The Military Consumer Toolkit for Personal Financial Managers and other counselors

The Military Consumer Toolkit for Personal Financial Managers and other counselors

Military life comes with transitions. Each relocation, promotion, and change in duty status brings the need to make money-related decisions. Servicemembers’ financial decisions can have long-term effects on their family life, mission readiness, and security clearance.

Working with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other collaborators, the Federal Trade Commission has created Military Consumer. It gives servicemembers and their families the information to make sound financial decisions.

Helps answer questions like:

Who will handle my finances during a deployment?
What should I know when buying a car?
Can I use my military training to further my career goals?
The tips

Military Consumer’s short, actionable tips are organized into articles in these categories:

Spend: How to control where your money goes
Earn: How to use military experience and benefits to advance your career
Borrow: How to use credit and manage debt
Save & Invest: How to make today’s paychecks work for the future
Protect: How to safeguard money, financial and account information, and reputation
The Toolkit

The Toolkit allows personal financial managers, counselors, command, and others in the military community to share practical financial tips. The toolkit includes one or two presentation slides for every article, each with a suggested script. Use all of them or just the slides on a particular topic. Want to know more? Check out the Military Consumer articles.

All materials from Military Consumer – and from the Federal Trade Commission – are free. There’s no copyright on any of our resources. Cut and paste the tips, slides, and talking points; print and make copies; or order free copies of consumer publications from FTC.gov/bulkorder.

Download the Full Military Consumer Toolkit PowerPoint (7.6 MB)

Using Military Consumer in your programs

Here are a few ideas for reaching servicemembers or their families with these tips:

In meetings

Use the Military Consumer presentation slides for financial readiness lessons to units, at family readiness group meetings, and other gatherings.
Access the tips on your mobile device at Military.Consumer.gov during one-on-one discussions.
Order FTC’s print materials to share at workshops to prepare troops and their families for military lifecycle changes (basic training, deployment, discharge, etc).
Spreading the word

Cut and paste the Military Consumer articles and blog posts to your websites. Use as-is or edit them.
Share tips on social media with servicemembers, spouses, and financial counselors.
Encourage servicemembers to share the information with their peers, commanders, and subordinates.
Share the tips and slides with groups that engage servicemembers – such as Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) or Fleet and Family Support Centers.
Tips for perfecting your presentations

Consider your audience. Are you speaking to young, recently enlisted servicemembers? Spouses? Transitioning personnel? What specific information do they need
Collaborate. Work with groups like Personal Financial Managers, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation offices, or Fleet and Family Support centers.
Avoid jargon: Everyone appreciates plain language. Break down financial terms and military acronyms clearly and plainly.
Engage with questions: Use open-ended questions, such as, “Who in this room has bought a house?” to make the topics personal.
The FTC, the Department of Defense, and our partners welcome your feedback and questions on Military Consumer. Please email your thoughts to MilConsumer@FTC.gov. Thank you for helping us reach the military community with this important information.

Scams and the Military: The Top 10 Most Risky (from the Council of Better Business Bureaus)

Scams and the Military: The Top 10 Most Risky

Military families and veterans have long been recognized as being at increased risk of being targeted by scammers. The steady paychecks and relative youth of active-duty military personnel may make them particularly vulnerable. Our BBB Scam Tracker scam reporting tool gives us up-to-the-minute information on trends in the scam marketplace, including scams that impact those that identify as active duty military, veterans, or military spouses. We touched on military-specific statistics in our 2016 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. With several more months of reporting data to analyze, we took a fresh look for this edition of Trusted Scout.

Individuals who self-identify as active-duty military personnel, veterans or military spouses represent 8.5% of those who report to BBB Scam Tracker. These individuals may be more susceptible when exposed to a scam, with 17.4% reporting losses compared to 15.7% of non-military individuals. More striking is the median loss of $300, 20% higher than the non-military median loss of $251.

Our 2016 Risk Report introduced our new BBB Risk Index concept, a mathematical formula that assigns a risk rating to different scam types based on the intersection of exposure, susceptibility and monetary loss.

