Wednesday, December 11, 2013

November Success Story

Congratulations to Prosperity Center client Kent on his full-time position that will offer benefits and a competitive salary in a field of his interest! Well educated and experienced, he came to the Prosperity Center discouraged after being laid off 5 years ago, working odd jobs and freelancing to make ends meet. Employment Coaches helped him improve his resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and practice his interview skills, while Financial Coaching and Income Supports access helped his family live on a budget. Just over a month after he became a client, Kent was offered a position through a source referred to the Prosperity Center. He shared his gratitude in an email:

“I cannot thank you enough for the benefits there has been working to get to this point with Tiffany and Kourtney. The resume worked and it is clear that without your passing my resume to them, I would not even know about the job and I wouldn’t be in this new opportunity. Thank you so much for your help and confidence in recommending me for the position. I can’t tell you how great it feels to be doing something again that is in my core skill set.”

Thanks to his motivation and dedication to his family, Kent was able to overcome the barriers of long-term unemployment. We are proud to have him as a client and look forward to hearing about the steps he is taking in his new career.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don’t Let Black Friday Lead to the January Blues

Our friends at Apprisen compiled some cautionary advise about overspending during the holidays. Read their tips below. For more assistance managing debt, developing a spending plan, monitoring and improving your credit, and planning for the future, call (816) 501-4239 to schedule a Program Overview.

Don’t Let Black Friday Lead to the January Blues

Ramifications of overspending are too costly to ignore 
Americans can be generous – to a fault - and never is that character trait more evident than during the holiday shopping season.  
At this time of year, millions of people put their financial common sense on the shelf, tucking it away into a winter hibernation of sorts, thereby making it much easier to take part in the once per year phenomenon known as Black Friday, the mother of all shopping days. The problem with this practice is that financial reality is just around the corner, never failing to emerge in January as a mailbox full of credit card statements.
With avid shoppers counting down the days until the Black Friday bonanza, Apprisen offers the following 10 reminders of the ramifications of overspending:
  • Adding new debt on top of old is never a good idea, yet many people will enter the 2013 holiday shopping season still paying for 2012 purchases. When debt is carried over from month-to-month, cardholders lose the benefit of a grace period, the time during which a person can pay the monthly credit card bill before interest begins to accrue.  When debt is revolved, new purchases begin to incur interest immediately.
  • Paying interest on the interest occurs when debt is carried over from month-to-month. When a debt is not paid in full by the due date, interest is added to the balance. This amount adds up over time, creating an impediment to becoming debt free. 
  • Late fees and over-limit fees can cause balances to grow to an unmanageable level. Issuers may charge a late fee of $25 with the first late payment, and with 45 days notice, increase the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to a higher interest rate on new purchases. However, consumers who make late payments more than once in a six-month period may be assessed a higher late fee with the penalty APR also applied to existing balances.  
  • An inability to pay as agreed could result in negative notations on a person’s credit report, with late or missed payments remaining on the report for seven years. Further, the all-important credit scores are based on information in the credit report. Along with other factors and depending on the extent of the delinquency, the drop could be by as much as 100 points.   
  • Less credit will be available on existing cards. Credit cards have a spending limit beyond which the user cannot charge without penalty. Since no one knows what tomorrow holds, over-utilizing open lines of credit can leave a person without a credit safety net for future purchases, unplanned expenses or emergencies.   
  • Diminished access to new or additional credit can be the result of irresponsibly handling existing credit.  Issuers are less likely to extend more credit to a person who cannot manage current debt obligations.  If credit is granted, it will likely be at a higher interest rate.  
  • Beyond credit cards, decisions involving Insurance, renting an apartment, establishing utility or cell phone services, or finding employment can be affected by a person’s ability to manage debt.  
  • Servicing a large amount of debt can diminish the amount of money available for other necessary components of financial stability such as saving or investing.  
  • Bills not paid on time can have very serious consequences including collection efforts, lawsuits, judgments and wage garnishment. Each of these can have a long-term negative impact on a person’s daily life as well as future borrowing power.
  • Overspending can force a person into making desperate choices such as resorting to pay-day loans, pawn shops, bankruptcy or debt settlement.
Now is the time for financial awareness, not after the damage is done. Consumers need to ask themselves if taking on unmanageable debt this holiday season is worth putting their financial well-being at risk.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Success Story

