Facebook Week in Review: 06/24/2011

29 06 2011

June 24

TGIF. Save like a champion this weekend!

While this documentary was released in 2004, the stories still affect people today. A great watch for the weekend.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/view/

June 23

Happy Thursday Savers! Has the use of cash become obsolete? All the hype surrounds the capabilities of smart phones working as credit cards and credit cards now don’t have to be swiped but a simple “blink” completes a transaction. It’s becoming increasingly easier and faster using credit – no change or bill counting is involved. Could it be the use of cash is slowly disappearing?

June 22

Were your online accounts hacked into?–Frightening. Maybe you’re deploying soon and want to safeguard your online accounts while overseas. Servicemembers have the option to block online access to their Thrift Savings Plan account. The request can be completed over the phone or online. Reinstating online access must be done in writing.  https://www.tsp.gov/planparticipation/managing/blockingAccess.shtml

We are setting new records here at Military Saves! We are 18,763 strong so far in 2011. Army Savers 6,024 // Air Force Savers 6,866 // Navy Savers 3,226 // Marine Corps Savers 1,990 // National Guard Savers 382 // Coast Guard Savers 275

June 21

Americans’ personal savings rate was 5.8% last year. However, the average personal savings rate was 9.63% in 1981—Bureau of Economic Analysis’ personal savings data. Either we find ways to reduce expenses or find ways to earn extra money (or do both) in an effort to save more.

June 20

What was the best “money” advice you received?

When your FICO score is high your interest rate will be low. When your FICO score is low, your interest rate will be higher.

June 19

Let’s hear it for all the Father’s today. This is their day.

Take the Initiative

25 06 2011

Ask and you shall receive.  I recently ventured into a few banks inquiring if they had learning materials for children and two out of four banks have!  The first place to begin starts with the bank and your child.

I found the resources very helpful for all parents.  Those parents whom are finding it a bit overwhelming teaching their kids can relieve some stress because the materials speak for themselves in many ways.  The items I received were:  activity books,  piggy bank, calculator, gift card for free 4×6 photos (10 maximum) and a cookie cutter.

How can parents begin teaching with just the few items found?  Follow my lead:

  • Activity Books.  The two books found were educational wonders!  Some of the pages contained activities that had children counting and matching correct change to purchase items, pictures of banks to familiarize children and other fun-filled pages containing currency, math equations, etc.
  • Piggy Bank.  The piggy bank, or in our case the square bank, has a clear backing with three levels.  When kids deposit money into their bank they have opportunities to reach 3 levels – “keep going, you’re almost there, it’s time to empty your bank”.  These three phrases are great motivators!  And that’s what children need when learning about money – they want to be excited about learning because if they become discouraged it may cause them to quit the project.
  • Calculator.  The calculator is a handy tool when teaching your children about saving money.  First it will come in handy with school work but also come in handy if they are counting the change in their piggy bank.  Another great activity would include teaching them the value of their belongings.  Take this activity straight to their bedroom – bring the calculator and have the kids total up the value of items in the room (parents will need to help kids figure out the items costs).  Statistics show people respond significantly more responsible when taking care of their belongings because they are aware of the costs involved.  Children and teens may be surprised how much certain items cost and will learn to treasure the value and the item.
  • Free Prints.  The 10 free 4×6 photo prints were an added bonus.  Discuss ways to use the free prints – maybe the kids want to give out photos for gifts (Mother’s and Father’s days, Valentine’s day, Birthdays, etc.).  If they choose the gift route, have them snap photos of items the recipient would enjoy (i.e., horses, flowers, dogs, cats, etc.).  This small activity teaches kids the power of “gaining”.  They gained a free gift without having to put forward money of their own.  Times like gaining can help propel a person’s financial situation – in our case not having to spend money for a gift/holiday occasion.  The free prints can also be used to refresh the kid’s memory as they carry through the activities mentioned – why not take pictures of them in action during each activity?
  • Cookie Cutter. I questioned the cookie cutter but further thoughts brought up ideas of “eating in, making your own food, etc.”  How simple and affordable would it be to bake your own cookies rather than buy pre-packaged boxes?  I think very simple!  It would be a great learning activity for children – learning about saving money and simple culinary skills.

Sometimes parents need a boost forward if they are at a loss for activities and places to begin teaching their children.  I found these items to be the perfect starting point!  Ready, set, go!

The Secret History of Credit Cards

23 06 2011

The Secret History of Credit Cards (PBS)

“It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year for the banking industry’s most lucrative business: credit cards. In the coming weeks, millions of Americans will reach into their wallets and use plastic to buy an estimated $100 billion in holiday gifts” – PBS

Facebook Week in Review: 06/17/11

20 06 2011

June 13

If all we do is spend the majority of money earned our retirement will be bare. We need to live below our means.

Thinking about bumping up your TSP contributions this year? Remember, Social Security taxes were reduced by 2% (6.2% to 4.2%) for the year 2011 (they revert to 6.2% in 2012). This means we are taxed 2% less than last year. Looking to increase Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions? Bump up your contribution percentage by 2%. Refer to Kiplinger’s Tax Cut calculator to view how much money is saved from each paycheck.  http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/2011_Social_Security_payroll_tax_cut_calculator/

Released today, HUD and the VA will provide $5.4 million to public housing authorities in 18 states to supply permanent housing and case management for 676 homeless Veterans in America. HUD will announce the 2011 HUD-VASH funding during the summer (HUD-VASH is a coordinated effort by HUD, the VA and local housing authorities to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless Veterans).  http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=%2Fpress%2Fpress_releases_media_advisories%2F2011%2FHUDNo.11-118

June 14

Today marks the 236th birthday of the United States Army. Happy Birthday!

