Are you doing all you can to assure that your finances are in order? Do you need some help learning tips on safe money-handling to rest assured knowing youâ€™re financially in the right spot? Well, most of us need a little help in that area, so we talked to local finance experts and theyâ€™ve agreed to help. Use their knowledge and a little bit of your own to get your money lined up so you can breathe easy and spend wisely. writers Barbara Arnold, Julie Thalhuber Bendel editors Tom Giffey, Eric Christenson design Serena Wagner
on the money
what’s your money personality? K n owing the answer can help ease your personal f i n a n c e w o r r i e s WORDS: BARBARA ARNOLD
‘W MONEY HARMONY
The Money Personality workshop is derived from psychotherapist Olivia Mellan’s book, Money Harmony. Mellan initially went into private practice in 1974 specializing in women’s issues and couples conflict resolution. In 1982, she began to focus on the psychology of money and money conflict resolution. Mellan and attorney friend Michael Goldberg realized that “money was the last taboo in the therapy office and in life in general.” They offered their first workshop at a retreat center in Virginia, and created the term “money harmony.” Soon they were training other therapists in money psychology work. An article in The Washington Post on money personalities soon led Mellan to self-publish a workbook called Ten Days to Money Harmony. That workbook evolved into her book Money Harmony: A Road Map for Individuals and Couples. Soon her speaking engagements expanded to financial counselors, financial planners, and women’s groups in addition to psychotherapists. Learn more about her work at moneyharmony.com, where you can take a version of Money Personality quiz.
hat’s Your Money Personality?” That was the question 20 or so of us wanted answered in a workshop held at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in early May. For free. Yes, we were going to learn how we felt about money without paying a single penny out of our pockets. The only cost was an hour or so of our time. Our fearless leader in this exercise is Berni Johnson-Clark, education manager for FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a nonprofit serving Minnesota and Wisconsin families for more than 50 years with counseling and therapy, caregiver support, debt and financial management, youth programs, and grief support. A dark-haired beauty with a spitfire personality, Berni immediately puts all of us at ease by sharing her personal story about how money has come and gone in her own life. She grew up in a poor family, not even close to middle class. She was on public assistance for a couple of months – one month before and one month after – her daughter was born. She got by then for several years on her low income, resources for child care financial assistance, and food stamps. Then a dream job came along. And, for six years, she earned almost six figures, which she admits is when her spending personality kicked in. “Oh, how I would do things differently if I had that income again,” she says. But she has survived and now thrives on presenting Money Personality workshops wherever she is invited to do so. After warming us up, Berni hands out the piece of paper we’ve all been waiting for: the “What’s Your Money Personality? Quiz,” which
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resembles the kind of quizzes you see in Cosmo and other magazines. There are 10 questions, each with a particular letter assigned to it. After answering the questions, you add up the number of times you choose each letter and rank the letters. The highest number “wins.” Now to make this work, of course, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. “Answer what immediately comes to mind,” Berni adds. “Try not to think too much or analyze.” So off we go, eagerly penciling in our answers. When I’m done, I have a majority of “H” answers, which I learn later from a handout Berni provides signifies the “Saver” personality. Berni then asks us to join our groups of like letters – those we share our “Money Personality” with – in different areas of the room, and we rush to our like-minded letter and money souls. There are: Sav e rs : Money provides security and is used to create a safety net. F r e e S p e nder s: Money is used to gain happiness and is used for pleasure. G i v e rs : Money can be evil and should be used for the greater good and those less fortunate. P ow e r B roker s: Money gains power and is used to build wealth and power.