Say congratulations to Prosperity Center Member, Brian! Just 2 weeks after attending his Program Overview, he was hired for a full-time position that offers overtime and benefits. Brian came to us with extensive experience in his industry but underemployed, discouraged and working various part-time jobs to supplement his income. Still not able to make ends meet, Brian came to the Prosperity Center asking for advice and career guidance. He immediately embraced our resources and attended one-on-one counseling sessions. He received intensive resume revision advice and job search options that are applicable to his skill sets. Our staff also conducted a benefits screening and brainstormed on creative ways to prepare for new employment opportunities. Brian’s enthusiasm drove him to search for jobs through our computer resource room in between his shifts. Very shortly after he came to us, he was called on an interview and received an offer the very next day. We are proud to have Brian as a client and wish him the best on his new job!

The first step to success through the Prosperity Center is making an appointment for a Program Overview, held every Tuesday and Thursday at Noon and 5:00pm. Schedule on our website or call 816 501 4239.


Brian came to our office two days after this post to update us on the new job and share some very kind words,

“In 30 days the Prosperity Center corrected problems
that I’ve struggled for 3 years to solve. In a true group effort,
you came together and helped me change the things in my life
that I was unable to change on my own.”

We are very thankful for our clients' dedication to making positive changes in their lives and are thrilled to be a part of their success!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How Tax Code Drives Inequality and What You Can Do About It

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national organization advocating policy that empowers low-income and moderate-income families, is hosting an upcoming webinar on How the Federal Tax Code is Driving Inequality and What You Can Do About It. The webinar will discuss how tax code provisions that incentivize certain actions - like buying a home, saving for education, or contributing to retirement accounts - disproportionately benefit households with higher income, reduce government revenues, and limit benefits for low- and moderate-income households. Since tax code reform is being discussed in Congress, it is crucial for tax practitioners and advocates to be informed and call for an inclusive and equitable tax code.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, November 7 at 9am CST and is hosted by the Asset Funders Network, PolicyLink, CFED, Center for Global Policy Solutions, Center for Social Development, ColorOfChange, Greenlining Institute, Insight Center for Community Economic Development, Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, National CAPACD, National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, New America Foundation, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, PICO National Network, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Visit the CFED's website to register:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dislocated Worker Assistance

The Prosperity Center's Employment Counseling Program assists dislocated workers through Workforce Investment Act (WIA) training programs and services. If you have faced a substantial layoff or lost your job due to a permanent plant closure or organizational downsizing, we can help you apply for Government Funded Tuition Reimbursement. Call our Employment Coach at the number below or visit the Prosperity Center website to schedule a Program Overview.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Workshop Wednesday Series

We are pleased to announce our new Fall Workshop Wednesday Series. Workshop Wednesdays are for Prosperity Center Clients who have completed a Program Overview. Our group workshops are held at the Rockhurst University Community Center at 54th and Troost, Kansas City, MO 64110.

Topics include: Budgeting Strategies, Job Search Options and Creating a Plan, Managing Your Credit Profile, the Affordable Care Act and the Healthcare Marketplace, Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, Shopping Deals and Creative Gift Ideas, Interview and Resume Preparation, Strategies for Job Retention and Success, and Financial Planning for the New Year.

Email us for more information or to sign up.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome to the Prosperity Center for Financial Opportunity's blog! As the first LISC Financial Opportunity Center in Kansas City, our staff is excited to offer employment coaching, financial coaching and income support access to our neighbors in the Urban Core and to the Greater Metro Area community. All of our services are free, open to any adult 18-years or older and we impose no restrictions on geography or income. Working with LISC, Rockhurst University, Catholic Charities, the Full Employment Council and United Way, we opened on June 14th, 2013 on Rockhurst University's campus. In just a few short months, we have already seen several of our clients obtain employment, advance their careers and improve their finances.

If you or someone you know needs assistance finding a job, managing debt and expenses, or navigating the complex enrollment processes for supplemental income, sign up for a Program Overview on our website.

Stay tuned to our blog and follow us on Twitter @ProsperityCtrKC and Facebook to find out about future events and client outcomes.