Managing Your Finances
Participating banks, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations offer financial education classes, one-on-one financial counseling, and financial services. Learn more>
MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing a checkbook, or investing in a 401k, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies. Learn more>
MyMoney.gov also has resources to help you with your household budget. Learn more>
PowerPay will give you the tools to develop a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan. Discover how quickly you can become debt free, and how much you can save in interest costs by following your debt reduction plan. Learn more>
Curious to see how much your commute costs? King County Metro Online will help you run the numbers. Learn more>
The Self Sufficiency Calculator for Washington State site is sponsored by the Workforce Development Councils of Washington State and developed by the WDC of Seattle-King County.
The Calculator includes a variety of resources, including the Self Sufficiency Standard. The Self Sufficiency Standard measures how much income is necessary for a family of a given composition – ranging from a one-person household to a large family – in a given place, to adequately meet its basic needs without any public or private assistance. Learn more>
Your Credit Report
A good credit rating can help you get a loan more easily, get better interest rates, obtain an apartment and job, or pay less for deposits on utilities and auto insurance.
The first step is to find out what is in your credit report. There are three leading credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These agencies collect information about consumers’ credit and debt activities to share with lenders, creditors, landlords, and others who wish to evaluate your creditworthiness. You can receive one free copy of your credit report, from each of the three major reporting agencies, every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Consider contacting a financial counselor to review your credit report with you.
- AFCPE (Association for Counseling and Planning Education)
Find an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor) in Washington here>
- American Financial Solutions
- United Way Benefits Hub
Online scheduling for appointments at five convenient locations. Schedule an appointment here>
If you can’t find available times call 206-461-4536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more>
- El Centro de la Raza
Call 206-957-4634 or email email@example.com
- Hopelink Financial Capability Program
- NW Access Fund – Financial Coaching for Individuals with Disabilities
- Sound Outreach
- YWCA Economic Resilience Initiative
Dealing with Debt Collectors
Any business collecting debts from Washington State residents are required to be licensed by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). Also, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office protects consumers from unlawful and abusive debt collection practices. A complaint can be filed by going to the Washington State Attorney General’s (AG) website, atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx.
If you feel you are overwhelmed with debt or harassed by debt collectors, go to WashingtonLawHelp.org. At Washington LawHelp you will find general information, self-help packets and resources to assist you with consumer and debt collection issues in Washington state. Learn more>
Answering a Lawsuit for Debt Collection
DEBT COLLECTION LAWSUIT? Washington LawHelp has a new interactive interview to assist individuals facing a debt collection lawsuit in Washington state. Answering a Lawsuit for Debt Collection allows you to create the paperwork you need to defend yourself and respond correctly and on time. After you complete an online interview, the documents created for you to print out, sign, file and serve.
Buying & Owning a Car
Having a car can be an expensive proposition. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips on buying vs. leasing, negotiating the best deal, financing, getting the most out of warranties and service contracts, using gas efficiently, and avoiding repossession. Learn more>
Ask the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Take control of your auto loan. Learn more>
Planning for Higher Education for Families
The non-profit organization CENTS is pleased to announce the creation of Planning for Higher Education for Families, a free Workbook and Resource Guide to help families plan for their student’s higher education. This project, funded by the Washington Student Achieve Council (WSAC) and Washington 529 Plans (WA529), is the culmination of teamwork between CENTS, WSAC, and WA529. Planning for Higher Education for Families will help families come up with a plan to save money for higher education and/or cut down on the cost of higher learning. The project can be found at https://centsprogram.org/planning-for-higher-education-for-families/.
Student Loan Survival Guide
To assist student loan borrowers in Washington, the Attorney General’s Office has compiled a Student Loan Survival Guide. This guide provides information about student loans for students and their families. It offers tips and links to resources for all points in the process to help high school students thinking about attending college, former college students who aren’t able to keep up with their payments, and everyone in between.
At Washington LawHelp you will find general information, self-help packets, and resources to assist you with student loans. Learn more>
National Consumer Law Center: Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project is a resource for borrowers, their families, and advocates representing student loan borrowers. It provides information and resources for people who already have student loans and want to know more about their rights and options. Learn more>
For problems with your federal student loan servicer or a debt collector contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Loan Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575 or online, or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office.
United Way’s Benefits Hub offers online scheduling for financial counseling appointments at five convenient King County college locations. Schedule an appointment here>
If you can’t find available times call (206) 461-4536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more>
What to Know About Credit Cards
Fees, charges, interest rates, and benefits vary widely among credit card issuers. It’s essential to understand and think through what is in the “fine print” of their credit card agreements. Learn more>
What to Know About Payday Loans
A payday loan is a small, unsecured, high-interest, short-term, cash loan. In most cases, you write a post-dated, personal check for the advance amount, plus a fee. The lender holds the check for the loan period and then deposits it, or the customer returns with cash to reclaim the check. In Washington State, the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) licenses and regulates payday lenders and the payday loan industry. Learn more>