Archive for Uncategorized

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.

###

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

Happy New Year! Time to Work on that Financial Resolution

 

29004893-money-growth-of-2015-happy-new-year

We are only a month into 2015 and many people are still focused on their New Year’s resolutions and many of them are resolving to be more financially responsible this year. I came across this article called “10 Frugal Resolutions for the New Year,” on my new favorite website, Cheapism, and I thought I’d share some of their great tips for keeping that resolution.

The first tip is to stop impulse buying. I know we’ve all been there, and for me it’s often a sugary snack or something shiny, that I’ve suddenly convinced myself I absolutely need and deserve. They suggest taking a step back and doing a self-check of the item and seeing if it stresses you out. If it does, then it’s not in check with your values. If it’s an emotional purchase, just walk away.

Another tip is to pay your credit cards in full. They say if you can’t bring the balance down to zero month after month, then you should not have a credit card. This is the same thing my mom told me when I got my first credit card and I haven’t strayed from it to this day. The next tip goes along with paying your credit cards in full every month, and that is to live within your means. If you can’t afford something and it doesn’t fit within your budget, you shouldn’t have it.

I really like the next tip and that is to surround yourself with others who are also trying to be fiscally fit. Now that doesn’t mean to rid yourself of friends who are not being fiscally fit, but you don’t have to keep up with them. I’ve seen this shift in my life as I’ve matured (nice way of saying getting older). In my early 20’s it was important to me to make sure I had similar things as my friends, now I could care less. I’d rather be around people with similar values and that make good choices.

To read the rest of the tips and full article, click here.

Sarah Janda

My Mini Road Trip Saving Habits

large_road-trip-title

You could call me a true Portlandian. I enjoy spending my free time out being active, finding the best gluten free restaurants, and doing samplings at local breweries. Although this city is filled with the best food, brews, and scenery (in my opinion), one of my favorite attributes that Portland has is its close proximity to other great places in Oregon and Washington. I love to be able to take a little weekend getaway, so when a sorority sister of mine recently bought a house in Seattle and invited me to her house warming party, I knew I wanted to make that weekend trip up north. As I go on these weekend trips often, I couldn’t help but notice a common theme when I am planning: saving money. Here, I wanted to share with you all our money saving plans for our upcoming mini road trip:

1. Fill up at our local gas station! Aside from enjoying the comforts of not getting out of the car, if we fill up before we leave, we will avoid that “Where is the closest gas station?” issue. You all know what I am talking about, that point where you can no longer drive around looking for the cheapest gas, but what is most conveniently located right off of the freeway, and often times, those are the most expensive. Filling up the gas tank before we leave will not only save us money, but time.

2. Although we could stay with our friend both nights, we decided that we wanted to be Seattle tourist for the day and most of those activities are located right downtown, so staying one night in the city was important to us. To help those costs we booked our hotel for the night on Groupon. I know that there are many horror stories out there about booking hotel deals on Groupon (my neighbors were one week away from a trip to Hawaii when the hotel closed because of Groupon sales) but I have found that doing your research on the hotel, and reading the fine print can really pay off. On Groupon, a nice hotel located in downtown Seattle was $89 (pre-tax) and when I checked Orbitz I was looking at $189 (pre-tax). We are excited to be close to all of the action of downtown, avoid taxi fares, and have a reasonably priced hotel in a normally expensive city.

3. I am a self proclaimed foodie, so this becomes a big expense for me when I travel. I am one of those people who just wants to try everything there is to offer when I am in a new location. One of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of the growing trend of food carts! Between now and the time for my trip, I am looking forward to scoping out the food cart scene in Seattle and following their social networks to see where they are parked when I arrive.

Now that I have shared some of my money saving habits when visiting a new city, what are some of yours?

Basha Gitnes
Marketing Specialist

I Resolve to…..

New-Year_Resolutions_list

Does your New Year’s Resolution involve how you manage your money? Nothing is more aggravating than deciding on a New Year’s Resolution….except of course, when you fail soon after setting a resolution. Here are some money savvy New Year Resolutions you can keep and feel proud to share next year.

