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Financial Security Resources

We all want financial security: the ability to control our money and plan for the future, instead of letting money control us and not meeting our goals . NeighborWorks America is committed to helping you not only set your financial goals, but to build toward them with confidence.
What is Financial Capability?
It's the ability to navigate life’s events. It’s more than just setting financial goals... it’s actually building toward them.

Here are some excellent resources we recommend for managing your spending, savings, credit and overall finances. 
 
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Managing finances is much easier when you have the proper tools. Read our one-page tip sheet (en español) and visit websites like Keys to my Home for information about finances and homeownership. Other good resources include: MyMoney.gov and the FDIC's Money Smart curriculum.
54 Ways to Save Money from America Saves offers valuable ideas for trimming  housing, food, entertainment and other costs. Many find our Monthly Spending Plan worksheet an excellent tool. 
America Saves lists many ways you can plan to save  whether for emergencies, tuition, home purchase or other financial goals.
Our Keys to My Home website will help you understand your credit, including credit reports, credit counseling, and how to repair your credit.

Obtaining Small Loans

Do you need a loan of $5,000 or less to make home repairs, consolidate your debt, pay for education or some other pressing need? A NeighborWorks counselor can help you obtain what you need without hidden costs. Use our guide to make informed choices and avoid penalties.

Consumer's Guide to Banking Alternatives

Today, nearly 8 percent of U.S. households don't have checking or savings accounts and an additional 20 percent are underbanked. They rely on non-bank transaction or credit products that are in many cases more costly, according to the FDIC's National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.

However, there is a growing variety of ways to send and receive money that can meet everyone's needs:

Traditional checking account

Traditional checking (demand-deposit) accounts earn no or little interest and the financial institution usually charges a maintenance or per-transaction fee. Users are required to pay a number of fees, such as for monthly service, ATM use and overdrafts.

Nontraditional checking accounts

  • Prepaid cards: Allows users to pay for services and products up to the amount "loaded" onto it via a check, cash or bank account.
  • Check-less/no-overdraft checking accounts: According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if individuals switch to a checking account that doesn't charge overdraft or non-sufficient-funds fees, they save an average of $250 a year. The nation's five largest banks—Bank of America, Chase, Citi, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo—now offer no-overdraft checking accounts. The only caveat is consumers can't write paper checks; all spending must be done with a debit card or online.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Banking Alternative

  • Do you currently have a checking account?
    • If not, why not? Have you applied for one in the past?
    • If yes:
      • Are you happy with your checking account? What features do you like?
      • What are the disadvantages with your current account or institution?
      • How do you use your checking account? How so you wish you could use it?
      • Are you worried about fees? (Have you paid overdraft fees in the past? Is that a reoccurring problem?)
  • How important is access to physical offices?
  • How do your pay their bills (online or through checks)? Is it a challenge to pay bills on time?
  • Have you used a prepaid card before? If yes, for what did you use it?
  • How comfortable are you in using smartphone/internet apps? Do you have a smartphone? Internet access at home?
    • Do you check your balance online and/or register for text alerts or reminders?
    • Do you use budgeting tools online? Would you like to?