7/21/2014

Financial Empowerment News

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Financial Empowerment Newsletter highlights resources available through the City of Virginia Beach to help consumers gain greater financial control and to strengthen their financial situation.   Get your copy today.

Reporting Abuse

When someone has gotten the better of you every instinct in you wants to see justice.  They have been unfair and wronged you, but who can stand up to the bad players in our financial lives? 

Financial Empowerment programs like Bank On Virginia Beach help you to know your options and to stay informed as resources become available to you. 

Just this week, the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau has issued a notice that they will accept complaints against  financial services like prepaid cards and additional non bank products such as credit repair services, pawn, title loans and payday lenders.  Historically these businesses operated under the rules of each state they do business in, but with the growth in this industry, CFPB is now taking forceful actions to protect consumers.  If you have done business with one of these providers and found them to be less than forthright in dealing with you, you now have a forum to submit a complaint and be heard.  To file a complaint visit: www.consumerfinance.com/complaint.

Other agencies hear different types of complaints.

Banks: Has your bank not done right by you?  FDIC would like to hear about it:  https://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.

Credit Unions: The Federal Reserve takes complaints on both Banks and Credit Unions: http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/index.cfm

Scammers calling you?  If you have registered your phone number with Do Not Call Registry and are still receiving solicitation calls you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

 Now you can engage a champion on the side of the consumer to help you resolve your beef with the financial bullies of the world.  Have you registered a complaint and had successful resolution?  Write and tell us about it.  bankonvb@vbgov.com

7/01/2014

Bank On Graduation

 Bank On Graduation Ceremony

 
This is it!  You have made it!  10 months of financial conditioning and perseverance paid off for our Bank On graduates.  We encourage family and friends to join us as we recognize the achievements of these Bank On participants on July 19th at 11:00 am.
Location: Good Samaritan Episcopal Church 848 Baker Rd., Virginia Beach
Come an enjoy a festive celebration of achievements followed by light refreshments.  Mayor William Sessoms is expected to be in attendance to recognize Mayor's Action Challenge completions.   To RSVP: email bankonvb@vbgov.com.
 
See you there!

6/30/2014

Adjustment Dials for your Spending Plan

Getting greater financial control may mean spending some time examining what elements in your plan can be adjusted to tighten down on spending leaks while giving you more money for the things that are really important. When going through your monthly budget, consider ways you can adjust to accelerate your way to your financial goals.

Dial #1:  Increase Income - Increasing income through overtime or a second job can be a way to get you over a hump.  It doesn't have to be a long term gig, but an extra boost to help you though a tight spot can be a real help.  You might even consider turning a hobby into an extra income source so that you can make some money doing the things you love to do.  For some, extra income is a necessity for maintaining self sufficiency.  In those cases it is important to consider your career path and whether you can grow your income longer term.

Dial #2: Mitigate Expenses - This means finding a way to fund your needs with minimal cash outlay.  For instance, can you swap babysitting services with a friend or neighbor to cut the cost of date night?  Perhaps you can find a way to get along with something less expensive until you are able to save a little more.  If you were planning on a movie, can you find less expensive alternatives to the theater?  Lessening these expenses allows you more money to fund the other categories of your spending plan. 

Dial #3: Cut Other Expenses - You may find that cutting back on other categories of your spending plan may be necessary to make ends meet or to fund your emergency savings.  Use the Financial Decision Tree to determine what categories are most controllable.  For instance, in my housing category of my spending plan are there some things that I can control in the short term?  Perhaps I can minimize utility usage or cut the cost of telephones.  Discretionary expenses like eating out, entertainment, savings, or clothing might be more easily controlled in the short term, but if you have to eliminate an expense to get you over a hump, remember to make a plan to add some living back into your budget as soon as you overcome the crisis.

Dial #4: Tap Savings - Savings is there for when something unexpected throws you off track so don't feel bad if you have to use some of your emergency fund, but always make a plan to restore that fund as soon as you can, because you don't know how much time you have until the next emergency.  Savings is part of your longer term financial security blanket, so always consider shorter term adjustments before moving to reduction of savings.

Dial #5: Sell Assets - Do you have something hanging around not being used or some heirloom you can part with can help generate a little extra cash to tide you over?  Selling assets may be a means to helping you through a tight spot.  This time of year is great for yard sales and clearing out the precious treasures you no longer use.

Dial #6: Debt - While not a long term solution, sometimes using a credit card for an emergency and then making a plan to pay it off can help you address your current needs.  It is important that in using debt that you don't create a long term problem for yourself that you can't easily address.  Too often people find themselves in financial stress because of their debt, so use debt sparingly and repay as quickly as possible. Another solution related to debt might be to use an asset that has equity such as a home or a car to restructure the regular debt payments for the household so that monthly expenses are more manageable.  This will likely lengthen the term of your debt, but stretch out the payments enought that you can breathe a little easier. 

How have you gotten through a crunch?  Write to us at bankonvb@vbgov.com and tell us!