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Filled Under: Financial

Financial program aims to help vets, spouses

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) An agency partially focused on educating consumers on financial matters is raising awareness about one of it’s latest initiatives aimed at helping veterans and their spouses. It’s a program leaders of the organization said many are unaware of.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched its Financial Coaching Program in May 2015, which included placing 60 certified financial coaches at various business and non-profits across the nation. Michael LeClear with CFPB joined NewsChannel 15’s First News Saturday to talk about the program and its connection to Fort Wayne.

LeClear is one of the few financial coaches around the country. He works out of Work-One, located in Fort Wayne. He said that while he’s always happy to help veterans, he’s noticed a need to help spouses as well. He said he understand the stress that comes from having one spouse oversees and the other one stateside, left to sometimes deal with finances as well as family.

“It’s a lot. We’re here to help them, we’re here to help vets or their spouses. And the neatest thing about it is that it’s free,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of benefits to this program, and we’re just trying to make sure vets and their spouses know about it.”

Each host site, including Work-One, has a full-time financial coach, along with resources and equipment for the coach to do his/her job. LeClear said he has been working in financial advising for more than two decades. He described the program as one-on-one meetings where the coach and client come up with an action plan and schedule regular meetings to help reach financial goals.

The need for financial coaches, specifically for veterans and their families came about as CFPB realized the men and women leaving active duty each year were without the necessary financial knowledge.

Approximately 250,000 service members leave active duty each year, according to CFPB. The company said many have a need for financial management support to assist with transitioning into civilian life. While the Department of Defense offers a Transition Assistance Program (TAP), CFPB claims financial aspects of a service member’s transition to veteran status and civilian life are often overlooked.

A report released in 2013 by CFPB included the following list of challenges specific to transitioning veterans:

  • Adapting to the financial aspects of civilian life, eg taxes, insurance, retirement plans
  • Assessing compensation needs from potential new employment to meet their new situations
  • Needing assistance with the use of benefit payments resulting from service-related conditions
  • Not having a trusted source for financial information who understands the unique needs of military families
  • Lacking experience in money management as they transition from the military to civilian life
  • Needing advice to alter or adjust transition plans and adapt the transition budget after discharge.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from the CFPB’s program, contact Michael LeClear at mleclear@afsc.com or by phone at 260-446-3934.

Here’s a Financial Literacy Test You Need to Pass

Photo: Pictures of Money, Flickr

Its generally useful to be literate in at least one spoken and written language. But thats not the only kind of literacy that matters. We need to be savvy about managing (and growing!) our money, too. Heres a financial literacy test that will help you figure out where you are on the road to financial success.

Answer the following questions without reading below them until youre done:

1. What is your net worth?
2. Is it more important to pay off high-interest rate debt or save for retirement first?
3. When should you start saving for retirement?
4. How much money will you need to have accumulated for retirement?
5. Do stocks, bonds, or real estate grow fastest over long periods?

Now lets review each question and what your answer reveals.

US 301 toll road project gets financial green light

After decades of study, public uproars and financial breakdowns, the US 301 toll road relief route now appears on track for a January construction start and opening as early as December 2018 – provided bids and borrowing costs meet forecasts.

The breakthrough, confirmed Monday by The News Journal, came with the approval of a key, $211.3 million loan from a federal program that assists regionally important transportation projects, enough to cover about a third of the overall $643 million plan. Construction costs alone are expected to total $471 million.

It would be the first new toll road opened in Delaware since the first leg of Del. 1 in 1993, with designs calling for four lanes and three interchanges along a 14-mile route between US 301 at the Maryland line southwest of Middletown and the Del. 1 Roth Bridge.

Delaware Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan said the federal loan commitment represented a major milestone for the project and reflected federal confidence in DelDOTs financial projections. The low-interest federal offer includes a five-year delay on interest payments and 10-year delay on the start of principal repayments, allowing time for the toll road to build traffic and cash reserves.

Market seeks financial boost from city

The Denton Community Market is looking for a little financial help from the city of Denton.

Market officials plan to speak before the City Council tonight and make their case for a request of $300,000 to help them relocate and rejuvenate the market.

The council meeting will be at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St.

“We would be the right type of catalyst to help development, redevelopment and innovation in Denton,” said Vicki Oppenheim, a co-founder of the market.

A number of speakers will follow Oppenheim to make their case for the success of the market and its role in the community as a small business incubator, supporting culture and the arts, she said.

