Tag Archive for Financial Beginnings

Financial Beginnings hosts events during Financial Literacy Month and Money Smart Week

PORTLAND, Ore., April 19, 2013—Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides free financial education to youth and adults, hosts events during Financial Literacy Month and Money Smart Week, including financial coaching programs.

Proclamations signed by President Obama and Governor Kitzhaber designate April as Financial Literacy Month. Also in April, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago organizes Money Smart Week (April 20-27th), a public awareness campaign to help consumers better manage their finances with the use of a second charge business loan.

During the month of April Financial Beginnings’ trained volunteers will educate 1,858 youth and young adults in basic money management. During Money Smart Week, Financial Beginnings will host one of its free public forums, Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money, and its annual fundraiser, The Game of Life. Details are as follows:
Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money
A New Beginnings: Retirement and Personal Financial Management
Wednesday April 24, 2013 6:30-8pm at the Tigard Library
Register: http://a-new-beginning.eventbrite.com/
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

Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money is a series of free forums open to the general public. 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. More about the series http://financialbeginnings.org/Unraveling-the-Mysteries-of-Your-Money/

The Game of Life
Thursday April 25, 2013 4-7pm at Urban Space in downtown Portland
Tickets just $35: http://gameoflife2013.eventbrite.com/

At this fun and non-traditional fundraising event, guests gather to play games, win great prizes, enjoy delicious food, and learn about Financial Beginnings’ impact. At this year’s event we are also welcoming Brent Hunsberger, Finance Columnist for The Oregonian, who will be presenting about the expanded Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Money forum series. We are pleased to announce that KGW News Channel 8’s Nick Allard will once again serve as event emcee. For more information, you can visit barchart.com.

About Financial Beginnings
Founded in 2005, Financial Beginnings is a Portland-based nonprofit organization that provides free financial education programs throughout the Pacific Northwest. Last year Financial Beginnings’ youth programs, recognized among the top gold companies, reached over 12,000 youth and young adults. Financial Beginnings’ programs incorporate all aspects of personal finance to provide individuals with the foundation needed to make informed financial decisions.  Also you can claim from the Financial Services Compensation  Scheme if you’ve lost money because of poor investment advice about manage funds. You can also making a claim if the product was not suitable for your needs or that of your business. Additionally, they offer valuable insights on how to get cheaper insurance through various strategies and expert guidance. Financial Beginnings also hosts free financial forums to the general public. More information is available at www.financialbeginnings.org.

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

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.

“I’m giving my two week notice”

Every employer dreads the phrase “I’m giving you two weeks notice”. It means that change is afloat the the hunt for a new employee must begin.

Last week I heard the dreaded words above and had to immediately go into overdrive seeking a replacement. There is so much that must be done before posting for a job. I had to review our current organizational needs and determine if the position and job description of the person I was replacing was going to meet our current organizational need. From there I had to then make the changes to the position and job description and figure out how I would be be able to identify good candidates.

Financial Beginnings is seeking a full-time Program Manager to join our team. I have been posting the position on all applicable job boards (within budget) in hopes of notifying qualified candidates.

Still, I think where I am going to find the best candidates is within my networks. We have over 500 volunteers in our system and many more that are on on our mailing list. These people are already passionate about financial education and Financial Beginnings. Who better to promote the new position?

Reading Brent Hunsberger’s article How to brush up on your networking and job search during the holidays this morning, I was thinking this came at the perfect time! I posted a comment on his blog too about our open position.

Brent’s article talks about how it’s worth job seekers’ time to network because this is likely how they are going to find their next job. I’m taking the same strategy as an employer. At every meeting I attended this week I mentioned the open position and immediately was getting words of excitement from people about possible candidates they were going to tell.

And this is just one more attempt to delve into my network for qualified candidates. Please spread the word about our open position!

Job Description

Creating financially literate youth is a community responsibility

After Brent Hunsberger article, Oregon’s strong K-12 financial literacy standards still aren’t ideal,  last week I thought I’d expand upon the need for the entire community to embrace the need to raise money smart children.

When I was young, money was tight in our household, and my parents taught me the importance of budgeting. However, there were many areas regarding financial education in which my parents were not knowledgeable or comfortable, which led to little discussion on topics such as investing or insurance. Research confirms that the interactions I had with my family regarding personal finances were similar to many others. In a 2011 survey by T. Rowe Price entitled, “Parents, Kids & Money,” only 28 percent of parents said they felt “very prepared” to teach their children about basic finances.