2016 Military Risk Report

By applying this formula to data from military families collected to date, we were able to identify the following scam types as being the top 10 most risky scams for military families:
1.Fake checks
2.Home improvement scams
3.Travel and vacation scams
4.Online purchase scams
5.Debt collection scams
6.Advance fee loan scams
7.Family and friend emergency scams
8.Tech support scams
9.Sweepstakes, lottery and prize scams
10.Tax collection scams

Knowing about the types of scams that are trending and the tactics scammers use is your best protection. To learn more about how to spot and avoid the most risky scam types, visit bbb.org/scamtips.

Assistive Technology and Transportation Loan Guarantee Program

Assistive Technology and Transportation Loan Guarantee Program

Financial Institution Partnership Opportunity with California Department of Rehabilitation

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) is seeking to identify financial institutions, including community-based nonprofits authorized to function as a financial institution, that are interested in partnering to implement state-funded Assistive Technology and Transportation Loan Guarantee programs.

The DOR has issued a Request for Information (RFI), which is not a commitment of funding, but will help the DOR develop a contracting process with one or more financial institutions to offer Californians with disabilities low-interest loans for assistive technologies, including modified vehicles. Dedicated funding to guarantee 2 percent loans is held by the State Treasurer’s Office on behalf of the DOR. By responding to this RFI, financial institutions will be added to a distribution list of interested parties.

The last day to submit a response is July 31.

The DOR’s Independent Living Section is part of California’s independent living network, which includes 28 independent living centers and the State Independent Living Council. The DOR administers the program in California and provides technical assistance and financial support for the independent living centers.

For more information, visit the DOR Assistive Technology Program page or contact Ann Bui at (916) 558-5395 or ann.bui@dor.ca.gov.

Resource Fair and Brown Bag Retirement Savings Workshop in San Francisco on August 2


DBO is hosting a Financial Resource Fair in San Francisco, CA
CPUC Courtyard, San Francisco
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
See flyer at…
http://www.dbo.ca.gov/consumers/Education_Outreach/DBO_Education_and_Outreach_Events.asp


Nervous about retirement planning?

Join us! And bring your lunch!

CalHR Saving Plus 401k/457 Retirement workshop: Saving for the Future
CPUC Building, San Francisco
Golden Gate Training Room
Wednesday, August 2
12:00-1:00 PM
To attend the CalHR Savings Plus “Brown Bag” Workshop, register online at: http://savingsplusworkshop.myRetirementAppt.com

Learn more…

http://www.dbo.ca.gov/consumers/Education_Outreach/DBO_Education_and_Outreach_Events.asp

DBO Education and Outreach Events in Oakland, San Francisco and Fresno (and San Diego coming soon!)

Join the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) at financial education and outreach events throughout the state. The events provide an opportunity for local community-based organizations, financial institutions, and government agencies to collaborate regarding financial education, consumer protection and community outreach.

Expert insight on financial education campaigns, events, and free financial education resources…
• Banking, Saving, Retirement Planning
• Credit and Debt
• Homeownership, Foreclosure Prevention
• Consumer Protection
• And more…


Bay Area

DBO Bay Area Trainer Convening
Oakland, CA
Elihu M. Harris State Office Building
Friday, July 21, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dbo-bay-area-trainer-convening-tickets-34342933639
See flyer.
If you would like to provide an update on your organization’s activities, please contact Alana Golden, Alana.Golden@dbo.ca.gov.
DBO is hosting a Financial Resource Fair
San Francisco, CA
CPUC Courtyard, San Francisco
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
See flyer.

CalHR Saving Plus 401k/457 Retirement workshop: Saving for the Future
Golden Gate Training Room
12:00-1:00 PM
To attend the CalHR Savings Plus workshop, register online at: http://savingsplusworkshop.myRetirementAppt.com
See workshop flyer.

Central Valley

DBO Trainer Convening
Fresno, CA
Fresno City Hall
Friday, September 1, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dbo-trainer-convening-tickets-35084707304
See flyer.
If you would like to provide an update on your organization’s activities, please contact Alana Golden, Alana.Golden@dbo.ca.gov.

Note: DBO conducted a Trainer Convening in Sacramento on March 10 and in Los Angeles on June 20 as well as a resource fair at the State Capitol on June 16. A resource fair will be scheduled in San Diego TBD.