Mayor Chris Watts said he and other members of the City Council were aware market representatives would be coming before them to request funding.

The market takes place on Saturdays in the Denton County Historical Park at Carroll Boulevard and Sycamore Street. The nonprofit organization’s rapid growth, coupled with the county’s plans for Historical Park expansion, is slowly squeezing the market out of the location it has occupied since its start in 2010.

Market representatives were invited to a council work session earlier this year about the possibility of moving the market to city property in Southeast Denton at 121 Exposition St.

At that time, both city leaders and the market agreed to continue their talks.

City Manager George Campbell made his formal budget proposal two weeks ago with a number of supplemental packages for the council to consider, but Watts said he couldn’t recall funding for the market among them.

Nonetheless, the council hasn’t discussed publicly whether the city should earmark funding in 2015-16 for the market.

“People can ask for a lot of things,” Watts said. “They may or may not get it.”

City leaders haven’t shied from investing in startups. Last year, the City Council approved $220,000 for two initiatives to help technology startups, including the Railyard, a mixed-use development that will include a collaborative office space, and improvements to high-speed and wireless Internet access.

In a recent blog advocating for the market, council member Kevin Roden said cities around the country are trying to create something like Denton’s community market.

“It’s time for the city of Denton to get serious about the Denton Community Market,” he wrote. “It’s time to invest and take advantage of this still untapped game changer for life, culture, place making, and economic development for the city.”

Roden also noted officials need to think beyond the Square.

“With the tremendous success of the Square and the recent significant investments in buildings and businesses, one thing is clear: the less-funded, scrappier, yet ever-essential and much more interesting creative class is now priced out of and no longer able to invest in the immediate downtown area,” he said. “The beauty of this for our city is that the creative class will find its way and eventually create new pockets of culture elsewhere in our city.”

While Roden is firmly behind the market, Oppenheim knows that some council members are not.

“They have many budget requests,” she said. “Will ours be funded? We don’t know that. But we think it is important and we think it is the right time to do it.”

Oppenheim said she has no answer for a scenario in which the City Council chooses not to invest in the market.

“For now we would stay at the county site,” she said. “I can’t really say yet until we see how all this pans out. We’re open to ideas.”

Staff writer Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe contributed to this report.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjLewisDRC.

Financial caregiving resources provide tips on managing your loved one’s finances

Virginians managing the money of a loved one unable to make decisions can receive guidance from new materials developed by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The consumer finance watchdog agency on Monday launched the first of a series of state-specific financial caregiver guides that address duties and responsibilities when acting as someone’s guardian or trustee, rules regarding power of attorney and rules when managing someone else’s Social Security or veterans benefits.

What a federal financial control board means to Puerto Rico | TheHill

Puerto Rico is spiraling out of control and the Federal government will not break the fall.  Island leaders may not have the will, popular support, or financial tools to pay down the $72 billion debt.  So it is no surprise that calls for a federal financial control board intensified after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that Puerto Rico’s debt is unpayable.  Establishing a control board may be the easy way out for a wary Congress but it is not as simple as it seems and could backfire.

A federal financial control board for Puerto Rico was first proposed a year ago by supporters of Doral Bank in its dispute with the Puerto Rican government over a $230 million tax refund.  Most of Doral’s supporters are affiliated with the conservative Koch brothers.  They include Republican Reps. Jeff Duncan (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Matt Salmon (Ariz.) who received Koch Industries PAC contributions and who prior to Doral had never been involved with Puerto Rico. 

Heading to College? Pack This Financial Survival Kit

You know when Bed, Bath amp; Beyond is bursting with neon desk accessories and extra long sheets that another college year is just around the corner, but room decor is not all your student needs.

Experts recommend that teens heading for college have several key financial skills under their belts: budgeting, safe practices and an understanding of needs and wants. They may be using apps and social media to manage their finances, but these old-fashioned priorities still apply.

These kids can be smart, but they just need to learn a little common sense and real world experience, said Travis Sollinger, director of financial planning at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

10 financial vocabulary terms you should know

By Andrew Housser

It is one thing to have good intentions to get out of debt and build a stronger financial future. It is another thing to put that plan into action. At this time of year, kids are going back to school and buckling down to the books. That makes it a perfect time for adults to take a refresher course of their own on budgeting, credit and debt. Here are 10 financial terms everyone should understand for a passing grade in personal financial management.

