August 2006 Newsletter

August is College of Business month for FPW! (See details below).
News item: Over 40% of U.S. households are "at risk" of not having enough money to maintain their living standard in retirement (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College). Are you one of them?
August 9: Am I on track for a comfortable retirement? How much to invest for retirement using the Ballpark Estimate.  The Ballpark Estimate is a quick and easy to use tool to determine if your retirement investing plan is on schedule.
Useful program prep: gather the data on the amounts you have invested for retirement in 401(k), IRAs and other plans, any defined pension info, review your Social Security Statement (how much will you receive in SS retirement payments) and estimate your longevity at Planning for a Secure Retirement module 1: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/retirement/.
Review this website  http://www.choosetosave.org/ballpark/
August is College of Business Month for FPW. Persons affiliated with the College will receive a Pay Check Booster calculator and be entered into a drawing for a personal finance book for attending FPW in August. Come and bring a friend or colleague.
Anyone who brings someone new will receive their choice of personal finance book.
FPW meets 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Family Life room 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).
Upcoming FPW programs (mark your calendar):
September 13: Taking the Mystery out of Retirement Planning
October 11: Stretching Your Dollar (tentative)
November 8: Getting off the Consumer Escalator. DVD featuring Juliet Schor, author of The Overspent American , followed by discussion.
If you have suggestions for topics please email: jean.lown@cc.usu.edu
FPW Advisory Board
Thanks to the following women who serve on the FPW Advisory Board: Lola Bolton, Valerie Byrnes, Susan Haddock, Rae Ann Hart, Dena Larsen, Chris Lord, Norma Mann, & Visnja Taylor
The role of the Advisory Board is to help determine program topics and to provide ideas on how to promote FPW. In the coming months the Advisory Board members will be introduced in alphabetical order.
Rae Ann Hart is an administrative assistant in the Forest, Range, & Wildlife Sciences Department. She has worked at USU in various capacities since 1981 and also received her B.S. here in Nutrition & Food Science. She has administered several large grants for international projects, EPA, USDA, and NSF. Rae Ann was happy to become part of the BEHAVE project because of her love for animals. She loves horse racing, especially chariot racing.  Now she keeps busy raising four boys and really enjoys helping them with school, scouting, and 4-H projects.  Her husband, Jim, runs a family owned business called Mountain Toppers.
USU College months with FPW
Each month FPW will provide incentives for women affiliated with each of the seven colleges to attend FPW. Affiliation means you work for the college, graduated from, are a student in the college or are spouse/partner of an affiliate. Everyone affiliated with the College of Business will receive a "Paycheck Power Booster Calculator" if they attend the August  FPW. September is College of Education and Human Services month. Come and bring your colleagues.
Websites of the month:
Wise Up program for women age 22-35
http://wiseupwomen.tamu.edu/
Need help with budgeting? Check out this online budget guide on the MoneySmart Woman web site. http://www.easybudgetguide.com
Be money savvy: 5 rules of thumb ( Money magazine, August 2006)
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/2006/08/01/8382158/index.htm
http://www.cfp.net/learn/
CFP E-newsletter   http://www.cfp.net/enewsletter/default.asp
Sign up to receive CFP Board's eNewsletter and CFP Board will periodically e-mail you "It's Your Turn," which includes information about financial planning, consumer alerts, financial planning tools and resources and much more. All it takes to sign up is a valid e-mail address - subscribe today!
Get organized with the CFP Board's Personal Data Organizer available at  http://www.cfp.net/learn/pdo.asp
IRA Basics (UIUC)
http://www.ace.uiuc.edu/cfe/ira%20basics/IRAbasics.pdf
Sending a child off to college this fall?
Parent Smarts: Credit Information Series for Parents
http://www.ace.uiuc.edu/cfe/credit/parentsmarts/
Book of the Month:
Credit Card Insider Tips ; available at: http://www.creditcardinsidertips.com/
"A new, free eBook, Credit Card Insider Tips , shows consumers ways to reduce credit card debt, how to negotiate lower credit card interest rates or an increase in credit limits. The author, Cindy Morus, a  former self-confessed financial failure and "desperate housewife," has coached hundreds of people to financial well-being. She leads a team of financial coaches who empower people to become financially savvy and secure with her MoneySmart Woman T? program."
Take action!
