Even in the best of times, making New Year’s resolutions can be pretty daunting, and once made, they are often hard to stick to. So when it comes to setting financial goals after the very challenging economic year of 2020, many of us are not sure where to start, and wonder if we can find help for reaching our goals.
The good news is yes, there is help! In fact, many organizations are devoted to helping Mainers achieve their financial goals. Such help is useful for anyone, but has a special meaning for immigrants, who have left everything behind. Here is a small sampling of organizations that can help:
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. has two programs – Start Smart and Women’s Business Center – that offer a wide range of support and services for business people and entrepreneurs, particularly for those who traditionally have experienced gaps in service. Visit Women’s Business Center or StartSmart programs for a full range of support services. (https://www.ceimaine.org)
New Ventures Maine helps people all over the state strike out in new directions by offering tuition-free programs for career, business, and financial education. Their extensive catalogue of virtual options helps Mainers succeed in the changing economy and achieve economic security for themselves and their families. (https://www.newventuresmaine.org)
ProsperityME offers a variety of ways to support pathways to prosperity – financial education, career and business development, housing assistance, or higher education scholarships. At ProsperityME, one can learn how money works in the United States, and how to set financial goals, build credit, and save for the future. They also offer individual financial counseling. (https://www.prosperityme.org)
Some organizations offer “Matched Savings Accounts,” often known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). These allow individuals and families to save and generate money toward a specific savings goal. Match levels vary, but generally the organization doubles or triples whatever amount the individual is able to save. For the most part, IDAs are designed to be used for investments that improve one’s long term financial stability and prosperity, such as saving money for a downpayment on a first home, or paying off higher education debt. Of course, enrollees must meet IDA eligibility requirements. In Maine, CEI and New Ventures offer the largest share of IDAs.