Financial Education for Homeowners

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1 Financial Education for Homeowners

2 Tax Time Coalition of Central Ohio MISSION: To provide the central Ohio community with information about, and access to, free, high-quality tax assistance services and financial resources that enable low and moderate-income households achieve financial stability.

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4 Tax Time Background Tax time is the most important financial moment of the year for low income households More than 55,000 of the lowest income working taxpayers in Franklin County pay to have their taxes prepared spending an average of $250 The average refund for a Tax Time client in 2013 was $1,018 In 2013, Tax Time helped 14,530 Franklin County families file their federal and state tax returns and receive $14.8 million in refunds

5 Financial Behavioral Change at Tax Time Tax Time is a great time to kick start savings habits Tax refund provides additional cash Clients are already thinking about finances Tax sites are already recruiting and training volunteers to work one on one with clients

6 Financial Resource Guide Education and Employment Financial Counseling & Credit Repair Additional Resources Additional Resources

7 Financial Coaching Connect taxpayers to financial opportunities at Tax Time free tax preparation sites Encourage taxpayers to develop a plan for their refund Achieve client-defined goals and support specific actions to meet these goals Address immediate financial issues and improve financial situations Facilitate decision-making and provide tools, resources, and referrals

8 SaveNOW+ Unique, incentivized savings account designed to encourage development of regular savings habits Partnership between: - United Way of Central Ohio - The Ohio Treasurer of State s office, - The JP Morgan Chase Foundation - Nationwide Bank

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10 Lessons Learned Tax sites are great locations to encourage financial behavioral change! Don t reinvent the wheel Recruit and train volunteers specifically for Financial Coaching Simplify the process Market the additional financial opportunities at tax time

11 Contact Information Sarah Harrigan Special Projects Manager, United Way of Central Ohio (614)

12 Using Behavioral Economics for Financial Empowerment: The NHSGC Model

13 What are assets? Income Savings Benefits Tax credits and deductions Education Housing/home equity Long-term savings/stocks/bonds Access to safe and sound financial services Assets move families beyond living paycheck to paycheck and give them tools to plan for the future. Getting by may require only a paycheck, but getting ahead requires a variety of assets, a financial safety net, education and health care.

14 Why do assets matter? Where does housing meet assets? Asset poverty rates and wealth gaps are worse than income poverty and distribution Assets help to increase: Household economic stability Educational attainment Economic mobility Community stability

15 Household Financial Security Framework LEARN Assets increase earning capacity Why Assets? Possession of knowledge and skills that enable navigation of and success in markets (labor, financial) have direct bearing on financial security: K-12 & Postsecondary Education: Basic literacy and math skills, plus commitment to lifelong learning are critical for employment and advancement Financial Education & Counseling: Timely, relevant, accurate information on basic budgeting, taxes, financial products and services, and use of credit Asset-specific Education: Preparation for homeownership, business ownership, postsecondary education, and financial investments EARN SAVE INVEST Wage Income + Business Income + Public &Employer Benefits + Tax Credits + Investment Income = INCOME Ability to Maximize Income Depends On: Access to reliable basic goods and services (housing, transportation, medical care, child care, food) Available quality job and business opportunities Access to public benefits and tax credits (e.g., EITC, Child Care) Asset ownership (higher education, home, business, financial investments) Knowledge and skills related to work, taxes and benefits INCOME - Current Consumption - Debt Payments = SAVINGS Ability to Save Depends On: Access to affordable basic goods and services (housing, transportation, medical care, child care, food) Convenient, low-cost financial products (transaction and savings vehicles, credit and insurance products) Convenient, affordable financial structures (e.g., direct deposit, automatic enrollment, online banking, bank location) Knowledge and skills related to money management, financial products,and credit building and repair. PROTECT SAVINGS + Borrowing + Public Incentives = ASSETS Ability to Build Assets Depends On: Price and appreciation of assets (higher education, home, business, financial investments) Affordable financing Access to public incentives (e.g., downpayment assistance, government loan guarantees, Pell Grants, IDA/CSA match) Knowledge and skills related to asset purchase and management Financial security gains must be protected against loss of income or assets, extraordinary costs, and harmful or predatory external forces. Insurance (public or private): Protects against loss of income or assets as well as against extraordinary costs (e.g. Unemployment, Disability, Life, Health/medical, Property) Consumer Protections: Protect Consumers from deceptive and/or predatory practices (e.g. predatory mortgage lending, payday lending, banking practices) Asset preservation: Depends on government policies (e.g. community investments, blight ordinances, foreclosure prevention) and market conditions

