like squabbles over "matters of the wallet". What to do if you and your love have clashing money personalities?


When couples money personalities clash, communication is critical. (Not sure if you and your love are financially compatible. Go here to download a financial compatibility quiz and find out.) Understanding each person's perspective and respecting individual differences are the first steps toward financial nirvana. Then problem solving, compromising and ultimately consensus are possible.


Money is merely a tool, however the act of spending money is emotional. What if, in spite of their best efforts, a couple cannot come to a consensus? When it comes to finances, some couples may just have to agree to disagree. In this case,instead of struggling to change your partner's money habits, focus on minimizing conflicts instead. Here are some ideas:


1. Merge lives, not bank accounts. Consider using three accounts instead of one. Open one account for shared expenses. Each partner contributes a predetermined amount to the shared account. In addition, each partner maintains a separate account to cover individual purchases.


2. Utilize Your Strengths. An alternative to the three accounts solution is to pool funds and assign different responsibilities for the household finances to one person. Maybe one person is good at getting all the bills paid on time and the other is good at making sure your family has what they need for the month. Pick the tasks that you're good at, make sure you both think the agreement is fair.


Financial reform may not be easy, but it can be rewarding. If you and your love work through your money issues, greater wealth, less stress and a stronger, longer relationship could be yours!


by Elaine Lord 

For Richer or Poorer: Finances as a Couple three                          



"For better or worse, for richer or poorer..." this is what most of us promise to our spouse when we pledge ourselves in marriage. Unfortunately, many couples today find themselves at odds about how money should be managed. The following suggestions may help to reduce financial stress:



Talk about Money: Start talking about finances as soon as you can in a relationship. Make sure you understand each other's views about a variety of different aspects of money - earning, spending, saving, investing and borrowing. Does one of you like to save money, while the other prefers to spend it? Does one feel comfortable with high debt levels, while the other can't stand the thought of paying interest? If you feel your partner is overspending, talk about how you are both over budget this month and how you would like to look at ways to get back on budget. View yourselves as a team.


Prepare a Budget and Think Towards Your Goals: On a short-term basis you will need to prepare a monthly budget. How much do you need to cover the basics - rent/mortgage, utility bills, food, fuel/transport and so on. How much is left from your income after these basics have been covered? How much debt can you afford? What debts will you pay off first?


On a longer-term basis it can be helpful to step back and really think about what you are trying to achieve financially as a couple. What are your most important goals in life and how can you accomplish them? Do you want to save for a house, a holiday or to start planning for children? How much do you need to save for these things? Discuss your goals with your partner and decide what if anything you can save each month and how these savings will be used.


It's not enough just to make a budget - you will need to track it each month to make sure that you are actually staying within your spending goals and adjust accordingly as your situation and expenses change.


Save for the Future: If you can, it is useful to allocate some money each month to an Emergency Fund - doctor's appointments or car maintenance can affect the budget if there is no plan for them. Just knowing that an emergency fund is there can help to reduce stress since you know you're not walking a fine line between comfort and catastrophe. Whatever your income, it is always important to look at what you are spending your money on. What are you spending on that you could do without? Would that allow you save a few extra dollars each week?


Keep Finances Organized & Maintain Your Financial Independence: Once you have a budget you will need to think about how you are actually going to organize your finances. Are you going to have a joint account/separate accounts/both? Who is going to pay the bills? Which account are they going to be paid from? Which account are debts going to be paid from? Are you going to set up a direct payment for the debts? Wherewill you keep your savings? What about emergency fund money? Whatever you decide, ensure that you are maintaining some type of financial independence, just in case something happens.


Keep Talking - Be Open to Change: Schedule regular chats to make sure that you stay on track with your budget and goals. This will help you know where you stand financially and that you're both doing your best to keep on solid ground. Setting aside time to talk about money can also reduce the stress of worrying about money. Honesty is always the best policy - now is the time to admit to any purchases that may not have been in the budget. Big financial secrets can ruin a marriage - keep things out in the open and build trust between you.


