January 2007 Newsletter

For additional info: contact Jean Lown @ 797-1569 or lown@cc.usu.edu
January 10:  Small Steps to Health & Wealth . Each participant will receive a free 100 page workbook. Participants will learn:
  • 25 Small Steps to Health and Wealth Strategies
  • The impact of health on finances and finances on health
  • How to set health and wealth goals
  • How to take action to set small steps to reach goals
Bring a friend or colleague. If you bring a first-time attendee you will receive your choice of a personal finance book or Kiplinger's magazine subscription. Refreshments.
January is College of Natural Resources month.
Each month FPW provides incentives for women affiliated with each of USU's 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 the Month will receive a "Paycheck Power Booster Calculator" and be entered into a drawing for a personal finance book ( Get a life: You don't need a million to retire well or Work less, live more: The new way to retire early or subscription to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
February is College of Science month.
2007 FPW Schedule
Note that we will deviate from the second Wednesday date in March (due to USU Spring break) & November (I'll be in Florida for a conference).
January 10:  Small Steps to Health & Wealth . Each participant will receive a free 100 page workbook.
February 14:  Money Habitudes: Understanding Your Relationship to Money workshop for singles and couples.
March 7 : Savings Fitness: a Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future
April 11:   Making Your Money Last for a Lifetime: Why You Need to Know About Annuities
May 9:  Great Mutual Funds for Your Individual Retirement Account.
June 13:  Estate Planning . Attorney Rock Allen
July 11:  Five Timeless Principles of Investing. Jeff Salisbury, fee-only investment advisor
August 8:  Choosing and Working with a Financial Advisor , Allen Marler, CFP
September 12:  AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend
October 10:  The Wealth Care Kit & Smart About Money web site
November 7:  A Simple Guide to What Everyone Needs to Know About Money & Retirement
December: no program
Quote of the month: "Nothing seems expensive on credit." - Czech Proverb
It's Income Tax season!
To learn more about federal income taxes and tax breaks such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Credit and lots of other tax savings tips, subscribe to the IRS's email tax tips: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/content/0,,id=105773,00.html
The tax deduction for K-12 educators who purchase classroom supplies has been renewed but does not show up on the tax forms! For details go to 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
Click on: "Revived Deductions Pose Tax-Form Hassles" and claim the deduction on Form 1040's line 23.
One of the worst financial moves is to get an instant tax refund via a tax refund anticipation loan. These are ultra high interest short term loans similar to payday loans. Avoid them! To learn more: http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/RAL_2006_Early_info.pdf
Income Tax withholding calculator
If you received a large tax refund last year (the average was about $2700 but even $500 is a lot) then it's time to adust your W-4 form to reduce your withholding and use that "extra" money each month to pay down consumer debt or save/invest automatically
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html
Note the following changes for 2007 (these changes do not affect 2006 tax returns):
Maximum 401(k) contribution increases to $15,500; if you are 50 or older the max is $20,500.
Personal Finance books to start off the new year
books by Jean Chatzky  http://www.jeanchatzky.com/
Make Money, Not Excuses: Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever
The Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness: Feel Richer with What You've Got
Pay It Down!: From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day
Talking Money: Everything You Need to Know about Your Finances and Your Future
Michelle Singletary http://www.michellesingletary.com/
Spend well live rich. "The best financial planner Michelle Singletary ever knew was Big Mama, her grandmother. Big Mama raised Michelle and her four brothers and sisters on a salary that never reached more than $13,000 a year. Yet at her death, Big Mama owned her own home, had paid off a car loan, and had a beautiful collection of Sunday-go-to-meeting church hats and a savings account that supplemented her Social Security check and small pension. Most important, she had taught Michelle "7 Money Mantras for a Richer Life." Those mantras serve as the inspiration for this straight-talking book of practical personal financial advice that really works."
7 Money mantras for a richer life. Michelle is a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post whose popular personal finance column appears in more than 120 newpapers. She's also a mother of three children who understands what it's like to live on a budget. In a plainspoken, sassy, no-nonsense voice, Michelle provides answers to the financial issues that confront almost every household: how to teach children the value of money; how to address money issues in a relationship or marriage; household saving tips; getting the best loans; and much more.