My parents were not my only source for finance education. When I attended high school, personal finance was a mandatory half-credit course, but this requirement was removed in 1997. Since then, it has been difficult to track if and how personal finance is included in school curriculum and instruction. Not surprisingly, a 2010 survey by Pollinate entitled, “Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs About Teaching Financial Literacy,” found that 42 percent of teachers indicated they were “not at all confident” or only “somewhat confident” in their understanding of personal finance concepts.

The recent adoption of new Social Science Content Standards in Oregon is a step in the right direction for Oregon youth getting more instruction in personal finance. The new standards, coming this school year, include financial literacy as a standalone requirement in high school and earlier introduction to financial literacy concepts in K-8.

Still, even with improvements to the financial literacy standards, there is a gap that desperately needs to be filled. In short, young people still need personal finance education to become successful adults and knowledgeable consumers. If you’re interested in exploring strategies for securing your financial future, including how to move your 401k to gold without penalty, it should not be the sole responsibility of parents or the education system to ensure we bring up financially literate consumers. It is truly a community responsibility, and as the recent economic downturn has demonstrated, personal financial mismanagement can quickly become a community burden.

Personal finance is a constantly evolving subject. Think back to how the financial industry has changed from more than 20 years ago – when cash, and not credit, was the norm, and interest-only mortgages were unheard of. The rapidly evolving industry, coupled with the lack of a required in-school finance courses, is precisely why Portland-based Financial Beginnings was created. This organization helps parents and teachers keep up with the bevy of regulation changes and trends in the financial market.

Financial Beginnings provides free financial education to children and young adults, with local professionals from the financial services industry teaching everything from basic budgeting to investing. This partnership not only benefits the students but also the participating banks, credit unions and local businesses. Supporting such financial literacy nonprofits allows these organizations to create more informed future customers and members, and fosters a positive image for companies serving our community.

As our schools continue to face more budget cuts, and the economic climate keeps the need for financial literacy at the forefront, the demand for business involvement and support grows. Financial Beginnings is fortunate to have strong support from local businesses, banks, credit unions, CPA firms and financial advisors to meet this demand. These groups provide not just financial support but volunteers who teach our curriculum as well. These local volunteers and supporters champion the financial literacy effort and help fill this education gap.

One of our most successful models – and a model we hope to replicate – is our partnership with Bank of America. For the second year in a row, Bank of America is Financial Beginnings’ Partner of the Year because of the incredible employee volunteer model they have built with our organization – training more than 100 Bank employees to teach in community schools. In the past year, Bank of America employees served 1,546 young people at 23 schools and community groups in Portland by visiting classrooms and teaching students about the importance of financial literacy. Financial Beginnings would like to replicate this model with other companies.

Financial Beginnings is always looking for classroom volunteers and corporate partners. Volunteer training is free and an ideal way for businesses to connect with our schools and young people to ensure a thriving future local economy.

For more details on Financial Beginnings volunteer training programs or to support its programming efforts, visit www.financialbeginnings.org.

Tenants in Foreclosure- The Signs

Looking back there were a few signs that the home I was renting was heading into foreclosure.

Last summer I was fully engulfed in the search for a home to rent. It’s very different looking for a home to rent as opposed to looking for one to purchase. When you are looking at a home to purchase you can see beyond the flaws because you know you can do the whole DIY thing and change it. Still, when you are looking to rent you do not want to rent a home that you are going to want spend money and time improving because it’s a waste of your funds to improve a home that you don’t own.

Accepting a lower rent amount
I finally found a really great newer home that would be perfect to live in. It was newer and the homeowners had good taste in decorating. The only problem was the rent was a few hundred dollars more than what I had budgeted. So I pitched my budgeted rent amount to the landlords and they accepted it! I don’t think that most tenants realize they can negotiate the terms of the lease. Tenants can offer a lower rent amount, lower deposits or different terms such as dividing the security deposit into a few payments. I’ve been a landlord for 6 years and have never had anyone ask if I would accept a lower rent amount. The worst thing a landlord can say is “no” so what’s it hurt to ask?

Still, looking back now at the landlords accepting $300 dollars less a month for rent I’m thinking it should have raised some red flags for me. There really was no negotiating on this. They just accepted it. I don’t know that they knew the home would end up going into foreclosure then, but I do think they were probably behind at the time and desperate for any funds they could get.

Someone taking photos of the home
A few months after moving in I noticed someone pull up to my home and snap some photos. This definitely raised flags for me! I have a friend who is contracted to do this type of work for banks. The two biggest reasons he goes to take photos are to check the progress on home under construction and to check on the condition of homes in foreclosure. Well, my home definitely was not under construction so my mind immediately went to foreclosure. When I contacted the homeowners about the person taking photos I was told they were looking into refinancing the home. Well I really should have known better. If they were refinancing the bank would want a full appraisal which would mean entry into the home and not just someone quickly driving by and snapping photos.

