A MoneyFair Event for the Books!

MoneyFair ’18 was a Huge Success

The attendance and excitement from this year’s MoneyFair event was overwhelming. Visitors walked the booths and joined classes at the Royal Life Center this past April in numbers shattering previous years’ records.

At this free event, guests were busy with classes, vendors, products, giveaways, a Pastoral panel, and more. Our inaugural Pastors & Leaders Money Round Table had great attendance. Moderator Alexis Simmons from Live 5 news led the round table discussion on faith and finances. Reverends Issac Holt and Nelson Rivers joined Pastor Tonia Taylor on the topic, providing lessons and insight for attendees. The round table was a great success and will be an addition for future MoneyFair events.

Pastors Round table

Our classes had full attendance as guests listened in and made notes on financial management. Our numerous vendors set up tables for giveaways and food as hundreds of Charleston residents made their way through the Royal Life Center.

“We ran out of information to give away it was so well attended,” one vendor remarked.

We agree.

More than 150 attendees registered for MoneyFair on Eventbrite. Our Facebook video promotions were viewed 4,500 times. We had 7,000 in reach and numerous likes, shares, and engagements. Over 580 people opened our MoneyFair newsletters and clicked on event links 56 times.

Crowds and activities from MoneyFair

The MoneyFair Mission

At the heart of MoneyFair is a desire to help Charleston residents learn to invest in themselves and their financial futures. It’s a mission that aligns with Increasing Hope’s mission – creating financial freedom for families in South Carolina.

Through education, we are helping people experience financial freedom. We could not do it without our sponsors. Our premier sponsor, South State Bank, and other businesses such as PNC, Pinnacle, South Carolina Federal Bank, BB&T, TD Bank, Woodforest National Bank, and SunTrust, provided the resources to make this event a reality. By partnering with us, our sponsors provided a gateway for financial education to reach the Charleston community.

Crowds and activities at MoneyFair

Join Our Mission?

Would you consider partnering with us? Giving to Increasing Hope means giving a chance to families in our community to experience true financial freedom. Learn more about our classes and our impact to the community here. And if you want to be a part of that impact, give us a call!

Financial Literacy Month: 5 Steps to Take Now to Master Financial Freedom

Are You Financially Free?

Americans have more than $3 trillion in consumer debt, according to the Federal Reserve. Do you have the money management skills needed to be financially free? April is Financial Literacy Month and as the statistics suggest, money management, or financial capability, is sorely needed. Nearly 28 percent of adults do not pay their bills on time and more than 65% do not have a budget.

Do you have what it takes to master your financially capability? To break free from the burden and weight of debt and money insecurities, Increasing Hope can provide the knowledge and tools you need. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’ve listed our top 5 financial capability skills you need to get on track and save yourself from becoming one of the statistics.

1. You Need a Starting point

To make any progress, you have to know where you’re starting. Take an honest look at your finances. Add up your assets (what you own) and add up your liabilities (what you owe). Subtract your liabilities from your assets and you have your personal net worth. Schwab MoneyWise explains, “if your net worth is low or in the red, you’ll need to work on saving more and spending less. To watch your progress, calculate your net worth now and recalculate it once or twice a year.”

To set up your personal net worth statement, Schwab MoneyWise recommends creating a simple checklist following these steps:

  • List your assets.Include items such as:
    • Money in your bank accounts
    • Value of your investment accounts
    • Your car
    • Market value of your home
    • Business interests
    • Personal property, such as jewelry, art, and furniture
    • Cash value of any insurance policies
  • List your liabilities.Include items such as:
    • Mortgage
    • Car loan
    • Credit card balance
    • Student loans
  • Subtract your liabilities from your assets to determine your personal net worth.

They also have a useful net worth worksheet. Once you have a starting point, you can set goals to move forward. If you are in the red, or if you owe more than you own, the following steps will help you get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.

2. You Need a Budget

You’ve determined your starting point and faced your finances head-on. Now, let’s set up a budget to move forward. With a simple budget, you take back control over how your money is spent. You will become empowered with basic plans for the future and overjoyed when you see progress in your personal net worth.