Nolo Press books. Check out nolo.com. Currently on sale: Work less, live more. "Early semi-retirement. Work fewer hours, realize your goals and dreams, spend time with your loved ones - - and do it all years, even decades, before the "normal" retirement age of 65. With Work Less, Live More and a little planning, you can do it. The book provides a rational investment system based on Nobel Prize-winning research, a safe lifelong withdrawal plan and sensible spending guidelines. More importantly, the book provides inspiring stories and insights of many successful early semi-retirees, walking proof that meaningful work -- rather than full-time work -- is both fulfilling and rewarding."  FPW has copies of this book to give away in 2007; just bring someone new to FPW to qualify.
http://www.nolo.com/specialoffer/index.cfm/ObjectID/E024F5A1-8343-489C-B8B28222F1B2BEA1
Take Action:
New year's resolutions! Make 2007 the year you pay off consumer debt and increase saving.
PowerPay your way out of debt with https://powerpay.org/
Join Utah Saves at www.utahsaves.org
Online banks are offering up to 5.5% interest on no minimum FDIC insured accounts. Check HSBC.com, IngDirect.com, Emigrantsavings.com, eloan.com
Read Money (including back issues) online at: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/
Michelle Singletary's The Color of Money book club: http://www.michellesingletary.com/club.htm
November 2006 Selections
"FastWeb College Gold: The Step-by-Step Guide to Paying for College," by Mark Kantrowitz with Doug Hardy (Collins, $21.95).
The 2007 edition of "Paying for College Without Going Broke" by Kalman A. Chany with Geoff Martz (Random House and Princeton Review, $20).
Websites of the month:
Thrive by Five: Teaching Your Preschooler About Spending and Saving  
http://www.creditunion.coop/thriveby5/
"The Credit Union National Association (in partnership with Cooperative Extension and credit union educators) has developed Thrive by Five: Teaching Your Preschooler About Spending and Saving. The program includes free activities and other resources for parents who want to encourage healthy attitudes about money in young children. Thrive by Five is a set of eight activities (available in both English and Spanish) for parents of preschoolers to begin teaching basic concepts of financial education. These activities, along with informational tips for working with this age group and concepts 5-year-olds need to know prior to entering kindergarten, are available online."
Need to provide your own health insurance?
At www.healthinsurance.com, you can compare any number of plans.  They do it by zip code. Another option: www.ehealthinsurance.com
Need funding for your business? Check out the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund at http://www.umlf.com/
"Building brighter futures through small business." 
"Did you know that some of the most successful businesses in Utah started with a microenterprise loan? Over the past twelve years, the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund has worked in partnership with members of Utah's financial banking community to help launch or expand more than 448 small businesses across the state. Through our loans ($1,000-$25,000), we've been able to help people with low to moderate incomes supplement their earnings. We've helped women find the flexibility they need to balance their work and families. We've worked with child care providers to increase the number of children they are able to have in their care. We've also helped minorities, immigrants and people who have been injured in the workplace find economic security through ownership and operation of their own small businesses.
Whether a small business is a sole source of income or a crucial supplement, Utah microenterprise loans help provide the necessary capital to put individuals and families on the road to greater self-sufficiency. Working together with our clients and our financial partners, we build healthier families, stronger communities and most of all -- brighter futures."
Planning to buy a new car in 2007?
Buy a hybrid and get a tax credit of $3,150 on a Toyota Prius while getting 55 mpg. Details at:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=153397,00.html
Plan to buy early in the year because Congress limited the number of vehicles eligible for the full credit. In 2006 the amount of the credit decreased after Oct. 1.
Local Events and Seminars    
Housing and Financial Counseling (USU Family Life Center) workshops:
Saturday January 13 Homeownership workshop 8:30-4:30 (registration required)
Call 797-7430 to register.
The Good Life Workshop
Wednesday, January 31, 2007   Record Retention
Speaker: Jack Peterson of Peterson Allred Jackson
For info: Adrie J. Roberts, Utah State University Extension (435) 752-6263
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 ; lown@cc.usu.edu
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.
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.