City offering 10-month financial course for free

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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Beginning next month, Virginia Beach and Norfolk residents can attend close to a year’s worth of financial classes on savings strategies, insurance and more for the low price of nothing.

The City’s “Bank On Virginia Beach” classes, which begin Sept. 1, are free and open to the public. Bank On‘s classes assist people in many different financial scenarios, from 18-year-olds pining to plan their financial future, to residents past their 70s aiming to spread their income in smart ways.

“All through our lives we have different transitions, and Bank On is a great time to work through those transitions and establish a good, sound financial plan to move forward,” Lori Irwin, Bank On’s financial empowerment coordinator, said in a phone interview.

In 2014, Virginia Beach’s largest demographic was residents between the ages of 18 and 34. This group accounted for roughly 121,000 of the total Virginia Beach population of 451,000, according to a recent presentation by contractors for the City’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.  

The millennials who’ve attended courses in the past sought guidance to avoid financial pitfalls and build credit, Irwin said. Others who attend are transitioning to retirement or navigating expenses on a fixed income. Still others need assistance with credit challenges they face mid-career and some encounter unexpected occurrences, like caring for older family members. Bank On is for all of them, Irwin said.

The enrollment includes monthly classes and monthly meetings with a personal finance coach. Attendees will learn strategies for overcoming paycheck-to-paycheck living and build a tailored financial plan, according to the course description. Bank On is primarily volunteer-run, with the exception of Irwin’s role.

The educators are a mix of course graduates who’ve completed the program, financial professionals who work in the field and financially well volunteers who would like to set others on the same path, Irwin said.

Classes will meet once a month for 10 months at the following times and locations:

  • Williams Farm Recreation Center, 5252 Learning Circle

Every First Tuesday, 6:30-8 p.m., beginning Sept. 6

  • Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd.

Every Second Thursday, 6:30-8 p.m., beginning Sept. 8

  • Oceanfront Area Library, 700 Virginia Beach Blvd.

Every Third Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 17

To increase access, Bank On will offer two online classes:

  • Virtual Lunch WebEx

Every First Friday, noon to 1 p.m., beginning Sept. 2

  • Virtual Evening WebEx

Every Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 to 8 p.m., beginning Sept. 27

Courses will also be offered in Norfolk at the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, 800 Tidewater Dr., on the first Thursday of every month beginning on Sept. 1. Registration can be done here, or by calling Lori Irwin, financial empowerment coordinator, at 757-385-3551.

Mayor Will Sessoms issued an action challenge in 2010, which included a financial leg, “500 Families Financially Fit for the Future.” Bank On was created as part of the financial leg and launched in 2012, according to Irvin. Since then, more than 1,300 people have enrolled in the classes.

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