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Save the date: Join us for a Consumer Advisory Board meeting in Reno, Nevada

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Join us for a Consumer Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, June 18 with Director Cordray where we will discuss trends and themes in the mortgage market and new resources available to consumers looking to buy a home.

Truckee Meadows Community College
7000 Dandini Blvd.
Reno, NV 89512

Director Cordray will give remarks and our Consumer Advisory Board will discuss various trends and themes they are seeing in the marketplace and provide feedback about our new resources for consumers in the housing market.

This event requires an RSVP and, starting with our June 18th meeting, all of our Advisory Board and Council meetings will be open to the public. The full Board and Council meetings will be available by livestream and open to the public.

Send us an email to RSVP.

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

Summer jobs are a perfect time to build financial skills for young people

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This time last year, more than 2 million young Americans were starting summer jobs. This year, many more will do the same.

For young people, particularly those between the ages of 16-24 who may be entering the workforce for the first time, developing good money management skills is critical. Without the necessary financial knowledge and skills, many will not develop money management habits, trapping them in a future with limited savings, high debt, or compromised credit. 

The right opportunity

While we’ve got some ideas for how parents can talk to their kids about money, youth summer employment programs present a unique opportunity to reach young people with important financial messages and products at a time when they are building habits that may last throughout their working lives.

Last winter, we held a roundtable to take a look at how communities can add financial knowledge, skills, and access to financial products to youth employment programs. We heard some great ideas and strategies for doing this, including:

  • Tailoring financial education to meet the needs of young people
  • Selecting financial products by weighing the costs and risks of various options
  • Developing programs with input and engagement with young people
  • Integrating partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, financial institutions, and young people

Youth programs recognize the need

The roundtable discussion also revealed that many programs that train and employ youth recognize the need to help them develop financial skills but too often they don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to do so. In many cases it’s challenging to find the right financial education partners; sometimes it’s the lack of a financial institution that will provide accounts for youth. Some institutions are hesitant to open accounts for youth because of the temporary nature of some employment programs, while others are concerned about account ownership for consumers under age 18.

We’ve developed new tools to help communities that want to include financial skills as part of their youth employment programs. This summer we’ll be collaborating with several communities to pilot these new tools. We’ll incorporate feedback from these sites at the end of the summer and share the materials for wider distribution to other communities next year. 

Truth in Lending rule now available in easier-to-navigate format

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The public, industry, and the government all benefit from regulations that are easier to find, read, and understand. That is why last year we launched our eRegulations tool which combines important information that can often be difficult to navigate or is spread throughout a regulation, often separated by dozens or even hundreds of pages. Ideally, using eRegulations will lead to better compliance and improved accessibility.

Now, as part of the eRegulations tool, we’re launching an intuitive, easier-to-navigate electronic format of Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act. Regulation Z is the flagship federal regulation protecting consumers when it comes to credit products. Regulation Z can be complex to understand for people who have not specialized in it. And it has changed a lot recently with the addition of new rights and disclosures for mortgages.

By adding Regulation Z, one of the most complex and heavily-consulted consumer financial regulations, we can help mortgage stakeholders better understand and comply with the recent amendments implementing the Ability to Repay rules, the new federal mortgage integrated disclosures, and other changes. Stakeholders who deal with credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and other consumer credit will also benefit, because Regulation Z covers virtually all forms of consumer credit.

In order to help stakeholders navigate changes to the regulation, eRegulations displays the currently effective version of Regulation Z, previous versions beginning December 30, 2011, and any planned versions that are not yet effective (but are published in the Federal Register). In addition, a new feature allows you to compare two versions of a regulation, and see the differences in your browser. For example, check out the differences in §1026.32 between 2011 and the current regulation.

eRegulations going forward

As we continue our work to make regulations easier to use, we need to hear from you about what works best and how this tool is valuable to you.

How can you help?

First, if you haven’t seen eRegulations, check it out.

Next, tell us what you think. Help us understand if the tool is more helpful to you than regulatory sources that you use today (and why) and what about this tool is most valuable or what could be better.

Finally, share it. Help us get the eRegulations tool into the hands of others who can use it and benefit from it. This tool is open source, so we’d love for other agencies, developers, or groups to use it and adapt it.

A note from our lawyers

Please note, eRegulations is not an official legal edition of the Code of Federal Regulations or the Federal Register, and it does not replace the official versions of those publications.

Demystifying the government contracting process

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We’re hosting a training conference for businesses on demystifying the government contracting process. We want to shed some light on the federal procurement process and provide companies with tips on doing business with us.