Some knocking on the door looking to deliver something to the owner
After a few months that someone taking photos turned into someone knocking on my door and looking for the owners. All he could tell me was the name of the company that contracted him. After several calls to that company with no return call I gave up.

The landlord visiting
Now this one is hard to be sure if it is tied or not. About a month before I was served with the foreclosure notice the landlord came to “check in”. She said she wanted to see if there were any repairs that needed to be done. I assumed she just wanted to scope out the house to make sure we were taking good care of it. While she was here she picked up some items that she had left behind. Was this because she knew she might lose the house? Did she want to take a look at the house to see if it was worth fighting to keep?

Tenants in Foreclosure- Do you keep paying rent?

After being a homeowner for almost a decade I found my circumstance last year putting me back into the role of tenant. I still fall into the role of landlord too, but the home I live in now I am a tenant.

In April of this year I received a certified letter informing me that the home I am renting is in foreclosure. My initial feeling was anger towards the owners, wondering what they have been doing with my rent. My next feeling was sadness because my plan was to slowly work through the process of finding a home to buy or better yet build one (or should I say have one built). Now I had to worry about where I and my family would be living in a few months. How would I explain to my 8 year old daughter why we have to move after living in this home for only a year?

My experience working in collections and my work educating youth in personal finance left me believing there would be no alternative but for the home to be sold in August. Still, we are in a strange market right now and the norm seems to changing constantly. The homeowners have assured me time and time again that they are working with the bank on a modification and the home will be brought out of foreclosure and oh yes…keep paying that rent!

After receiving the notice of foreclosure I saw no reason why I should pay them the rent. Still, after a conversation from the landlords and some research on my part I found that as long as they still own the home I still am obligated to pay the rent.

I just happened to find a great website for tenants in foreclosure http://foreclosurehelp.oregon.gov/DCBS/foreclosurehelp/information_for_renters.shtml because I was in a meeting where the Department of Consumer and Business Services was presenting on their resources for consumers. My worry is for those who don’t work in the industry as I do and do not have the resources or time to dedicate to the research the issue. How are they suppose to find the resources they need to help them through this process?

So what are your thoughts? Is it right that as a tenant you are still obligated to pay rent to a landlord who is not paying the mortgage?

My plan is to break this series into several posts as I work through this process. What I’ve come to find out is that this is really is a very confusing and emotional process for someone to have to go through. My hope is that my sharing what I’ve learned will help others faced with a similar situation.

In future posts I will discuss the signs leading up to this, the security deposit and others topics as they arise with my situation.

Treasurer Ben Westlund

Last night as we were watching the news before bed and found out Oregon State Treasurer Ben Westlund lost his battle with cancer and passed away.  This hit close to home since I have worked closely with the Westlund both through my work with the Oregon Jump$tart Coalition and Financial Beginnings since his nomination as State Treasurer.  http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/03/democrats_republicans_remember.html

Westlund’s passing caught many by surprise including me.  It was just in October that he had announced that his cancer was back.  That announcement also took me by surprise in October because the announcement of the cancer returning came right afater after he spoke at Financial Beginnings’ Annual Tribute Event.  The next day I had lunch with him and we spoke about our plan to bring personal finance instruction back into Oregon schools.  This was the first time I got to firsthand witness his ability to get everyone around him energized about his cause.

When Westlund was running for office in 2008 I saw him in a debate with his opponent Allen Alley at City Club.  I must admit I was very drawn to Allen Alley’s charismatic personality and many of the points Alley made.  But, the number one issue that got my attention was financial literacy and Westlund brought it up twice during the debate while Alley did not broach the subject.  I became sold on Westlund for Treasurer.

Financial Literacy has long been a priority in the Oregon Office of the State Treasurer.  Westlund’s predecessor, Randall Edwards, focused a lot on financial literacy.  Edwards created such programs as “The Price Is Wrong” (a financial literacy game show presented in Oregon schools) and “Reading Is An Investment” (a program run by the Oregon College Savings Plan which donates books to Oregon elementary schools with financial lessons).  Westlund has continued the Reading Is An Investment program http://www.ost.state.or.us/Read/Index.htm .  The Price Is Wrong has also continued on through the Oregon Jump$tart Coalition which has updated the program to be an interactive Jeopardy game called “Jeopardized”.

Westlund’s campaign platform around financial literacy was to create a comprehensive financial education resource clearinghouse for Oregonians similar to the one that Jump$tart has.  Well as the chair of the Oregon Jump$tart Coalition this interested me obviously.  Westlund lived up to his promise and within a few months of being in office contacted me about how to work together to increase the financial literacy of Oregonians.  He lived up to his campaign promise!

