Keys to Financial Stability

How do you define being ‘financially ahead’?

We believe that knowing where you want to end up on your financial journey is a step you cannot skip. Here’s some old wisdom:  if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

And it’s a conversation most of us need to have.

Nationally 50% of Americans report feeling insecure financially.
80% of us have less than a month-worth of savings.

Figuring your journey’s ultimate destination is perhaps one of the toughest steps we must take. And, of course, it can – and it will – change with life’s many changes and adventures. So, it’s a question we must ask ourselves when we’ve reached our goals or when life throws at us an unexpected opportunity – or challenge.

And it’s the first of four steps you may want to consider during April which happens to be Financial Literacy Month.

Step 1: Imagine It.

To start you off on the big question, read Michelle Signatory column on the topic. (She was our inspiration for this first step).

Write it down. Talk it over with your loved ones and even your friends. Depending on who you are, your goals may be ambitious or conservative. Are they realistic? You will have a better sense of what it will take to get where you want to go once you have a plan. Once you start putting numbers on paper you will have a better idea of how long it will take you to reach your financial destination.

In the next blog post we will share with you a financial model that was created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and which HUF uses called Center for Working Families.

The ideas are simple – but not necessarily easy: First you maximize your ability to generate income; second you keep as much of the money you make as possible; and third, you grow your money growing your assets.

The four steps to your financial journey are:

Step 1: Imagine It.

Step 2: Earn It.

Step 3: Keep It.

Step 4: Grow It.

Strap yourself in and let’s start this journey.plan - Copy

Step 1, you already know – take the time to imagine and plan where you want to go.

Stay tuned for the next installment.


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All Eyes on the Supreme Court

the-american-dream-tOn April 18th, eight members of the Supreme Court heard 90 minutes of oral arguments on what is known as DACA and DAPA.

The White House’s representatives argued in favor of expanding an already existing program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which gives temporary relief to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. We know them as Dreamers.

The second part of today’s Supreme Court argument was based on the implementation of DAPA, which would grant a reprieve from imminent deportation to  the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent resident children.

In both cases the relief would be temporary.

These individuals would be allowed to work and in most states to obtain a driver license.

But since we do NOT have immigration reform this relief can be reversed at any time by the President. This is what is called executive action but it is not law. Only Congress with the President’s signature on a bill can make immigration reform a reality.

By June 30th  the Justices will decide the fate of more than 5 million undocumented immigrants who would be impacted by this reprieve.

How did we get to the Supreme Court?

A lawsuit filed by Texas to stop the President from implementing DACA and DAPA.

Florida joined Texas in this lawsuit. Check out this blog for more background on the situation.

What do Americans think?

MOST Americans believe that deportation is NOT a realistic option.

A Pew Research Center Poll  underscored (again) how realistic and generous the American people can be.

72% of Americans said “undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in this country legally…”

That number increased to 76% in a more recent poll just last week.

What impact will DAPA and DACA have?

While the legal battle ensues, we must remember that these actions have a real human cost. A ruling against DAPA won’t just impact immigrant families; it’ll impact ALL families.

The immigration initiatives would improve the lives of American children and families, create jobs, expand the GDP and add billions to our tax coffers.

For Florida, implementing executive action will have a very strong positive impact on our state’s finances:

Taxes:  Additional $17 million in taxes for Florida

Cumulative increase in state GDP:   $9,426,000,000

Cumulative increases in earnings of all state residents: $6,226,000,000

Average annual number of jobs created:   1,180

Millions of families continue to live in legal limbo, in constant fear of separation, and without any certainty as to when they might be able to live without that fear. Millions of US citizen children will be directly impacted because their parents won’t be able to come forward for this temporary relief from deportation, support their families and contribute even more to our country.

The ultimate answer is for our elected officials to do what three quarters of Americans already support – find a way to legalize immigrants so they can continue to contribute to the prosperity of this great nation.

In the meantime, through executive action 5 million immigrant families could get a reprieve and for up to three years come out of the shadows.

Now we wait. If the decision is a split court amongst the eight judges, the current lower court decision stands. And 5 million people will remain in the shadows until Congress decides to address immigration, or until we have a ninth Justice or until we have a new president.

More uncertainty. More broken families. The American dream on hold.





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Fox Executive teaching English

Last year we received an email from someone who was moving to Fort Lauderdale and wanted to volunteer. Dermot McQuarrie

Thus begun our friendship with Dermot McQuarrie, a former Fox Sports executive (Executive Producer of Fox Sports Americas and General Manager for the Fox Soccer Channel.) He now runs his consultancy company from Fort Lauderdale. Dermot is originally from Scotland. He  has lived and worked around the world.

Dermot relocated from California where he volunteered at the Mecca Elementary school to help the children of the field workers improve their English language skills. He was hooked.

This week Dermot began a 10-week class with 10 HUF clients who are learning English. We purchased inexpensive tablets. The students are learning English on a web-based software called Duolingo. (Once the students learn the basics, we will transition them to our onsite English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL) class which is offered by Broward County Public Schools at HUF for the past 20+ years.)

20160229_182859This is what he had to say about his first class:

“I was delighted with our first night and the enthusiasm of the parents who attended. All of them have a little understanding of English and that’s good but more importantly is that they want to learn more. We have decided that once they walk in to the conference room we only speak English! – well unless there is something that they just can’t put over in English.

The first thing we went over was that there is no ‘verguenza’ in not being able to explain themselves in English and that ‘confidence’ is what we will also be learning. They are all delighted with that. I explained also that learning English will help them and also very importantly their children. All the students took to the course very well and actually one parent has it on her cell phone! Finally I want to say that I consider it a privilege and an honor to help the parents and thank you for allowing me to be part of this process.” 

In a world where fear appears to dominate our discourse and many are calling for the building of walls, it is wonderful to encounter someone who possess such generosity of spirit and respect for other human beings.

Dermot is such a person and, he is enthusiastic about a different engineering structure. He enjoys building bridges.

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Joan Alker asks: Why Does Florida Still Have one of the Highest Uninsured Rates for Kids?

Unity for kids 17 This from a recent study by Joan Alker who is the Executive Director at the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University on behalf of Florida Philanthropic Network:  “Florida’s child uninsured rate was 11.1% compared to a national average of 7.1% in 2013.”

“Florida has the highest uninsured rate for children in the Southeast and the 5th highest in the nation… Florida is one of 25 states that has not elected to use CHIP funding to cover lawfully residing immigrant children.”

What can be done?

Our state legislators could take action on SB 294 and HB 829

Below is an update on the bill and its implications from HUF partner, United Way of Broward County.

KidCare Five-Year Waiting Period For Legal Immigrant ChildrenUnity for kids 16
Immigrant children lawfully residing in Florida are required by state law to wait five years before they are eligible for KidCare. During those five years, many forego needed health care that could not only improve their quality of life, but help them succeed in school. The cost to the state for providing health care coverage to the projected 22,602 eligible children would be $4.8 million, while the federal government would pick up the rest of the tab ($41.5 million).

SB 294 and HB 829 would eliminate the waiting period, so sick children can see a doctor when needed. The Senate bill has already passed unanimously out of the Health Policy Committee and the Health and Human Service Appropriation Committee. Unfortunately, the House bill has not yet been heard.

Call or reach out to your representative today if this is an important issue to you.
Don’t know who she/he is?
Find your Senator here.
Find your House of Representative here.

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