The 411 on Teaser Rates – In an attempt to attract borrowers, credit card companies offer temporary low interest rates so that borrowers will apply for an account. When the introductory period ends, the APR hikes to a much higher fixed/variable interest rate. Teaser rates may start at 4% and jump to 15%. Before signing any application know what your APR will be after the low initial interest rate expires.

June 15

Visualize your financial life. See it, feel it, live it.

June 16

Do you know someone earning a higher income than you? Sometimes we compare ourselves – “If only I earned more. If I had more money I can save more and have the life I want.” Did you ever think someone earning less than you is wondering the same. They may look at you thinking you can do so much with the income you have – save, spend, retirement, college, vacation, etc. Our income is a powerful tool. Manage it wisely.

June 17

When can you collect Social Security? Everyone can collect at age 62. However, collecting at this reduced benefit age reduces benefits permanently. Collecting benefits at later age increases the benefit amount. By how much? Locate your birth year and compare the ages to receive benefits. I.E, a person born in the years 1960 or later receives a 100% benefit at age 67 and loses 30% if they collect at age 62.  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm

Question time: How are you paying off debts? Those with the smallest balance first or the largest interest rate first? Some experts believe it’s more cost efficient to pay off debts carrying the highest interest rates. Other experts believe it’s emotionally efficient/motivating to pay off debts with the smallest balance. What do you think?

How Do Your Figures Add Up?

16 06 2011

Facebook Week in Review: 06/10/11

13 06 2011

June 10

The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty and the financial security of families in the United States. The Scorecard assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well residents are How was your state graded?  http://scorecard.cfed.org/

June 9

We all have trade offs. Lowering lunch costs equal more choices/freedom. The difference of lowering recreation expenses can go into retirement accounts. Weigh your options prior to making a purchase – think about the trade offs. Only you and your family can make these choices – decide what fits your lifestyle.

Military Saves is here to help you – the warrior and the families that stand along-side them through it all. Military Saves is a campaign to make every military community a supportive environment to assist in financial stability. Get some!

June 8

Did you know? Fixing a vehicle maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent. Check out more money saving tips, etc. at Fuel Economy.  http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/

June 7

In response to the Ebri 2011 survey – Can it be that we are accepting defeat? Rather than change our saving and spending behavior, we’re lowering our expectations of what our retirement will look like.

“Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has plunged to a new low….Instead of making fundamental adjustments to their spending and saving patterns in response to the decline in confidence, workers continue to change their expectations about how they will transition from work to retirement in what has been called an age of “the new normal.”—Ebri

People often times continue their poor financial behavior because of fear of the unknown. They fear their lives will change as they get their financial house in order – i.e. won’t have much fun sticking to a spending plan. However, baby steps to improve their financial lifestyle will yield a positive net worth. Fear of the unknown diminishes when we plan to complete financial goals.

June 6

We’re midway through Monday. And maybe there are some of us midway from being debt free. Keep your goals in sight.

Facebook Week in Review: 06/03/2011

7 06 2011

June 3

Under the 2009 CARD Act when a person age 18-20 applies for a credit card, the card issuer must verify that the person has sufficient independent income or require a co-signer. How do you feel about this Act?

The start of the weekend is almost here. Go forth and save.

June 2

You’re getting financially fit and it hurts! We know the pain . . . . money going towards bills rather than on a night out on the town. Pain is weakness leaving the body. Stay true to your goals of becoming debt free.

Just released – a consumer advisory from the OCC regarding thieves using high-tech tools in scams to capture your account information in order to steal your money. Card Skimming involves attaching devices to money machines that read the information on your debit and credit cards when you swipe them. Stay informed and protect your accounts. http://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/consumer-advisories/2011/consumer-advisory-2011-2.html

June 1

Many leaders say that a positive attitude is the key to success. It’s the same regarding personal finance…when you tell yourself you cannot get ahead – there’s just too many bills – you tend to accept that fate. Invest in yourself. Identify negative financial behavior and change it.

Let’s keep the momentum going…..we have over 3,400 likes (this is over 100 from last Monday). Take the Military Saves Pledge because financial stability is more than knowledge. Stay on top of your personal financial readiness and positively impact your personal/household savings rate.  http://www.militarysaves.org/whyjoin/default.asp

May 31

Think Twice Before Withdrawing – All TSP withdrawals are subject to income taxes. TSP Financial Hardship Withdrawals are subject to federal income tax. SMs younger than 59½ may also pay 10% early withdrawal penalty taxes. SMs must wait 6 mos before contributing to their TSP account. In-Service Withdrawals permanently reduce retirement savings–funds cannot be repaid.

‎91% of military respondents reported having at least one credit card, with 36% reporting they had at least four. 41% of military respondents reported having $5,000 or more in credit card debt. More than a quarter, 27% reported having at least $10,000 in credit card debt—-Financial Capability Survey

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