Bank of America’s blog, Better Money Habits in partnership with Khan Academy, outlines these simple steps to setting up an effective budget:

  • Note your net income.This is your take-home after taxes. The foundation of your budget, understanding how much you bring home every month is the very first step in building your financial plan for the month. Be honest and take away any automatic deductions from your paycheck to get your actual take-home pay.
  • Track your spending.Start by listing your fixed expenses – mortgage, car payment, insurance – which are those payments that do not fluctuate. Then, list your variable expenses such as groceries, utilities, spending. Your variable expenses are where most of your cut-backs will take place. Many banking websites offer free tools to track spending and a lot of apps will do the trick as well. You can pay for programs to help or simply use pen and paper.
  • Set your goals.These include short-term and long-term goals. They recommend keeping your short-term goals to under a year. Some short-term goals could include reducing credit card debt, building up an emergency fund, and improving your credit. Long-term goals are those that will take more than a year to many years down the road. From retirement, college saving funds, or paying off your mortgage, these goals are not immediately tangible, but you need to start planning for them now to achieve them in the future. Knowing your goals, you can set up marks that you are working to achieve and puts your family on the same page with your finances.
  • Make a plan.Using the lists of fixed and variable expenses, make a plan for your upcoming expenses. Look through your variable expenses and determine what is a need and a want. The “want” category is the best place to start in reducing your monthly spending. Remember, if your personal net worth or net income is in the red, you need to cut back your spending. Starting with your variable expenses is the simplest place to start.
  • Adjust your habits if necessary.If you find you’ve cut back as much as you can on spending, but you are still in the red, it’s time to consider how you can reduce your fixed expenses. “On close inspection a ‘need’ may just be a ‘hard to part with,’” according to the article. If you can move into a smaller house or drive a less expensive car, for example, these are hard sacrifices to make, but will help you in the long run achieve financial freedom.

Keep checking in.After you’ve created your budget and made the first steps toward your financial goals, make sure to go back on a regular basis to review your budget. You will need to adjust your budget as your spending patterns change and as your priorities change. Checking on your budget will also let you know if you’re meeting you goals and keep them fresh in mind, which is important as you go through the spending cut-backs.

3. You Need an Emergency Fund

The next step in financial freedom is setting up an emergency fund. When unplanned expenses come up or hardships arise, you need savings that you can tap into to save you from building up a credit card balance. The key to the emergency fund is to keep it separate from your checking account so you aren’t tempted to spend the money. If you are working to pay down credit card debt, use some of that money to build up an emergency fund. After all, what is the point of paying off a credit card if you’ll have to use it again in an emergency because you have no savings? The rule of thumb for an emergency fund is to have enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. If you lose your job or a spouse is in the hospital, you need money to fall back on and stay out of debt.

Image on concept of saving money for education

4. You Need to Increase Your Income

The most basic way to increase your net income is to be promoted or to start a new job offering higher pay. This is of course easier said than done. However, you can take steps today to meet this goal in the future. Research ways to develop skills and improve your employability. Along with looking for areas to move up in your job, work on those skills that are highly sought-after by employers. Monster lists 7 work skillsthat stand out to employers in 2018: problem solving, data analytics, social media literacy, creativity, resiliency, good business sense, and willingness to learn. Spend time to determine your biggest strengths and look for ways to capitalize on those. Read up on the latest books on management and business, follow blogs and sign up for newsletters from the leaders in your industry and business moguls, and continuously build upon your knowledge and skills.

You can also set up side gigs that will help bring in extra money every month. With the internet and the amount of free resources in the world today, setting up a side hustle is easier than ever. Millennial Money Man blog lists 7 side hustlesyou can start this year to earn extra money. And here are 15 more from Forbes. Invest your time in doing the research today and you can see some more income tomorrow.

5. You Need to Plan for the Long Term

Financial freedom is long-term. To master financial capability and gain independence from debt, you have to think long term while also acting today. Long-term financial planning includes retirement funds, college saving funds for your children, home ownership, life insurance and estate planning, among other things. You also want to plan for fun! Do you want to travel? Own a vacation home on the beach? Visit your grandkids as often as you like? With long-term planning, you can do the hard work and make sacrifices today to ensure you have a secure future.

When working toward financial freedom, understanding every step can be overwhelming. The important thing is you are taking the steps to move forward. At Increasing Hope, we have the resources and passion to get you financially free. From training courses, bootcamps, and events to educate and inspire you, Increasing Hope can help you. As a non-profit financial training center, we care about helping every member of our community and provide courses on a sliding scale. Let’s do this and together we can build your financial capabilities today!

Avoid Penalties, File Your Taxes on Time Plus 10 Ideas for Your Tax Return

file taxes

To avoid hefty fees and bad credit, it pays to file

your taxes on time

Tax Day is April 17, just a month away. If you are smart you have already filed your taxes, or you are in the process of preparing them to be filed. You should avoid filing late. If you owe money on your taxes and don’t file by the April 17 deadline, you will be charged a failure-to-file penalty by the IRS which is normally 5% of the unpaid taxes. You will be charged the 5% late fee every month your taxes are not paid, up to 25 percent of your total amount due.

