Innovative Change$ Email Header
Innovative Connections
APRIL 2013: Seeking Advanced Financial Advice
In This Issue
Financial Planners: An Introduction
Questions to Ask a Financial Planner
Fee- vs. Commission-Based Financial Planners
Financial Empowerment Clinic
Financial Education Galore!
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
Upcoming Events

Financial Empowerment Clinic

*Saturday, April 20th from 10am-3pm at 2010 Lloyd Center  


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


Join Our Mailing List
Stay tuned for our next Innovative Connections Issue on:
For Past Issues of Innovative Connections



One of the great things about being in control of your finances is that you get to choose who will help you manage them. Of course, there are a lot of different professionals who can help. Financial coaches. Credit counselors. And for those who are ready for some advanced work: financial planners.


At the Financial Empowerment Clinic THIS SATURDAY, April 20, financial planners will be on hand to meet with you one-on-one. So we're dedicating this issue of Innovative Connections to answering common questions about financial planners:

We encourage everyone to meet with a financial planner during the Financial Empowerment Clinic. Why not take advantage of this free opportunity, right? Consider using these articles as a primer for your first conversation with a financial planner, whether it comes on April 20 or further down the road.


Happy Reading, 

Innovative Changes
Financial Planners: An Introductionnumberone


Let's start at the beginning. Financial planners are professionals who work with people or businesses to develop plans for saving, investing, and spending. Certified Financial Planners are licensed in the insurance or securities business and have taken trainings to ensure that they have an advanced understanding of money.


When is the right time to meet with one of these professionals? Here are some ideas:

  • When your income has suddenly increased or you are getting a sum of money (through an inheritance or settlement) and want to learn how to maximize this money.
  • When you have an aging parent and need to discuss estate planning, wills, long-term care insurance, life insurance, etc.
  • When you have some extra funds and want to prepare for life changes and strategically plan for your future retirement, long-term savings, and kids.
  • When you are approaching retirement age.

If you have high debt, are not able to keep your money organized, have never done a budget before, or don't have extra funds, it may not be the right time to hire a financial planner. Instead, contact Innovative Changes to meet with a financial coach. A financial coach can help you build your financial stability so that you can get to a place where it makes sense to talk with a financial planner for higher-level advice. Financial coaches will help you chart out steps to take actions toward achieving your goals.


Whether you meet with a financial planner or a financial coach, you must be prepared to do some work on your own. Your money is your money, however much you have of it. So, it's up to you to identify your priorities and determine how your money should be spent. This can often mean making hard lifestyle decisions now in order to guarantee your financial stability in the long run. With hard work and determination, the results will be worth the wait!

By Talia Kahn-Kravis
Questions to Ask a Financial Plannertwo


When you're ready to work with a financial planner, choosing one can be a difficult. It's your money. You want someone who can give you good advice. These questions can help you find that person.


How long have you worked as a financial planner?

There is no substitute for experience. Be sure to ask candidates how long they have worked in the investment industry. Also ask where and for whom a planner worked, and if he or she holds any professional certifications, licenses, or designations. Certifications to look for include Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).


What is your area of expertise?

The six general areas of financial planning are income allocation, risk management, investing for wealth accumulation, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Be sure your potential planner's expertise is in the area that you require assistance with.


What services do you offer?

Services vary among financial planners. Some offer advice only. Some offer advice and sell financial products. Some may not offer the financial products that interest you.


How are you compensated?

Planners should state, in writing, how much they charge and how they are paid. Typical compensation methods include fees (hourly or flat rate), percentages, and commissions. Generally clients pay for fee- and percentage-based services, while broker-dealers pay commissions to the financial planners who sell their products. Consider the potential conflict of interest inherent in commission-based advice. Also, note whether a planner receives higher commissions for selling one investment over another. For more details on fee- vs. commission-based planners, check out the article below.


Do you owe me a fiduciary duty?

A planner who owes you a fiduciary duty (a "fiduciary") represents your interests first and foremost. Planners who are not fiduciaries are held to a lesser standard of "suitability" instead. Suitability suggests that although the financial product is appropriate for a particular client, it is not always in the client's best interest.


Do you have a financial interest in the entity that houses my account?

Ideally, planners should not have a financial interest in the entity that houses your assets or has direct custody of you assets. This creates a conflict of interest. The use of an independent third-party custodian or clearing firm helps prevent fraud.


Will you provide references from clients?

Ask for several references. Ideally the planner will provide references with financials similar to your situation and goals. Contact each. Finally, remember to perform a background investigation on your final candidate. The following websites may prove helpful.


By Elaine Lord
Fee- vs. Commission-Based Financial Planners three                          
  Financial planners are generally paid in one of two ways:
  1. Through upfront fees, which can be hourly or by a percentage of the assets they manage for you
  2. Through commission, which means the planner is paid each time he or she buys or sells an investment.

Fee-only payment structures are more desirable for some clients because there's no financial incentive (aka, commission) for a planner to buy or sell. Working on commission can encourage planners to make trades, rather than solely look out for your best interest-called a "fiduciary" duty. (As noted above, you want to be sure that the planner you choose is a fiduciary.)


Sometimes commission-based brokers can represent their planning as being free of charge. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true! You're likely playing them through fees and commissions on the investments they choose for you.


To find a fee-only certified financial planner, visit the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), which is the largest group of fee-based financial advisors.


By Emmy Callero


Talk with a Financial Planner and More 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 THIS SATURDAY, April 20 at our office in 2010 Lloyd Center, from 10 am to 3 pm. Here is the workshop schedule:

10:15-11 am

Choose Your Own Credit Building Adventure

11:15 am-Noon

How to Raise a Money Smart Kid


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

1:15-2 pm

Dealing with Debt in Collections: Your Rights and Options

2:15-3 pm

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 10 am to 3 pm on a first come, first served 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, and 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 is not required, but you get an extra raffle ticket if you do! You can register here.

Financial Education Galorefined


Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops


Talleres sobre Estabilidad Financiera

Ahorros y Presupuestos, miércoles el 17 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm

Servicios Bancarios, miércoles el 24 de abril de 5:30-7:30pm

Introducción al Sistema de Crédito: Cómo obtenerlo, repararlo y protegerlo, miércoles el 1 de mayo 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 7, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

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

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

Tuesday, May 28 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 Nordstrom 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 at503-249-5205 or 


Upcoming Seminars


Teaching Your Kids About Money

Sunday, April 21, 2-3 pm 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, 6:45-7:45 pm 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, 9 am-5 pm, or drop it through our mail slot on other days/times. 
  • You can also pay via PayPal 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.