16 How are we bringing it into our model? Savings and assets provide a personal safety net during tough times and are essential to financial security and stability Two decades of product development and program delivery have demonstrated the right way for low- and moderate income people to build wealth: Structure and incentives to facilitate savings (behavioral economics) High quality and culturally relevant financial and asset-specific education Access to fair and reasonably priced credit Multiple approaches to poverty reduction and wealth creation Home ownership Business development and job creation Education and training

17 Our programs on the continuum Homebuyer education (LEARN) Free tax preparation (EARN) Financial capabilities coaching (LEARN) Foreclosure prevention counseling (PROTECT) Cleveland Saves (SAVE) Down-Payment Assistance (INVEST) Reverse mortgage counseling (PROTECT) Consumer Law Center (PROTECT) Community LandTrust Program (INVEST)

18 What s next? IDAs (Combining housing and small home business) Child Savings Account assistance (Largest CSA creation in history) Alternatives to payday lending More affordable property units through LandTrust

19 DAVID ROTHSTEIN Director of Resource Development & Public Affairs NHS of Greater Cleveland x Facebook LinkedIn Community Shares Twitter

20 Comparisons

21 Why Coaching? Common Behavioral Biases Myopic Decision Frames Procrastination Difficulties with Self Regulation Inattention Coaching Components Set client-defined goals Develop action plan Identify resources, tools & services Monitor client progress Make referrals as needed

22 Field Experiment Ohio Housing Finance Agency s First Time Homebuyer Program June-December, 2011 MRB funded mortgages Online education and telephone counseling required MyMoneyPath Online financial assessment, redyellow-green cautions; then assigned randomly to treatment Online planning module Quarterly follow-up by letter, and phone (offer coaching)

23 Effects of Monitoring Mortgage Delinquency For the total sample, 12 percent of borrowers had experienced 60 day delinquency within the first 15 months after purchase. Slightly lower rates for treatment group: 11% compared with 13% Treatment effects concentrated among those with history of missed payments 12.9% delinquency, compared with 24.1% for control group Nearly cuts delinquency rate in half (46-48%) Mechanisms? Lower revolving debt (>$2,000 or more) Use of automatic payments Self-reported savings No evidence for budgeting behaviors

24 For Discussion How can we tailor financial education and counseling interventions to best meet the needs of low and moderate income homeowners in Ohio? At what point in the homeownership life cycle? What types of interventions? (education, counseling, coaching monitoring) What outcomes do we want to achieve?

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26 Why Financial Education is Important Are You Ready to Own? Are you ready to own a home? Answer these questions to find out: Are you unhappy with renting? Do you have a steady income? Do you pay your rent and bills on time? Is your credit history in good shape? Do you have a Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)? Do you plan to stay in the area for the next several years? Do you have some savings for a down payment and closing costs? Can you receive help from family, government programs or other agencies? Have you met with a counselor from a homeownership counseling agency? If you can answer yes to 6 or more of these questions, you are probably ready to become a homeowner.

27 Why Financial Education is Important Financial education is increasingly important for everyone. It is becoming essential for the average family trying to decide how to balance its budget, buy a home, fund the children s education and ensure an income when the parents retire. Of course people have always been responsible for managing their own finances on a day to day basis, determine what to spend on a holiday, how much to save for new furniture, savings or loans for a child s education are common concerns for most families. Recent developments have made financial education and awareness increasingly important for financial well-being. For one thing, the growing sophistication of financial markets means consumers are not just choosing between interest rates on two different bank loans or savings plans, but are rather being offered a variety of complex financial instruments for borrowing and saving, with a large range of options. At the same time, the responsibility and risk for financial decisions that will have a major impact on an individual s future life, notably pensions are being shifted increasingly to workers and away from government and employers. Many companies are eliminating pensions all together opting for such retirement options as 401K, 403b, IRAs, and a partridge in a pear tree.

