June 29, 2012

7 Credit Myths even Smart People Believe

“Not all three credit bureaus have the same information, and checking your own credit report doesn't hurt your score -- but experts say many Americans think the opposite is true. Other credit myths include thinking that a credit report includes your credit score and that debit cards can help your credit, Martha White writes.” Check your credit knowledge at: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/06/27/7-credit-myths-even-smart-people-believe/?iid=pf-main-lede

Retirees report higher-than-expected costs, not enough savings

About a third of retirees who participated in a Consumer Reports poll said their expenses have been higher than they expected. Retirees' top regrets were not saving enough and starting to save too late, investing too conservatively and not sufficiently diversifying.  Read he details in the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette article by Patricia Sabatini. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/poll-shows-retirees-regret-saving-too-little-too-late-642447/

Traveling with your Credit/Debit Card this summer?

Contact your credit/debit card issuers to notify them if you plan to use your card outside your state. That way you won't run into problems if they think your card was stolen. Also,if you travel outside the US, ask about foreign transaction fees. American Express charges 2.7% of each transaction in foreign currency. You can avoid this fee if the merchant converts and charges you in dollars but the exchange rate may be very unfavorable. Visa cards (both credit and debit) also charge foreign transaction fees. So far the only car issuer that I'm aware of that does not charge fees for foreign transactions is Capital One.

June 25, 2012

10 Things Divorce Attorneys Won't Say

1. You'll pay more than the advertised rate -- way more.
2. I get sued -- a lot.
3. My lack of fiscal know-how will cost you. “Divorces often require complicated financial calculations, like projecting the long-term value of a 401(k). But finance isn't typically part of the law school curriculum.”
4. I make promises I can't keep.
5. I've only handled a couple of divorce cases. Ever.
6. Prepare for plummeting income.Households with children in which the parents divorce and remain divorced for at least six years face a 40 to 45 percent average drop in family income, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Divorcing or separating mothers are also nearly three times as likely as married mothers to end up in poverty, according to a 2011 study by the Family Research Council.”
7. Go cry somewhere else
8. You may not even need me.
9. I don't have time for you.
10. I'm dragging my feet.
And the best resource: Divorce & Money: How to make the best financial decisions during divorce. By Dale Fetherling and Violet Woodhouse, CFP, Attorney.  http://www.nolo.com/products/divorce-and-money-DIMO.html

June 20, 2012

5 Smart Strategies for Managing your Debt

"Consumers have been good about paying down their debt. But they stink at managing what debt remains. Here are five ways to keep control."
1. Match assets and liabilities.
2. Maintain liquid savings.
3. Watch interest rate risk. 
4. Don’t forget to save.  
5. Minimize regular debt expense. 
Find out the details at the Time/Moneyland site: 
Join us on Wed. July 11 for the Financial Planning for Women program: Get out of Debt fast with PowerPay debt reduction software. Details at: www.usu.edu/fpw

June 19, 2012

Disability Insurance

How would you pay your bills if you are disabled and unable to work, even for just a few months?
“A consumer’s most important asset is his or her income. Over a 40-year career, an individual who earns an average of $52,000 a year would receive more than $2 million in income.
The Social Security Administration estimates that just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.1Disability can be caused by a wide range of illnesses or injuries. It can mean several weeks of missed work for surgery, months away after a serious injury, or a year or more for a chronic illness.”
“Two-thirds of private sector American workers are not covered by employer-sponsored disability insurance against loss of income due to illness or injury. For those covered by long-term disability insurance, benefits typically replace 60% of an employee’s salary.”  Find out more about disability insurance at http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/FactSheet.CFA.UnumDisabilityInsruance.4.30.12.pdf

AARP Retirement Calculator

"Retirement is a goal to be relished, not dreaded. Yet for many people, thinking about retirement can be overwhelming. Am I saving enough? When can I afford to stop working? How long will my money last? Now, the answers are right at your fingertips. Use the AARP Retirement Calculator to plan your financial future so you can retire when — and how — you want. You've got options. This calculator will help you discover what they are."
"This calculator is designed for single people, married couples and domestic partners who are still working and planning for retirement." Check it out at:

Teach your Children about Money

“Money as You Grow, developed by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, provides 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons—with corresponding activities—that kids need to know as they grow. Written in down-to-earth language for children and their families, Money as You Grow will help equip kids with the knowledge they need to live fiscally fit lives. The lessons in Money as You Grow are based on more than a year of research, drawn from dozens of standards, curricula, and academic studies.” http://moneyasyougrow.org/
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