on the money Interestingly, there are no Avoider s here tonight. Avoiders believe that “Money is overwhelming and is better handled by others.” Kind of makes sense. Would an Avoider even attend a Money Personality workshop? Perhaps, but not tonight. We find that our group of Savers includes one Millennial – a 15-year-old a home-schooled sophomore from Fall Creek. The Baby Boomers appear most interested in how she became a Saver. She credited her parents, who tell her that if she wants to have a car she needs Johnson-Clark to work and save money to buy it, as well as to pay for insurance and gas. She even spent less than $25 on her prom dress. Wow! Baby Boomers share that our parents, who lived through the Great Depression, primarily influenced our saving ways. We save for rainy days and emergencies like squirrels burying nuts before winter comes. The other groups share their findings, too. Similarities and differences abound, but there are no value judgments. Afterwards, Berni shares a
handout with the characteristic of the different types of Money Personalities, and several of us exclaim “Ah!” as we recognize ourselves or others on the list. For those who want a different relationship with money, Berni offered another handout featuring “Money Management Strategies.” And all of us quickly share what has or has not worked for us through our many years of experience dealing with this thing called money. Was this Money Personality workshop worthwhile? Hands down, a resounding “Yes”! Whether you’re a follower of Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey or any other financial guru, taking the time – even if it’s an hour at the library – to assess where you are and where you want to be, is definitely time well-spent. If you are interested in sponsoring a “What’s Your Money Personality?” workshop, contact Berni Johnson-Clark, education manager for FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service at email@example.com, (800) 780-2890, or (651) 789-4052. Learn more about her agency at familymeans.org.
avoiding identity theft
CO M P I L E D B Y T O M G I F F E Y
n 2014 alone, a whopping 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In all, Americans suffered a cumulative out-of-pocket loss of $6.5 billion that year. The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to avoid this costly problem. To learn more, go to IdentityTheft.gov. PROTEC T YOU R PER SONAL INFORM AT ION • Watch your wallet. • Don’t tell people your PIN numbers. • Keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards in a safe place. • Shred papers that have your personal or medical information. • Take mail out of your mailbox ASAP. • Only give your Social Security number if you must. Ask if you can use another kind of identification. • Don’t give your personal information to someone who calls you or emails you. • Use passwords that are not easy to guess (i.e., use numbers and symbols). • Don’t respond to emails or other messages that ask for personal information. • Don’t put personal info on a computer in a public place, like the library. KEEP AN EYE OUT • If you want to know if someone has stolen your identity, read your bills and account statements and watch for things you didn’t buy, withdrawals you didn’t make, unexpected changes of address, or bills that stop coming. • Look at medical statements. You might see charges you don’t recognized. That might mean someone stole you identity. • Get your credit report. You get one free credit report every year from each credit reporting company. Request them by visitingannualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. NOTE: This service is free and authorized by federal law; copycat private services may charge you money.
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on the money
advancing hope, one loan at a time NONPROFIT A ‘ LIFE V EST’ FOR THOSE WHOSE ONLY OPTIONS ARE HIGH- INTEREST LOANS WORDS: Julie Thal hu ber Bendel SUBMITTED PHOTO
manda was at a low point in her life. The recently divorced mother of five was told that the home she was renting would no longer be a rental. Although a business owner before moving to Eau Claire, the needs of her children, especially one child with special needs, made it difficult to work full-time. Needing to find a new home but without the financial resources to pay for a damage deposit and first month’s rent, Amanda was not sure where to turn. Amanda’s situation looked brighter after her minister referred her to Advancing Hope Fund, which gave Amanda a no-interest loan to cover those expenses. “Advancing Hope Fund was a life vest that kept me afloat,” said Amanda (whose last name is withheld to protect her privacy). The loan allowed Amanda to find a safe place for her family to live. Amanda credits the loan with giving her the breathing room to plan a future for herself and her kids that involved going back to school. She recently completed a degree at UW-Eau Claire and is confident she will soon find a full-time job. According to its mission statement, Advancing Hope Fund is a “small lending community paying forward hope and financial help.” The fund was started in 2012 as a direct response to the failed attempts to regulate the payday loan industry in Wisconsin. Payday loan companies offer small, short-term loans due within a month or on a borrower’s next payday. Lenders can charge interest rates ranging from 20 percent to in