Your life together right now doesn't look like what it will look like five, ten or fifteen years down the road. Your spending habits will not be the same when you are first married as they are when have

your first child, for example. Every change will mean a change in your budgeting. Remember to re-evaluate how your finances are handled as your lives together change.


By Helen Hebbron

Talk the Talk with Your Whole Family at the Financial Empowerment Clinic!ida


In honor of Money Smart week join us for a day full of workshops on debt and credit building, access to community resources and the chance to meet with a financial planner, all for FREE! 


The event will take place at our office in 2010 Lloyd Center on Saturday April 20th from 10am-3pm and the workshop schedule has just been set!:



Choose Your Own Credit Building Adventure


How to Raise a Money Smart Kid


Take Action: Share your debt stories, learn about proposed collection reform and stop unfair debt practices!


Dealing with Debt in Collections: Your Rights and Options


Tackling Your Student Debt


Thinking of meeting with a financial planner? We will have financial planners available to meet with you when you come in from 10am-3pm on a first come, first serve basis. Here are some good questions to ask them: 

  • Should I save for retirement or pay off my credit card?
  • Should I save for college or take out a loan?
  • Should I take out a loan for my kid's college or should they?
  • How much should I be saving for retirement?
  • How much of a car payment can I afford?
  • How much house can I afford?
  • How much interest will I end up paying?
  • How long will it take me to pay off my debt and how much is my debt actually costing me?

 As if the great workshops and lure of speaking with a professional for free isn't enough, we will also have:

  • Activities for kids
  • Refreshments
  • Borrow library books on debt, credit & money
  • Volunteers to help you pull and review your free credit report
  • Budget doctors that will help you create a realistic budget
  • Raffles on the hour: win gift cards to Safeway, Burgerville, gas cards and more!!

Bring your whole family and tell your friends! Registration not required, but you get an extra raffle ticket if you do! You can register here.

Financial Education Galorefined


 Our March series is over, and May classes are already starting to fill up. We just schedule our next round of Spanish FHR classes and we have some great seminars coming to a library near you! Sign up while you have the chance!


Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:


Talleres sobre Estabilidad Financiera

Cómo Llegar a Fin de Mes, miércoles el 3 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm

Ahorros y Presupuestos, miércoles el 10 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm

Servicios Bancarios, miércoles el 17 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm

Introducción al Sistema de Crédito: Cómo obtenerlo, repararlo y protegerlo, miércoles el 24 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm 


Para registrar en contacto Violetta: 503-961-6419 o Las clases serán en la Hacienda en 5136 NE 42nd Ave, Portland.


May Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, May 7th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

Tuesday, May 14th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

Tuesday, May 21th 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, March 28th 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 or 


Upcoming Seminars:


Teaching Your Kids About Money

Sunday, April 21, 2-3pm at the Midland Library

One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them the skills to manage money. Passing on good money management habits is a concrete way that you can set your children up for a successful future; even if you are living on a tight budget.  In this workshop we'll discuss key ways to get your finances in order so you can serve as a model for your children. We will also cover activities and tips for teaching your kids about money and ways to save for all the extra expenses that are part of being a parent (back to school, birthdays, college, etc.). It's never too early to start learning and never too late to start teaching! Now's the time to start your kids on a path to money management success!


My Money, Your Money, Our Money: Money and Relationships

Tuesday, April 23, 6:45-7:45pm at the Capitol Hill Library

No matter your income, family size or marital status, communicating about money is important. Money is one of the leading causes of disagreements in marriages. Talking about money is often seen as taboo, but having discussions about money can be the key to a happy household. Come to this seminar on relationships and money to learn steps you can take to get your household on board in making financial decisions that will benefit you all!


These seminars are free and no registration is required.

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre 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 sign up for us to automatically deduct your payment from your bank account each month. Contact us if you would like to do this: 503-249-5205.  
  • 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.