If you do not pay the full amount of taxes that you owe by Tax Day deadline, you will also be charged a failure-to-pay penalty of .5-1% of your unpaid taxes. The maximum amount of penalty fees you can be charged is 5 percent. However, your fees accrue interest as well. So, every month you fail to file and pay your taxes, you are adding to your balance due.

Say you owe $1,000 in taxes this year. If you don’t file your taxes by the deadline, you will be charged 5% penalty fee which is $50 (1,000 x .05 = 50). Your balance due then becomes $1,050. If you do not file your taxes a month later, you will be charged another 5% which is $52.50 (1,050 x .05). The interest will accrue and be added to your principle every month up to $250 (1,000 x .25).

The same example applies if you file but fail to pay by the deadline. You will be charged .5 to 1% every month, with interest accruing on your fees. For more information on penalties, view this IRS fact sheet. Worse, if you fail to pay for an extended time, the IRS can file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. This public record lets creditors know they have priority to your property. This can have major repercussions on your credit score.

You have tax options

You still have time to file and you have options if you cannot pay all of your taxes now. The best option if you need help is to contact the IRS. They will work with you and paying what you can now is a far better choice than doing nothing. Most people can file for free with IRS Free File. The irs.gov website also offers tools and advice to get your taxes filed on time.

If you aren’t able to file your taxes on time, file for a free extension by April 17. You will then have until October 15, 2018 to file. Note, you still have to pay 90% of your taxes due with your extension request. The remaining taxes you owe are due by the October 15 deadline. If you can’t pay now, you can apply for a payment plan. The IRS also has options for people who are unable to meet payments. Check out their website and contact them for options.

refund calculation

Make the Most of your Refund

You worked hard for your refund now let your money work for you. Using your money wisely now will pay off down the road. A post by the Intuit Mint blog lists the 10 best ways to use your tax return. Here are their ideas, straight from the post:

  1. Pay down existing debt
  2. Build your emergency fund.
  3. Fund your individual retirement account
  4. Invest
  5. Consider buying flood insurance or increasing liability coverage
  6. Start a savings account for something big
  7. Make home improvements
  8. Donate to charity
  9. Replace an inefficient appliance
  10. Invest in yourself

Increasing HOPE has a passion to promote financial freedom for families through education and training. Your federal taxes are a small part of a big financial picture. If you need help understanding the big picture, contact us and let’s get started on your path to financial emp

Celebrating A Decade of H.O.P.E.

Celebrating 10 Years of Service

Increasing H.O.P.E (Helping Others Prosper Economically) is celebrating its 10th year of serving the community, and we are please to invite you to celebrate a Decade of H.O.P.E and Community Impact with us.

Celebratory Event and Fundraiser

This event and fundraiser will celebrate our 10 years of serving the community and we’re honored to have WCBD-TV News Anchor, Carolyn Murray as our Master of Ceremony, along with a special Guest Speaker!

  • Date: Thursday 23 April, 2015
  • Time: 6:30pm
  • Venue: Rue de Jean, 39 John Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (Map)
  • Tickets: $50 – purchase at adecadeofhope.eventbrite.com or by calling 843-906-3981
  • More information: Anniversary Flyer

This event will include cocktail’s, hor d’oeuvres, and a silent auction.

Sponsorship packages are available for purchase, please contact the event organizer for details. All proceeds will go to Increasing H.O.P.E.

H.E.R Institute

HER-Logo-OPT (2)


Are you ready to become independent and build a life for you and your family?

Do you want to use your entrepreneurial skills to do it?

Let H.E.R. Institute help you!

Whether you are a licensed cosmetologist, massage therapist, home health care provider, wedding planner, photographer or work-from-home artist, small business education is the key to your independence! Learning business basics will help you to create a solid, profitable business you and your family can not only be proud of, but rely on for years to come.

H.E.R. Institute is committed to providing you with the money management principles and small business education that will position you for success! This comprehensive small business training program covers all of the following:

*Personal Development & The Entrepreneurial Mindset

*  Business Development & Licensing

*  Sales & Marketing

*  Personal & Business Financial Management

* Customer Service

*  Personnel & Human Resource Development

*  And more!

You’ll have everything you need within this one program to start, manage and grow a successful small business! Whether you are working from home or have a stand-alone location, you will be equipped for long-term success in the marketplace. And, most importantly, you won’t have to dedicate a lot of time to your preparation!

This 6-month intensive training program offers you the flexibility you need to learn and complete your course work quickly, while still taking care of your responsibilities at home.

