• Check out some great tips from Gateway Financial Freedom's Director and United Way Collaborative Blogger, Doug Horst!

    Check it out Gateway friends!  Gateway Financial Freedom's Director,  Doug Horst is now a guest blogger with United Way of Central Alabama!  Make sure you check out his blog by clicking the link below and stay tuned for some great financial advice!

  • Your Money Checkup

    Ever wondered where you stand financially?  Find out NOW when you take this survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  Click here to take their money checkup survey. The survey is 100% completely confidential so you have nothing to lose.  For more information and help with budgeting, credit counseling and so much more, call our Gateway Financial Freedom department anytime at 205-251-1572.  We have financial counselors standing by to h...

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  • AL Homeowners received $101 million in relief...

    Alabama homeowners received $101 million in relief as part of mortgage settlement! • Bank of America - $48.3 million to 1,116 borrowers ... http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/news/2013/02/25/alabama-homeowners-received-101.html

  • National Consumer Protection Week: March 3-9th!

    National Consumer Protection Week: Six Tips to Make You a Smarter Shopper Sales pitches and financial advice come at you from every direction—by phone, by mail, and every time you read an ad, go online or turn on your TV. It can seem like a full time job just to sort it all out, but you don’t have to do it alone. Government agencies, consumer organizations and advocacy groups join forces during National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9 with shopping strategies and consumer tips to empower you...

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  • In Deal, Bank of America Extends Retreat From Mortgages

    According to http://dealbook.nytimes.com, Bank of America is continuing a large-scale retreat from its costly expansion into the home mortgage market, a shift that concentrates more power in the hands of its biggest rivals and leaves fewer options for some home buyers. Read more here!  

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  • What You SHOULD Know About Money NOW!

    Check out this link to the Center for Financial Social Work to learn about what you need to know about your money NOW.  There are also links to all sorts of freebies, including a webinar, that will help you learn about money management and other financial facts... http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b24c32c109afff561bb2c0129&id=cf35b9891c&e=cf1e092aa6  

  • 10 Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday

    10 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season Whether the holiday season is your favorite time of year or gives you stress-induced nightmares, USA.gov can help you make the most of it. These ten tips from across the government highlight ways you can celebrate on a budget, secure seasonal employment, sign up for local volunteer opportunities and more. 1.

  • Tips For Keeping Holiday Debt Under Control

    Study Finds Holiday Spending This Year Will Likely Rise A survey released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) found that holiday spending this year will likely rise, but also found that things are still financially tight for many families. Check out more by clicking here!

  • It's a Party and YOU are Invited! Learn how to get "Money Chic" this Holiday Season!

    Twitter Party Invite: Join the NFCC and GLO and Get “Money Chic” This Holiday Shopping Season! Please join Girls’ Lunch Out, and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling on Tuesday, December 4 at 9 pm ET to talk about holiday spending, get holiday spending tips, and learn tools for saving money to help you become  “Money Chic” this holiday season and throughout the entire year. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the nation’s largest non-profit f...

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  • Resources to Help Protect Your Child’s Identity

    Courtesy of Kids.gov Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Criminals use stolen identities to make purchases, and when the crime is discovered, the crooks move on, leaving their victims to deal with the fraudulent debts. National Protect Your ID Week, October 20-27, encourages everyone to take steps to protect their identities.

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  • National Protect Your Identity Week (October 20th-27th)

    Life can get busy, and your to-do list can seem to get longer every day. While some tasks may get moved to the next day, it’s important to remember that keeping yourself protected from fraud is something that should never be left ‘til tomorrow. National Protect Your Identity Week (October 20-27th) reminds everyone how easy identity theft is, and that it happens to people all across the country every day.

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  • Tips for New Graduates

    Take an honest look at your lifestyle Take an honest look at your lifestyle, you will find many areas where you can improve your finances and save more money. You Can Do IT! Consider moving into a smaller place Look at downsizing into a smaller place to cut down on rent/mortgage and the other expenses that come along with owning a larger place.

