September 28, 2017

Medicare Advantage Shopping: 10 rules

The Squared Away Blog offers some excellent advice on shopping for Medicare Advantage Plans:
Comparison shopping for Medicare Plans starts October 15. Don't wait to educate yourself and don't just stick with your current plan out of inertia.

Help Navigating the College Debt Jungle

"Using this interactive map, parents can compare the average debt levels for 2016 graduates and the odds of graduating with debt reported by more than 1,000 U.S. colleges." Check out this great resource from The Squared Away Blog to get info on college graduates' debt levels. The blog post explains what to look for in the data. 

September 22, 2017

So you think you don't need flood insurance?

Unaware and in Need of Flood Insurance

Just because you don't live next to the ocean or on a river bank doesn't mean your house is safe from flooding as too many Houstonians discovered. For the vast majority of Americans their house is their biggest financial asset and often the bedrock of their retirement plan.
It's time to face the facts of global climate change and take personal action as well as insisting that your legislators take their heads out of the sand and start taking collective action to address global warming. The storms are getting worse and more frequent; we all suffer from climate change denial.
"Millions of U.S. homeowners may not realize they’re at risk of flooding, due to outdated flood plain maps and even less information about dam and levee “failure zones” and urban storm-water hazards like the river running through downtown Miami during Hurricane Irma." Read this valuable article from the Squared Away Blog and ACT on the information!
P.S. I just called my insurance agent to update and increase our property insurance.

Roth vs. regular 401(k)s

Traditional 401(k) or Roth 401(k)?
"Workers usually don’t know the difference. Yet employers increasingly are asking them to choose." "The difference in the two types of plans is the timing of federal income taxes." Get the details from the Squared Away blog at:

How to pay for college in face of rising costs

"A common misperception among parents with children heading to college is that they should go to any length to keep the student from taking on debt, says financial planner Davon Barrett. He notes that the alternatives, such as tapping into retirement savings or reducing contributions, can be more damaging to their finances than taking out a loan." Read: Ready, Set, Student Debt" at

Is debt threatening your retirement?

"More than 4 in 10 Americans age 56 to 61 carry debt -- more than $17,000, on average -- while more than a third have less than $1,000 in a checking account, according to a MagnifyMoney analysis. The combination paints a grim picture for these future retirees, but five steps can help, beginning with assigning top priority to reducing debt." Retirement Security SmartBrief.  Read the details and find out how to pay down that debt!

Are you ready for a disaster?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (under attack from Congressional Republicans) is a terrific resource and consumer watchdog. Check out their resources:

Featured topic: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
When a catastrophe like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma happens, people's lives can be turned upside down. During these tough times, it may be difficult to know who to trust and where to look for guidance and assistance, as well as what financial steps to take.  Even if your area isn’t affected this time, you may want to help the people you serve to prepare for upcoming catastrophes or just for their peace of mind.  Here are some tools and resources that can help.

1.      Disaster Recovery Resources 
These are a few organizations that can help immediately after a natural disaster:
After the most urgent needs are addressed, people can start thinking about financial obligations and issues, especially if they have experienced damage to their home or property. We have five steps people can take to help secure their home and finances:

·         Contact your insurance company
·         Register for assistance with
·         Contact  your mortgage servicer
·         Contact your credit card companies and other lenders
·         Contact your utility companies

To get more details on these tips and other actions people can take to recover from disasters, go to our blog on disaster recovery.
The CFPB has a Disaster Checklist to help consumers consolidate the information needed —including account numbers, personal records and financial record— to avoid problems and recover faster after a disaster.

4.  Scams and identity theft

While many people pull together during times of crisis, there is also an increased risk for scams and fraud. The CFPB has tips to avoid scams after a disaster that you can explore here.

5. Upcoming Webinar

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
Thursday, September 28, 2017
2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Join us for a webinar to learn about disaster preparedness from a financial standpoint. On this webinar, we will discuss tools and resources available from the CFPB and other federal agencies to help consumers prepare for and cope with the financial aspects of disasters. 

Step 1:  To join the September 28th webinar, please go to the following link at the time of the webinar:
(Note that this webinar link will not be live until the day of the webinar).

Step 2:  Listen to the audio by dialing 888-795-5920 and entering participant passcode 4791947.
(Note:  you must dial in via the conference line.  There is no audio available via Webex.)

September 15, 2017

Trump says tax proposal wouldn't favor rich

Trump says tax proposal wouldn't favor rich

The tax package that Republicans hope to get through Congress this year would leave the wealthy "pretty much where they are," President Donald Trump said. Trump has begun reaching out for support from Democrats, many of whom have spoken out against tax cuts for the wealthy.
CNBC (9/13)  

If you believe this I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you along with prime development property in Florida!

Republicans aim to weaken Consumer Watchdog just as Experian data breech affects 143 million Americans!

CFPB in congressional crosshairs, experts say
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created as part of the post-crisis Dodd-Frank Act, will be unable to retain its full power to rein in Wall Street, even if its Democratic director, Richard Cordray, remains in his post, experts say. The Republican-dominated Congress has repeatedly taken aim at the agency's mandate and budget.
Gee! Doesn't this make lots of sense just a Experian revealed that it failed to protect 143 million Americans from having their personal data stolen that will be used for ID theft.  The data breech occurred this summer and it took two months before the problem leaked out to consumers and the news media!
Let's hope that more than a few Republican Congress members are victims of this data breech.

September 11, 2017

Disaster Planning: 5 Essentials for your Financial Emergency Kit

With wildfires in the northwest, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma causing so much destruction, it's a reminder to prepare for disaster... earthquake, tornado or ???
"It's tempting to put off until tomorrow some of the important decisions about what happens to your retirement assets when you die. But it pays to plan ahead, especially for accounts that aren't transferred by will or trust. Start here: Make sure there are designated beneficiaries for any retirement savings plans and pensions you own or may be entitled to."
1. Cash and keys
2. Contacts
3. Personal Identification
4. paper or electronic copies of personal financial records
5. An inventory of your valuables and personal belongings.
Get the details at: 

September 9, 2017

Equifax breach exposes 143 million people to identity theft

Who can you trust? No one... when a major credit bureau's computers have been breached it's a really frustrating situation.

I discovered that my social security number is among those at risk. 

Experian has set up a website where you can check if your personal info was stolen: Also, call this phone number 866-447-7559 for more information. Experian is offering free credit monitoring to all U.S. consumers for a year.

Check out details at The Salt Lake Tribune:

Financial Planning for Women does not sell, rent, loan, lease or otherwise provide any personal information collected at our site to any third parties.