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Innovative Connections
MAY 2013: Making Long-term Change
In This Issue
Changing Habits With Behavioral Economics
The Switch Framework: Get Your Elephant and Your Rider to Work Together
Seven Tips on Creating a New Habit
Financial Education Galore!
For Our Borrowers
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July Financial Household Resiliency Series

*Tuesday, July 2nd 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

*Tuesday, July 9th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

*Tuesday, July 16, 5:30-7:30 pm: Hands-On Banking

*Tuesday, July 23rd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing, and Protecting Credit


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Talia Kahn-Kravis
Deanna Oothoudt


Ever tried to change a habit? Whether the goal was to save money, stop swearing, or exercise, we've all tried to do something we know is good for us. We've all also found that change is hard.  


This information in this month's issue of Innovative Connections is dedicated to making changes a little easier. 

Use the information in this issue to help you meet your current goals, or to get you started toward a new one. Remember, our financial coaches are here to help you create your financial goals and work toward them. 


Happy Reading, 

Innovative Changes
Changing Habits With Behavioral Economicsnumberone


brain For a long time, economists didn't recognize how the challenges people face in creating new habits. Instead, they assumed that we are purely rational people who make rational choices. And to be sure, for the most part we are. However, anyone who has ever watched an entire TV series in one sitting, told the kids to eat broccoli while skipping it, or spent money on something that wasn't necessary knows we aren't always rational.

We do things we know might have not great long-term effects because in the moment we want or need to (Taco Bell, anyone?). In order to really understand why we do what we do, a new field of study called behavioral economics was born. For the last couple of years, researchers and people who work at places like IC$ have been sharing ideas on how we can make the choices we face about money easier.


IC$ and other organizations are putting this new field into practice, and they see first-hand the difference behavioral economics makes. So why does this matter? Behavioral economics is the reason you get a deposit or payment reminder, why it says what it says, and why the program you are in is set up a certain way. Hopefully, by using behavioral economics, IC$ has helped you save more, pay down more debt, or feel more empowered in your money choices.


If you would like to learn more about behavioral economics, visit the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).


 By Cassie Russell Rupar


The Switch Framework: Get Your Elephant and Your Rider to Work Togethertwo


Recently I read the book Switch: How to Make Change When Change is Hard. Written by Chip and Dan Heath, two brothers who have thought a lot about why we do the things we do, Switch categorizes our two decision making forces as the rider and the elephant.


Switch Heath Cover

The rider is the rational part of us. The rider knows that it's not best to eat five scoops of ice cream a day, smoke, or spend money on things that you don't necessarily need, but the rider has limited willpower.


The elephant is the emotional side of us. It's bigger than the rider, and although the rider can guide the elephant places, often the elephant will win out. It wants that ice cream (or any sort of instant gratification), and it wants it now, in the moment.


If you want to make a change in your personal, financial, or work life (really anything), you have to appeal to both your rider and elephant, and really mean it.


Here are some steps that the Heath brothers lay out to get both the rider and the elephant (the whole you) on board when trying to make a change in your life.


Direct the Rider

  1. When you decide you want to make a change, look to your past experience with changing things (or other peoples' experiences) to see what has worked. For example: When were you in a situation where you were able to cut back on your spending? What helped you be successful in the past with that? The Heath brothers call this looking for bright spots.
  2. Think in terms of specifics, rather than the large picture. In our classes, we discuss smart goals. Don't just say you're going to cut back on spending, say how. For example: I am going to eat out for lunch only two times a week rather than four times a week. I will pack my lunch the night before.
  3. Know where these changes are taking you so you can remember why this change is worth it. For example: Because I am packing my lunch, I will save $25 a week. Over the course of three months, this will be enough money for me to buy a plane ticket and take the vacation that I have been wanting to take.