Average Daily Balance or Adjusted Balance: Two methods of calculating interest on a loan or debt, such as a credit card. Average Daily Balance tracks the balance daily. That means you start paying interest from the day you make a purchase. You also get credit from the day you make a payment. More favorable to the borrower is the Adjusted Balance. This method adds charges and subtracts payments made during the billing cycle from the balance at the end of the previous billing cycle. Unlike Average Daily Balance calculations, new purchases during the billing cycle are not included in Adjusted Balance calculations. The lender only charges interest on the balance that remains after a payment is credited to the account.

Amortization: The process of gradually reducing debt by making regular payments toward the principal balance and interest charges (such as on a mortgage).

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The yearly rate lenders charge borrowers to borrow money. It is also called the cost of credit. Before you agree to take out a loan, or open a credit account, the lender is required to tell you what the APR will be. Many credit cards and loans change the APR when interest rates or indexes change. Check the fine print on the back of your agreement or statement to learn what your APR is and if it can change. Note that right now, many people are predicting that the Federal Reserve prime rate will increase within the next few months. If this happens, interest rates are likely to go up. That makes this a great time to work hard to pay down credit card balances.

Bankruptcy: A form of financial protection a debtor seeks when he or she becomes unable to pay debts and has no other payment options. Two methods exist to file for personal bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most types of debt by liquidating property to pay debts. Any debt owed after liquidation is eliminated. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a borrower with a steady income to establish a full or partial debt repayment plan. Repayment typically lasts 36-60 months. Bankruptcy reform several years ago made both types more difficult to obtain, especially Chapter 7. Bankruptcy usually cannot eliminate taxes or alimony, and cannot eliminate student loan debt.

Credit score: A number between 300 and 850 that measures an individual#39;s creditworthiness based on credit history. Credit bureaus use formulas to evaluate the persons credit history, how much debt they have, how much credit is available, and whether they pay bills late, on time or not at all. Many financial companies and credit cards now make credit scores readily available. Keep an eye on yours to understand your financial status.

Debt negotiation: The process of resolving debts when a creditor has unmanageable debt (usually more than $15,000 to $50,000) that he or she cannot repay. Companies that offer debt negotiation services will work with creditors to negotiate reduced payments. Meanwhile, the person accumulates funds in an escrow account to repay the creditors. Negotiations can result in debt that is reduced by nearly half, and typically paid off in 24-48 months. However, the process can have a negative effect on credit profiles. It is appropriate for people in severe debt hardship who are struggling to make minimum payments.

Liquidation: Converting assets into cash to pay off creditors. This term often comes up in personal and corporate bankruptcy proceedings.

Non-revolving debt: A debt or loan taken for a certain, fixed amount. Non-revolving debt is repaid on a schedule (amortized). Mortgages, auto loans and many student loans are non-revolving debt.

Revolving debt: A debt account that does not have a fixed (amortized) repayment schedule. Credit cards are generally considered revolving accounts. These accounts require a minimum payment each month. Payments include monthly interest plus a portion of the principal. Borrowers can charge more to add to the debt (up to the credit limit), or pay it down as much as they choose each month.

Repossession: The forced or voluntary surrender of property on which a person owes money, but cannot pay. Foreclosure of a home with a defaulted mortgage is a form of repossession.

Knowing credit and debt terminology will make it easier to understand the language on bank and credit account statements. It also will help you be able to make decisions about your finances and better plan for your future.

Capital One Financial (COF) Stock Tanking by Double Digits on Heavy Volume …

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Shares of Capital One Financial Corp. (COF – Get Report) were tanking, sharply down 12.24% to $79.66 on heavy volume in afternoon trading Friday, after the bank released its latest quarterly financialresults late yesterday.

This morning, analysts atWells Fargo downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform with a lower price target following disappointing second quarter earnings figures.

The firm also cut its price target range to $94-$96, from its prior$96-$98 range.

State Street Financial Center IPO delayed – Business – The Boston Globe

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Fortis Property Group LLC had planned to take State Street Financial Center public Friday, but the IPO was delayed.

A deal to take the State Street Financial Center public was postponed Friday, a setback for Fortis Property Group LLC, which had been trying to sell part of the downtown office building.

The company orchestrating the initial public offering, ETRE Financial, said it had received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the stock sale. In a statement, chief operating officer Jesse Stein cited present market conditions for the delay.

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