The event will be on Thursday, June 5 from 1-3 p.m. at our Washington, D.C. headquarters. We’ll have procurement experts who will walk through the basic steps of federal procurement. If you’re interested in attending in-person or by phone, please send us an email to RSVP by Friday, May 30th. If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

We frequently meet with business owners and we sometimes hear that doing business with the federal government can be difficult and burdensome. We understand that identifying the most qualified and innovative firms will not only yield us better products and services, but can also help save the government money. Like all federal agencies, we procure goods and services through the federal procurement process. We want to make sure that we have the tools and resources in place to encourage all qualified firms, including minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses, to contract with us. We hope you’ll join us!

Consumer advisory: 3 things to keep your retirement plan on track

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Compared to a decade ago, there are fewer older homeowners who own their homes free and clear. Older homeowners are also carrying more mortgage debt. While the share of older homeowners with a mortgage increased from 22 to 30 percent between 2001 and 2011, the median amount of their mortgage debt grew from about $43,400 to $79,000.

For many of the roughly 4.4 million retired homeowners with mortgages, making monthly mortgage payments on a fixed income on top of other monthly expenses is a hardship. You can read more in our snapshot of older consumers and mortgage debt.

We’ve got some things you can do to keep your retirement plan on track.

1. Plan for your mortgage pay-off date

For most older homeowners, maintaining their home is their largest expense during retirement, especially if they carry a mortgage. Making your mortgage pay-off date a part of your retirement plan will help you to manage and afford your housing costs.

For some, owning their home free and clear allows them to handle their monthly expenses and have a reserve on hand in case a financial emergency arises. Aiming for a mortgage payoff date that is earlier than your planned retirement age can help you manage expenses if your income decreases unexpectedly. While carrying a mortgage in retirement may not be a hardship for everyone, it’s always a good thing to include your mortgage pay-off date in your retirement plan.

Before paying off your mortgage, you may wish to discuss any tax and estate implications with your attorney, tax accountant or other financial professional.

2. Be careful when getting a new mortgage, refinancing, or tapping into your home equity

Many consumers take on new loans or refinance their existing mortgages to get a lower interest rate and/or monthly payment. Pay attention to the term of your new mortgage as it can affect your retirement plan. For example, taking on a new 30-year mortgage when you are nearing retirement can become a hardship later. Consider choosing a shorter-term mortgage, such as 10 or 15 years, when refinancing or buying a new home when you are close to retirement. You’ll have higher monthly payments now, while you’re still working, and be less likely to still have a mortgage in retirement.

If you’re considering getting a home equity loan or a reverse mortgage, you should revisit your retirement plan. Some people use their home equity to pay for varied expenses, such as home improvements, consolidating debt, medical bills or college tuitions. Consider how you will pay for unanticipated expenses in the future if you draw down on your equity now.

Using your home equity to consolidate credit card or other debts can be risky. A home equity lender can foreclose on your home if you miss payments.

3. Estimate your retirement income and expenses

Generally, people have less income when they retire. Retirement income (from pensions, social security, annuities, and other savings) typically won’t fully replace your work earnings. One study estimates that half of retirees without a pension will receive less than 65 percent of their pre-retirement income.

Knowing your expected retirement income and expenses is important, especially if you’re retiring with a mortgage. You’ll be able to plan and budget for your mortgage payments and other living costs, even if your taxes, insurance, and other housing costs go up.

Some expenses to keep in mind:

  • Older consumers often spend more for their health care and/or long-term care needs later in life than in their younger years.
  • Monthly mortgage payments on top of paying other monthly living expenses can pose a hardship or prevent you from meeting your retirement lifestyle goals. In 2011, older homeowners with a mortgage spent $800 more per month than their counterparts with no mortgage.
  • If you plan to age in your home, you may need to pay for home modifications. Adapting your home to age in place can cost thousands of dollars.

Resources to take action

Get your questions answered. We’ve got answers to your questions about mortgages and other topics.

Get help. If you’re behind on your mortgage, or having a hard time making payments, we want to get you in touch with a HUD-approved housing counselor. We can help you find housing counselors near you.

Start making a plan. Calculate how much you’ll need and how to budget for retirement.

Submit a complaint if you have a problem with your mortgage. You can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372 or TTY/TDD (855) 729-2372. We’ll work to get you a response from the company.

Join us for a forum to discuss consumer issues for veterans

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We’re hosting an online forum on veteran consumer issues on Friday, May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT.

The event will focus on common consumer issues for veterans and military retirees. Highlights will include a review of tools that can help veterans capitalize on key benefits and information that can help them avoid consumer scams.

Whether you’re a veteran or if you work with veterans or military retirees, you can join us online and watch the event.

Register to join us on Friday, and watch the event live.

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