Facebook Week in Review: 05/20/11

23 05 2011

May 16

Finding Balance within your Home – many homeowners choose to live in modest homes, allowing room in their budgets for traveling, etc. Others have slightly more expensive homes leaving less flexibility in their household budget for recreational activities. Achieve balance and stick to the budget.

TSP responds to the Federal Debt Limit and the Effect of the Suspension of Issuance of Treasury Securities to the Government Securities Investment (G) Fund.  https://www.tsp.gov/whatsnew/messages/specialMessage.shtml

May 17

Control spending and things will fall into place. You can start funding that Emergency Fund, save for retirement . . . . the possibilities are endless.

“Wherever you are or whatever your job, don’t be confused or diverted by false priorities. We have only one mission to perform—that is to fight and win. And, we must do it better than anyone else in the world.”– Lt. Gen. Leslie E. Brown. Continue the saving. Continue the wealth building. Step it up.

May 18

Several federal laws protect victims of identity theft. The FTC provides links and info regarding how to document the theft, deal with credit reporting companies/debt collectors/merchants and limiting your losses. If you have fallen victim, follow the steps to rectify the problem. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/rights.html

How can thee save…..let me count the ways. 66 to be exact.  http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/money/66ways/index.html

May 19

Some people use overdraft protection to withdraw “extra” funds from their bank. Banks allow customers, up to a certain amount, to withdraw extra funds. Fee for this service may cost $15. If you withdraw $200 more than what’s in your checking account, that $15 fee equals a 7.5% interest charge ($15 divided by $200). This is a higher interest rate than some mortgage loans! Save money, eliminate using overdrafts!

Sleep on it – before making any major purchases think about it overnight. Have a clear mind the next morning to complete your decision. You may be surprised by your decision to NOT spend your money.

May 20

Deploying soon? Get your financial house in order with Geico’s Pre-Deployment Checklist.  http://www.geico.com/public/pdf/military/geico_predeployment_checklist.pdf

TGIF savers! So you’ve saved money for a downpayment (woohoo) and now you’re looking to purchase your first home. Look into pre-purchase counseling through HUD for help on (1) the home-buying process, (2) the key players in the home buying process and (3) debt management. The goal is to create a better informed homebuyer.  http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=%2Fi_want_to%2Ftalk_to_a_housing_counselor

The State of Virginia debates personal finance course

17 05 2011

Why isn’t personal finance taught in school?  Is it really a major lack of funding concern or are there other unspoken of factors involved?  Could it be kids may end up learning more than their parents?  The end result being parents feeling intimidated by their children for their lack of financial literacy.  When the children start “teaching” money management to their parents, will parents embrace this newly found information? 

In a recent article published by The Washington Post, when Virginia officials decided students should have personal finance related courses, it was the Northern Virginia educators and parents protesting the idea.  They accused Richmond of “needless meddling in local academics, robbing busy students of a precious elective.”  However, the goal of such a course is to ensure high school students graduate knowing practical skills in the wake of the economic down-turn.  Further protests regarding the additional personal finance course include “one less opportunity to take an elective in a field that they really want to focus on”.

Many Virginia officials believe the course content should be molded into already set courses – such as math.  Students will then learn how to balance a checkbook and understand the laws of supply and demand. 

In the wake of protests, there is good news to this story.  At least three states require a finance course for high school graduation!  Those states include Utah, Missouri and Tennessee.  Maryland has no personal finance education requirements and professes it would cost $16 million to implement.

Financial educators are left fighting a losing battle.  Adverse parents do not want their children to lose free electives while school officials believe the course is much too costly to implement. 

During this global financial crisis, are educators prepared to teach personal finance?  Perhaps they themselves are struggling with their lack of financial knowledge?  Do they feel intimidated teaching such a course?  And parents, are they intimidated because they too are facing a financial hardship?  How can parents possibly teach their children when they are struggling with finances themselves?

It is essential for children to learn personal finance in school – these skills will shape their future when they go into the workforce and are dealing with the handling and managing of money on a daily basis.  Equally important is the initiative of parents familiar with and those that practice positive money management behavior.  It is up to these parents to teach their children financial literacy.  It seems clear that schools have a long way to go before financial education will be taught in the classroom.

