Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of our most frequently asked questions here

Q: How do I know if I am eligible for CFC services?

A: CFC services are all income inclusive, meaning there is no minimum or maximum a person should make annually to qualify.  

Q: How does the CFC process work, is this just a one-time meeting? Or can I schedule follow-up meetings?

A: The process is fairly easy.  After scheduling your appointment you meet with a financial manager where your financial portfolio is created.  From your unique situation the amount of meetings are determined on your specific financial goals and needs established between your financial manager and yourself.  There are some clients who meet only once and others who meet more frequently. Whatever the frequency you choose we can help you plan for and establish financial security through our one on one personalized service.

Q: How do I know if I am EITC eligible?

A: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a financial boost for people working hard to make ends meet. Millions of workers may qualify for the first time this year due to changes in their marital, parental or financial status. The IRS urges workers, self-employed people and farmers earning $51,567 or less in 2013 to see if they qualify by using the EITC Assistant on IRS.gov. To get the credit taxpayers need to file a return and specifically claim the EITC, even if they aren’t required to file.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit. This means taxpayers may get money back, even if they have no tax withheld. Nationwide last year, over 27 million eligible individuals and families received more than $63 billion in EITC. Many special rules apply to the EITC, so taxpayers should review the rules carefully, even when paying someone else to prepare their returns. Most people who qualify for the EITC also qualify for free tax preparation through the IRS Free File program, or at a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) site staffed by IRS trained community volunteers.

Reference: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-Do-I-Qualify

Q: What does "under banked" mean?

A: Under banked can refer to an individual or business that heavily relies on checks and cash as a mean of funding rather than bank related methods such as credit cards or loans.

Reference: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/u/underbanked.asp

Q: What is a good credit score/ What is a bad credit score?

A: Excellent credit scores: 720 and Up - Credit scores in this range will open up the best interest rates and repayment terms for loans.

Good credit score: 680 to 719 - A credit report score in the 680-and-up range is good news for you. You can still get decent terms from lenders, although not as nice as those offered to borrowers with truly excellent credit scores. 

Average credit score: 620 to 679 -This is the absolute minimum credit score you can carry and still get fair mortgage terms. Smaller-ticket items that require financing are doable in this range, which is several notches below a good credit score. However, you'll be better served by reviewing your credit history report and taking steps to improve your credit score

Poor credit score: 580 to 619 - Although you won't necessarily have any problems getting loans with a credit report score in the high-500 to low-600 range, you'll get those loans on lenders' terms. Be ready for higher interest rates, and expect finance charges that will hit you right in the wallet. The good news is that you can build your credit score from here by monitoring your credit reports and by being responsible with your finances. Note that this range is also the lowest workable credit score range if you're shopping for auto financing.

Bad credit score: 500 to 579 - If your credit falls somewhere in this credit score range, financing terms will cost you big-time. For long-term loans, such as a 30-year mortgage, expect to see interest rates that are at least three percent higher than interest rates awarded to borrowers with good credit. For shorter-term loans, like a 36-month auto loan, the effects of your bad credit score are even more pronounced. Expect interest rates almost double those offered to consumers with good credit scores.

Less than desired credit score: Less than 500 - At this point, your credit score is so bad that getting any type of financing is almost impossible. If you can get loans, they'll carry nearly punitive interest rates. If your credit report score is below 500, it's time for action. 

Reference: http://www.freescore.com/good-bad-credit-score-range.aspx

Q: Do I get to choose my budget?

A: Your budget is your budget, the financial manager helps you create a budget based on your unique situation.

Q: Privacy Concerns/ Confidentiality - What if I don’t feel comfortable sharing my social security number or general financial history/records?

A: No personal identifying information of clients shall be shared with any third parties without the individual client’s consent. Data that contains no personal identifying information, may be combined with data provided by other persons receiving counseling and shared with third parties for the purposes of conducting academic or statistical analysis. These data will not be sold or used for any commercial purpose.

Q: What is financial planning?

A: Financial planning is about developing strategies to help you manage your financial affairs and meet your life goals – and the first step is to make sure you have access to the right advice. If you could achieve your financial goals by simply putting money away in the bank, you wouldn't need a financial plan.

Reference: http://fpa.com.au/why-a-financial-planner/

Q: Are drop-in appointments available?

A: Drop-in appointments are not technically available.  But we do offer same day appointments.  To reserve your same day appointment time- please call 2-1-1 and an associate will set up your appointment.

Q: What if I don’t see the service I need?

A: If you do not see the exact service you need, that doesn’t mean we may not offer it. Please bring your question to your first meeting with the CFC manager, or call 2-1-1 and ask your question. Or, you can submit your question in the comments box under the “talk to us” page.

Q: Do I have to pay for this service?

A: We offer free services to EITC eligible recipients.  We also partner with employers who want to bring the service to their employees.   For example we have a current contract with the Cleveland Public Library and offer Financial Planning services exclusively to their employees. 

Q: In filling out a request for more information form, should I choose only one service?

A: We offer many services and understand how choosing just one may not fit the needs of your unique situation.  In filling out a service request form we suggest that you choose the first most important service and enter your additional interest in the comments box.

Ready to talk? We are here to help you. Click here to schedule an appointment with our managers.