Running elephant Motivate the Elephant

  1. Like we said before, having your rider decide to make the change isn't enough. Make the change real moving forward. Post a picture of your vacation destination that you are saving for on your computer screen or wall. Appeal to the emotional side of the elephant.
  2. Break it down so your goal doesn't seem huge and overwhelming. For example, buying a house can seem inaccessible to you at this time, but there are a lot of steps you can do to get yourself in a place where you are ready to buy a house, like working on your credit, meeting a homeownership counselor, etc.
  3. Make successful change a part of your identity. Have faith in yourself as someone who can achieve goals and can be diligent about saving money or whatever your goal may be.

Shape the Path

  1. Once you commit to a change, make it easy for you to stick to it. For example, if you plan to make your lunch more, get ingredients to make lunch that will be desirable. Schedule in time in your evening or morning to make lunch so that it actually fits in with your schedule.
  2. Make it a habit. When you make a change and it becomes a habit, then you don't have to think about it anymore.
  3. Once you've made one positive change in your life, look for other ways to keep improving. Success is contagious! Why not keep challenging yourself or your loved ones to move forward?!

For more info about Switch, check out the Heath brothers' website.


To get help making a positive switch or change in your life, come see a financial coach at Innovative Changes! You can call us for an appointment at anytime: 503-249-5205.


By Talia Kahn-Kravis

Photo by Brittany Hock

Seven Tips on Creating a New Habit three                           Piggy bank

Start with something that matters.

Breaking old habits and creating new ones can be really rewarding. But like all rewarding things, it's a process that is also difficult. So your new habit needs to be in service of something important to you like your family, your health, or your sense of security.


Set a small short-term goal.

A really small goal. Even smaller than "I will save $50 dollars this month." Look for easy actions you can do daily, like packing snacks each morning so you don't use the vending machine at work.


Set reminders.

Old habits have internal triggers, so for a new habit, you'll need external ones. Set an alarm on your phone. Put a rubber band on your wrist. Write a list. Use tools that you know work, or try new ones until you find something that does the trick.


Embrace imperfection.

"I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."  

-Albert Einstein

When you're building a new habit, things will go wrong. Know that, and accept it as part of the process. Building a new habit is like an experiment. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you.


Hold yourself accountable.

You can do this by telling friends or family members about your goal, or even by just writing it down. The important thing is to put your goal out into the world, outside of your head.


Reward yourself.

Give yourself credit for a job well done. We all tend to focus on our problems and failings, so make sure to take time to acknowledge your successes.


Build on your successes.

Once you don't have to think about your new habit anymore, set a new small goal. Over time, these small changes will add up!


By Deanna Oothoudt

We're Enrolling for our IDA Program Again!

backpack We are thrilled to announce that we are opening enrollment for our Individual Development Account (IDA) program this June. 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,come to our next orientation which will be:

  • Friday, May 31st, 10-11am, MHAB Room 215 at the Portland Community College Cascade Campus
  • Thursday, June 6th, 5:30-6:30pm at our office in Suite 2010 of the Lloyd Center.
  • Wednesday, June 12th, 12-1pm at our office in Suite 2010 of the Lloyd Center. 
Register for an orientation here or call Misha at (503)-249-5205. For more information about the IDA program visit ourĀ website.


Financial Education Galorefined


Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:


 July Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, July 2nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

Tuesday, July 9th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

Tuesday, July 16th 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, July 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.  Register here or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ 


Upcoming Seminars:


tas deductionsBudgeting for the Things You Want

Wednesday, May 15th, 6:30-7:30pm at the St John's Library

Sunday, May 19th, 2-3pm at the Gregory Heights Library

Sunday, June 2nd, 3-4pm at the Capitol Hill Library


Teaching Kids About Money

Sunday, June 9th, 2-3pm at the Northwest Library

Sunday, July 14th, 3-4pm at the Capitol Hill Library


Tackling Student Loan Debt  

Monday, July 15th, 6:30-7:30pm at the Holgate Library


These seminars are free and no registration is requiredVisit our website for a description of our seminars. 


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 at 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.