February 2006 Newsletter

Please forward this email to a friend and invite her to join you for the next meeting.
February 8: Investing Basics Basic investment principles and terms to help you understand the sometimes confusing world of investing. Learn about compound interest, asset allocation, diversification, investment risk tolerance, dollar-cost averaging and more.
FPW meets 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Family Life room 318 on the USU campus. Feel free to 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).
If you missed the January meeting on "Small Steps to Health and Wealth" chack out the PowerPoint on the FPW website.
Upcoming FPW: March 8: Why you need an Individual Retirement Account.
April 12: Avoiding investment fraud. Protect yourself against the top 10 investment scams. Speaker: Leigh Davis-Schmidt, Utah Division of Securities
May10 : The perfect mutual fund for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
My Advanced Family Finance students are doing the research this semester to identify the best diversified, low-cost mutual funds for your IRA. Come take advantage of all their work. Also see the PPT for May 2005 presentation on mutual funds for your IRA.
Upcoming events:
Housing and Financial Counseling ( USU Family Life Center ) workshops:
Feb 11: Home ownership workshop
Feb 22: Home smart
Details and upcoming workshops at: http://www.usu.edu/fchd/hfc_workshops.pdf
Take Charge of Your Money
6 workshops on money management
Cost $45/person materials, binder, handouts, refreshments & dinner at USU March 9; spouse/partner $10 (only 1 set of materials per couple)
Cache County Administration Building , 179 N. Main , Suite 109
Thursdays 7-9 p.m. , Feb. 9, 16, 23 & March 9, 16, 23
Register with Adrie Roberts, USU Extension, (435) 752-6263 (enrollment limit = 40)
It's not to late to participate!
The Good Life: Planning and Preparing for Your Retirement Future
USU Extension Services and USU Community Credit Union are pleased to co-sponsor this financial education series.  Classes and materials are provided at no cost to participants. 
Jeff Salisbury will be speaking on Feb. 22. He is a great speaker (he is a guest speaker for my investing class each year and the student love his presentation). I highly recommend that you attend his session. Be sure to sign up.
Date Time Subject
Feb 22 7 to 8:30 Understanding the Stock Market
Mar 29 7 to 8:30 Needs of the "Sandwich Generation"
Apr 26 7 to 8:30 Protecting Yourself Against ID Theft
May 24 7 to 8:30 Creating a Financial Plan for Retirement
All sessions will be held in Multi-purpose Room: Suite 109 , Cache County Administration Building , 179 North Main , Logan , UT
To register, contact: Adrie Roberts, USU Extension - Cache County , 179 North Main , Suite 111,
Logan , Utah , 84321 .  (435) 752-6263.  adrier@ext.usu.edu  
2005 was the first year since the great Depression (1932) that Americans spent more than they saved.
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
The latest scam to avoid:
The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460 Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona ?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"
You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.
You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers' that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you
sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do," and hangs up.
Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other, we protect each other.
Book of the Month:
Work Less, Live More: The New Way to Retire Early (Paperback). by Robert Clyatt
Check out this book at www.nolo.com
What is the interest rate on your savings account?
While reading The Wall Street Journal recently I found that HSBC bank pays 4.25% on $1 minimum FDIC insured on-line savings accounts. see hsbcdirect.com
Other on-line banks such as EmigrantDirect.com and IngDirect.com offer slightly lower rates. Be sure to read all the FAQs so you understand how these accounts work.
Personal Finance Humor: Send me some humor for the newsletter!
Receive Your Refund Faster with Direct Deposit
"Want your refund faster? Have it deposited directly into your bank account. More taxpayers are choosing direct deposit as the way to receive their federal tax refunds. More than 52 million people had their tax refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts in 2005. It's a secure and convenient way to get your money in your pocket faster.
Security. The payment is secure - there is no check to get lost. Each year thousands of refund checks are returned by the US Post Office to the IRS as undeliverable mail. Direct deposit eliminates undeliverable mail and is also the best way to guard against having a tax refund stolen.
Convenience . There's no special trip to the bank to deposit a check!
To request direct deposit, follow the instructions for "Refund" on your tax return.
Want an even faster refund? Try e-file! Taxpayers who file electronically get their refunds in about half the time as those who file paper returns.
A word of caution - some financial institutions do not allow a joint refund to be deposited into an individual account. Check with your bank or other financial institution to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted. Also, make sure you have the correct nine-digit routing number and your account number when selecting direct deposit.
For more information about direct deposit of your tax refund, check the instructions for your tax form. This and other helpful tips are available in IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. To get a copy, visit the Forms and Publications section of the IRS Web site, http://www.irs.gov/, or call 1-800- TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676)."
What to do with your tax refund?
The average federal income tax refund in 2004 was $2,126 , (up 4.6% from 2003) (WSJ 1/26/05 , p. D2).
Some wise uses of the money:
Boost your emergency savings (some online banks pay 4%); U.S. government I bonds are earning 6.73% (http://www.savingsbonds.gov/)
Pay down credit cards (the average interest rate is over 12%)
Fund an Individual Retirement Account. If you invested $2,126 in an IRA with an average return of 8%: In 10 years the $ would grow to: $4,590;  20 years: $9,909;  30 years: $221,393.
Or you could buy a big screen TV....
For 2006: adjust your W-4 to reduce tax withheld and set up an automatic investment plan. Why loan Uncle Sam your hard earned money interest-free and then have to wait a year to get it back?
The USU Family Life Center , 797-7224, 493 N 700 East (bottom of Old Main Hill), provides free financial counseling and occasional workshops. This is the best source for basic money management and getting out of debt. They offer the PowerPay computer debt analysis for free.
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
Thanks to Zions Bank Smart Women grant for funding for FPW.