Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School: Where to Find Financial Literacy Curriculum

One of the questions we frequently get from teachers new to financial literacy is where do I find curriculum and resources?

There are a number of websites and organizations out there that can help you find curriculum and resources for your classroom, below are a few of our favorites.

Financial Education Public Private Partnership (FEPPP)
The Washington Financial Education Public Private Partnership reviews and assess different curriculum. On their website you can find a listing of curriculum that has been reviewed and assessed as effective for Washington classrooms.
http://feppp.org/FEPPPCurriculum/CurriculumList.html



EconEdLink
EconEdLink from the Council for Economic Education is a great resource personal finance curriculum and resources. Through their website you can search for curriculum and activities by grade level and topic.
http://www.econedlink.org/



Jump$tart Clearinghouse
The Jump$tart Clearinghouse is an online library for financial education resources. Search the clearinghouse to find materials and lessons for your classroom.
http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/jump$tart-clearinghouse.html 



DFI’s Financial Education Clearinghouse
On DFI’s financial education clearinghouse, you can also find links to more curriculum broken down by grade level. 
http://dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/educators-curriculum.htm



Welcome back to school!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Inside a Financial Education Teacher Training

50 Washington K-12 educators attended the two day summer Financial Education Public Private Partnership teacher training this past week at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver.

Day One - Monday
Beginning bright and early on Monday, teachers were split up into working groups by grade level and were introduced to the Financial Fitness for Life curriculum (http://fffl.ncee.net/).  Each participant was given both teacher and student copies of the curriculum to take back to their classrooms.

After a short break, the teachers attended sessions designed to increase their own personal financial knowledge. Topics such as earning an income, credit, and identity theft were offered. After each session, the educators regrouped with their working groups to discuss and plan how they could work the information they just learned into the classroom.

To end the day, participants heard from several financial educators on incorporating financial education into classroom.

Day Two - Tuesday
Day two started with a session on saving and investing presented by DFI staff. The presentation focused heavily on the concept of the time value of money. Teachers were given several ideas on how to talk to their students about the power of compound interest.


DFI's Linda Jekel discusses saving and investing

Shortly after learning the basics of saving and investing, the group was able to test their knowledge with an introduction to the stock market game. The popular game allows individuals to invest fake money in a game that follows real stock performances.

The afternoon featured more fun as attendees were introduced to Financial Football (http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/games/trainingcamp/) and had a chance to participate in a Financial Reality Fair (pdf) conducted by Washington credit unions.


Playing Financial Football


The two day seminar closed with more seminars on how to incorporate financial education into the classroom and some light networking.

Learn More
The Financial Education Public Private Partnership offers these trainings twice a year. To learn more, visit http://www.feppp.org

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Questions to Ask Before Obtaining a Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows senior citizens to withdraw equity from their homes while living in that home. Payments are not expected to be made on that loan. Rather, the loan will be repaid in full when the borrower or borrowers no longer use the home as their primary residence and the home is sold.

Before obtaining a reverse mortgage ask yourself these questions:
  1. What are the fees associated with this mortgage?
    Fees vary from lender to lender so it’s important to shop around and compare pricing. Most borrowers opt to add those fees into their closing costs and interest will be charged on those fees. In addition to interest and a servicing fee, expect to pay a reverse mortgage insurance premium.
  2. Is this mortgage right for me right now?
    The younger you are when you take out the loan, the larger the balance will be over time. This means that as you age, you’ll have less home equity to tap in the event of an expensive emergency.
  3. Can I lose my home if I have a reverse mortgage?
    Failure to pay your property taxes, insurance premiums, and maintain the home can all result in potentially losing the home if the loan is called due or the house is foreclosed upon.
  4. Have I talked to HUD certified counselor?
    Talk to a housing counselor who’s been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and discuss your situation. Find a HUD counselor near you or call HUD’s housing counselor referral line (800) 569-4287.
While a reverse mortgage can be a useful retirement planning tool, they’re not always the answer for a senior borrower. Do your research and talk to a housing counselor who can help you with your decision.
 
More Information
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sponsorship for Three Washington Educators to Attend the National Jump$tart Educators Conference

Here’s a great opportunity for Washington teachers:

Jump$tart Washington will be sponsoring three teachers to attend the National Jump$tart Educators Conference in Los Angeles November 8-10, 2014.

The Jump$tart Coalition National Educator Conference is the only national conference for classroom teachers dedicated to personal finance education in the classroom. Each year, the conference provides PreK-12 educators with financial education resources, personal and professional development, access to a nation-wide network of colleagues, and general support for financial education.

Jump$tart Washington will be covering the expenses (airfare and the conference fee which includes meals and hotel) of three qualified and motivated educators.

How to Apply
To apply for sponsorship, fill out the application linked below and submit it by September 12.

Sponsorship Application (Word)

About the National Jump$tart Educators Conference


Friday, July 25, 2014

Loan Modification Scams – How to Spot One

DFI recently filed actions against two companies for operating unlawful mortgage rescue or loan modification schemes.

See press release from DFI: http://dfi.wa.gov/consumers/news/2014/loan-modification-scams.htm

The scams tricked consumers into paying large upfront fees but did nothing to help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.
 
The actions are part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 states targeting scam operations that prey on delinquent homeowners or those facing foreclosure.
 
Homeowners looking to modify their loan should keep their guard up and be able to recognize the warning signs of a loan modification scam.
 
Warning Signs of a Possible Loan Modification Scam
  • Company is not licensed with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
  • Company claims license is not required because attorneys are involved
  • Out of state attorneys are not licensed to practice in Washington 
  • Money is required upfront before any paperwork is reviewed or signed
  • Company tells you NOT to contact your lender
  • Company requires direct access to your bank account or credit card
  • Claims that a modification is guaranteed
Federal law bans law firms from requesting or receiving payment from you for help obtaining foreclosure relief.
 
Resources