March2009 Newsletter

Wed.March 4:Deciding whether to apply forUSU's "voluntary separation incentive program."
Noon - 1 pm in Taggart Student Center room 335
Presented by Jean Lown and financial planner Suzanne Dalebout, Polaris Financial Planning. Financial planner Suzanne Dalebout [suzanne@polarisplanning.com] and her colleague Heather Shinowill also address thenoon time sessionand meet individually with interested persons. If you want a free individual consultation, you must make an appointment (buy email) directly with Ms.Dalebout. Men are welcome to attend.
Note: Ms. Dalebout can only present at the noon time session. If you are interested in this topic but cannot attend the noon session but can attend the evening (7-8:30 pm) program please let me know: jean.lown@usu.edu
Financial Planning for Women (FPW) is a monthly educational seminar that meets the second Wednesday (except December) at two times: 12:00-1:00 p.m.in the USU Taggart Student Center room 335. Bring your lunch. The same program is repeated in the evening: 7:00-8:30 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/
Forward this message to a friend; bring a woman to FPW who has not attended before and receive your choice of a personal finance book as a reward. (See list of books at end of newsletter).
Reminder: PowerPoint presentations for the past few years are available on the FPW website. Click on PowerPoints at bottom of home page: http://www.usu.edu/fpw/
Upcoming program April 8: Making your money last in retirement. Even if retirement is a few years away (or you’re already enjoying retirement) come to learn about research-based strategies to ensure that you don’t run out of money before you run out of breath.
Advice to the Jobless on Getting Health Coverage. TheNew York Times, by Lesley Alderman, February 27, 2009. a couple of tips from the article: Previously if you wanted to continue your health insurance under your company’s plan (referred to as COBRA) you had to pay 102% of the full premium;
the new temporary COBRA rules: “The new stimulus package at least temporarily changes the rules. If you lost your job after last Sept. 1 and your family income is less than $250,000 a year ($125,000 for individuals), you will have to pay only 35 percent of the premium for the first nine months. The government picks up the rest.” “If you have children ... Explore keeping yourself and your spouse on Cobra, or buying private insurance, and enrolling your children in the federally financed CHIP program….” If you are young and healthy, consider a high deductible plan. Read more tips in the full article.
Book of the month: You’ve lost it. Now what? How to beat the bear market and still retire on time.(2003). Author Jonathan Clements was the award-winning personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal, 1994-2008. Unfortunately he left the WSJ to be Director of Financial Guidance at myFi.com. Check out his advice at MyFi.com
Read his last WSJ column
Quote of the month: “Forget spending more money at the mall -- and instead spend more time with friends. Your bank account may still be skimpy, but your life will be far, far richer.” Jonathan Clements (in his last WSJ article). Read about his 10 favorite columns
Recommended investment reading:Polaris Financial
Social Security’s Retire Online: It’s so Easy!
The Social Security Administration announced onTuesday January 6, 2009 (Press Release)a new online retirement application. Some of the benefits of Social Security’s new application are:
  • Thenew application can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
  • There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment.
  • In most cases, once you complete the application – you’re done - there are no paper forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.
Social Security has also developed a RetirementBenefit Application Portal. On the portal site you will find information on how to use the application along with a demo of the online application. You can also estimate your Social Security benefits utilizing SocialSecurity’s online Benefit Estimatorand find important information on when to begin receiving retirement benefits and Medicare. The site is secure and contains information on Social Security’s internet security policy.
NEW-- In addition to the new portal, SSA has produced its first national webinar: Retire Online. It’s So Easy!
NEW-- In addition to the agency’s efforts on online filing, SSA also released recently a new Social Security Statement insert for younger workers. To read more about the insert, visit Social Security Newsletter. At this site, you can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter, the Social Security Update.
Related Online Documents from Social Security:
NEW -- Social Security Newsletter
How to Apply Online for Retirement Benefits Factsheet
How to Use the Online Retirement Estimator Factsheet
