Friday, July 11, 2014

Financial Education Apps for the Classroom

Two weeks ago at the Financial Education Public Private Partnership teacher training in Bremerton, I had the opportunity to showcase a few apps that can be used in the classroom for financial education.

There are plenty of apps out there that can be used to supplement financial education topics. Finding the right one depends on what you are teaching and your audience.

Below are a few of my favorite that can be found for free on iTunes.

Plan it Prom
Developed by VISA,  Plan it Prom is a prom planning and budgeting app for students and parents. The app features a prom count down, timeline, budget calculator and budget health meter into a layout that is fun and easy to use.
The app helps you find new and used cars for sale near you. Students can use the app’s finance calculators to get a real taste for how financing works and how to budget appropriately for a major purchase.

Thrive n Shine
Thrive n Shine is a free game that challenges users to create a character, master a craft, and earn money through games and challenges. Students will encounter lessons such as budgeting, saving and earning money.

Financial Education Videos on YouTube
DFI has published a playlist of financial education videos to our YouTube channel. Videos including financial advice and lessons from other students, money success stories, and complex topics explained in simple terms. Visit the YouTube playlist at

Friday, June 13, 2014

Get Help with Your Health Insurance Questions

This week’s featured resource is the SHIBA program.

SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) is a free, confidential and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

The program consists of volunteer advisors across Washington who help consumers understand their rights and options, and offer up-to-date information so that the consumer can make an informed decision concerning their health insurance needs.
SHIBA volunteers can help you
  • Understand your health care coverage options and rights
  • Find affordable health care coverage
  • Evaluate and compare health insurance plans
In addition to counseling services, SHIBA also offers free public workshops to people of all ages and diverse backgrounds across the state.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Free First Time Homebuyer Education Classes

June is National Homeownership Month.
At the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) we believe in providing resources and education to Washington residents seeking homeownership.

We believe better educated consumers make better financial decisions and that it’s important for people to understand exactly what they’re getting into before they sign anything.

Free Homebuyer Classes
A good place to start is free first time homebuyer education classes sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
The seminars are at least five hours in length, covering all major aspects of the home buying process. No direct marketing or sales presentations may be given either by the instructor or any guest speakers.

To learn more about the free homebuyer education classes and to find a class near you, see: First Time Homebuyer Education Classes.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Consumer Guide to Reverse Mortgages

This week’s featured resource focuses on reverse mortgages.

Reverse mortgages are home equity loans sold to homeowners 62 and older. With a reverse mortgage, you borrow against the equity in your home.

Many homeowners have questions about reverse mortgages.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has put together a helpful consumer guide to reverse mortgages that you should check out.
In the consumer guide learn more about:
  • What a reverse mortgage is
  • How a reverse mortgage works
  • Important questions to ask yourself
  • Alternatives to a reverse mortgage
  • And information about reverse mortgage counseling
Consumer Guide to Reverse Mortgages (pdf)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

American Winter Documentary Showing in Everett - June 10

Personal stories of NW families struggling to make ends meet and avoid foreclosure highlight the need for community involvement and support.

The foreclosure crisis is anything but 'over' for thousands of Washington families.   Though the number of foreclosures is gradually decreasing, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed more than 25,000 homes in the foreclosure process at the end of 2013.  Those numbers represent real people, real families, who are struggling to make ends meet -- some of whom are facing homelessness.

To encourage a community dialogue — including what community members can do about the matter of foreclosure and homelessness — the Foreclosure Prevention & Housing Outreach Coalition has arranged a screening of American Winter Documentary in Everett.

6 - 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Henry M. Jackson Conference Center
Everett Community College
200 Tower St.
Everett, WA 98201

Tickets are free at
For more information call (253) 572-5134 or e-mail

Q&A with Local Experts
Guests are invited to stay following the film for a brief panel discussion and Q & A with local experts about how the themes of American Winter are relevant in our community, and learn more about the resources available in Snohomish County to help prevent foreclosure and its consequences.

About the Documentary
The documentary, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz (Taxicab Confessions, The Defenders), follows the personal stories of eight families struggling in the wake of the economic downturn. Shot over the winter of 2011-12 in Portland, OR, this powerful film reveals the human impact of budget cuts to social services, rising poverty and economic inequality, and the fracturing of the American Dream.

This screening is brought to Washington by the partners of the Foreclosure Prevention & Housing Outreach Coalition.