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  • Deadline for Mortgage Foreclosure Review Extended to July 31, 2012

    Note that the date has been extended to July 31 for anyone requesting a review of their mortgage foreclosure if they believe they suffered financial injury as a result of errors in foreclosure actions on their homes in 2009 or 2010 by one of the servicers covered by enforcement actions issued in April 2011. Please see the eligibility requirements listed in the attachment below or call Gateway's Consumer Credit Counseling Service for more information @ 205-251-1572!

    IFR_Extension_Press_Release.doc

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  • Financial Literacy Month Topic #1: Foreclosure Prevention & Scams

    Foreclosure Prevention & Scams

    Is Foreclosure Knocking at Your Door?
    Home, Loan Modifications (www.makinghomeafforedable.gov) are available. If you are having financial challenges due to job loss, underemployment, higher mortgage payments or other reasons, you are not alone! Apply for a loan modification or utilize rescue funds www.hardesthitalabama.gov. Several alternatives are available to save your home and save you hundreds of dollars! If your primary residence has been foreclosed on between Jan 1, 2009-Dec 31, 2010 you may be eligible for a Independent Foreclosure review (could you hyperlink Independent Foreclosure review). For further information call us at 205-251-1572 to schedule an appointment to meet with a HUD certified housing counselor.

    *Beware of Foreclosure Rescue & Loan Modification Scams
    -To protect yourself make sure and do the following:
    **Don’t Panic- Mortgage scams prey on fear. Don’t let fear cause you to premature decision.
    **Don’t Act Under Pressure- Do your research and under no circumstances should you pay for assistance.
    ** Don’t Release Personal Financial Information- Contact your lender or mortgage loan servicer immediately.
    **Don’t Assume -Work with a reputable non-profit housing or financial counselors. Please dial 205-251-1572 or click on www.gateway.org and schedulean appointment with a HUD-certified housing counselor.

    If you or a loved one is caught up in a foreclosure/loan modification scam see www.findhelp.org !

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  • MORE Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure

    Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure

    Are you having challenges with making your mortgage payments? Have you received a letter from your lender asking you to contact them?

    Don't ignore the letters from your lender
    Contact your lender immediately
    Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency
    205-251-1572

    If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:

    1. Don't ignore the pink elephant.
    The further behind you become, the harder it will be to catch up your loan and the more likely you will lose your home.

    2. Contact your lender as soon as you recognize a problem making your mortgage payment.
    Lenders do not want your home. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times but you must contact them.

    3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.
    The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notices of pending legal action.

    4. Know your mortgage rights.
    Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.

    5. Understand foreclosure prevention options.
    Valuable information about foreclosure prevention (also called loss mitigation) options can be found online.

    6. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low-cost housing counseling nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender, if you need this assistance. Find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you or call 205-251-1572.

    7. Prioritize your spending.
    After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can reduce spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses--cable TV, memberships, entertainment--that you can cut out. Do you really need it? Delay payments on credit cards and other "unsecured" debt until you have paid your mortgage.

    8. Use your assets.
    Do you have assets--a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy--that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.

    9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies.
    You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help--use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor will provide free if you contact them.

    10. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams!
    If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately and if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional or a HUD-approved housing counselor at 205-251-1572.

    11. Are you unemployed and are receiving unemployment benefits are eligible for unemployment benefits?If you are having financial challenges due to job loss, underemployment, higher mortgage payments or other reasons, you are not alone! Apply for a loan modification or utilize rescue funds at www.hardesthitalabama.gov.   Several alternatives are available to save your home and save you hundreds of dollars!

    If your primary residence has been foreclosed on between Jan 1, 2009-Dec 31, 2010 you may be eligible for a Independent Foreclosure review. For further information call us at 205-251-1572 to schedule an appointment to meet with a HUD certified housing counselor.


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  • Financial Literacy Month Topic #2: Being MoneyWise

    MoneyWise-Building & Maintaining Good Money Habits

    What do you want to do with your money? Go shopping? Check out a movie? Buy a new car or purchase a home? Or maybe you want to just spend, spend, spend. The way you manage your manage money will decide if you get to do all or any of those things.

