March 2008 Newsletter

March 5: (first Wed.) @ 12:30 in FL 118 and repeated at 6 p.m. at the FLC.
What every woman needs to know about Social Security. Speaker: Sandi Hunter, SSA Public Affairs Specialist.
Please note the date & evening time change (due to USU spring break during the second week in March). Evening session will begin at 6 pm!! Snacks will be provided.
(Men are welcome to attend.)
Please forward this message to a friend and bring her to FPW and receive your choice of a Nolo Press book as a reward. (See list of books at end of newsletter).
Financial Planning for Women (FPW) is a monthly educational seminar that meets the second Wednesday (except December) at two times: 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Family Life room 118 or 318 on the USU campus. Bring your lunch. The same program is repeated in the evening: 7-8:30 p.m. at the Family Life Center, 493 North 700 East, Logan (at bottom of Old Main Hill). The longer evening time slot allows for more discussion. Programs are free and registration is not required. For further information: (435) 797-1569; jean.lown@usu.edu; http://www.usu.edu/fpw/
Bring a female friend or colleague with you who is attending FPW for the first time and you will receive a thank you gift. Please speak up at the meeting and let us know.
Reminder: PowerPoint presentations for the past few years are available on the FPW website.
Due to the heavy snow the evening session was cancelled (again) in February. The powerpoints are on the FPW website.
Upcoming:
April 9: Investment Planning (topic switched with March).
May 7: Best Mutual Funds for Retirement (note change to first Wednesday)
Feb. 24-March 1 is America/Utah/Aggie Saves Week!
Enroll today to become an Aggie Saver at http://www.americasaves.org/utahstate/
Check out the savings strategies and resources. Registered Aggie Savers can get a free consultation at the Family Life Center. Call 435-797-7224 for an appointment.
“The following specific benefits are available to American Savers:
  • Free Build Wealth Not Debt brochure;
  • Free information on savings accounts;
  • A free annual subscription to American Saver, published four times a year; and
  • Free advice over the phone or by email from financial planners
All these benefits cost you no money. Your only obligation is to develop a specific saving goal, select the type of account, make a deposit in this account each month (or make a debt payment), and let us know that you are working toward your saving goal by responding to the three month email from America Saves.
Keep in mind that you control your savings account. You open the account. It is in your name. You receive the statements. We only advise and encourage.”
DO YOU HAVE EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE? The recent quake in Wells, NV is a wake up call. If you own property in Cache Valley you need separate earthquake insurance to supplement your HO insurance. Check out the seismic maps on this website and the additional features.
Seismic Maps from the USGS
earthquake hazards 101
Seismic design value for buildings
Tax Reminders:
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)
USU Accounting students in Beta Alpha Psi honor society provide free tax preparation for students and low income families at the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) lab in the basement of the USU Business building on Wednesdays 5- 9 PM, and Saturdays 9 AM - 1 PM between February 13th & April 5th. The VITA lab will not be open on March 8th, 12th, 15th, or 29th due to spring break and our Beta Alpha Psi regional meeting.
You must file a tax return in order to qualify for your “stimulus payment.”
In most cases you will not have to do anything extra. If you are eligible for a payment, all you have to do is file a 2007 tax return and the IRS will do the rest.
However, recipients of Social Security, certain Veterans' and Railroad Retirement benefits and low-income workers who don’t normally need to file may have to take steps to insure receipt of the stimulus payment. If you are in this group and normally would not be required to file a tax return, you need to file a 2007 tax return this year to receive an economic stimulus payment. The return must show at least $3000 in qualifying income.
Are You Eligible for a Tax Credit?  
“A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Some credits are refundable – taxes could be reduced to the point that a taxpayer would receive a refund rather than owing any taxes.
Taxpayers should consider their eligibility for the credits listed below:
  • Savers Credit (formally called the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit) You may be able to take the credit of up to $1,000 (up to $2,000 if filing jointly) if you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans. For more information, see IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Accounts.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit for low-income working individuals and families. Income and family size determine the amount of the credit.  For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit is for expenses paid for the care of children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, to enable the taxpayer to work or look for work. For more information, see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  • The Child Tax Credit is for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum amount of the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child. This credit can be claimed in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
  • Adoption Credit Adoptive parents may qualify for a tax credit of up to $11,390 for qualifying expenses paid to adopt each eligible child. The credit may be allowed for the adoption of a child with special needs even if you do not have any qualifying expenses. For more information, see the instructions for Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.
  • Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled This credit is available to individuals who are either age 65 or older or are under age 65 and retired on permanent and total disability, and who are U.S. citizens or residents. There are income limitations. For more information, see IRS Publication 524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.”
If you usually get a large tax refund you should adjust your W-4 withholding with this easy online calculator
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html
News & Resources to enhance life-long learning:
Find answers to your personal finance questions at E-extension website FAQs
http://www.extension.org/personal_finance
What today’s woman needs to know: A retirement  journey. Met Life 2007 in cooperation with WISER. 32 pages.
CFP Board's "It's Your Turn" eNewsletter is sent monthly to those who subscribe through CFP Board's Web site, www.CFP.net/learn.  
Read the current newsletter and subscribe at: http://www.cfp.net/enewsletter/
Idaho's Two Cent Tips email newsletter. Send an email to erickson@uidaho.edu to subscribe.
Read The Wall Street Journal Sunday in the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News Business Section or read it online: http://www.wsj.com/sunday
Personal Finance Top Tips via e-mail
Often the best way to learn and take action is to receive information and advice in small amounts. Sign up for email advice from Money magazine columnists: http://money.cnn.com/services/newsletters/
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wed. March 19, 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 moneyteacher@usuccu.org
March 1: Home Ownership Workshop 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
The USU Family Life Center, 797-7224, 493 N 700 East (bottom of Old Main Hill), provides individual financial counseling. This is the best source for basic money management and getting out of debt. They offer the PowerPay computer debt analysis. Counseling sessions cost $5 for first session with sliding scale charges based on family income and family size for subsequent counseling sessions.
Books from which to choose if you bring a new participant to FPW:
Your little legal companion: Helpful advice for life’s big events
Nolo’s essential guide to divorce
Divorce and money: How to make the best financial decisions during divorce
Get it together: Organize your records so your family won’t have to
Quick and legal will book
Nolo’s simple will book (with CD)
Estate Planning Basics
The Busy family’s guide to estate planning: 10 steps to peace of mind (with CD)
Long term care: How to plan and pay for it
Social security, medicare, and government pensions
Work less, live more: The way to semi-retirement
Work less, live more workbook: Get set for semi-retirement (with CD)
For more info on these books go to www.nolo.com
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.