Facebook Week in Review: 04/13/11

16 05 2011

May 9

Happy Monday Savers! Finding it hard sticking to your budget? Many do the first month trying. Stick with it – your money doesn’t control you, you control it. Step up, it’s go time! Let’s continue the saving!

Did you know? Roth IRAs have no Minimum Distribution requirement. On the flip side, Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) must be made on Traditional IRAs — meaning, you must begin withdrawing money by April 1 of the year following the year that you turn 70½. Just how much has to be withdrawn? Use Kiplinger’s RMD calculator to find out. http://www.kiplinger.com/php/ira/question.htm

May 10

Let’s play the numbers game. We’ve all seen it, co-workers spending money each day on lunch. How much do YOU save each week/month/year by packing your own lunch from home?

Did you know that you can transfer or roll over your traditional IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs or other eligible employer plans into your TSP account?

May 11

What does wealth mean to you? Everyone has their own definition of the word. Some may feel wealth is having paid off their mortgage. Others think wealth occurs by refusing to live paycheck to paycheck. Think about what wealth means to you and set goals to achieve it!

Many workers think they could save more than they are currently saving for retirement. 68% of savers and 48% of nonsavers say they think it is reasonably possible for them to save $25/week (or more) for retirement—Ebri 3/2011 Retirement Confidence Survey.

May 12

It takes under $3 per day to save up $1,000 by the end of the year! Save like a champion today! You can do it!

Watch the ATM fees. They can add up quickly.

May 13

Energy costs can really take a chunk out of your household’s budget. Visit the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s website for tips on how to save money and energy at home. In addition, see their section on rebates and tax credits. There is money to be saved here! What will you do with the savings.

Should we say HAPPY Friday the 13th? Many superstitions follow today – don’t let a black cat cross your path, stay away from ladders. Without further ado, let’s talk “money superstitions” – find a penny on heads, pick it up have good luck all day; an itchy palm means money is coming your way; on Jan. 1 be sure to eat greens and black-eyed peas to ensure prosperity for the coming year. Which ones have you heard?

You are Closer than You Think

12 05 2011

One year ago I read about a man overcoming the obstacle of finishing a mountain hike.  This story caught my attention and overall changed my way of thinking.  It motivated me!  I am changed! 

It was nearing one hour since this man ventured onto the huge mountain.  The mountain proved to be more strenuous than he imagined.  Huffing and puffing surely he didn’t know what he was in for.  The top must be at least two hours away and the man knew he couldn’t hike up for another two hours.  Just as the man was about to give up, another hiker heading down the mountain approached him and said, “You are closer than you think“.  At that moment the man was filled with supernatural powers and propelled up with mountain.  And, wouldn’t you believe he was only 30 minutes away from reaching the top?

You might be wondering how mountain climbing relates to personal finance . . . . let me explain.

So often we tend to give up when the going gets tough.  It seems like the bills are never going away.  Or our savings just isn’t growing.  It is this exact reason I believe personal financial is based on our personal behavior.  When you change your way of thinking (for the better), motivation occurs.  Telling yourself you are closer than you think propels positive behavior with the result being getting the job done – a/k/a saving more, spending less, building wealth, reducing debt.

When you are saving for that summer vacation but the numbers are nowhere near to what you need – tell yourself “I’m closer than I think

When you’re paying off credit card bills but the balances aren’t shrinking as much as you’d like  – tell yourself “I’m closer than I think

When your friends are all homeowners and you’re still trying to save up for that down-payment  – tell yourself “I’m closer than I think

Every single day we make financial decisions.  We spend money.  We save money.  We purchase things on credit.  Become aware of your behavior – both positive and negative.  Understand the difference between negative financial habits and positive and the impact both have on our finances. 

Finally, be sure to tell yourself “I’m closer than I think“.

Protect your Money at the Bank

12 05 2011

Some people have fallen prey to thieves hacking into their bank accounts.  Whether that includes funds withdrawn from bank accounts with the use of a fake ID or online theft through phishing scams.  The reality is, problems of this nature happen all too often, leaving many feeling victimized.

The following tips may help safeguard your personal information at the bank.