Amanda and Gary, two recipients of loans from the Advancing Hope Fund, are now on the group’s board. excess of 300 percent for a loan using a borrower’s car title as collateral. Borrowers of these types of loans can quickly enter a cycle where they are unable to make payments and are saddled with debt that becomes almost impossible to pay back. Members of the economic justice task force of JONAH (Joining our Neighbors Advancing Hope), an Eau Claire-based advocacy group, saw the injustice of such lending practices and created Advancing Hope Fund to make loans to those with financial needs without charging interest. “We felt we needed to provide immediate care for people in need,” said Ken Ripp, one of the group’s founders and current board treasurer. Advancing Hope Fund receives the
funds it lends through donations from individuals, congregations, financial institutions, and loan recipients’ payments. The fund is governed by a sixto eight-member board of directors. Potential loan recipients must live in Eau Claire and are referred by community members such as pastors, social workers, educators, or board members. Once a referral has been accepted by a board member, the next step in the process is to meet with Adrian Klenz, a professional financial counselor and owner of Klenz Financial Services. Klenz looks at the financial history of the candidate, assesses the candidate’s ability to successfully repay a loan, and offers general financial education such as budgeting. He then provides a sum-
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mary of his findings to the Advancing Hope Fund board. Board members review the summary, meet with the recipient, formally approve the loan, and craft a mutually agreeable repayment plan. The recipient agrees to meet regularly with a “walking partner,” which is a unique aspect of the Advancing Hope Fund loan process. A walking partner is a financial mentor who meets regularly with the loan recipient. The regular meetings are designed to help ensure repayment of the loan, to create a working budget, to track repayments, to communicate any changes that might affect the repayment plan, and to encourage the recipient to set goals. Amanda describes the walking partner as a “supportive, understanding advocate.” During the repayment process, a walking partner may also suggest revisiting the financial counselor when needed for more education/advice about how to handle finance or changes in income. Advancing Hope Fund also has an expectation of loan recipients “paying it forward” by being positive forces in the community when they can. For Amanda, that has translated into becoming a board membersfor Advancing Hope Fund and speaking to organizations about the loan program. “AHF values my skills and does not view my financial crisis as an indication of negative personal character,” she said. For more information about Advancing Hope Fund Inc., contact Ken Ripp at firstname.lastname@example.org or (715) 4565703.
on the money
listings & resources G et to know yo u r f i n a n c e s b e t t e r w i th the he l p o f a reA f i n a n c i al counselors and planners
Financial CounselORS This list features just local financial counseling services. If we forgot your service, let us know and we’ll add you next time!
Catholic Charities Financial Counseling 448 North Dewey St., Eau Claire • (715) 832-6644 • eauclaire@ cclse.org • cclse.org Offering bankruptcy counseling, debt management, housing counseling, financial stability counseling, and a representative payee program. FamilyMeans Financial Solutions 2194 East Ridge Center, Eau Claire • (800) 780-2890 • familymeans. org Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) offers tools and education so people can regain financial stability and reduce unmanageable debt, with locations available in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Freund Law 920 S. Farwell St., Ste. 1800, P.O.
Box 222, Eau Claire • (715) 832-5151 • freundlaw. com Offering bankruptcy, debt relief, and debt collection services for individuals, farmers, and businesses throughout Western and Northern Wisconsin.
Klenz Financial Counseling • email@example.com • facebook.com Financial Counseling offers individualized counseling and group presentations on personal finance topics. Western Dairyland Financial Counseling 418 Wis-
consin St., Eau Claire • (715) 836-7511, toll free at (800) 782-1063 • WesternDairyland.org/flip. phtml While Western Dariyland no longer provides financial counseling as a stand-alone program, they still counsel as part of the Work-n-Wheels and the Veteran’s Economic Empowerment Program.
FINANCIAL PLANNERS This list features just local financial planning services. If we forgot your service, let us know and we’ll add you next time!
Altoona • (715) 832-1173 • bernicke.com
Cadott Tax & Financial Services 345 N. Main St., Cadott • (715) 289-4948 • firstname.lastname@example.org • cadott-tax.com ClifftonLarsonAllen 3402 Oakwood Mall Dr., Eau Claire • (715) 832-1100 • claconnect.com
Cornerstone Financial Advisers 1109 W. MacArthur
Eau Claire • (715) 852-1990 • stifel.com/branch/wi/ eau-claire
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 3508 Oakwood Mall Drive, Eau Claire • (715) 835-0710 • ml.com
Terry Krumenauer Financial Group 2889 County Highway I, Ste. 3, Chippewa Falls • (715) 720-4900 •
Orgel Wealth Management 2420 Rivers Edge Drive,
Thrivent Financial Advisors Blue Sky Financial As-
Altoona • (715) 835-6525 • contact@orgelwealth. com • orgelwealth.com
Ave. suite 3, Eau Claire • (715) 834-5366.
