Keep Life $ensible
Presented by Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI)
Sponsored by Office of the State Bank Commission (OSBC)
HCCI, in partnership with the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commission (OSBC), offers families and individuals the Keep Life $ensible program. Financial well-being is the goal of financial education. This program is designed for Kansas consumers to improve their financial skills and move into overall financial well-being. By improving financial skill, consumers ultimately improve their financial behavior and financial situation.
- Financial Skill is defined as – How you find, process, and use relevant financial information.
- Financial Well-being is defined as – Your perceived financial security and freedom of choice.
- Financial Behavior is defined as – Day-to-day actions you take to secure your financial life.
- Financial Situation is defined as – The objective facts of your financial life.
Financial Skill can always be developed, and it is never too late to learn and implement useful budgeting and planning skills. Many people are intimidated by financial matters, but as HCCI proves – education is the key. HCCI and OSBC work to make financial literacy and money management tools available to Kansans so they can take control of their financial situation and plan for a successful future. Our hope is when you attend Keep Life $ensible classes you will gain practical knowledge that helps you in all facets of life.
Classes are provided for schools, training centers, work places, military members, and at the request of nonprofit agencies, banks and credit unions. Typical classes – including Q&A – are one-hour in length. The content and length of each class can be modified to meet the needs of the audience. Contact HCCI to discuss options. Our curriculum focuses on the following themes:
Understanding Credit Reports & Scores: How Credit Reports Are Used
The first step to achieving strong credit health starts with investing in understanding the ins and outs of your credit score:
- why your credit score matters;
- how to read your credit report;
- how to establish or improve credit; and
- how to dispute inaccurate information.
Budgeting & Saving: Put Your Budget to Work
A good budget and savings commitment are the foundation of your financial plan. If you are new to budgeting, it’s important to understand what a budget is and how it can help you reach your short-term goals:
- how to create a budget that works for you;
- track spending;
- why an emergency fund is important; and
- how to plan for non-monthly expenses.
Let’s Get Out of Debt: Debt Management Tools
Feeling overwhelmed by past-due notices or plagued with garnishments:
- estimate your debt payments;
- repayment options so you can get out of debt and on with your life;
- how different types of debts impact your bank account, paycheck, credit score; and
- what laws protect you when you have debts in collections.
Banking Basics: Modern Money
An unbiased view of the different banking options available to consumers:
- how to shop for a financial institution;
- what to expect when opening an account;
- technology – Apps to stay on track; and
- how having a savings and/or checking account can help you stay organized.
Student Loan Repayment: Know Your Options
Understand more about your student loans and options, including loan forgiveness and cancelation programs:
- where to find out how much you owe;
- how to deal with defaulted federal student loans;
- how to consolidate your loans; and
- when you may be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Wise Borrowing & ID Theft: What You Should Do
Debt can be a positive part of your financial strategy if used appropriately and while identity theft can happen to anyone, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk:
- types of loans;
- how to identify illegal lenders;
- how to protect your personal information from identity thieves; and
- what steps to take if you do become a victim of identity theft.
Budgeting for an Irregular Income
Creating and managing a monthly budget might seem overwhelming if the income can vary widely:
- how to create a monthly household budget when the income can change dramatically from month to month;
- how to manage the budget you have created so that you at least cover the necessary expenditures;
- why a “gap” fund is important for those times when the weather is bad, or business is slow; and
- the importance of saving during the good months (be prepared for the down months).
Budgeting Tips to Survive a Layoff
A layoff can be devastating, so it’s time to act and limit the impact to your household budget:
- who to call and what actions we should be taking; and
- why budgeting now is as important as ever.
Social Security Will Not Be Enough
Let’s talk about the things we should be doing to make sure we retire on your terms:
- why social security will not be enough;
- why it is vital to have retirement savings to supplement Social Security;
- why having cash for emergencies is important;
- suggested tips to grown investments; and
- why taking a loan from your 401(k) is not in your best interest.
Leaving Home: 15 Things to Know
Before you move into your new digs, make a budget that truly reflects living independently:
- how to develop a budget;
- track spending;
- save for unexpected expenses; and
- keep personal finances healthy and safe.
Buying a Car: How much can you afford?
No matter how much you love a car on the day you drive it off the dealer’s lot, don’t let your heart rule your head when buying a car:
- how to accurately calculate the amount you can comfortably spend on a vehicle;
- why planning for periodic vehicle-related expenses is important; and
- how to determine if your next vehicle should be new, used, or leased.
Holiday Spending: Have a Debt Free Holiday
Bring joy back to the holidays and reduce financial stress:
- holiday savings tips;
- alternative gift ideas; and
- how to plan a reasonable holiday expense budget.