Archive for November 2010

Reading is an Investment

Media Contact
Casey Boggs

Financial Beginnings Partners with the Office of the Treasurer to Provide Free Reading Program to Oregon K-5 Students

50 Oregon College Savings Plan accounts, worth $500 each, to be awarded

PORTLAND, Ore., November 29, 2010— Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education at no cost to children and young adults throughout the Pacific Northwest, today announced its partnership with the office of the Oregon State Treasurer and the Oregon College Savings Plan to offer the fifth-annual Reading is an Investment program to all Oregon elementary students in grades K-5.

The Reading is an Investment program will be presented to Oregon elementary students in conjunction with the Banking on Our Future program administered by Financial Beginnings. This program utilizes trained volunteers to teach students the basics of banking, budgeting, the power of credit, and sound investing.

Reading is an Investment is an effort designed to highlight the importance of reading, while teaching children about the world of money and basic financial concepts. By participating in the program, students will be entered into a drawing to win one of 50 Oregon College Savings Plan accounts worth $500 each, and receive a prize packet and a certificate of achievement from the State Treasurer for participating in the program. Additionally, each public elementary school library in Oregon will receive two books that focus on personal finance for children, The Penny Pot and Rickshaw Girl.

“Providing Reading is an Investment and Banking on Our Future combines two great programs that teach vital life skills to Oregon students,” said Melody Thompson, executive director of Financial Beginnings. “Literacy and financial education are the building blocks for making informed financial decisions now and throughout life, and we are pleased to partner with the Office of the Treasurer and the Oregon College Savings Plan to reach even more students this year.”

For additional program details, please visit and click on the “Reading is an Investment” link, or contact the Office of the State Treasurer at 503-378-4329.

About Financial Beginnings

Formed in 2005 and based in Portland, OR, Financial Beginnings is a nonprofit organization that provides multi-session courses, free of charge, to students and young adults throughout the Pacific Northwest through visits to their individual schools or community groups. The courses incorporate all aspects of personal finance to provide individuals the foundation needed to make informed financial decisions. More information is available at

The banks are changing the rules- Fees! Fees! Fees!

I got a notice today from my bank that the rules are changing. Though they “truly value” my business, they have to let me know that my free checking account is no longer free. There will now be a $10 a month service charge! “But wait” you say “there must be a way to get out of it”. There are some ways to get out of the monthly service fee, but unfortunately I do not qualify for any of them.

How can I avoid the $10 monthly service fee?
• Have a direct deposit of $500 or more,
• Or keep an minimum balance of $1500
• Or keep an average balance of $5000 combined in the accounts I have with them

Since I work for a small nonprofit we do not have direct deposit, though I miss the days when my paycheck would magically appear in my account. I utilize these accounts to run my rental and handle my day to day expenses and do not keep a lot of cash in them since interest rates have been averaging less than .25%.

In order to get the best of both worlds my husband and I operate our join expenses and emergency savings account out of our credit union accounts. This works out well since the branches are less conveniently located for the credit union, but we find the fees to be lower and interest rates to be higher. So we operate our daily expenses out of the more convenient bank accounts we have individually and then utilize the credit union accounts for the joint bills. The system worked great until I go this notice!

So what do I do? Do I transfer all of my accounts to the credit union in order to avoid the fee, but then have to deal with finding a branch every payday, when the rent comes or get other checks (I will be so sad to see my deposit by my phone function go)? Do I take the $10 a month hit? Do I transfer $5000 over to ensure I don’t get a fee, but then get next to nothing in interest? Do I look to see if I can get a better deal with another larger bank and hope they don’t change their practices shortly after?

Tenants in Foreclosure- Story gets national attention

My blog has now sparked interest from national media!

A couple of weeks ago I was awoken as my phone rang at 6am with an unfamiliar out of town phone number. So I did what any reasonable person would do and let the call go to voicemail. Later when I came into the office and listened to my work voicemail (yes, I transfer all of my work calls to my cell) I found a voicemail from Kelli Grant from Smart Money waiting for me.  Grant was intrigued by my story which Brent Hunsberger wrote about in the November 7th Oregonian article, Surprise! Renters in foreclosure have rights, and let me know that she wanted to include some quotes from me in her upcoming 10 things article.

After returning to my office this morning after a long holiday weekend I find a Google Alter email letting me know my name appeared in her recent article, 10 Things Your Landlord Won’t Tell You. Go figure, the #1 thing was “This building is in foreclosure.”

I have to say I love the national media attention, but do wish that it was for a different reason. Reading Grant’s article I was truly shocked to read that “Renters accounted for 40% of families facing eviction from foreclosure in 2009, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.”

No update from me on my situation. The next scheduled date for the home I live in to be sold at auction is this Friday December 3rd. I’ll be sure to update you once I’ve called the trustee to get an update.

What do you think is happening? Do you think the home is really being modified? Is the bank just postponing the sale date for some reason to benefit them? Have the homeowners have filed bankruptcy causing the delay?

Tenants in Foreclosure-Nov 5 update

Good news!  My story has sparked the interest of Brent Hunsberger from the Oregonian while we met for coffee on Monday.  He immediately went back to his editor and asked to write about tenants in foreclosure.  So this weekend you’ll find Brent’s article focusing on tenants in foreclosure.

I figured that warranted a timely update to the blog.  The most recent sale date of the home I rent and live is was November 3rd.  It was funny, this week Brent and I met for another coffee meeting on Wednesday and as we were talking we realized that my house could at that moment be in the process of being auctioned on the county steps.  He was waiting for a reaction from me on this, but I told him I really didn’t have one.  This was the third date I had been given by the trustee that the home would be auctioned.

Quite honestly I didn’t even get around to calling the trustee to find out the outcome until last night and that was only because Brent followed up with me.  Well… got postponed to December 3rd.  That means my landlords are entitled to the November rent and they were sure to email me this morning letting me know rent was due.  I didn’t even bother to respond to them.  I just transferred the funds into their bank.

I’ve really become so bitter over the whole thing.  Early on in the process I thought I might want to buy the house myself, but now there’s no way I’d want to.