You will have:

*  (12) Small Business Training classes presented in-person only twice per month

*  (6) Live group coaching sessions conveniently presented twice per month via teleseminar w/ downloads for later review

* (3) One-on-One accountability sessions at Month 2, Month 4 and Month 6

If your desire is to take the dream you currently have and build a business that will transform your life and change your current circumstances, H.E.R. Institute is a perfect fit for you.

We’re here to help you stand on your own and provide for your household using the skills you have already gained. It’s time to declare your independence!

To enroll today, click here.

Money Fair 2014

Join us for Charleston’s Largest Financial Services Events!

More than 300 local residents of Charleston and the surrounding areas will attend Money Fair `14, and they will be looking for information to help them work toward financial freedom.

Attendee Registration

[button link=”http://www.eventbrite.com/o/increasing-hope-financial-training-center-2783297650?s=22889283″ bg_color=”#006600″]Register Now[/button]

About the Event

Sponsored by PNC BankMoney Fair 2014 is an educational fair dedicated to helping Charleston residents learn to invest in themselves and their financial futures. In this half-day community fair, we will offer classes, vendors, and products, all centered on creating financial freedom! And, this year, we have partnered with the Community Connection Center (C3) to provide job preparation and training for attendees – and hiring companies will be on-site interviewing job applicants!

  • Date: Thursday, April 24th, 2014
  • Time: 3PM – 7PM
  • Location: Miller Motte Technical, 8085 Rivers Ave North Charleston, SC 29406
  • Attendee Cost: Free

Become a Vendor at Money Fair 2014

We would like to extend to you an invitation to be a  sponsor or vendor at this year’s Money Fair! As a vendor at Money Fair 2014 with only a $50 investment you will receive:

  • The opportunity to reach more than 300 individuals in your target market with your products and services and position yourself in front of a variety of local financial service providers, employment agencies and small businesses
  • Increased exposure and visibility in the local community through generous media attention, highlights on our social media profiles (including Facebook and Twitter) and targeted face-to-face interaction with ideal clients.


Secure Merchant Account Credit Card Processing.Merchant Account

Secure Merchant Account Credit Card Processing.Merchant Account

Thrifty Friday Night

Tonight is Fashion’s Night Out and, while many Columbia women love the new fall fashions, the deep rich shades, the faux furs and jewel tones, their budgets simply do not allow for much luxury spending. In tough economic times when one of every seven adults is receiving assistance with groceries, everyone appreciates that reality. So, for the very thrifty local fashionista, there is a very inexpensive way to have a night out and to find excellent deals for only one dollar. There is no punch and cookies, but a diet Pepsi is fine if your total bill for a new pair of jeans, a new sweater or a new dress is $1.00. That’s all it takes to go shopping at Goodwill on Thursday, Friday, and through the weekend.Goodwill Industries International of Columbia has a half price savings corner filled with racks most days and one dollar racks beginning on Thursday. There are many Goodwill thrift stores in Columbia. Just enter your zip code to in the box where it says, “Find Your Local Goodwills.”

The one dollar racks are crammed with tanks, tops, knits, tees, beaded tops, sweaters, suits, skirts, dresses, jeans, trousers, leggings, and much more. There are almost always a few pieces of negligee and formals (lots of formals, bridesmaid gowns and gorgeous brand new wedding gowns this week). It’s a great way to spend an hour or two, and hidden treasures are sure to show up. It wouldn’t be surprising if you met people you know there taking advantage of the bargains too. The sale racks usually drop to fifty cents on Sunday for even better fashion fishing.

The dollar racks can also help thrifty fashion shoppers earn a little extra money by purchasing name brand clothing in mint condition, such as Jones New York Sport, Polo by Ralph Lauren and Bill Blass and reselling them on eBay or at your local consignment shop for much more than you paid. Some items are actually donated brand new and have store price tags attached. These are perfectly good for gifting throughout the year.

Goodwill’s stated mission is: “Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.

Every person has the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential and participate in and contribute to all aspects of life.

We treat all people with dignity and respect. We honor our heritage by being socially, financially and environmentally responsible. We strive to meet the highest ethical standards We challenge each other to strive for excellence and to continually learn. We embrace continuous improvement, bold creativity and change.”

Manage Your Money

Title: Manage Your Money
Location: Financial Training Center
Start Time: 18:30:00
Date: 2012-03-15
End Time: 20:30:00

Money Mindset

Title: Money Mindset
Location: Finanacial Training Center
Start Time: 18:30:00
Date: 2012-03-08
End Time: 20:30:00

To Your Credit

Title: To Your Credit
Location: Financial Training Center
Start Time: 18:30:00
Date: 2012-03-10
End Time: 20:30:00