April 2009 Newsletter

Wed. April 8: Making your money last in retirement. Even if retirement is a few years away (or youíre already enjoying retirement) come to learn about research-based strategies to ensure that you donít run out of money before you run out of breath.
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 from previous programs are available on the FPW website. Click on PowerPoints at bottom of home page: http://www.usu.edu/fpw/
Upcoming program: May 6 (first Wed.) The perfect mutual fund for your IRA.
Books of the month: Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement
Work Less, Live More Workbook: Get Set For Semi-Retirement (With CD). Get a free copy if you bring someone to FPW. More info on the books at: www.nolo.com
Quote of the month: "Be smart about your finances today, so your kids wonít have to bail you out tomorrow." Jonathan Clements, (2003). Youíve lost it. Now what? How to beat the bear market and still retire on time. New York: Portfolio. p. 19
Best online savings accounts. Frustrated at earning less than one-half of 1% on your savings? Check out FDIC insured online savings accounts
When your income drops. This online program (fact sheets and PowerPoint) is for people who have recently lost their jobs or otherwise experienced a reduction in income. Developed by the U. of Georgia Extension Service.
Managing your money in good times and bad (FDIC)
The Federal Trade Commission just launched a new website Ė Money Matters from the Federal Trade Commission -- for people dealing with debt; struggling to find a job; or trying to create a budget, save, and spend wisely during these difficult times. Money Matters offers short, practical tips, videos, and links to reliable resources for more information on topics like credit repair, debt collection, job-hunting and jobs scams, vehicle repossession, managing mortgage payments, and foreclosure rescue scams.
2009 Economic Recovery Payment for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries- In May 2009, Social Security will distribute a one-time payment of $250 to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. The payments are provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Beware of scams!! There is no action that you need to take to receive your payment but scamsters will try to phish for info. Warn your parents/grandparents to never give their SS# or personal info to anyone who contacts them. If SS & SSI recipients receive their monthly payments through direct deposit, that is how they will receive their $250.
Some helpful tips from the CFP Board newsletter:
Don't Scrimp on Your Insurance Coverage.
Trying to find areas to save money is usually a good idea, especially during an economic downturn. But scrimping on insurance could leave you vulnerable. Follow the link below for an overview of the main forms of insurance that provide essential protections for you and your family, recession or no recession.
CFP Board March 2009 Newsletter
Credit Card Repayment Calculator
Are you knee-deep in credit card debt--and tempted to make minimum payments on your balance? Keep in mind that the minimum payment covers interest and a only tiny portion of the balance. Paying an extra $10 or $20 a month could save you hundreds or thousands on interest over the course of time, depending on how much you owe. To learn how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt, check out the Federal Reserve's Credit Card Repayment Calculator.
Credit Card Repayment Calculator
Get Credit for Retirement Savings Contributions
If you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement, you may be able to take a tax credit.
The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
  • Single with income up to $26,500
  • Head of Household with income up to $39,750
  • Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $53,000
To be eligible for the credit you must be at least age 18, not a full-time student, and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another personís return.
If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements, Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit and Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions. The publications and form can be downloaded at IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Tuition and Fees deduction of up to $4,000 is available to help parents and students pay for post-secondary education. Form 8863, Education Credits (PDF 82K)
Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education (PDF 368K)
Additional Standard Deduction for Real Estate Taxes
There is an additional standard deduction for those who donít qualify to itemize their tax deductions, but who do pay state or local real estate taxes. This deduction is available for the 2008 and 2009 tax years. The additional deduction amount is equal to the amount of real estate taxes paid. The amount can be up to $500
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is set for April 16, 2009.
Do you have your affairs in order?
"5 Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams"
Stop credit card offers (protect against ID theft and save paper and trees): 1-888-567-8688 or http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
Follow up on March 4 FPW program:
ISU Extension Retirement Planning Pubs online in PDF
Decisions at the time of retirement (8 pp.) Get help considering when to retire, where to live, what income will be available, what to do about health insurance, and estate planning.
Begin By Planning Today -- Retirement: Secure Your Dreams (4 pp.) When you consider your ideal retirement, cost is a factor. This pamphlet covers the basics of financial planning, including the value of starting early, contributing often, and finding investments th ...
Estimating Your Retirement Expenses -- Retirement: Secure Your Dreams (4 pp.) Get detailed help from this expense worksheet that considers early, mid, and late retirement needs. ...
Retirement Income: How Much Do You Need? -- Retirement: Secure Your Dreams (8 pp.)
Use this five step retirement income planner worksheet to take the mystery out of what you'll need.
Workshops and events:
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wednesday, April 15, 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. April 11: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
Idaho's Two Cent Tips is for you.
Large file, please allow 30 seconds or more for download.
To access newsletter and podcast archives visit: Idaho's Two Cent Tips Archives
Send an 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)
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.
Small Steps 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 Lifeís Big Events
Noloís Essential Guide to Divorce
Quick and Legal Will Book
Noloís Simple Will Book (With CD)
Estate Planning Basics
The Busy Familyís 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
Also: How to Care for Your Parentsí 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?