On a personal note, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Westlund because of my experience working with him was validation for my work in the financial education industry.  I recall back at the lunch in October Variny Paladino from National Jump$tart asking Westlund why he wanted to work with Jump$tart and he said “because of Melody”.  Wow, did that ever surprise me.  He commented on my energy and the work I’ve done in the industry and how he wanted me to help him in moving this cause forward.  What a huge compliment that was.

I am truly honored to have had the privilege for knowing and working with Ben Westlund.

How Financial Beginning Began

I have no idea how the whole blog thing works, but my web guys says to “just write” so I will.  This is strange for me since I pay an amazing person (www.kelleynpc.com ) to do all of my writing for the business because, after all, I am a finance person and we’re not known for our writing skills.  I’m not quite sure what my focus for this blog will be.  I want to share information and stories to further the financial literacy movement, but will this going to interest an online crowd?  I’d also like to inspire people.  I know very cliché, but I love what I do and I’d love to help others do the same.  I created the position I’m in and the organization I work for and it has far exceeded my expectations.  Still, I’ve gone through a lot to get to where I’m at so maybe sharing some of my struggles along the way will help too.  So where to start?  I guess I’ll start from the beginning and how Financial Beginnings (www.financialbeginnings.org ) came to be.

I grew up in this little manufactured home in the middle of the woods the younger of two kids.  When I was young we were poor, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  My mother was going to college and working nights while my dad worked during the day.  It’s funny now looking back on when my family had more money, the only thing that sticks out in mind as changing is the food got a lot better around the house.  Suddenly we had bagels and juice on hand, which we never had before.

It was a combination of have less when we were younger and being fifth generation cheap, which helped my parents to instill some very valuable financial habits into my brother and me.  I knew when it was appropriate to ask my parents for money, such as if my shoes were falling apart or there was a field trip at school I wanted to go on.  I would never go up to my parents and ask for money if I was going out to the movies with friends.  We were given an allowance and expected to work if we wanted money to go out.  Which, I did.  I babysat, house sat, and worked at the local Dairy Queen.

When I turn 16 and got my driver’s license I remember my dad saying that I could use his car whenever I wanted.  Still, that came at a price.  He took the average gas price by the average miles per gallon the car got and charged me for my mileage.  He had a book in the car that I had to write down the mileage on when I entered and left the car.  Then at the end of the week when it came time for allowance he’d give me my $10 and then take it right back to cover my mileage expenses.  Within about two months I bought my own car.

At 16 I reached another financial milestone.  I got my first credit card, now I’ll pause for the gasps.  A credit card company sent out an advertisement to get a credit card before the legal age of 18 by having your parents co-sign.  I convinced my parents this was a good idea and then entered the world of debt.  The credit card came conveniently right before prom; needless to say I ended up looking awesome with a new dress, shoes, hair done, the works.  And needless to say my parents and I had a talk when they opened up the first credit card statement.  That month I also learned about late fees.  I got my bill sent it out a week before it was due and it gets there after the due date and I get a $25 late fee.  I was so mad when I got my next statement; I called my attorney uncle to verify if this injustice was legal.  He assured me it was.

When I was legally able to be held to a contractual obligation at 18 I went out and financed a car with the help of this resources at cartitleloanhub.com. I was very proud that I got out of the dealership thinking I hadn’t been taken.  I went in there telling them I wanted a car under $10,000, he showed me a car, I fell in love when to sign the documents and the price showed as 12,000.  I told them this was unacceptable and they agreed to drop it down to the $10,000 but would only give me $100 for my trade it.  I ended up leaving with both cars, a loan at 13% and a $2000 warranty because “the lender said I had to have one”.  Yah, I wasn’t taken.  It wasn’t until I later worked for that finance company that I learned the dealer forced the warranty on me and that 13% was not a good rate to be paying.

Remember that car I was going to trade in for $100, well I kept it and sold it the next day for $1000.  Yah for me right?  Well, after reading some Farmers insurance reviews, when I called to get my first insurance policy on my own the first six months of insurance conveniently ended up being $1000.  When I called and got my first insurance policy I just called and said I need “full coverage” and they told me how much to pay.  It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I met with a financial advisor and he told me I was crazy for being married with a house and only carrying the state minimums and I immediately bumped up my insurance.  My insurance agent never took the time to explain to me what the limits meant and the importance of them.

It was this same agent who did not tell me about renter’s insurance until I asked about after getting a call from the maintenance man at my apartment asking me if he could enter because they heard water running in my apartment.

