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Save the date: Join us for a Credit Union Advisory Council meeting in Washington, DC

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Join us for a Credit Union Advisory Council meeting with Director Cordray on Thursday, March 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. EST. During this meeting we will discuss the role of credit unions in cultivating consumer financial education and financial capability.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Auditorium
1275 First Street NE
Washington, D.C. 2002 Washington, DC

This event requires an RSVP. All of our Advisory Board and Council meetings are open to the public.

Please send us an email to RSVP.

You can check out the meeting agenda and event flyer. See you there!

You’ve got goals for your life—and some of them take money to achieve

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America Saves Week infographic

When you look ahead to your future, what kind of changes do you see?

You might envision major changes, like moving to a new city for a new job, starting a family, or helping your kids move out and live on their own.

You might anticipate smaller changes too, like starting a hobby or exercise program, upgrading your home appliances or technology, spending more time with friends or family, or volunteering more. Maybe you want to reduce your debt, or save up for a purchase instead of charging it.

Goals, whether long term or short term, usually cost money to accomplish. That means when you have a life goal, you probably have a financial goal, too.

Life goals—and financial goals—can be small or large, short-term or long-term. Helping consumers reach their own goals is an important part of our mission. Whatever your goals are, here are a few steps that can help you reach them:

  • Set a financial goal. Let’s say you want to go on a vacation next year, and you set a goal of saving $1,000.
  • Break it down into specific steps. You could decide to save $1,000, for example, by bringing lunch from home instead of buying it for $5 a day. Or you could set aside $20 from your pay every week for 50 weeks. Or you could find additional income from an extra shift or side job.
  • Set up the system you need to make it work. Sometimes we forget the small things that can get in our way—like making sure you have the right kitchen supplies and groceries to make lunch every day, or opening a savings account to keep your vacation fund separate. Set up what you need in your life, so that you don’t have excuses to miss your goals.
  • Get help sticking to your plan. You can set up automatic transfers at your bank, moving funds automatically from checking to savings. You can set a weekly alarm on your phone. You can ask a friend to remind you—or join you and save along with you.

America Saves Week can help you get started—and stay on track

Taking place from February 23-28 this year, America Saves Week gives you an annual chance to get started on saving. If your own goals include saving for the future, take the America Saves pledge today, and you’ll stay motivated all year with tips and reminders.

Now is the time to think about how to achieve the changes you envision for yourself. Know what motivates you, then take action. By meeting your financial goals, you’ll make a start on following your life goals.

When thinking about setting financial goals, consider what financial well-being means to you. Learn more about what consumers across the country told us about their financial lives and views of financial well-being.

Save the date, Newark!

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Join us for a field hearing in Newark, N.J. on arbitration. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 10 at 11 a.m. EST. More information about the event will follow.

The hearing will feature remarks from Director Richard Cordray, as well as testimony from consumer groups, industry representatives, and members of the public.

This event is open to the public and requires an RSVP. Send us an email to RSVP.

If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

See you there!

No-sweat ways to help kids start out strong, financially

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Infographic America Saves week

America Saves Week is coming up on Feb. 23. This annual event helps thousands of us start out on a regular program of saving money toward our goals. We’ve all got goals and plans for the future, and a lot of them cost money.

Parents, take the America Saves pledge and get started on saving today.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, setting up savings is also a great opportunity to include your kids. Here’s a quick guide to encourage your kids to start thinking about saving. We’re never too young (or old) to learn!

For kids age 3 to grade 2: Talk about basics and plans

Most young children aren’t ready to talk about bank accounts or compound interest, or think too far into the future. But they can use basic math and understand what it means to plan ahead—both are important building blocks for good financial habits. Try these activities:

  • Talk about events that need advance planning, like a special birthday or holiday, trip, or occasion. With your child, make a list to get ready. (It doesn’t even need to be about money—it could be any kind of planning ahead, like what kind of food you’ll make or bring, or what you’ll pack in a suitcase.)
  • Ask how much money you could spend now, if you have $10 and you save $1 for later. If your child is ready, offer a way to save in a piggy bank or jar kept in a visible location. After a while, check in to ask how much is in the jar, and talk about what your child plans or imagines for the money.

For kids grade 3 to middle school: Emphasize values and what money means to you

Kids in this age group are looking to you to understand what’s “normal” in the world of money. This helps them build a good mindset and start to appreciate what your family’s values are. And they can start habits of their own. Try these activities:

  • Talk about the advertisements that you see together. Take a picture or cut out ads that stand out for you in some way. If it’s something your child wants, talk about whether it means giving up something else.
  • Tell your child a story about having saved money, or missing out on saving, and what you learned from your own experience.

