Archive for February 2013

Press Release- Financial Beginnings and Umpqua Bank Launch Elementary Curriculum

PORTLAND, Ore., February 27, 2013Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education programs, in partnership with Umpqua Bank, an Oregon-based bank, launch a new financial literacy program for elementary school students.

The development of this financial literacy elementary program comes partially in response to the new Social Science Content Standards, which went into effect this school year in Oregon.  These new standards now embed financial literacy education requirements beginning in kindergarten and continuing through high school.

Financial Beginnings is utilizing the new elementary curriculum, named Financial Footings, to supplement their existing financial education programs provided to middle schools and high schools. This new elementary curriculum will complement existing Financial Beginnings programs by providing a continuum of finance education from kindergarten through high school graduation. Research demonstrates that providing this education early and reinforcing it often is the key to increasing overall and lifelong financial literacy.  Umpqua Bank provided Financial Beginnings with a grant to support the development of the curriculum and will be utilizing the Financial Footings program to supplement their Learn to Earn program.

Financial Beginnings launched Financial Footings in January and, to date, 436 students at eight Portland-area schools have completed the program. Financial Beginnings provides all of their programs at no charge to schools and community groups.  Educators are provided with student workbooks and volunteers who present the information to students.

Educators interested in this program can find out more, and register at: http://www.financialbeginnings.org/educators/

About Financial Beginnings

Formed in 2005 and based in Portland, OR, Financial Beginnings is a nonprofit organization that provides free financial education programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Financial Beginnings’ largest program educates youth and young adults in the basics of personal finance through visits to schools or community groups.  Financial Beginnings’ courses incorporate all aspects of personal finance to provide individuals the foundation needed to make informed financial decisions. More information is available at www.financialbeginnings.org.

Should a finance student have to take Personal Finance?

I was a business major and focused in finance for both my undergraduate and graduate degree, yet I never had to take Personal Finance as part of my course requirements.  I always chose to take Personal Finance as part of my elective credits.  Does this seem right?

My experience working in the financial industry and within our organization educating people in personal finance is that those who need lessons in personal finance are not likely the ones who are going to seek it?  That’s why I’m a firm believer in putting these lessons in K-12 education requirements because then students have to be exposed to the valuable life lessons.

I am excited to join the ranks of the Portland State University School of Business faculty as an Adjunct Professor this coming spring term and teach FI 218 Personal Finance.  As it stands now Personal Finance is still an elective, but this is something PSU is considering changing in the future.

If Personal Finance became a required course who do you think should be required to take it?  Finance students, business students, everyone?

In the meantime, please spread the word about the Personal Finance units being offered at PSU this term.  My course is from 2-3:50pm on Tuesday and ThursdaysRegister now!

Over 500 high school students and young adults were introduced to the basics of personal finances

PORTLAND, Ore., February 22, 2013Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides free financial education programs, introduced over 500 high school students and young adults to the basics of money through two events on February 20th.

On the morning of February 20th several of Financial Beginnings’ dedicated volunteers and a group of JP Morgan Chase employees went to Southridge High School in Beaverton. The volunteers taught 90-minute sessions in 16 different classrooms covering finance topics such as banking, credit, budgeting, risk management and investing; over 400 high school seniors participated.  The classes about money were delivered by request from the students themselves and taught during their advisory period, which covers topics that help prepare them for life after high school.

In the evening, Financial Beginnings and The Oregonian hosted Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money at Portland State University.  This panel’s topic was entitled, Positioning Yourself for Success: Financial Planning for Gen Y.  Over 100 individuals were in attendance to ask questions that were answered by a panel of financial professionals including: William J. Bernstein of Efficient Frontier Advisors, Christopher Porter of Merrill Lynch, Josh Reich of Simple.com, and Mark Strauss of Leonard Adams Insurance.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money is a series of free forums open to the general public. These forums offer expert panelists who field questions and discuss finance topics that are relevant and important in today’s economy. They are organized and hosted by Financial Beginnings in partnership with The Oregonian newspaper and Brent Hunsberger, writer of the It’s Only Money column on personal finance, and who serves as the moderator of the forums. OnPoint Community Credit Union is the  title sponsor of the Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money 2012/13 series.