  1. Set up or increase your 401k contribution- Less than half of those that have access to an employer sponsored retirement plan actually contribute towards it. Resolve to start or increase your 401k contributions and your future self will thank you. What is nice about this resolution is that once you make this change with your employer, you are set and are sure to have this be the one year you do not fail to follow through.
  2. Start tracking where your money is going- This is so much easier than you think. Several banks and credit unions now offer software as part of their online banking, which will track your spending and categorize it for you. Ever wonder how much you spend each month on gas? These programs will tell you with the click of a button. If you find that your online banking does not allow this try Mint.com.
  3. Pull your credit report- You are entitled to one credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies each year. Your credit can affect several facets of your life including, obtaining a job, getting a loan and even how much you pay for your car insurance. Make sure your credit report is accurate by going to annualcreditreport.com and pulling your credit report.

The key to any resolution is to make it become automatic or a habit. The more automation you can put behind your New Year’s Resolutions the more success you are bound to experience.

 

Care to share your resolution for 2015?

Melody Bell
Executive Director

Financial Beginnings Welcomes Two New Board Members

Financial Beginnings welcomes two new board members

PORTLAND, Ore., December 5, 2014Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education programs, is pleased to welcome Michael Harper, an Agent for State Farm, and Adrienne Prevost, a student at Portland State University, to its Board of Directors.

harper pictureMichael Harper is a native of Illinois, born in Chicago in 1957, and is a graduate of North Park University.  Harper played basketball for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons and spent the following six seasons playing in Europe. Harper has been active in the community as a Portland School district employee, businessman and spokesperson.  He is an active member of the Southwest Rotary and has been selected as a Royal Rosarian.  Currently, he is a Commissioner on the State of Oregon Commission on Children and Families and a Board Member with Western Oregon University Foundation. As an Agent for 19 years with State Farm Insurance Companies, Michael is excited to serve on the board of Financial Beginnings.

Harper said, “I have been a long time supporter of Financial Beginnings and have had the opportunity to be in the classroom myself. This is a great organization and I am looking forward to continuing my support in a more involved way.”

 

AdrienneAdrienne Prevost is a senior at Portland State University working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance. She became involved with Financial Beginnings after taking Melody’s Personal Finance course at PSU. She then became a volunteer, intern, and joined the Program Committee. In June 2014 she received a Dean’s Award for Community Engagement at Portland State for her recruitment and retention work at her internship.  After graduating in June 2015 she plans to go for her Master’s degree in Financial Analysis. In her spare time Adrienne enjoys reading, hiking in the gorge, and running.

 

Prevost said, “I am ready to jump right in on the Financial Beginnings board! This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue to give back to an organization that has influenced me and my education.”

 

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.

 

###

My First Experience Presenting Financial Beginnings’ Programs in Spanish!

classrooms

When I started my internship at Financial Beginnings, in addition to the outreach I was doing, I also wanted to present Financial Beginnings programs in the classroom. I wanted to learn as much as information as possible to be able to share it with everyone else, and as a college student I wanted to learn more about personal finance. I have been able to experience all these opportunities and currently have the pleasure of teaching Financial Beginnings first ever programs in Spanish.

Minterbridge Elementary is the first school to have the Financial Footings program in Spanish and I want to share my experience with you as the volunteer presenter. The first time I walked into the classroom I felt anxious and nervous. However, as I continued teaching, I saw the children’s happy faces of learning something new every day. The children had many questions and loved playing the budget game. The budgeting game teaches them about positive and negative numbers, or in financial terms, expenses vs. savings. When I walked out from the room, I noticed they started asking even more questions about savings. As an intern I had the pleasure to experience this opportunity and would encourage you to get involved, especially if you are bilingual. Financial Beginnings needs bilingual volunteers who are willing and excited to teach their programs in the community.

 

Margarita Gonzalez
Spanish Program Intern

Is Your Mouth Getting You in Trouble?

scared dentist

Not because you said the wrong thing, but because you do not take care of your dental hygiene?

Today I went to my dentist for my bi-annual cleaning and check-up. The dental hygienist commented that my teeth are great. She asked if I flossed daily, yes. She then asked if I use an electric toothbrush and I again replied yes. She said my dental care was apparent and I had a pleasant visit with little discomfort while I got my teeth cleaned.

When it comes to dental work, I am a baby. I have only had a few fillings in my life and all were in adulthood. When I got my wisdom teach taken out, I had them knock me out because I could not stand them working in my mouth.