From the time I left high school I realized that I could not accept being a poor college student.  So I went to school full time and worked part time.  At first I found that I was not interested in college and my grades suffered because of it.  So I dropped school to part time and increased my work to full time.

My work experience in the finance industry was working for Meier & Frank collecting on their department store credit cards.  Imagine me, not yet legal to have my own credit card, calling people to collect on an outfit they bought last year and now don’t want to wear because it’s out of style.  You can imagine with all of the bills people had, paying their M&F card was not high on the list.  I heard every excuse in the book.

I then upgraded and moved onto collecting on auto loans.  I found this to be much easier as cars are higher on people’s priority list to pay.  I was assigned a group of accounts and found that the same people delinquent time and time again.  The customers came to know me quite well.  I recall getting a call from a customer one time telling me that his Audi A8 was stolen.  I let him know he should call the police.  He said he was worried about the payment though and I told him he would need to file an insurance claim.  I then discovered the reason for his worry…his insurance policy had lapsed and he had no coverage.  A $38,000 vehicle was stolen and he still owned the full amount.

I also recall one customer that had two vehicles financed and both were severely past due.  I had to send both cars out to be repossessed.  The customer called me and worked out a way to keep the vehicles.  He then sent a letter to my manager tell him how great I was to work with.  I think this is what must customers do not realize.  If they just work with the finance company there are ways to make the situation work out for both parties.

I recall my friend and I talking at work about how uneducated the customers were.  How they did not realize how their credit was affected by their slow payments. How we were asked multiple times if they could just give back the car and call it even.  He came up with a wonderful idea…. Finance companies hiring individuals to go into the classroom and teach about credit!  They would be creating good consumers and in turn lowering their exposure to loss.  I loved the idea and told him that I was going to work on how to make it happen.  But, life goes on and so do the bills that go with it so this had to take a back seat to everything else.

Newly married my husband and I went to a financial advisor and learned the amazing concept of compound interest.  This was an eye opening experience.  He informed us that the state insurance requirements were not enough to protect ourselves, our homes and our assets.  Who knew?  When I got my car insurance I told the agent I wanted “full coverage” I didn’t understand that just meant the minimum liability requirements and collision coverage to protect the finance company.  We immediately increased our liability insurance and purchased and umbrella policy.

We also discussed investing with the advisor.  At the time $2000 was the maximum amount one to contribute annually towards an IRA.  The advisor turned to my husband who was seven years old than me and told my husband if he were to put $2000 away each year until he was 60 he would have $800,000.  Wow!  He then turned to me and said with you getting a seven year head start you will end up with over 2 millions.  Wait a minute!  Seven years younger at $2000 a year, that means I only put away $14000 more and I end up with over double.  Compound Interest!

I was so excited by what we had learned from our financial advisor that I decided this was the career for me.  I was focused and needed to return to school to obtain the education I needed.  Obviously, majoring in finance seemed like the natural path.  I went back to school full time and with this new focus I found that I was a model student.  I was driven to become a financial advisor.  I obtained by BS in Business Administration focusing in Finance.  Still I never had to take personal finance as a required course. My finance courses were all focused on being a financial analyst.

While finishing up school I obtained my insurance and securities licenses with ease.  I was ready to go out and help people prepare for retirement.  Still nobody had ever told me this was actually a sales job!  Since I had gone seeking this information when I got married I just assumed everyone else did too.  I did not realize that most people actually have to be sold on the concept of preparing for retirement.  And they definitely did not was to be sold by a 22 year old blond.  I quickly left this field unable to accept the negative salary I was earning as I was looking for a better pay stub.

I entered the job market and found this to be a very hard time to find a job.  The economy was slow and there were not enough jobs to go around.  I found a job as a liability claims adjuster.  It was a great job because of the flexibility that came with it.  It also was similar to the collections industry because I had to deal with people in hard situations.  I excelled at the job and moved up very quickly.  I was repeatedly amazed by how people failed to properly project themselves.  There were multiple times where the people I worked with did not have enough insurance to cover the loss leaving themselves open to large debt obligations. For a detailed financial view, check HowMuchA.net to convert hourly to annual salary.

Throughout each of the different parts of the finance industry I worked in I found a lack of financial literacy among customers and how this lack of knowledge ledge to heartache.  I increased my research in providing finance education to youth.  I originally planned on proposing the idea to a credit card company, but after my experience as a financial advisors and insurance claims adjuster I realized that providing credit education was not enough.  Students needed a comprehensive program to provide them the foundation they need in personal finance.  Students need to know about banking, insurance, credit and savings & investing.  And that is how Financial Beginnings was born.