Parties bring financial knowledge to Somali women

BURLINGTON — The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity offers new Americans the tools to overcome obstacles when assimilating into a new culture, a new language, a new financial system. Through its Financial Empowerment for New Americans Project, more than 350 individuals will not just be given useful tools to navigate through their new and unfamiliar world, but given the tools for a new life. The initiative has been designed over the course of two years, and is now helping increase the organization’s capacity to host financial-education house parties for Somali women, provide training for community ambassadors, host interpreted classes, develop interpretation and translated material for financial coaching services, and present an annual Financial Wellness Day for New Americans, the second of which took place in September. “The clients that CVOEO serves are at the heart of all that we do,” said Kate Larose, financial futures program director. “We built this project from the ground up using a human-centered design.

Financing a vision: Building in sustainability

Planning for a new facility is doubly daunting for a nonprofit community organization. In addition to the fundraising and financing necessary for the construction, the nonprofit must create a plan to sustain operating costs for the new facility, knowing it cannot rely on increasing revenue or fees from low-income clients.

Is your money invested where your values are?

If you have ever recycled at home, avoided products made overseas by sweatshop labor, grown your own vegetables, supported gender and racial diversity, or owned a fuel-efficient car, then you may be surprised to discover your investments can be working against your values. Do you know what’s in your portfolio? How can you find out what your money is supporting? Old and new values investing
Evaluating your portfolio using traditional socially responsible investing or SRI analysis has been around for a long time. The process involves an investment style that includes or excludes companies in a portfolio based on screens using social, moral, ethical and religious criteria.

Preda gets CFP designation

BURLINGTON — Remus Preda of People’s United Bank recently received his certified financial planner designation. As a certified financial planner, Preda will serve individuals, families and nonprofit organizations for People’s United Bank in southern Vermont. He will also work with local businesses and organizations to design and administer retirement plans.

NY bank to buy Merchants

Merchants Bank will merge with a New York-based bank, according to a statement issued Monday on the Merchants Bank website. Community Bank System, Inc., which is based in DeWitt, New York, will buy Merchants Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Merchants Bank, for cash and stock worth around $304 million. Merchants Bank is the largest statewide independent bank in Vermont, with assets of about $1.9 billion and deposits of about $1.5 billion. The deal was approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both companies, but is subject to a Merchants Bancshares stockholder vote. The transaction is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

How to have the best financial date night ever

Flowers … chocolate … 401k? Let’s face it — talking money and financial planning with your significant other on a “date” may not be your first choice for spending quality time together. Even in the best of relationships, discussing money and finances can send two people running in opposite directions. Yet, establishing the habit of scheduling an annual financial date night nurtures your long-term relationship and future together.

Vote for smart investment moves

The presidential election is little more than a month away. Like all elections, this one has generated considerable interest, and, as a citizen, you may well be following it closely. But as an investor, how much should you be concerned about the outcome? Probably not as much as you might think. Historically, the financial markets have done well — and done poorly — under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Sessions advise on farm finances

BURLINGTON — Farm-business educators with the University of Vermont Extension are available in October for private consultations with farmers to answer questions on finances and business planning. These farm business and budget clinics will be offered by Mark Cannella, Mike Dolce, Tony Kitsos and Betsy Miller at various UVM Extension Offices throughout the state. Times vary according to location. The cost is $25 for a 90-minute one-on-one session. Slots are expected to fill up quickly, so early sign up is recommended.

Your financial health check up

Your annual physical checkup and health screenings are scheduled. Your dental checkups, and perhaps those for your spouse and children, are on your calendar or smartphone. Yet many people fail to schedule time for a regular financial-health checkup.