We live in the era of billion-dollar startups and celebrities flaunting the lifestyle of the 1 percent.
There’s an illusion that money comes easily and is simply a matter of striking it big. We have lost sight of the basics of how to build wealth, especially for those who are the most financially insecure.
Years ago, we established the New Community Federal Credit Union with the goal of serving low to moderate income individuals who were struggling to make ends meet. Our mission is to reach residents, including members of minority communities, who find themselves beyond the reach of banks and mainstream credit unions. Our target audience includes some of the hardest to reach populations, including recent immigrants and people with disabilities, among others.
Let me be clear, there are no get rich quick schemes. Our credit union members are building wealth the old-fashioned way—by opening checking and savings accounts, taking out home improvement loans and participating in free counseling on topics such as credit repair, financial education and budgeting, foreclosure prevention and more.
We are constantly looking for ways to serve the changing needs of our community. In an exciting new development, the New Community Workforce Development Center has been selected as one of two agencies to operate a Financial Opportunity Center, funded by the Nicholson Foundation with support from Greater Newark LISC and others. The Financial Opportunity Center, located at 274 South Orange Ave. in Newark, helps families boost their earnings, reduce expenses and make sound financial decisions that lead to asset building through an integrated service model approach.
The model includes financial coaching and literacy plus public benefits screening and career services. Our robust job training programs—such as allied health, automotive technician and building trades—are components of the integrated model approach and helps people to earn money, save and plan for a fiscally sound future.
A crucial part of this initiative is our credit union, which highlights the Financial Opportunity Center as a real one-stop shop. The NCFCU will provide in-depth financial literacy workshops, among myriad other financial products, to clients of the FOC. Building wealth is not only about rolling up your sleeves. It involves patience and education as well as hard work.