28 Why Financial Education is Important Research in the United States shows that workers increase their participation in 401(k) retirement savings plans funded by employee and employer contributions when employers offer financial education programs, whether in the form of brochures or seminars. Mortgage counseling before people take on their loan has been found to be effective in reducing the risk of mortgage delinquency. Consumers who attend one-on-one counseling sessions on their personal finances have lower debt and fewer delinquencies. But while financial education is important, it is only one pillar of an adequate financial policy to improve financial literacy and access to financial services. Financial education can complement, but can never replace, other aspects of successful financial policy such as consumer protection and the regulation of financial institutions. Financial education should also go hand-in-hand with improving access to financial markets and services. Access to financial services is a significant issue in many emerging economies as well as for significant groups such as minorities or low income consumers who do not have bank accounts or are under-banked. But interesting consumers in financial education is no easy task. People taking part in a survey in Canada said they thought choosing the right investment for a retirement savings plan was more stressful than a visit to the dentist.

29 Why Financial Education is Important Financial education might also need to be complemented by other approaches to ensure an improvement in consumer financial well being. For example, some experts recommend that workers, when they become eligible, be automatically enrolled in defined contribution pension plans that include pre-determined contribution rates and investment allocations. Doesn t this sound like our old pension programs that are costly for employers to manage and fund? One key element for the future is persuading consumers that they need financial education and enabling them to access it. Also important is better financial education in schools. Today s high school graduates need to be a lot more financially literate than even their parents were if they are to manage their personal finances successfully through life. The role of financial institutions in providing financial education, not only to clients but also to their own staff, needs to be better defined and further promoted. More information is needed at both international and national levels on good programs and practices and on ways to promote access to financial services. Sharing information on successful experiences can be helpful to all.

30 Why Financial Education is Important What Is a Financially Educated Person? Personal financial education means different things to different people. For some it is broad, encompassing an understanding of economics and how household decisions are affected by economic conditions and circumstances. For others, it focuses on basic money management budgeting, saving, and investing. In reality, financial education probably can and does include all of these topics. Most financial literacy initiatives have very specific target audiences. But just as there are numerous initiatives, there are also numerous target audiences. Youth, military personnel, low-income families, first-time homebuyers, employees, church members, and women are all targets of one program or another. Since welfare reform, welfare-towork programs have also incorporated financial education. In essence, it would be difficult for a U.S. consumer not to be part of a target audience for at least one financial literacy initiative. However, there are a few target audiences that bear special mention. Because home ownership is both a major investment and a major asset for families, first time home buyers are a key audience for many financial literacy programs; these initiatives often target low- to moderate-income families. Some programs cover both pre-purchase and post-purchase topics, working with families over several years to clean up their credit records, find affordable housing, and prevent delinquency and default.

31 Why Financial Education is Important Financially educated implies that the outcome of financial education is what a financially educated person does includes behaviors such as paying bills on time, having manageable levels of credit, setting financial goals and having a way of achieving those goals through saving and investing, spending wisely, and so on. The behaviors may vary by income, family circumstance, and asset level, however. For example, we want all households to set financial goals; for some the goal may be having $200 in an emergency fund, while for others the goal may be having $20,000 for a down payment on a house. Less visible, but nonetheless important, are how these themes can be expanded to include community development. Having one s financial house in order can lead to stability of housing and family life, which can contribute to stable educational situations for children, and more involvement of families in their community, including participation in civic activities that range from a parent teacher organization to neighborhood planning board and beyond. A program housed within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Money Smart, seeks to help adults, young adults and small business enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships. The goal of the program is to provide financial stability for individuals, families and small business owners as well as communities. While most literacy initiatives function in a preventive mode (i.e., trying to prevent people from getting into problems), some offer curative programs for consumers with credit problems. For many, this is a highly teachable moment in their financial lives. Recent bankruptcy reform legislation includes a provision for debtor education as part of Chapter 13 filings. Generally, these programs start off with a counseling format, customized to the consumers needs; but most organizations involved in credit counseling also offer basic financial education.

32 Why Financial Education is Important The Federal Reserve System is involved in financial education in several ways. The Board and the Reserve Banks are active in promoting awareness of the importance of financial education, increasing access to information about financial products and services, collaborating with educational and community organizations to provide financial education resources, and promoting research and identifying best practices for financial education. Robie K. Suggs PNC Bank 201 E 5 th Street Cincinnati, OH

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