When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits
What You Can Do Online
CREDIT CARD RATES INCREASE DESPITE CONGRESSIONAL SCRUTINY
While lawmakers are stepping up efforts to reform controversial credit card fee practices, credit card companies continue to increase fees amid a tougher lending environment, USA Today reported today. In the latest round of fee increases, Capital One, Citibank and HSBC are raising interest rates for millions of credit card borrowers. Chase is tacking on a $120-a-year fee and raising the minimum payment from 2 - 5 percent of the balance for hundreds of thousands of consumers with low interest rates. Capital One told some borrowers it was raising the interest rate to 17.9 percent from 12.9 percent. Citibank is increasing card rates an average of 3 percentage points on millions of cards because of the economy. In December, the Federal Reserve and other regulators released a rule reforming some of the most controversial practices, such as raising rates on existing debt. However, as those rules don't take effect until mid-2010, members of Congress have introduced a number of bills to address the controversial practices prior to the effective date of the Fed’s rules. (ABI News)
Humor: Legal humor in brief (courtesy of Nolo Press; www.nolo.com). An elderly woman came to an attorney for the drafting of her will, for which the attorney changed $100. She gave him a $100 bill without noticing that a second $100 bill had stuck to it. Immediately the ethical question arose in the attorney’s mind: “Do I tell my partner?” www.nolo.com is a great resource!
Why You Need a Will
Talking about wills gives most of us the chills. Perhaps that's why more than half of all Americans don't have a will. But a will is a critical element of any financial plan. Read more to learn why.
Learn more about wills.
Stop credit card offers (protect against ID theft and save paper and trees): 1-888-567-8688 or
http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
Workshops and events:
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wednesday, March 18, 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
Home Ownership Workshop. March 7: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
Resources
Need some untainted peanut-butter cups and financial advice? Looking for less expensive pancakes? Want the government to "bailout" your taxes? Trying to jump off the 401(k) rollercoaster?
If you said yes, then this month's edition of Idaho's Two Cent Tips is for you. Check it out here:
Idaho's Two Cent Tips Monthly
Large file, please allow 30 seconds or more for download.
To access newsletter and podcast archives visit: Idahp's Two Cent Tips Archive
Sendan email to erickson@uidaho.edu to subscribe.
The Color of Money(NPR) Michelle Singletary (personal finance advice from author and columnist Michelle Singletary via podcast; 5 minutes or less for each)
Recent topics:
You can still save money
Read that benefits package carefully
Should you invest in bargain stocks?
Your personal finance questions answered
Find a Utah Lawyer Directory
Thursday Night at the Bar “is a pro-bono legal clinic designed to assist the public in determining their legal rights. Volunteer attorneys are available during those meetings to meet briefly with individuals to provide preliminary counseling and general legal information.” 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month @ Cache County Courthouse, 199 N. Main Street, Logan.
SmallSteps To Health And Wealth
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.
Nolo Press 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

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 (WithCD)

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 (WithCD)

For more info on these books go to www.nolo.com

Also: How to Care for Your Parents’ Money While Caring For Your Parents
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.
FPW topics for 2009
Note that March and May will be the FIRST Wednesday

January 14 Start the year off right: More small steps to health and wealth

February 11 Planning to retire soon? On the verge of retirement - what to do?

March 4 (first Wed.) Deciding whether to apply for USU's "voluntary separation incentive program."

April 8 Making your money last in retirement

May 6 (first Wed.) The perfect mutual fund for your IRA.

June 10 Spend, spend, spend like there is a tomorrow! Dr. Jan Andersen: Family Resource Management Extension Specialist

July 8 The Financial Checkup. Participants will receive a free workbook to conduct their own financial checkup

August 12 Getting a grip on debt: 8 benchmarks for borrowing

September 9 The Sandwich Generation: Caught in the Middle: Are You Financially Prepared?

October 14 National Savings Rate Guidelines for Individuals.

November 11 IRAs: Should you switch from traditional to Roth in 2010?