Archive for March 2015

Financial Beginnings Hired Program Manager in Seattle

PORTLAND, Ore. March 27, 2015– Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education programs, hired a program manager to bring no-cost financial education programs to the Seattle Area.

Financial Beginnings currently provides its programs to about 100 schools and community groups, serving 25,000 students each year, primarily in Oregon and SW Washington. Financial Beginnings has opened an office in Seattle, where all Washington programs will be managed.

Clinton Taylor has been hired by Financial Beginnings as the Washington program manager and will be opening the market. Clinton is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Development from Warner Pacific College. He is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Iraq Operation Desert Storm. Clinton is also a certified Washington State Associate Prevention Specialist, Inspirational Speaker, Life Skill Coach, and Master Workshop Facilitator. Clinton has over 10 years of professional experience working in the Social Services and Education field, specifically Employment and Training, where he spent most of his time assisting people with various barriers to employment, including ex-offenders, the homeless and at-risk youth.

For more information about Financial Beginnings programs or to request a class, please contact, programs@financialbeginnings.org.clinton head shot

What We Need: Student Education, Not Student Debt

A college degree is a product. Students pay a fee in the form of tuition and they receive an education. That education is a ticket to a better life in the form of higher earnings, or at least it always has been. College professors and administrators have bristled when I opine that their “product” should be viewed in terms of future earning potential. They would rather focus on the intrinsic value of education. UnfortuUniversity Student Begging with Mortar Board - Education Costsnately the ever-increasing cost of their product forces us to look beyond the intrinsic and seriously consider extrinsic value. Only with this information in hand can a student and his/her family make a wise choice about where to go to school, how much to pay for the degree, and what the future prospects will be for the graduate.

Some very disturbing statistics that I recently learned when I attended a community conversation bring into specific relief the need for a deeper consideration of the value of a college education:

  • In Oregon alone students borrow between $1.3 and $1.5 billion dollars in student loans each year.
  • Student loans amount to $1.2 Trillion in the United States.
  • Each year students in our country will take out $100 Billion in new student debt.
  • The state of Oregon provides only 11% of state college and university expenses the rest must be made up with tuition.

These numbers are staggering. It disturbs me to think what this level of debt means to the future of our country. I, therefore, ask: What is the value of a college degree in terms of life earnings? This is simplistic of me, however. One needs to understand other elements to even begin to fully answer the question.

The Payscale organization has developed a chart called College ROI that may help. Here is a link to the chart: http://www.payscale.com/college-roi/. Before signing onto a lifetime of debt students should at least consider some of the statistics. The chart provides some choice details such as graduation rates, the “ticket price” with and without financial aid, and how much debt the average student has when s/he leaves school. These and other considerations are important when trying to determine the value of an education from a particular college.

Students need to be well armed before entering the battlefield of college. They need many arrows in their quiver and understanding the value of their education is an important one.

Anne Lee
Director of OperationUniversity Student Begging with Mortar Board - Education Costs

Opportunities to Lower Your Credit Score and Increase Your Debt

Check out lane

Retail marketing is incredibly effective at getting us to act in ways that harm rather than help us. Marketers appeal to our emotions and impulses. Often it is difficult to resist and that is why marketing is a very lucrative strategy for retailers. Here are some of the areas where we should avoid acting impulsively:

  1. You know the scenario…you are standing in the grocery store check-out line with your full cart waiting for the person ahead of you to finish checking out. At eye level you find screaming tabloid headlines, battery packs, sugar-laden treats, paperback books with racy titles, and the list goes on. These items have low prices, but they are not bargains. Resist the urge to reach out and add them to your groceries.
  2. At your favorite department store you have just handed the clerk the outfit you want to purchase that offers you the opportunity to save 15% if you sign up for a credit card right now. If you take this offer from multiple stores over a few months, your credit score could suffer. Each time the store checks your credit, it appears as an inquiry and multiple inquiries can result in a lower score.
  3. The clerk hands you the receipt for your purchase and you notice that you’ll get 15% off your next purchase as long as you purchase $50 of good within the next two weeks. Do you really need to return to the store to buy more? Think twice.
  4. Your favorite uncle gives you a $50 gift card and you go online to purchase that new sweater on sale for $39.99. Your gift card now has $10.01 available and you don’t find anything you want for that amount. Most people either forget the balance on the card, essentially throwing that money away, or purchase something in addition that increases their spending above what they had planned to spend. Gift cards are great as long as you don’t get lured into purchases you don’t need.

