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CHP Urges Families to Declare Their Financial Independence

Christiansburg, Va. – This Independence Day, Community Housing Partners (CHP) urges local consumers to become financially ‘fit’ and declare their financial independence in 2010.  In order to build a solid financial foundation for families and be better prepared for homeownership in the current market, CHP offers free financial education courses that teach area consumers better money management skills which will help decrease debt, increase resources, and make affordable homeownership more achievable.    

“Our financial fitness program is designed to teach basic financial skills and make families aware of common financial pitfalls and how to avoid them,” said Janaka Casper, President and CEO of CHP, a member of the national NeighborWorks network.  “Financial education is critical for not only consumers, but for their communities.  With our program, consumers, regardless of income, are able to build assets while promoting a stronger and more stable neighborhood.” 

Not only does financial education offered at CHP help families learn money management and planning skills needed to make the most of their income, savings and assets, it can also help them become more aware of common challenges, including loan modification scams and predatory lending practices, and how to avoid them.

To help more families kick start their efforts to asserting financial independence this Fourth of July, CHP offers several useful tips:

  • Identify what type of spender you are.  Knowing your spending habits will help you change any bad patterns and continue any positive trends you may already be exhibiting.  See following link for more information http://moneycentral.msn.com/quiz/savvy-spending-quiz/home.aspx
  • Create a budget and track every expense for an entire month.  This can help you identify areas where you can trim spending.
  • Set realistic financial goals.  What is it you want to achieve?  Evaluate your progress to meeting your goals on a regular basis.
  • Reserve for the future and start a savings plan.  Think of this as creating a financial reserve for your family in the event of an emergency or other incident you hadn’t planned for, or if you are interested in becoming a homeowner, the savings plan can help you save for a down payment on a home.
  • Saving a small amount of money each day can really add up over time.  For example, if you save even just $1 a day, over the course of a year you will have saved $365.
  • Pay your bills on time.  Late payments have a negative effect on your credit score and your wallet, thanks to late payment fees.
  • If you face a financial crisis such as foreclosure or become victim to loan modification scam, consult a nonprofit, HUD-approved counseling organization that offers foreclosure counseling.  To find a nonprofit HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your community, visit www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org or http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/fc/index.cfm
  • Consider taking a financial fitness course at one of the more than 85 NeighborWorks affiliates to develop sound money-management skills.  Most of the classes are free or are offered at a low-cost.  Courses help homebuyers and homeowners learn how to plan financially, set financial goals, manage income and expenditures, and plan for retirement and more.  
  • If you want to go back to school or start your own business but don’t have the funds, consider opening up an Individual Development Account (IDA).  IDA’s are designed to help modest-income individuals who want to purchase a house, receive job training, further their education or start up a business.  Accounts are offered by community development organizations and are funded by public and private sectors.  See following link to find a VIDA Intermediary near you.  http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/HomelessnesstoHomeownership/Virginia_Individual_Development_Account_VIDA.htm

For more information about financial fitness courses and individual financial counseling, contact CHP Homeownership Specialist Terry Vaughn at 540.382.2002 ext. 3307 or tvaughn@chpc2.org.