Fresh Features and Financial Finds

Newsletter Issue: March 2018

Office Candids Photo by Syd London Copyright 2014

Quick Clicks

  • New blogs launching:
    • Looking for somewhere to send your customers who want easy access to financial security advice? Look no further than the all new Coaches’ Column! The Coaches’ Column is a customer facing blog that will offer tips and tricks to help them take steps towards a more secure future. Check out our first one, by Clinic financial coach Andy Collado.  (Hint: all you need to know about 529 Plans!)
    • Also, be on the lookout for new blogs from our CEO Mae Watson Grote about goings on in the field of financial security and how you can do your part to build a financially secure nation.  First up: The Business Case for Ecosystems.
  • Hot off the press from Credit Builders Alliance and The Financial Clinic:
    • BRAND NEW tools and webinars as a collaboration with our friends at CBA. Be sure to check them out!
    • CBA is now offering a Master Trainer Certification program! Experienced coaches can become credentialed to deliver CBA’s nationally recognized Credit as an Asset training. Learn more.

A Year of Impact and Growth

“Celebrating the success of others — whether it’s a family regaining financial independence, a partner organization seeing their outcomes soar, or the thousands of working poor individuals benefiting from a long-awaited policy change — gives me a distinct sense of hope for the future…” -Mae Watson Grote, Founder and CEO

From the #Refund529 policy win, to the first national financial security ecosystem, to the nearly 30,000 individuals working toward their financial goals thanks to Change Machine clients — 2017 was a busy year for building financial security. Download the Clinic’s newly released Annual Report to learn more!

Tax Season and the 529

Throughout tax season, we have been making sure that our filers know all about the benefits of 529 savings accounts. Just in case you have not seen any of our #TaxTalkTuesday tweets, here are a few 529 tips and tricks to help your customers save this tax season.

  • Funds held in a 529 account for more than two years are protected from creditors.
  • Anyone can contribute to a 529 account. For example, if you open one for your child, friends and family can add to it as gifts for holidays and birthdays.
  • You can change the beneficiary of your 529 account at any time so long as the beneficiary is an immediate family member of the original beneficiary.
  • One beneficiary can have multiple 529 accounts opened by different people.

Be sure to pass these tips along, and share any success that you or your customers have had with 529 savings accounts with us on Facebook and Twitter using #Refund529​​​​​.

Impact NOW – Final Thoughts

During the closing panel of Impact NOW, Leah Mayor from Asset Funders Network explained that in order to create sustainable change, we must first understand what it is that drives change.

On Friday March 16th, the Clinic was thrilled to host Impact NOW, a free professional development opportunity where financial security and workforce development practitioners came together to discuss everything from personal finance, to the nexus of work and wealth (with delicious, fresh baked goods thanks to Ovenly!).

Many interesting and thought provoking conversations were started over the course of the day, filled with shared learning of skills and insights:

(1)  The day started with Harold Pollock and Helaine Olen’s keynote address where they gave us a glimpse into their celebrated book, The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated. They broke down the essentials of personal finance, including these infamous credit myths:

  • Your credit score is not a reflection of your character. It’s simply a reflection of having debt and how you’ve paid your bills.
  • Credit cards aren’t inherently evil; however, it is important to be wary of any opportunity where someone else is helping you finance something – for example, paying for a gym membership upfront at $150 a year vs. $20 a month means you’ll actually be paying $90 in “interest” over the course of 12 months.
  • Reward cards are great if you can pay off your bill in full each month, but we are more likely to spend more in order to get that reward.

(2)   Breakout sessions lead by NYATEP, Support Center, and WPTI joined forces with Clinic staff to lead inspiring breakout workshops. Attendees discussed how to implement financial security programs at their organizations, how to optimize their financial security building work for increased buy-in, and what opportunities exist to collaborate on systems change.Tip: If you missed our workshops but want to learn more, register for our free virtual presentation on May 15 – How to Apply Financial Coaching Principles to Your Workforce Development Program.

(3)   Finally, the day closed with a panel discussion, moderated by Ken Adams, Dean of Workforce & Economic Development at Bronx Community College, discussing the nexus of work and wealth for workforce development programs, employers, and funders. Thank you to Tara Colton of Seedco, Leah Mayor of Asset Funders Network, Agatha Kulaga of Ovenly, and Alex Visher of JUST Capital for participating in the lively and thoughtful discussion.

If you were unable to attend the event, head over to our Facebook page for livestreams of both the keynote with Harold and Helaine, and the Closing Panel!

Senior Financial Coach Kristen Baker Sweeps Spotlight Superlative Awards at NYC All-Counselor Meeting

Senior Financial Coach Kristen Baker received recognition from New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment for Most Sessions, Highest Client Retention, and Most Client Outcomes achieved:

Holding down the OFE team Kristen held over 700 meetings. That’s about 17 meetings per week sustained through the full coaching year.

Almost half (48%) of Kristen’s customers came back to see her. That’s out of the total 354 customers she met with in 2017.

She was awarded for the 254 outcomes achieved from the OFE framework. Most notably, 22% of her customers achieved both asset-oriented and debt- oriented outcomes.

Financial Coach and Customer

Social Spotlight: #InternationalWomen’sDay

On Women’s Day we highlighted the persistent wealth gap between men and women. This Women’s History Month, we want to take the time to remind everyone that financial security does not affect everyone equally.

Don’t miss the latest news: Follow the Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.

The Clinic Across the Country
Speaking Engagements, Presentations, and Features

The Clinic staff have been busy, offering their expertise at various conferences and presentations. A selection of recent appearances include:

  • On March 13th, Assistant Director of Services Alyssa Keil and Director of Capacity Building Kate Reeves lead a webinar in partnership with Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • Megan Kursik, Assistant Director of Partnership Management, spoke to Detroit based nonprofits and financial institutions at the Community-Up Conference in Detroit February 8th.
  • Our Managers of Service Delivery completed ten site visits to our new FinancialWorks partners nationally.