RAI Stone Group 3504 Oakwood Mall Drive, Eau
Deborah Becker Insurance & Financial Services Inc. 404 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire • (715) 835-
Raymond James Financial • Fries Financial Group
4328 • deborahbecker.com
Edward Jones 101 N. Farwell St., Suite 201, Eau
Claire • (715) 834-5052 // 419 E. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire • (715) 833-3986 // 401 Pinnacle Way, suite 104, Eau Claire • (715) 830-3986 // 2741 N. Clairemont Ave., suite B, Eau Claire • (715) 8325539 • (715) 831-5539 // 4907 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire • (715) 831-0002 // 4233 Southtowne Dr. suite 3, Eau Claire • (715) 552-1760 // 2411 N. Hillcrest Pkwy suite 8, Eau Claire • (715) 835-3573 // 3610 Oakwood Mall Dr. suite 200 • (715) 835-3807 // 2751 Commercial Blvd suite 2, Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-2117 // 345 Frenette Dr. suite 5, Chippewa Falls • (715) 726-8923 // 706 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-8588 // 16949 County Highway X, Chippewa Falls • (715) 720-8849 // 2029 County Highway I, Chippewa Falls • (715) 720-6105 // 2321 State Highway 25 N. suite 300, Menomonie • (715) 233-0009 // 2303 Schneider Ave. SE suite 110 , Menomonie • (715) 235-2123 //
Claire • (715) 598-4340 • raistonegroup.com
(an independent firm) 718 Bay St., Chippewa Falls • (715) 720-9605 // 202 N Bridge St., Chippewa Falls • (715) 723-0586 // 4257 Southtowne Dr., Eau Claire • (715) 514-2900 • www.raymondjames.com.
Security Financial Solutions Wealth Management
3430 Oakwood Mall Drive, Suite 200, Eau Claire • (715) 833-1884 • email@example.com • sfswealthmanagement.com/home.aspx
Seeman Tax & Financial LLC 535 Fairfax Street, Altoona • (715) 835-1156 • seemanfinancial.com
Stifel Nicolaus & Co Inc. 3704 Oakwood Hills Pkwy,
Hall Financial Group LLC 4319 Jeffers Rd, suite 202, Eau Claire • (715) 514-2526 • firstname.lastname@example.org • hallfinancialgroupllc.com Heights Finance Corporation 2701 N. Clairemont
Ave., Eau Claire • (715) 858-9375 • heightsfinance. com
Jones Financial Consulting, LLC PO Box: 1608, Eau Claire 54702-1608 // Street Address (Appointment only): 800 Wisconsin Street, Bldg. DO2, Suite 405C, Eau Claire • (715) 577-2778 • jonesfinancialconsulting.com
Ameriprise Financial Services 1740 Brackett Ave.,
Keystone Financial 4410 Golf Terrace, Eau Claire • (715) 835-6022 • keystonecv.com
Bernicke Wealth Management 1565 Bluestem Blvd,
McKinley Money LLC PO Box 1418 (Appoint-
Eau Claire • (715) 834-7280 // 3625 Gateway Dr., Eau Claire • (715) 832-7715 • www.ameripriseadvisors.com.
ment Only), Eau Claire • (715) 835-2732 • ww.mckinleymoney.com
Main Street Capital Management 601 S. Farwell Street, Eau Claire • (715) 834-9111 • email@example.com • mymainstreetlink.com
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sociates • 130 S Barstow Street, Suite 1A, Eau Claire • 715-858-0953 • blueskyfinancialassociates@ thrivent.com // Brady Zwiefelhofer • 4423 Golf Terrace, Ste. 1, Eau Claire • 715-514-1540 • brady. firstname.lastname@example.org // Matthew Olson • 1280 W Clairemont Ave Ste 7, Eau Claire • 715832-8112 • email@example.com // Patrick Huckriede • 4423 Golf Ter Ste 1, Eau Claire • 715559-3560 • firstname.lastname@example.org // Steve Cassellius • 4423 Golf Ter Ste 1, Eau Claire • 715577-2109 • email@example.com
Wealth Enhancement Inc. 2125 Brackett Ave., Eau CLaire • (715) 835-8800 • DanMarx@WealthEnhancementInc.com • wealthenhancementinc.com
Wealth Management Group 103 N Bridge St #255, Chippewa Falls • (715) 861-7200 • wealthmanagementgroupllc.net