As I was getting my teeth cleaned today I thought back to several years ago when I did not have dental insurance. I could not afford dental insurance for 2-3 years and did not get regular cleanings and check-ups. When I went to the dentist for the first time after the break I found I needed several filling and went through a very uncomfortable year of getting my teeth back into good health.

Taking care of your teeth and visiting the dentist regularly can save a lot of money and discomfort down the road. Preventative care is much less expensive than treatment needed later due to issues. Also, there are arguments made that poor dental hygiene and heart disease are related.

I decided to do some research on what individuals who cannot afford dental insurance can do to maintain their teeth. The Oregon Dental Association provides resources to the community on free or low-dental care available.

Leave the trouble you have with your mouth left to those times when you have “put your foot in it”.

 

Melody Bell
Executive Director

Savings Builds More than Wealth

Blog 1 image

 

As Financial Beginnings’ Development Director, I am constantly seeking new research about the importance of financial education. As a mom, I continually look for opportunities to enhance my child’s future. Recently, I stumbled upon new research that addressed both.

A recent study provided yet another reason to encourage children to start saving money at a young age. This research, from the Center for Social Development, found that “youth who have a bank account in their name, regardless of the amount in that account, are seven times more likely to attend college than youth with no account.”

The Journal of Family and Economic Issues explains this as the “assets effect,” whereby “personally controlling their savings inspires a deeper appreciation for what they need to do financially and behaviorally to get into college,” noting that “the simple act of saving motivates children to strive harder.”

Depositing money into their own savings account, the Journal explains, helps children feel a sense of control over their future. This psychological effect ignites a cycle of positive and aspirational behaviors.

So how can parents make the most of the assets effect? For starters, they can help their child open a savings account in his or her own name. Banks and credit unions all provide some type of custodial savings account for even the youngest of children. My son opened his savings account at Umpqua Bank when he was just a few months old; his signature was a little sloppy but hey, so is Jack Lew’s.

Secondly, parents can help their child determine how much of his or her earned of gifted income should be deposited into this account, and assist their child in making regular, physical deposits. Making regular deposits to my son’s account has kept me honest in making regular deposits to my own account as well.

Lastly, watching a savings account grow, regardless of by how much, provides a tangible tool for teaching their child about interest, budgeting, and basic money management. A savings account can also provide the framework for discussing goal-setting in general, as well as educational and career goals. As the old adage states, if you don’t know where you are going, you probably won’t get there.

Kristin Monahan
Development Director

 

Interview with Clackamas County Federal Credit Union

We spoke with Mary Greco, President of Clackamas Federal Credit Union and her two staff members, AVP of Marketing,Luke McMurray, and Administrative Assistant Jennifer Kraxberger to discuss financial literacy.

Can you tell us a little about Clackamas FederalCredit Union?
57 years ago citizens in Clackamas County created the credit union to serve workers and public service employees. The Credit Union is still headquartered in Clackamas and has grown to more than 25,000 members, served by 84 employees in six branches.

What makes Clackamas Federal Credit Union special?
Our mission is taking pride in making a difference by supporting the financial success of our members. We also strive to support the communities we serve.

Why does Clackamas Federal Credit Union support Financial Beginnings? Why is financial education important to your company?
We believe that everyone needs to understand how to prepare financially for the future. When people borrow money, we want them to understand everything about the loan – how they are being charged and what the requirements are. I personally believe that financial literacy is very important and should be taught from first grade through college.

Why did you decide to partner with Financial Beginnings?
Financial Beginnings will help us reach our members and people throughout the county. We want people to learn how to save and make their lives better. Saving is the first step to a successful future. The Financial Beginnings curriculum provides the consistent and unbiased message to students that we think is critical.

In addition to supporting Financial Beginnings, does Clackamas Federal Credit Union have any current or planned programs,initiatives, or resources to increase financial literacy?
We provide workshops throughout the year. And we are going to be teaching classes at Clackamas Community College using the Financial Foundations curriculum created by Financial Beginnings.

In your opinion, what is currently the most critical finance-related topic that needs to be addressed through education?

Mary: Saving is the most important. People don’t know how to save. They seem not to understand that they can start small and build. Instead, they set a goal beyond their means and then become discouraged.

Luke: Budgeting is critical. People need to have a plan and follow it.

Jennifer: I think people need to understand how to live within their means and not try to keep up with their neighbors. Saving and budgeting – those are the most important elements in financial literacy.