  • Place an ID Alert with the Bank.  Most banks have the ability to place alerts in a person’s account, prompting bank tellers to verify specific and additional information.  The alert can read something along the lines of “verify ID when withdrawing funds“.  This alert restricts invaders from withdrawing funds because they lack proper photo identification that is linked to the specific bank account.
  • Smart Email.  Criminals are now using email as a means of obtaining personal information from people.  Secure one email account for business use and another for personal use.  If you receive an email from the bank in your personal email a red flag should go off since you provided the bank with your business email.  If you find yourself in this situation, avoid (at all costs) clicking on any links within the email.  This is known as a phishing scam because thieves capture personal information entered after visiting the link that was embedded in the spam email.  These emails look “genuine” but consumers should speak with their bank first before trusting the email is legitimate and accurate.
  • Keep Passwords Complex.  Online banking passwords should be complex to include numbers, letters and/or symbols.  Do not choose passwords that are easy to guess, such as your birth date or zip code.  The more complex the password, the more arsenal added to your belt in warding off criminals.
  • Receive Email and Phone Alerts.  Whether you bank online or with your local branch, many banks provide to their customers alerting services.  Customers are now able to set phone and email alerts when withdrawals, deposits, transfers are made. In addition to transactions exceeding specific amounts.
  • Safeguard PIN Numbers and Passwords.  Avoid carrying pin numbers and passwords in your wallet or purse.  Instead safeguard them at home in a secure location.
  • Only Carry Most Used Cards.  Carry only the essential credit and debit cards used on a daily basis.  All others cards should be kept in a safe place – at home or in a safe deposit box at the bank.
  • Protect Cellphones.  In this day and age many people are now banking via the internet through their cellphones.  While the convenience of eliminating a visit to the bank appeals to many, there can be a serious security threat if your phone gets into the hands of the wrong person.  Password protect your phone.  Never store your banking passwords in your phone’s rolodex.

Knowledge is power.  As consumers we need to protect our assets on a daily basis.  This includes becoming aware of new schemes and scams that revolve around banking and ID theft.  Let’s be ahead of the game and secure our personal information.

Facebook Week in Review: 05/02/11

11 05 2011

May 6

Let’s all give a shout-out to our Military Spouses. Today is their day! Thank you for your continued dedication, courage and support to your servicemembers and the military community! You are the support system that our servicemembers need.

Every degree you lower your thermostat in cold weather, or raise it during hot weather, can lower your energy bill by 3% and conserve valuable natural resources as well as money!—USPS

May 5

Budget beyond day-to-day expenses. Many bills, such as car insurance, may not require payment each month. For these expenses, divide the total expense by 12 (for 12 months). Set aside that money each month for the yearly payment. When the bill is due, money is available to pay the expense in full. This type of planning eliminates scrambling up money during year-end when you could have been saving year-round.

Retroactive Stop Loss extended again for those Servicemembers wishing to submit a claim — those eligible must submit a Claim by October 21, 2011. This RSLSP provides $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. The average benefit is $3,700.

How is everyone saving money this Mother’s Day?

May 4

Too often people put off what they should be doing – saving for retirement. Kudos to our Military Saves fans for their endurance and commitment towards building wealth.

“How many hours do I have to work to purchase this item?” Has anyone given this thought? Answering that question may bring realization that the item just isn’t worth the hours needed to pay for it?

May 3

Protect your Money at the Bank. Add an alert to your account with your bank. The alert can say “verify photo id when withdrawing funds”. This alert prompts bank tellers to verify your information on the id and what they have on file.

Before paying for a service, get in writing the price and payment plan available. You don’t want to get stuck paying for a service you cannot afford (i.e., car repairs totaling $1,000 and you must pay $500, rather than the $200 you can afford to pay now).

May 2

And speaking of amazing accomplishments . . . We are 18,564 strong in 2011. 5,971 Army Savers — 6,838 Air Force Savers — 3,164 Navy Savers — 1,973 Marine Corps Savers — 353 National Guard Savers — 265 Coast Guard Savers. Have you taken the Pledge?

Happy Monday Savers! A huge shout-out to our servicemembers and their families. You all are performing amazing feats!

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