What is Financial Empowerment?

Financial empowerment is possessing the knowledge and ability to make choices and take desired actions that improve one’s financial wellbeing.

What is financial coaching?

Based on a review of more than two dozen programs nationally, financial coaching:

  1. Focuses on improving long-term financial behavior;
  2. Facilitates clients to set and achieve financial goals largely on their own;
  3. Helps clients practice new behaviors and monitors those behaviors over time; and
  4. Targets clients with a minimum level of financial skills and experience.

(Information is from the Center for Financial Security of the University of Wisconsin)

How can I sign up for free financial coaching from the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment?

The first step is to attend an Orientation. You can visit our Calendar for times of sessions or these times do not work for you, please call 617.541.2670 and we will try to work with your schedule.

Can you help me find a job?

Yes, our staff at the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment can help you prepare a resume, work with you on interviewing skills, and assist with written and online job applications. We also offer workshops in Roxbury that assist with the job search process (see links to workshops offered by our partners, as well). The final results depend on you but we are happy to help!

Can I print my resume and cover letter in one of your offices?

Yes, the Roxbury Center has a full array of computers, printers, and Internet access. We also have a fax machine you can use if you need to send a fax to an employer.

How do I open a checking account and what is the best account for me?

We can’t decide what the best checking account is for your needs but here are some things to consider:

To open a bank account, you will generally need to provide identification and a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

There are two types of accounts that you may open:

  • Checking accounts allow for easy access to your money to pay bills and make purchases. Most banks charge a monthly fee for a checking account. When opening a checking account, make sure to compare banks and ask about fees. It may be possible to negotiate for lower fees, particularly if you are employed and can sign up for direct deposit of your pay check. Be sure to inquire about the locations of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to determine if they are near your home or work.
  • Savings accounts allow you to save your money and earn interest. Again, be sure to compare interest rates, fees, and rules regarding minimum balances at different banking institutions.

There are many banks in the Boston area that are well known and that have branches in locations that will be convenient to your home or work.

How can I submit a complaint about a bank, credit report, or other financial services to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

The CFPB will forward your complaint to the company and work to get a response from them. File a complaint

What is the ONLY official government website where I can get my annual free credit report?

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1.877.322.8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

What are my rights if I am being harassed by debt collectors?

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Regulations prohibit many unfair debt collection practices by creditors, and regulations of the Massachusetts Division of Banks, prohibit unfair debt collection practices by debt collection agencies. Visit the Attorney General’s website for more information.

Where can I find resources and advice about declaring bankruptcy? What are the costs and benefits of bankruptcy?

There are a number of helpful resources you should consult before declaring bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will affect your future credit and your reputation, so you should consider various pros and cons before you decide in bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Check out these resources:

Massachusetts Law about Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Basics from the U.S. Federal Courts

Filing for Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

I’ve been the victim of fraud or identity theft. What should I do?

The FTC provides helpful information on its website about recovering from identity theft.

In addition, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office may be able to help you with specific situations. You can contact their office at 617.727.8400.

How can I find a lawyer?

We cannot recommend a lawyer but the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office provides contact information for organizations that provide legal referrals and free legal services for qualifying low-income individuals.

Where can I go to receive free tax assistance?

Please visit the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s 2016 Tax Sites to learn which tax site is most convenient to your home or office. Note that this page will not be fully updated until December 2015.

Can my tax returns be filed electronically from one of your tax sites?

Yes, you will need to bring the routing and account number from your financial institution. Learn more about what to bring to the tax site

How can I volunteer at the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, the South Boston Resource Center, or with the Boston Tax Help Coalition?

Those interested in volunteering should contact Kimberly Sobrinho at Kimberly.Sobrinho@Boston.gov or call 617.918.5360.  If you are specifically interested in working with taxpayers, please visit the Boston tax Help Coalition’s Volunteer Positions to learn more.

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