Next forum:

Positioning Your Family for Success: Financial Planning for Young Families
Wednesday April 24, 2013 6:30-8pm at the Tigard Library

Panelists:
Joyce DeMonnin, Public Outreach Director at AARP
Terry A. Donahe, Certified Financial Planner at Cascade Wealth
Nelson Rutherford, CPA and CFP at Alten, Sakai & Co.
David C. Streicher, Attorney and CPA at Black Helterline LLP

For more information about the Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money panel series, visit: http://www.FinancialBeginnings.com/Unraveling-the-Mysteries-of-Your-Money/

About Financial Beginnings

Formed in 2005 and based in Portland, OR, Financial Beginnings is a nonprofit organization that provides free financial education programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Financial Beginnings’ largest program educates youth and young adults in the basics of personal finance through visits to schools or community groups.  Financial Beginnings’ courses incorporate all aspects of personal finance to provide individuals the foundation needed to make informed financial decisions. More information is available at www.financialbeginnings.org.

New Program Manager for Financial Beginnings

My name is Sarah Janda and I am the new Program Manager for Financial Beginnings.  I am so excited to be a part of the Financial Beginnings team. I have always been passionate about education and helping people. It’s that passion, which inspired me to become part of the Financial Beginnings team.  I have spent the past 10 years in social services, specifically in employment and training.  Most recently, I worked for a vocational training program and that is where I first became familiar with Financial Beginnings.  I utilized Financial Beginnings’ programs regularly for a youth transition class I taught.  The students always learned so much, as did I, from the very knowledgeable volunteers Financial Beginnings provided!

Over the years, I realized I was not only passionate about employment and training, but also financial education.  I also saw firsthand the importance and need for both, especially with youth.  I noticed while I was helping youth find employment, getting a job was not a magical solution that would suddenly make their lives better.  For many youth gaining employment brought a whole new set of responsibilities they had never encountered before, such as rent, transportation, food, insurance and much more.  However, many of them had no idea how to manage their money and, for the first time in their lives, they were now expected to be self-sufficient.  I knew as much as it would be a struggle for them I always encouraged them to save money, even if it was only $5 from each paycheck.  Some of them would laugh and talk about how they were going to buy a flat screen TV, a new car, etc.  While others assured me that they did not want to end up in debt like their friends and family and intended on saving as much as they could.   Now as an employee of Financial Beginnings, I look forward to hearing many more stories of success that would not be possible without the support and dedication of the volunteers, educators, and partners.

Paying More For Using Credit?

Wouldn’t you love to be charged more for using your credit card? I didn’t think so, but that is exactly what may begin to happen. Many people are unaware of a recent settlement between credit card companies and merchants that gives merchants and retailers the option to pass on credit processing costs to customers. It is common knowledge that merchants pay processing fees (a percentage of the total purchase) to credit card companies. Consumers have never had to worry about these fees because the cost was already built into the price of the product. Now with the new agreement these costs can be passed to the consumer by way of a 1.5%-4% transaction charge.

To most consumers this appears to be a ridiculous and unnecessary agreement designed to punish consumers. However, many analysts see this as a good thing for consumer. They say this may lower prices or retailers may give discounts for paying in cash. A number of large retailers, including Walmart and JCPenny, have already said they will not choose to pass these charges on and will continue to keep prices low for consumers. The most likely place you will see these charges implemented is in small Mom-and-Pop shops and other small specialty retailers. These retailers do not normally generate the revenues necessary to pay the processing fees and implement credit card equipment. Any retailer that chooses to implement these charges will have to disclose this information prior to taking payment on a credit card.

Will this become a nationwide epidemic costing consumers millions of dollars a year? Most likely not, but shop smart and always be aware of what you are paying for. Your money is valuable, precious, and most importantly it’s yours. Know where it is going and why.