For young people in high school and older: Work on research and real-life decisions

High school students are typically ready for some hands-on lessons about money. From you, they can learn how to go about asking the right money questions and finding reliable answers. And they can experience for themselves, at a small and safe level, how it feels to manage their own funds. Try these activities:

  • Ask your kids to help you choose a savings account. Decide together what features you’ll compare, like services, conveniences, and fees. If you want, go ahead and open the account for your teenager! (For kids under 18, you’ll probably have to bring along all your paperwork and put your name on the account.)
  • Help your teenager come up with a money habit he or she can stick to—like bringing only a small amount of cash when going out with friends, or mentally calculating how many hours of work it would take to pay for a purchase.

Consumer advisory: Three steps you should take if you have a reverse mortgage

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Infographic on reverse mortgages
Reverse mortgages are a type of loan that allows homeowners, 62 and older, to borrow against the accrued equity in their homes. Reverse mortgages can help some older homeowners meet financial needs in retirement. Most reverse mortgages today are federally insured through the Federal Housing Authority’s (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program.

We’ve heard many complaints from consumers who have experienced problems with reverse mortgages. The most common reverse mortgage complaint is about difficulty with changing the loan terms and problems communicating with loan servicers. Some consumers, for example, express frustration about slow, inconsistent communication from their reverse mortgage loan servicer.

We’ve also heard from consumers regarding non-borrowing spouses who are facing the loss of their home after the borrowing spouse has died. Recent changes to the federal program that insures most reverse mortgages allows some non-borrowing spouses to remain in the home after the death of the borrower spouse for HECM loans originated after August 4, 2014. Since this change is not retroactive, spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers who took out their loan prior to August 4, 2014 could be more likely to face losing the home when the borrower dies.

Here are 3 things you or your loved ones should do if you have a reverse mortgage:

1. Verify who is on the loan

If you took out a reverse mortgage with two borrowers, check with your reverse mortgage servicer to make sure its loan records are accurate. Call your servicer to find out what names are listed on your loan. They may be able to help you over the phone. See your reverse mortgage statement for the phone number, and ask them to send you this information in writing for your records. You can also write a letter requesting information.

2. If your reverse mortgage is in the name of only one spouse, make a plan for the non-borrowing spouse

If your reverse mortgage is in the name of only one spouse, contact your loan servicer to find out if the non-borrowing spouse may qualify for a repayment deferral. A repayment deferral allows a non-borrowing spouse to remain living in the home after the death of the borrowing spouse. If not, make a plan in the event the borrowing spouse dies first and the loan becomes due. If you or your spouse are not on the loan but believe that you should be, promptly seek legal advice.

If you have enough remaining equity in your home, you could consider taking out a new reverse mortgage with both spouses. You’ll have to pay loan fees again, however, for the new loan. If the non-borrowing spouse can’t pay off the reverse mortgage when the borrowing spouse passes away, he or she might consider a new traditional mortgage if they have the income and credit to qualify. Also consider other family members that would be willing to cosign on such a loan. Some surviving spouses may need to sell the home and make plans for where they will live after the home is sold. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor near you to explore your options.

3. Talk to your children and heirs – make a plan for any non-borrower family members living in the home

Make sure your adult children or any family members living in the home know what to expect when your reverse mortgage comes due. If they wish to keep the home, contact your reverse mortgage company for written information that explains their options. Discuss this information with your family and follow up with the reverse mortgage company for anything you don’t understand.

If you have a problem with your reverse mortgage

If you’re having a problem with your reverse mortgage or having problems getting through to your mortgage servicer, you can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372 or TTY/TDD (855) 729- 2372. We’ll forward your complaint to the company and work to get you a response within 15 days.

For more information about how reverse mortgages works and questions to ask, read our guide to reverse mortgages for older consumers and their families.

Check out Ask CFPB to learn more about reverse mortgages.

Special announcement for Corinthian students

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Along with the U.S. Department of Education, today we announced more than $480 million in forgiveness for borrowers who took out Corinthian College’s high-cost private student loans. ECMC Group, the new owner of a number of Corinthian schools, will not operate a private student loan program for seven years and agreed to a series of new consumer protections.

As part of today’s announcement, we’re also releasing a special bulletin for current and former students enrolled at Corinthian-owned schools with more information. We urge you to read it carefully so you fully understand your options and obligations on your student loans.

If you experience difficulty with your student loan you can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372. You can also find more information about options for repaying your student loan on our website.

Rohit Chopra is the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman. To learn more about our work for students and young Americans, visit consumerfinance.gov/students.

The CFPB blog aims to facilitate conversations about our work. We want your comments to drive this conversation. Please be courteous, constructive, and on-topic. To help make the conversation productive, we encourage you to read our comment policy before posting. Comments on any post remain open for seven days from the date it was posted.