$100 for Teen Drivers With AAA

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If you have a teen driver between 15 and 19 that is covered by your AAA auto policy, then that teen could earn a $100 gift card by taking 8 to 10 hours of online auto training.

Your teen will need to complete three training exercises online (no download required). Here’s a brief overview of the exercises:

  • Andromedus X: Keep track of moving objects in the center of your vision while staying alert to potential hazards on the periphery
  • Hazard Highway: Make rapid decisions as an object approaches at various speeds, while staying alert to common road hazards
  • Hey Rube!: Rapidly move your eyes around a scene while challenging your visual memory

 

To find out more about AAA’s InGear brain training program, click here.

$5,000 Scholarship for Black Farmers

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I read this from Soul Fire Farm this morning:

Help spread the word: These scholarships are open to any applicants who self-identify as Black farmers or aspiring growers at any scale, or their dependents. No need to have land to apply, and there are many eligible fields of study.

Application deadline is April 28 for scholarships of up to $5,000 through the National Black Farmers Association for students/aspiring students who “plan to enroll or are enrolled in agriculture-related study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school.” Any field related to agriculture could be supported (including business, engineering, animal science, marketing, mechanics, environmental science, agribusiness, food sciences, biology, holistic nutrition, urban farming, veterinary science, and many others!)

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More details and application here: https://www.scholarsapply.org/blackfarmersassociation/

 

Credit Scores Could Rise This Fall

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This fall credit scores across the country may rise. There are four new changes to the VantageScore  (a new thing created by the big 3 credit bureaus) that may increase credit scores for those that need it most. Unfortunately for those looking to buy a home the FICO scoring model will not be effected.

KETV says, “The new method is being implemented later this year by VantageScore, a company created by the credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. It’s not as well-known as Fair Isaac Corp., whose FICO score is used for the vast majority of mortgages. But VantageScore handled 8 billion account applications last year, so if you applied for a credit card, that score was likely used to approve or deny you.”

The changes include:

Trended data CNBC says, “Using what’s known as trended data is the biggest change. The phrase means credit scores will take into account the trajectory of a borrower’s debts on a month-to-month basis. So a person who is paying down debt is now likely to be scored better than a person who is making minimum monthly payments but has been slowly accumulating credit card debt.”

Legal data – Civil judgments, medical debt and tax liens will no longer affect your score. Mortgages are still primarily using FICO scores so don’t get too excited but for other types of loans (credit cards, auto loans, etc.) this could really help some folks out.

High Limits – the debt ratio portion of scoring for VantageScore is about to be turned on it’s head. Instead of the lower the debt ration, the better people with “excessive” credit card limits could be hurt. the rational is that those with higher limits could rack up more debt, faster.

Less Robust History – According to the Motley Fool those that have fewer items on their credit histories may also see an increase in their score due to, “The model will examine thousands of various consumer behaviors in an effort to identify those who have a propensity to pay their bills on time, because these are the people that lenders want to attract.

Some changes may help and some may hurt depending on what’s going on with your credit scores right now. Motley Fool gives the easiest explanation of the biggest changes. Read more here.

 

ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. Previous clients include: the Yorba Linda Water District, Verizon, and Friends of Allensworth, among others. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times.The 2nd edition of “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” is available now.

Shay Olivarria Slated to Present Two Sessions at Adelante Mujer Latina Conference.

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Financial education speaker Shay Olivarria will be presenting two sessions of “Goal Boarding Your Financial Future” at Adelante Mujer Latina 2017. The 10am and 11am sessions will teach participants learn 5 vital personal finance concepts and help participants create an executable plan for reaching the financial goals she sets for herself.

The conference will take place at Pasadena City College in southern California.

 

Call (323) 596-1843 to talk with Shay Olivarria about setting up a financial education workshop for your group.

ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. Previous clients include: the Yorba Linda Water District, Verizon, and Friends of Allensworth, among others. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times.

 

 

New CA Bill Forces All Employees to Invest for Retirement

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Senate leader Kevin de León has put forth a bill that would require all California companies, that have at least five employees, to offer their own retirement investment plan or enroll workers in the new California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. Though employees could always invest for retirement using an IRA, while getting almost the exact same benefits of the Secure Choice program, many people haven’t taken advantage. As Time Magazine says, ” .. when it comes to putting money away, an employer nudge really matters: 90% of those with workplace plans save for retirement vs. only 20% of those without one.”

What bill does:

  • Requires that employers with more than 5 employees offer some kind of retirement investment plan to employees.
  • Offers a way for employees to invest for retirement directly from their paycheck.
  • Starts employee contributions at between 2% and 5% of their paychecks (the exact details haven’t been hammered out yet).
  • Automatically enrolls employees (about 6.8 Californians) unless the employee chooses to opt out.

What the bill doesn’t do:

  • Does not require employers to “match” contributions or provide funds for the retirement of employees.
  • Does not assume the risk of investing (investors could lose money).
  • This program does NOT provide assured payouts during retirement (it is NOT a pension plan).

San Jose’s Mercury News:

At first the money would be invested in safe, low-yield U.S. Treasury notes. After three years, the funds would likely shift to a diverse portfolio of stocks and bounds. These options would be developed by the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board. The accounts would likely be Roth IRAs, a mode that allows for tax-free withdrawals upon retirement.

The amount of money deducted from a worker’s payroll would escalate over time, up to 10 percent, but employees would be able to set the amount themselves.

Time Magazine:

All told, at least 30 states are in various stages of setting up retirement plans—some mandatory for employers and some voluntary—according to the Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives.

At any rate, the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan is heading to an employer near you. I’m waiting to hear more about the specific details but this is coming. Do you think it will encourage more employees to invest for retirement? Head over to the Bigger Than Your Block Facebook page and give your opinion.

 

 

 

 

CFPB Forces TransUnion and Equifax to Return $17.6 million to Customers

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau strikes again!

When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in 2011, its whole goal was to help the American consumer.

In July 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB consolidates most Federal consumer financial protection authority in one place. The consumer bureau is focused on one goal: watching out for American consumers in the market for consumer financial products and services.

It seems to be doing it’s job. From helping Wells Fargo customers and military families to pawn shop consumers. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is helping TransUnion and Equifax customers:

Equifax, Inc., TransUnion, and their subsidiaries for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and actual cost of credit scores they sold to consumers. The companies also lured consumers into costly recurring payments for credit-related products with false promises. The CFPB ordered TransUnion and Equifax to truthfully represent the value of the credit scores they provide and the cost of obtaining those credit scores and other services.

It’s good to know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is on the job.