Small Steps to Health and Wealth website: http://www.rce.rutgers.edu/healthfinance/smallsteps.asp
Read The Wall Street Journal Sunday in the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune Business Section or read it online: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/sundayjournal.html
Check out the Nolo Press website  http://www.nolo.com/
Sign up for Nolo Press email newsletters. http://www.nolo.com/newsletter/index.cfm
When should I start taking my Social Security retirement benefits? Virtually all retirees face this important decision. The age at which recipients can receive their full retirement benefit is gradually being raised; it is no longer 65 but 66 (for persons born 1943-1955) or later for persons born 1956 or later. While the median age of retirement is 62, one can choose when to start collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Workers who choose to begin receiving SS benefits at age 62 (the earliest age) are forever locked into a reduced benefit (although benefits increase with the cost of living each year, if you start receiving benefits at age 62 your monthly check is reduced to 75% of your full benefit). The most important factor to consider is your life expectancy. While you can use actuarial tables to estimate life expectancy based on gender, it is much more accurate to calculate your estimated longevity based on your health and family history. Two calculators are available in the Planning for a Secure Retirement website in Module 1b: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/retirement/
Research Tip: The most recent issue of the journal Financial Counseling and Planning includes a detailed assessment of the decision of when to begin collecting SS retirement benefits: When People Who Have Stopped Working Should Take Social Security Retirement, by Albert Kinderman and William P. Jennings. Abstract:
"A new generation of retirees will receive full Social Security retirement benefits at age 66. Those who have left the workforce have the choice of collecting benefits early. The paper considers the range of choices faced by decision-makers and offers an alternative approach to the financial planning question of when to begin taking Social Security benefits, identifying the incremental increases from waiting. With consideration of various discount rates, life expectancy, and the complexity of the Social Security rules, for many, but not all, waiting until age 66 will yield a larger present value of the stream of expected future benefits." The full article is available at: http://www.afcpe.org/doc/Vol1711.pdf
Because of a quirk in the SSA formula, age 63 is the least beneficial age to start collecting benefits. The authors present a cogent argument for waiting to age 66 before starting to collect benefits as the best insurance against living too long. Due to living longer than men, most women would benefit from waiting until their full retirement age to start collecting Social Security.
Personal Finance Humor:
Woman #1: "It's been 20 years since we graduated from college and started working."
Woman #2: "Wow!... that long?"
Woman #1: "And we've got 20 years of saving before our retirement."
Woman #2: "Wow!... that little?!"
Thanks to Roxane Pfister for sharing the "Between Friends" comic strip.
Send $ jokes or humor to: jean.lown@cc.usu.edu
Upcoming events:
You're invited to for an exclusive screening of Maxed Out - a new award winning documentary film. " Maxed Out takes us on a journey deep inside the American debt-style, where everything seems okay as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time.   Maxed Out forces us to face the consequences of our national debt addiction."
Thursday, August 24 th at 7:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 210 E 400 S.
The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is limited to the first 300 people. No children under 17.  The Director will be available for comments before and after the event. Check out the website: http://www.maxedoutmovie.com/
Housing and Financial Counseling (USU Family Life Center) workshops:
August 12 (Saturday): Homeownership workshop 8:30-4:30 (registration required)
August 30 (Wednesday): Home Smart 7-9 p.m.
Call 797-7430 to register. Details and upcoming workshops at: http://www.usu.edu/fchd/hfc_workshops.pdf
Want to help your teens learn to manage their money responsibly?
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years: Basic Money Management
Wed. August 16, 6:30-8:30 pm (also Sept. 20)
USU Charter Credit Union, 198 N. Main, downstairs conference room (enter at rear of building). Workshops are free. To register: 753-4080, ext 3400 or moneyteacher@usuccu.org
Financial Trivia:
U.S. data: The median value of a new home (built in the last four years) was $236,864; monthly housing costs were $809 last year. Source: American Housing Survey, U.S. Census Bureau)
Utah Data (from U.S. Census Bureau): Median (mid-point) family income for Utah (based on family size): 1 person: $42,496; 2 persons: $46,912; 3 persons: $52,955; 4 persons: $59,879 (add $6,300 for each individual in excess of 4).
Financial Planning for Women (FPW) is a monthly educational seminar that meets the second Wednesday of each month at two times: 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Family Life room 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. Bring a friend! For further information: (435) 797-1569; jean.lown@cc.usu.edu
The USU Family Life Center, 797-7224, 493 N 700 East (bottom of Old Main Hill), provides financial counseling and monthly workshops. 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.
Thanks to Zions Bank Smart Women grant for funding for FPW 2005-2006.