Tag Archives: take charge america

college graduates

6 Tips for Managing Student Loans, College Expenses

It’s the time of year when high school seniors are finalizing plans for college. In addition to choosing a major and deciding where to live, it’s important for parents and students to discuss how to manage college expenses, especially since the Chronicle of Higher Education reports 60 percent of students borrow money to pay for school.

“For many students, college marks the beginning of financial independence, but this presents a real problem when it comes to student loans,” said Mike Sullivan, chief education officer for Take Charge America, a national non-profit agency offering student loan counseling. “It’s critical to teach students how to stretch their loan dollars and avoid money mistakes that can have painful consequences for years or even decades to come.”

Sullivan offers six tips for managing student loans and college expenses:

1. Create a Budget: It’s the broken record of financial tips, but that’s because it works. Students and their parents should make a budget accounting for all incoming funds and outgoing expenses to determine how much money they need to borrow. It’s also important for students to revisit the budget regularly and modify as needed.

2. Spend Your Money Wisely: Many students use student loans for living expenses, but the money is best used to cover tuition, books and other necessities. Students who save up for college or seek employment to cover day-to-day expenses will amass significantly lower debt.

3. Understand Your Repayment: Students are more likely to stick to a budget when they understand what it will take to repay their loans. Direct students to online loan calculators that estimate monthly loan payments based on future salaries.

4. Use Government Loans: Students who must borrow money for college should use Federal Stafford loans, currently available at 3.86 percent interest for undergraduates, rather than pricier private loans.

5. Set a Debt Maximum: Students are advised never to borrow more than $8,000 for an associate’s degree or $20,000 for an undergraduate degree. With this debt ceiling in mind, students may want to consider state universities and community colleges rather than higher-priced private schools.

6. Don’t Rush into Debt Consolidation: While debt consolidation may seem like an attractive solution for repaying debt, seek out professional advice on whether this option is right for you. Another alternative may be better for your unique situation.

For more student loan tips, visit Take Charge America or StudentLoanCoach.org.

121956596

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?

Seniors are living longer than ever before. Medical advances and a focus on healthy living have dramatically improved longevity, but living longer presents a complication: the potential to outlive savings.

Older adults often do not anticipate the high costs of health and long-term care, or the uncertainty of Social Security and Medicare. As a result, many are exploring reverse mortgage loans.

A reverse mortgage, also referred to as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), enables homeowners 62 years and older to convert part of their home equity into tax-free cash.

“The economy has been tumultuous in recent years, and seniors have been particularly affected,” said Mike Sullivan, chief education officer for Take Charge America, a national non-profit credit and housing counseling agency. “For some, a reverse mortgage may prove a good solution for generating extra cash and living more comfortably in their golden years.”

To help seniors understand whether a reverse mortgage is appropriate for their financial situations, Sullivan offers five considerations:

  1. Loan fees: Borrowers are tasked with paying up-front mortgage insurance, origination fees and closing costs. It’s critical for seniors to read the fine print and understand the fees they’re paying.
  2. Taxes and insurance: With a reverse mortgage, seniors borrow money against the equity of their homes and are not required to make loan payments. However, they still must pay property taxes and homeowners insurance, or they risk foreclosure.
  3. Home maintenance: Seniors are responsible for home maintenance, but cannot take out a home equity loan or second mortgage to cover repairs.
  4. Home equity: The borrower’s home equity is reduced by the amount of the reverse mortgage. The estate will receive whatever equity hasn’t been borrowed.
  5. Loan repayment terms: The loan is due when the borrower sells the home, lives away from the home for 12 consecutive months, fails to pay property taxes or insurance, or passes away. The principal, interest and closing costs are repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the house. If the heirs elect not to sell, the money is paid from the estate.

To obtain a reverse mortgage, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires seniors to undergo reverse mortgage counseling from an approved third-party organization like Take Charge America. Certified HECM counselors guide seniors through the process, the loan terms, financial and tax implications, and alternatives. To learn more, call Take Charge America at 1-866-987-2008.

PrescottGateway, Cassidy Turley

Brown appointed to TCA Board of Directors

Take Charge America, Inc., a national non-profit credit counseling agency based in Phoenix, announced today Kerwin Brown has been appointed to its board of directors. Brown, who serves as president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce, joined the Take Charge America board on Jan. 1.

As a member of the board, Brown helps oversee strategy and business operations for Take Charge America. The organization provides financial education services including credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and debt management. Since 1987, Take Charge America has helped more than 1.6 million consumers nationwide.

“Kerwin brings formidable knowledge, expertise and leadership to our board of directors,” said Take Charge America CEO David Richardson. “During his 20-year career in financial services, he has seen the ups and downs of the market, and has worked with people at all stages of the financial spectrum. He has embraced our organization’s mission and shares our passion for helping consumers improve their financial wellbeing.”

Brown has served as president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce for the last 18 months, leading the chamber’s efforts to support and bolster local businesses. Prior to assuming the leadership position, he was chairman of the board for the chamber. He also sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc., where he has served as treasurer and western regional director for nearly four years. In addition to his leadership background, Brown has held numerous management positions with insurance and financial services companies.

“I am thrilled to join the board of an organization that’s helping Americans get back on their feet and take control of their finances,” said Brown. “My goal as a board member is to aid Take Charge America in providing the resources and education consumers need to avoid debt pitfalls and enjoy financial peace of mind.”

