December 2, 2009

FPW Survey thanks

Thanks to all who responded to the FPW survey!

FPW participant Catherine Sharpsteen was the grand prize winner of a free consultation with Suzanne Dalebout & Heather Shino of Polaris Financial Planning. Additional names were drawn to receive financial planning books. If you get an email please respond promptly with your book selection.

My grad student Sam Nelson and I are in the process of reviewing and analyzing the results to help plan future FPW programs.
I’m not a fan of gift cards because of the billions of $ lost by consumers each year to fees, unused cards, & lost cards, but mostly because the recipient cannot save any of your gift. If you gave cash or a check, you could encourage a child to a) save a % of the gift, b) give some to charity, & c) spend some on what they would really treasure. In today’s dismal economy many adults need help paying for rent, mortgage, utility, food, etc. You may not realize the extent of their financial distress because they are embarrassed to let anyone know. Another idea (especially for many Americans who have all that they really need) is to make part of your gift a donation to the recipient’s favorite charity, local food bank or animal shelter, or through The Alternative Gifts International: The December issue of Money magazine included an article about a Wharton School economist who studies gift giving. His research concludes that gifts are ‘economically inefficient” especially when we aren’t sure what the recipient really wants. 

Experience Utah, buy local first (help the local economy):
Global Village Gifts, 146 North 100 East in Logan offers lovely fair traded items from around the world. 

Send a gift subscription to a personal finance magazine like Kiplinger’s, Money, or Consumer Reports.

More resources for simplifying the holidays and your life: Simple Living network:
Alternatives for Simple Living:

The Federal Reserve wants to help you use your credit cards wisely as you shop for the holidays. A new 45-second video Public Service Announcement includes 5 tips for getting the most from your credit cards by:
  • paying on time each month
  • staying below your card's credit limit
  • avoiding unnecessary fees (such as late payment and over-the-limit fees)
  • making more than the minimum payment and
  • watching for changes in your card's interest rate and other terms.
You can view and link to the video at
Avoid the holiday hangover of credit card bills this year. Enjoy the holidays without all the shopping.

See you on January 13.


FPW Workbooks

Our upcoming programs for FPW will be coming from the workbook Money Talk: A Financial Guide for Women ($23.00; 192 pages; 2009). This workbook teaches women the basics of smart money management.
Money Talk provides answers to questions like: How much do I need to save for retirement?; How much insurance should I have?; How and where should I invest my money?; and How do I create a will? Over 45 worksheets help readers evaluate their personal finances, set goals for financial well-being, and implement a plan to reach those goals.

The book is divided into five sections -- Financial Basics; Are You Covered? Insurance Basics; Investing Basics; Investing for Retirement; and Planning for Future Life Events. Each section includes lessons that demystify important financial concepts and exercises that allow readers to apply the information.
COST: Although the workbooks cost $23 each I was able to order them in bulk for a reduced price. Because we do not want the cost to keep anyone away, FPW will make the books available for a suggested donation of $15 or any amount you feel you can afford. We will simply pass around an envelope so no one will know how much you contribute.

November 24, 2009

New American Dream

“New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice.” Check out the website and suggestions for the holidays:

November 2, 2009

CONSUMER ALERT FROM FDIC -- E-mail Claiming to Be From the FDIC

The following comes from ASEC Partner, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). FDIC has requested that you share this information with all of your contacts. This information was obtained from FDIC’s web site

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.

The subject line of the e-mail states: “check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage.” The e-mail tells recipients that, "You have received this message because you are a holder of a FDIC-insured bank account. Recently FDIC has officially named the bank you have opened your account with as a failed bank, thus, taking control of its assets.”

The e-mail then asks recipients to “visit the official FDIC website and perform the following steps to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage” (a fraudulent link is provided). It then instructs recipients to “download and open your personal FDIC Insurance File to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage.”

This e-mail and associated Web site are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, some of which may be used to gain unauthorized access to on-line banking services or to conduct identity theft.

The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail.

November Newsletter Highlights

Find us on Facebook! Become a fan of Financial Planning for Women.

November 11: Increase your financial security in retirement with an individual retirement account (IRA). Learn about individual retirement accounts, the difference between traditional and Roth IRAs, retirement tax credits for low & moderate income taxpayers, and why you should consider converting your traditional IRA to a Roth in 2010.

Upcoming programs:
December: no program. Next program: January 13.

Extension Personal Finance Resources: eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the smartest land-grant university minds across America. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers - experts who know their subject matter inside out.

Teach your kids about credit cards with online videos. Check out some of these ‘edgy’ teen/college student-friendly videos about the hazards of credit cards. FoolProof is endorsed by the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the Consumer Federation of America.


Consumer Action handbook

October 29, 2009

October Newsletter Highlights


Making your nest egg last a lifetime.

360 Degrees of Financial Literacy

Info for all life stages.
What are your savings goals? Don’t wait until January to set specific financial goals. Every Sunday in the Business section The Salt Lake Tribune publishes The Savings Game, a weekly column by Humberto Cruz. Cruz is always right on target with practical information and advice that is easy to understand. The October 4 column is available at:

Tax Credit for college expenses

Many parents and college students will be able to offset the cost of college over the next two years under the new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Here are six important facts the IRS wants you to know about the new American Opportunity Tax Credit:

1. This credit, which expands and renames the existing Hope Credit, can be claimed for qualified tuition and related expenses that you pay for higher education in 2009 and 2010. Qualified tuition and related expenses include tuition, related fees, books and other required course Materials.

2. The credit is equal to 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000 per student each year. Therefore, the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualifying expenses for an eligible student.

3. The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is gradually reduced, however, for taxpayers with incomes above these levels.

4. Forty percent of the credit is refundable, so even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit for each eligible student as cash back.

5. The credit can be claimed for qualified expenses paid for any of the first four years of post-secondary education.

6. You cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction, whichever is more beneficial for you.

Complete details on the American Opportunity Tax Credit and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act are available at the official IRS Web site at

September Newsletter Highlights

Quote of the month: It's not how much money you have, it's how you use your money."Gerry Chambers

Cut your spending by $500 a month (Money magazine, Sept. 2009).

I’m always skeptical about articles with titles like these; I usually find that I’ve been implementing these strategies for years but always find a few useful ideas. I encourage you to check out this article and pick 2 or 3 strategies to implement.

Featured financial column: The Savings Game weekly column by Humberto Cruz. One recent column: “To protect yourself, ask lots of questions when selecting a financial adviser.”

Web sites of the month:

Investor Education Resource Center

Investment Fraud Booklet

FINRA Investor Education

Workshops and events:

The Family Life Center is offering a financial management workshop on budgeting, saving, and debt management. "The Nuts and Bolts of Nickles and Dimes" costs $15 per household; scholarships are available. The workshop is scheduled for the first and third Wednesday of the month from 6:45 P.M.-9:00 P.M. at the Family Life Center. To register call: 797-7224

Home Ownership Workshop. September 12th, October 10, November 14, & December 5th : 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.

Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.

Wednesday, Sept. 16 & October 24, 6:30- 8 p.m. @ USU Charter Credit Union, 198 N. Main, Logan. In downstairs conference room (enter at rear of building). Workshops are free. To register: 753-4080, ext 3400 or

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