Before giving in to an impulse buy, step back and ask yourself, “Do I really need this or am I just reacting to the marketing hype?” You’ll thank yourself for resisting.

Anne Lee
Director of Operations

Financial Education Programs Expand to Seattle Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact:

Melody Bell                                                                                                                     Executive Director
Financial Beginnings
melody@financialbeginnings.org
800-406-1876×1

 

Todd Pietzsch
Manager of Public Relations
BECU
todd.pietzsch@becu.org
206.439.5906

 

 

FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS EXPAND TO SEATTLE AREA

BECU supports Financial Beginnings’ expansion to bring no-cost financial education programs to youth in Washington.

 

PORTLAND, Ore. and Tukwila, WA. February 23, 2015– Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education programs, is partnering with BECU, a Washington state based credit union, to bring no-cost financial education programs to the Seattle Area youth.

Financial Beginnings currently provides its programs to about 100 schools and community groups, serving 25,000 students each year, primarily in Oregon and SW Washington. Beginning in 2015, Financial Beginnings will be expanding their programs throughout Washington and will be opening an office in Seattle.

BECU is serving as Initiative Investor for this expansion. Through financial and hands-on support, BECU hopes replication of Financial Beginnings’ programs will further increase the financial capacity of Washington state residents.

“Empowering youth and adults with the financial literacy skills they need to achieve a life of financial stability is a focus for BECU,” said Rachel Van Noord, BECU Sr. Manager of Financial Education. “Our partnership with Financial Beginnings will allow us to greatly expand the number of youth and adults that we reach with these critical life skills.”

Using Financial Beginnings’ financial education curriculum, in addition to their own, BECU employees will deliver financial education presentations to youth in the classroom, as well as to members of the community.

“Expanding to Washington was always a vision I had for our organization, and I am thrilled that BECU has helped make our dream a reality,” said Melody Bell, Executive Director of Financial Beginnings. “This partnership will further our reach and allow us to educate more young people on how to make informed financial choices, leading to stronger communities and stronger economies.”

For more information about Financial Beginnings programs or to request a class, please contact, programs@financialbeginnings.org.

ABOUT BECU

BECU is a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union. Profits are returned to members in the form of better rates and fewer fees. With more than 900,000 members and $13.0 billion in assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently operates over 40 locations in the Puget Sound region. Founded in 1935, BECU was formed to provide a banking alternative for the employees of The Boeing Company. Today, all Washington state residents are eligible to join. For more information, please visit www.becu.org.

 

About Financial Beginnings

Formed in 2005 and based in Portland, Ore., Financial Beginnings is a nonprofit organization that provides no-cost financial education programs to youth and adults. 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.

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The New Verb: “Uber”

hail taxi

A couple of years ago I was hosting a friend from San Francisco and we were out late catching up eating amazing dessert at Papa Hydn’s on NW 23rd. It was about midnight when we left and come to find out we missed the last trolley, which would take her back to her hotel in SW. I was stumped on what to do. My friend says, “let’s just hail a cab”. I told her “you can’t hail cabs in Portland”. She was shocked. Where was Uber when we needed it?

Living in Portland, we are one of the few cities that does not allow Uber to operate in our city yet so I have not had the opportunity to try it out. On a recent trip to Atlanta I decided to try it out and I am sold and that’s not just because my first ride was free!

I am surprised that taxi companies haven’t invented software similar to Uber years ago. Here is why I liked it:

  • I was able to view the map and see all of the drivers near me and how long it would take them to pick me up,
  • I typed in my destination and was able to get an estimate on what my fair would be,
  • The driver called me to tell me what his vehicle looked like and I was able to see on the app as he approached, leaving no confusion,
  • The car was nicer than most cabs I’ve ridden in, and
  • Because I has already entered my credit card on the application there was not time to check out (but since my first ride was free my fair was $0).

Portland has promised to allow Uber in the Spring of 2015, but in the meantime if you are traveling you might consider trying it out. Here is my referral code to get you a free ride (and me too). melodyb96

Melody Bell
Financial Beginnings
Executive Director