To learn more about Take Charge America, visit www.takechargeamerica.org.

housing.prices

TCA Assists 10K Arizona Homeowners with Counseling

Take Charge America, Inc., a non-profit credit counseling and housing counseling agency in Phoenix, marked a milestone this year. It has now assisted more than 10,000 Arizona homeowners with housing counseling. Most of this assistance was for foreclosure prevention, a free service that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure or mitigate losses caused by foreclosure.

As a response to economic conditions, Take Charge America introduced foreclosure prevention counseling in 2008. The organization is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist distressed homeowners statewide with a variety of solutions that could potentially save their homes, such as accessing and sustaining loan modifications, refinancing and principal reduction.

To date, Take Charge America has helped more than 1,100 individuals and families save their homes, primarily through mortgage modifications. Specially trained counselors work directly with homeowners’ mortgage companies to achieve the best possible solution based on their circumstances.

“Headquartered in one of the hardest-hit states, we were compelled to help Arizona families navigate the housing crisis,” said David Richardson, chief executive officer of Take Charge America. “While we’ve made significant strides, there are still many homeowners who need our help. Foreclosures may be declining, but the threat is still far above normal levels.”

Foreclosure prevention counseling is a free service mainly funded by grants and government awards. Take Charge America was recently awarded $300,000 by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to expand one-on-one foreclosure prevention counseling, enabling the organization to expand its reach.

Homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure can call Take Charge America at (623) 266-6382 or (866) 987-2008 to speak with a counselor.

Take Charge America is also HUD-approved to provide reverse mortgage counseling to senior homeowners and pre-purchase counseling to new homebuyers.

For more information about Take Charge America’s services, visit www.takechargeamerica.org.

foreclosure

TCA Awarded $300K for Foreclosure Counseling

Take Charge America, Inc., a non-profit credit counseling and housing counseling agency in Phoenix, was awarded $300,000 by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office over the next three years to provide free foreclosure intervention counseling to Arizona homeowners.

Take Charge America will use the funds to assist more homeowners with one-on-one counseling, primarily individuals and families with low-to-moderate income, and who are Spanish-speaking.

Housing counseling services at Take Charge America are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Take Charge America’s counselors can help homeowners avoid foreclosure or mitigate losses caused by foreclosure with a variety of solutions, such as accessing and sustaining loan modifications, refinancing and principal reduction.

“Arizona families are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn, and many are still struggling to meet their mortgage payments,” said Take Charge America Chief Executive Officer David Richardson. “This award will enable us to assist even more residents in need, helping them navigate the complex mortgage loan industry and possibly save their home.”

Take Charge America is one of 16 organizations throughout Arizona selected by the Attorney General’s Office to receive a share of the $5 million in housing counseling assistance available through a national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage loan servicers.  The funds help pay for the cost of the foreclosure intervention counseling that is provided free to Arizona homeowners.

Take Charge America introduced foreclosure prevention counseling in 2008 as a response to the mortgage crisis. It is HUD-approved to assist distressed homeowners statewide. To date, the non-profit has helped more than 10,000 homeowners with housing counseling.

Homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure can call Take Charge America at (623) 266-6382 or (866) 987-2008 to speak with a counselor.

For more information about Take Charge America’s services, visit www.takechargeamerica.org.

Dave Paddison

TCA Announces New Director of Finance

Take Charge America, Inc. announced that Dave Paddison now serves as director of finance for the national non-profit credit counseling and debt management agency. He provides comprehensive financial management services, overseeing all accounting, tax and financial reporting activities.

Prior to joining Phoenix-based Take Charge America, Paddison held numerous director-level and chief-level financial management positions in the Arizona non-profit sector, primarily in healthcare and community services.

“Dave has a strong track record of effective leadership in the local non-profit community. His skill sets in financial management, administration and operations will be crucial as we grow our services and seek new ways to assist consumers struggling with debt,” said David Richardson, chief executive officer of Take Charge America.

Paddison, a Scottsdale resident, is active in the community on professional and civic levels. He’s a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He also volunteers with Boy Scouts of America and St. Vincent DePaul, and previously served on community boards for the Social Services Contractors Indemnity Pool and the Diocese of Phoenix School Board.

Paddison earned a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance & Accounting from Louisiana State University.

To learn more about Take Charge America operations and services, visit www.takechargeamerica.org.

93054723

Take Charge America Announces new CEO

Take Charge America, Inc. is pleased to announce David Richardson has been promoted to chief executive officer of the national non-profit credit counseling and debt management agency.
Richardson joined the organization in 2008 as director of finance and was promoted to chief financial officer in 2009. He assumed the role of chief executive officer in late 2012.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Take Charge America offers financial education, credit counseling, debt management and housing counseling services. Since 1987 it has helped more than 1.6 million consumers nationwide manage their personal finances and debts.

“I’m honored to lead this company in my new role as CEO, and I’m eager to explore more innovative financial solutions that bring even greater value to consumers,” said Richardson.  “The credit counseling industry has changed a lot in recent years, and we are seeking new ways to adapt with the times while still providing the highest level of financial education.”

Richardson, a Certified Public Accountant, brings more than 30 years of experience to the helm of Take Charge America. He held numerous executive-level financial management positions in the health care and financial services industries prior to joining the company, acquiring a strong expertise in non-profit management. He has additional expertise in budgeting, financial audits, cash and investment management, financial reporting, systems conversions, and mergers and acquisitions.

Richardson earned a bachelor’s in Accounting & Finance from the University of Dayton and a master’s in Finance from Georgia State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA). He currently serves as board treasurer for the Arizona Family Health Partnership, and previously served on the board of directors for ASCPA from 2010 to 2012.