Entries by Emily Hickox

, ,

The Racial Wealth Gap – Turning Shortage into Abundance

History tells us that differences in wealth exist between varying ethnic or racial groups and the racial wealth gap has been looming over us for centuries.  The term “racial wealth gap” refers to the difference in assets owned by various racial or ethnic groups, which results from a range of factors that affect the overall economic well-being of these different groups.

Evading and Escaping the Credit Card Trap

When used responsibly, credit cards can be very convenient and useful financial management tools. The various perks, including travel rewards, are hard to ignore; and the cash back rewards are truly free money! Credit cards also offer excellent security and protection against fraud.


Board Member Spotlight – Joyce Odongo

We are pleased to introduce you to one of our outstanding board members, Joyce Odongo! Joyce is the Florida Community Development Officer for Bank OZK, a large regional bank concentrated in the southern U.S., with more than 200 branches in five states: Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Joyce has more than 20 years […]


Mortgage Types

If you’re searching for a house, there’s a good chance you might also be searching for a mortgage. With so many choices, it’s hard to know which mortgage type is right for you. A variety of factors will impact which mortgage type to choose, including, but not limited to, the property price, type, and location, […]


Affordable Summer Fun

Every summer brings the challenge of trying to cram as much fun into two months as possible without depleting your bank account.  Summer of 2021 promises to be much better than 2020 as CDC guidelines are relaxed and traditional events and activities are returning to our communities. Traveling, attending events and throwing backyard parties all […]

Navigating the Home Loan Process

So, you’re ready to buy your first home? Wonderful! When done right, home ownership can be a truly rewarding and financially beneficial experience. Owning a home provides flexibility, stability, and freedom that renting cannot match. Still, the home buying process can be intimidating, especially in a housing market where prices keep going up and where […]

Keys Unlock Dreams Initiative

Interview with Laurie Benner, Associate Vice President of Programs We interviewed CCCSMD Board Member Laurie Benner, of National Fair Housing Alliance, on her involvement in a new initiative, Keys Unlock Dreams. What is the Keys Unlock Dreams initiative and what is your role in the program? The Keys Unlock Dreams initiative is a three-year, 10-city […]

Bankruptcy 101

When facing a financial crisis, you can easily get overwhelmed sorting through all your available options. Besides paying down balances on your own, there are other solutions to take control of your debt. Some of these include debt consolidation loans, debt management plans and debt settlement. Usually, bankruptcy is an option that’s considered a last […]

Finding Hope in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has become a condemning word that elicits fear, confusion, shame and many more negative emotions. Movies and media help reinforce these emotional responses and add to the already negative stigma this term carries, which often causes people to take great lengths to keep it a secret. If you can put aside all the negative […]

Board Member Spotlight – Laurie Benner

We’d like to introduce to one of our amazing Board Members, Laurie Benner! As Associate Vice President of Programs for the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Laurie Benner is responsible for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating innovative national programs designed to advance research, programs, and policies that provide equitable access to homeownership, housing, economic, and […]

, ,

Spring Cleaning and Financial Health

As the weather warms up, the days get longer, we are spending more time outside with friends and family, caring for our yard and cars as well as the exterior features of our home.  Some of us also find ourselves cleaning more inside this time of year, as this season tends to spark motivation to […]

Demystifying the Amortization Schedule

Amortization. It can be a daunting word, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. When it comes to mortgages, amortization refers to a debt being paid down with fixed monthly payments over a fixed period of time. A typical home loan is made up of two components, principal and interest. The principal amount of […]


Fair Housing

CCCSMD, a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency, supports and promotes Fair Housing and Housing Discrimination education. As the new year approaches, many people may be ready to make homeownership their New Year’s Resolution and others may be preparing to sign new rental agreements or lease renewals. Before embarking on these endeavors, it is important to know […]

Saving Money through Meal Planning

For many people, food can be the hardest line item in their budget to manage.  One of the most common money saving tips for food is meal planning.  However, the thought of meal planning may be overwhelming, especially if you typically live a fast paced, busy life.  If you have school aged children involved in […]

Credit Card Debt and the Myths to Consider

Have you ever noticed how frequently you receive credit card offers? They may come in the mail, through email, or when you make a purchase with online retailers.  Often, these solicitations will say that you are pre-approved and that your purchase would be worth so much more, either in savings or rewards, if you open […]