Fighting Poverty Through Education

Education Prevents Poverty

What Are Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and How to Use Them

Posted in tcochelps

Just imagine you have a savings account in which for every dollar you put in, you will be matched with one more dollar. You would actually receive totally free money, and who wouldn’t jump at such an opportunity.

Well, you could get into such a position via a so-called ‘Individual Development Account’, or IDA, program. Generally, money contributed in an IDA can be used to purchase a house, pay for education cost, or for starting up a new business.

Most IDA programs are sponsored by various nonprofit organizations and a number of companies, though some of them are also sponsored through government contributions. For each dollar you put in, usually the sponsor will be adding $1 or maybe more to your IDA account.

Because various groups are supporting various IDA programs, the match level as well as the requirements may vary, but still, you will be able to see that, because of regular matches, your IDA savings account will grow quickly. If you want to see if you qualify for an IDA, contact your bank, credit union, your local Housing Authority, or a Community Action Agency staff member.  

Read More

How to save money and live within your means

Posted in tcochelps

This is part 2 of our tips on how to live within your means and save money

Clothing

You can learn that flea markets and garage sales can be great sources to get quality clothing at modest prices. You can also establish a sort of clothing exchange with your neighbors or friends to trade, for example, your children’s or adult clothes. What  may seem old to you or your friends may seem like new and exciting to other people.

You can also go to thrift stores on a regular basis where usually the inventory changes frequently, and start checking out clothing sales organized by service groups or local churches.

You may also check out so-called ‘consignment stores’. These stores are accepting and selling used clothes and they can give you money for items that you bring in. You may find clothing for both adults and kids in these stores.

Another advise is to stick with classics when and wherever you can. Classics are usually staying in style longer than trendy outfits and are generally made of longer-lasting materials.

Though it could be difficult to find good used children’s shoes, you may be successful if you look for sales, but don’t make the mistake that your child needs $75 running shoes, even is that is the sale price tag. You should instead help them to learn distinguishing between needs and wants.

Read More

Job Benefits: Education and Retirement

Posted in tcochelps

Just imagine that all your training or college expenses are paid for… Well, this may happen when your company offers education benefits.

If you want to break away from the ongoing cycle of badly-paying jobs, in-demand skills is what you should focus on, and the only way to get there is through continuing education. So if you have an employer that is helping to pay for your education, head back to school and start learning, you can the ACT or SAT exam, or if you had a longer break from education take a GED test.

Your employer’s education benefits may vary from paying for certain costs to a maximum per year, to picking up the full tuition tab for training related to your position. Employers may also opt to furnish a percentage of your education costs, or subsidize a set amount of money. Regardless of what benefits your employer offers, you should really take advantage of these options.

I’m sure it will pay off in the future, and in many ways. What’s important is that it allows you to grow continually, and it will provide you with the tools to turn your dreams into reality.

Read More

How Much Debt Is Okay?

Posted in tcochelps

Debt has all too often become a normal element of life. Sometimes we are not realizing that we really have too much of it. Until it begins to eat us alive and rob us of the way we are used to live.  Keep in mind that being in debt for the bigger things in life, for example a home or an education, may have some considerable payoffs.

The problem is in consumer debt! The problem lies in the department store and credit cards, and things alike. On this we really should cut down. Generally speaking, you should use no more than 15 to 20 percent of your after-tax income for consumer debt payments. Take a look at how you can determine how much you can be affording to use for paying consumer debt each month.

Lets look at your annual income, after deductions and taxes.

Read More

How to find a job

Posted in tcochelps

Looking for a good job can be quite challenging. You should regularly check all the available resources, but also inform your family and friends that you’re looking for a job. You never can tell when or if anybody may hear about a job opening which could be your perfect fit.

You may also be attracted to a company you would like to work for. If you happen to know somebody who works there, you can ask him who would be the right person to contact, and see if you can use him as reference.

Then you can get in touch with that person and express the interest you have in working for his company while stressing that your acquaintance recommended the contact.

Read More

Solving Mortgage Problems

Posted in tcochelps

When Should You Talk With The Mortgage Company

When you get into a situation that you can’t make your monthly mortgage payment, get in touch with the mortgage company as soon as you can. You really should make that call before you start falling behind in your payments. Quite a few mortgage companies are accepting partial payments, and some may even let you skip some payment(s) and not even charge a late fee.

Of course you’ll still owe for the skipped payment(s), but they let you pay it off more gradually. Keep in mind that mortgage companies (just as landlords) will be far more likely to cooperate with you when you contact them before you fall behind in your monthly payments.

In case you are not able to come up with a plan, you should immediately get in touch with a housing counseling agency. The US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) operates a housing counseling & referral telephone line that will direct you to low- or no-cost resources (1-800-569-4287).

You can also get in touch with your city, county, or state housing authority. You can find their phone numbers on the government pages in your telephone directory. You may also want to get in touch with a nonprofit consumer credit agency to help you restructure all your debt payments. Check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (1-800-388-2227). You can also go to the website of the NEFE (Smart About Money Economic Survival Tips) for advise on how to best protect your home from foreclosure.

Read More

Paying Rent Problems. When Should You Contact Your Landlord

Posted in tcochelps

The moment you know that you will have trouble to pay your rent, you should go and talk to your landlord. The longer you’ll wait, the more the landlord will be thinking that you’re not willing to come up with the back rent. And then, your landlord could begin the eviction process.

Another aspect is that, in case you come to an agreement with your landlord before he sets out on the eviction path, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money, as there’s quite some legal cost associated with eviction procedures. In case you’ll pay the back rent after he already started the eviction process, the landlord may very well demand that you also pay for those legal costs.

What Should You Tell Your Landlord

When talking with the landlord, try to explain your situation as clearly as possible. Don’t waste much of his time by describing all your troubles, because you just want to inform him that the problems are of a temporary nature. Bear in mind that for your landlord, you are merely a customer, and not a friend.

On top of coming up with a decent repayment plan, you also can indicate that you have taken steps to avoid a similar situation in the future. One more way to fulfill  your back payment obligations is to see if the landlord has any work to be done on this or another property. Lawns may require some attention or the hallways may want some fresh paint. In case your landlord will agree, you could spend weekend or evening hours performing these tasks, thus decreasing the amount of owed back rent.

Read More