Also see DBO’s Google Calendar for Education and Outreach Events

 

New Law Helps Put Kids From Low-Income and Middle Class Families

New Law Helps Put Kids From Low-Income and Middle Class Families

on Path to Higher Learning

Governor Brown Signs Every Kid Counts Act to Incentivize California Families

to Save for College with ScholarShare

 

SACRAMENTO – Low- to moderate-income California families will get help saving for college thanks to legislation supported by State Treasurer John Chiang and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Every Kid Counts Act, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), provides $3 million in funding to create the Every Kid Counts College Savings Matching Grant Program. Eligible participants of the program will receive a dollar-for-dollar match contribution of up to $200 in college savings.

“Through underinvestment and, even worse, apathy, we are pricing ourselves out of the California Dream.  At a time when the wealth gap between the haves and the have nots has seemingly turned into a hopeless chasm, California must re-imagine new and cost-effective ways for its citizens to afford a decent home, a college diploma and a dignified retirement,” said Chiang.  “With the support of the Governor and the lawmakers, my office will now begin incentivizing thousands of low- to moderate-income families to get in the habit of socking away a few dollars each month, with an eye toward making a college degree a reachable dream for their children.”

Research shows that children with savings accounts, however small, are seven times more likely to attend and graduate college.

The ScholarShare Investment Board, which oversees ScholarShare, California’s 529 college savings plan, will administer the program.

“The Every Kid Counts Act is a significant step forward in the effort to help bring greater educational attainment to those families who need it the most,” said Chiang, chair of the ScholarShare Investment Board. “Faced with skyrocketing tuition, we must empower California families to save, invest, and plan for their children’s futures.”

According to a Pew Research Center study, individuals with a college degree are outperforming their peers with only a high school diploma on virtually all economic measures. The current difference in annual earnings between millennials with a bachelor’s degree and those with a high school diploma is $17,500. A substantial increase from only four generations ago when that difference was $7,500, the study shows.

The signing of the legislation reflects the ongoing commitment of California and its state-sponsored college savings investment plan, ScholarShare, to develop innovative programs to even out the educational and economic playing field. By encouraging families to save for future college expenses, the hope is that more children will go to college and enjoy greater economic opportunities.

To learn more about the Every Kid Counts Act, visit http://treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare/index.asp.

For more news, please follow the Treasurer on Twitter at @CalTreasurer, and on Facebook at California State Treasurer’s Office.

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact CalHFA

Are you ready to buy your first home?

Fill out this short online questionnaire if you’d like to speak with a CalHFA First-Time Homebuyer representative or get a referral to a CalHFA-Approved Loan Officer who can get you started on your homebuying journey.

https://wp12.calhfa.ca.gov/LeadsContactForm/

 

July is designated as National Military Consumer Protection Month!

July is designated as National Military Consumer Protection Month!

Make each day of this Military Consumer Protection Month a step forward on your path to being a smarter and safer consumer by exploring the resources below:

Military Consumer is a joint initiative by federal and state agencies, consumer advocates, and military support groups from around the country, to empower active duty and retired servicemembers, military families, veterans and civilians in the military community.  See  https://www.military.consumer.gov/

 

The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) is proud to support our troops who work hard every day to protect our freedoms. Visit DBO’s website “Troops Against Predatory Scams” (TAP$) page for educational materials developed to inform troops about financial scams and predatory lending.

 

 

California Financial Resource Fair at the State Capitol on June 16

California Financial Resource Fair at the State Capitol on June 16

Thank you to all the agencies that participated in this year’s resource fair.

Photo Gallery

    

PG&E Energy Assistance Agency and CARE program

PG&E Energy Assistance Agency and CARE program

Did you know that there are agencies in your area that could help provide you or your client with assistance in paying your utility bill?

California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) customers are automatically eligible based on federal income guidelines to receive an assistance agency pledge so long as they have not received a recent pledge within the agency specified time frame.

Go to www.pge.com/assistance to learn more about PG&E’s CARE program and other assistance programs that can help you pay your energy bill.

Additional programs:

Learn about avoid the surprise of a high bill by signing up for Bill Forecast Alerts:

www.pge.com/energyalerts

Receive early warning notifications for high usage alerts when your usage is projected to trigger a surcharge:

www.pge.com/highusage