Savings & Credit Programs

Do you struggle to pay your bills each month?  Would you like to improve your credit? Are you ready to save for a first home, a business expense or higher education?  We can help.

 

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Overview-Savings and Credit

What We Do

Our Savings and Credit Program works with Vermonters who want to improve their financial well-being and who are ready to take steps to achieve economic success. The Savings and Credit Program offers financial education workshops and personal financial coaching for individuals, families, as well as employees of local businesses. We can help you develop strong financial habits through budget and credit coaching, and provide you with the tools to help you navigate investing, retirement, tax planning, and insurance. We also offer Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): matched savings accounts for the purpose of starting a small business, buying a first home, or attending higher education or training.

Capstone has two AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselors on staff in the Barre office. 

Who is AFCPE? Formed in 1983, the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education is the Nationally Recognized Leader in Financial Counseling and Education. Counselors are trained to work with clients through life-cycle financial education to create lasting behavior impact. AFC certification represents the highest standard in the field of financial counseling and education.

In 2015, the Northfield Savings Bank Foundation announced a partnership with Capstone Community Action in central Vermont and Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) in Burlington to support efforts to increase financial capability among Vermonters in our service areas.

This partnership allows for in-depth one-to-one financial coaching sessions for clients and comprehensive financial education classes that help Vermonters gain the skills to become more economically empowered.  From offering guidance in budgeting and debt reduction, and providing opportunities to access or improve credit, to helping families develop healthy spending habits and create realistic savings goals, our financial coaches are committed to strengthening the financial futures of our clients.

Capstone is honored to be working with the NSB Foundation over the next three years to provide these crucial services so more Vermonters have access to competitive interest rates and affordable financial products and services.  To read more about this partnership,

 

Personalized Financial Coaching

If you are struggling financially and don’t know where to turn for assistance, our Savings and Credit Program Coaches can direct you on a course for stability and help you better understand your unique financial situation through:

  • Credit Coaching
  • Budgeting and Building a Savings Plan
  • Tailored-to-your-needs Financial Coaching

To schedule a free and confidential appointment to discuss your financial situation, please contact Liz Scharf at 802-476-8493 or lscharf@capstonevt.org.

Financial Coaching services are supported in part by a three year grant from the Northfield Savings Bank Foundation  

 

Financial Education Workshops

Our customized financial workshops can help employees of your organization gain valuable knowledge about budgeting and finances, debt reduction, retirement, investment, and credit building.  As part of our series, we offer a credit clinic where we meet individually with your employees to review their credit reports and offer an action plan to improve or build their credit. 

For pricing and scheduling, please contact Liz Scharf at 802-477-5215 or lscharf@capstonevt.org

Tangible Assets/Individual Development Accounts

Our Tangible Assets program offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) designed for qualifying individuals who are ready to start saving some of their earned income for a home purchase, higher education, or a business. Highlights of the program include:

  • Eligible assets are a first-time home, post-secondary education or job training skills, or to start or expand a business.
  • 2:1 matched savings; Participants are eligible to receive $2,000 in grant funds to match your savings of $1,000. You have two years to save the full amount, but must save $500 the first year.
  • While you save, you attend a series of financial education workshops to improve your personal money management skills and training specific to the asset you choose.
  • Income and asset guidelines apply.  Your household income can be up to 200% of the poverty level and you are allowed up to $10,000 in net personal assets, not counting your home or one vehicle.
  • You or another family member must have current earned income through a job or self-employment.

Find out if an IDA is right for you.  If you live in Washington, Lamoille, or Orange County, contact Liz Scharf  at 802-477-5215 or lscharf@capstonevt.org.  For information regarding your existing IDA, contact Maureen Dougherty at 802-477-5116 or mdougherty@capstonevt.org.

If you reside in another area of Vermont, contact your local Community Action Council (http://dcf.vermont.gov/community_action_agencies)

 “My business is growing and I became an employer this year. I'm proud to be creating jobs in my community. Thanks for all the folks that run the Capstone Tangible Assets IDA program for making this possible!” Mary Murphy, www.MountainSongExpeditions.com

 

TANGIBLE ASSETS MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS

 

 

 

 

Make Your Own Budget

Here are a few budget templates to get you started on a path to financial stability

 

Recent Blog Post

As a financial coach, I often get the question, “should I put my extra money into savings or pay down my debt quicker?” 

Financial Coaching At Capstone Community Action: in Barre, Morrisville and Randolph

Janie* is a single mom who knows first-hand how expensive Rent-to-Own stores can be when you’re living on a fixed income.  Several years ago she signed a contract for a laptop but because the payments were so expensive, she couldn’t keep up with the bills and had to return the computer a few months later.  “They (Rent –to-own stores) are way too expensive “, she cautions, “I’m never dealing with them again.” &nbsp

Haven’t thought much about retirement?  You’re not alone.The Federal Reserve just released its comprehensive report on the financial well-being of Americans[i] and the results are noteworthy.  The study covers a number of financial subjects that affect Americans at all income levels such as savings, credit, debt, student loans, homeownership, banking habits and retirement.

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