    Good money management is a habit and habits are not developed over night, so start now!
    -Establish goals both Short-term & Long-term. Determine how much it will cost.
    -Determine where you are now. Calculate your net worth. Add up assets and subtract liabilities which gives you your net worth. Be honest!
    -Track expenses for at least 4 weeks. Every single penny.
    -Pay yourself 1st. At least 10%. If 10% is too much right now, set aside as much as you can and aggressively work toward saving 10%.
    -Learn to say NO!

    For more assistance please contact us at 205-251-1572 or visit www.gateway.org to schedule a appointment with certified financial counselor and ask about our financial coaching program.  No matter your financial situation, big or small, we are here to help!

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  • Financial Literacy Month Topic #3: Credit--Are You Responsible?

    Credit is extended or given to an individual with the promise to pay back.
    4 C’s of Credit:
    *Collateral-Money or asset that lenders can take from you if a debt (credit) goes unpaid. Known as a “secured” loan, ie. Mortgage, car, or boat.
    *Capital-Are you able to pay back the debt (credit)? Income, employment history are key factors in deciding your creditworthiness.
    *Character-Are you trustworthy? Do you pay on time? Whether or not you pay often, sometimes or not at all will determine the amount of credit you will receive including the interest rate.
    *Capacity – Do you have enough income, in comparison to other debt, to be able to make the payments on a new loan? This is often called debt to income ratio. While your income is NOT on your credit report, it is a significant factor in your ability to borrow.

    5 Components of a Credit Score (300-850)
    -35% (Pay History) Pay bills on time all the time! Delinquent or Collection Accounts can have a negative impact score.
    -30% (Amounts Owed) Keep balances low! High balances can negatively impact your score.
    -15% (Length of Credit History) Do not close paid off accounts! No, really. Do not close paid off accounts!
    -10% (New Credit) Be strategic . Have a plan. 1 major credit card is plenty!
    -10% (Types of Credit Used) Too many personal loans can negatively impact your score. Having the right mix is key. One revolving account such as credit card, an installment loan such as car or mortgage will suffice.

    For further insight or if you have any questions about credit and how it works, please give us a call at 205-251-1572 or visit www.gateway.org to schedule an appointment or schedule a workshop with a certified financial counselor.
    Visit annualcredit.com to review your credit report from Transunion, Equifax and Experian.

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  • Financial Literacy Month Topic #4: Debt

    Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.--Ogden Nash

    *Every time you use credit, you incur debt. Debt can have either a positive or negative financial outcome.
    *Getting out of debt requires you to do the following:
    -Review Your Situation (A budget would be a good place to start). Start tracking your expenses if you have not already.
    -Gain Control: do not ignore the bill collectors
    -Increase income (A good place to start is reduce your expenses!)
    -STOP USING CREDIT! Cut up those cards immediately.
    -Sell Something. Spring is here so how about you have a garage sell and start paying off debt.
    -Debt Snowball (Pay minimum payments on all cards and once one card is paid off, apply that payment to next highest interest rate card or lowest balance.) Call 205-251-1572 for more information.
    -Seek Professional Assistance –Speak with a non-profit credit counselor, if necessary. No need to be embarrassed. You are not the first person nor the last to get into credit trouble. Please call 205-251-1572 or visit www.gateway.org to speak with a National Federation of Consumer Credit Counseling (NFCC) certified financial counselor who cares.

    *7 Warning signs of too much debt.
    -Monthly payments on debt exceed 20% of your take home income. Ex. $200 debt payment divided by $1000 take home pay equals 20%.
    - You pay only the minimum due on your credit card bills each month, and sometimes you juggle payments, stalling one creditor to pay another.
    -You can't save small amounts and don't have enough set aside for setbacks as a pay cut, an unexpected car repair, or an emergency visit to your parents
    -Rely on cash advances to pay household bills.
    -No idea how much debt you owe.
    -Use credit for items you would normally pay for with cash.
    -Start losing sleep and it effects your physical health.

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Gateway
1401 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35205
205-510-2600
Gateway Family Resource Center
205-510-2755
Fax: 205-510-2621
help@gway.org
Gateway Residential / Day Treatment Center
5201 Messer Airport Highway
Birmingham, AL 35212
205-510-2630