January 2008 Newsletter

January 9: 25 Behavior Change Strategies to Boost your Wealth. We will use the workbook
Small Steps to Health and Wealth so if you have a copy from last January please bring it with you.
Please forward this message to a friend and invite her to join us at FPW in 2008 and receive your choice of a Nolo Press 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.
2008 FPW Schedule
February 13:  Income Tax Basics & Planning
March 5: (first Wed.) Investment Planning
April 9: What every woman needs to know about Social Security: Sandi Hunter, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration;
May 14: Best Mutual Funds for Retirement
June 11: Long Term Care Insurance (Lyle Hansen, University of Idaho Extension educator & LTC specialist)
July 9: Everything you need to know about your credit report and score. Angie Rice, Experian
All participants will receive the 20 page booklet: Building a Better Credit Report (Federal Trade Commission)
August 13: Insurance
September 10: Guidebook to Help Late Savers Prepare for Retirement
October 8: Reverse mortgages, Cindy Stokes, USU instructor and reverse mortgage counselor
November 12: TBA
America Saves Week, February 24-March 2, 2008.
Join Utah Saves! Register and find lots of great ideas to reduce debt and increase saving & investing at www.Utahsaves.org
Still haven’t started an on-line saving account? Interest rates are about 4.5%.
Time to adjust your income tax withholding?
2007 Federal income tax refunds (for 2006): more people received refunds and the average refund was higher. 8-22-07 WSJ D3
2006 avg. refund: $2,197
2007 $2,251 up 2.5%
Seven Ways to Get a Jump Start on Your Taxes
Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. Taxpayers are encouraged to get a head start on tax preparation, especially since early filers avoid the last minute rush and get their refunds sooner.
Here are seven easy ways to get a good jump on your taxes long before the April deadline is here:
Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including W-2s and 1099s. Don’t forget to save a copy for your files.
Get the right forms. They’re available around the clock on the IRS Web site, IRS.gov.
Take your time. Don’t forget to leave room for a coffee break when filling out your tax return as rushing can mean making a mistake.
Double-check your math and verify all Social Security numbers. These are among the most common errors found on tax returns. Taking care will reduce your chance of hearing from the IRS and speed up your refund.
E-filing is easy. E-filing catches math errors and provides confirmation your return has been received and gives you a faster refund.
Get the fastest refund. When you e-file early, you receive your refund faster. When you choose direct deposit, you receive your refund sooner than waiting for a check.
Don’t panic. If you have a problem or a question, remember the IRS is there to help. Try the IRS Web site at IRS.gov or call the IRS customer service number at 800-829-1040.
To subscribe to IRS Tax Tips, an IRS e-mail service. please go to the e-News Subscriptions page on IRS.gov.For more information on federal taxes please visit IRS.gov.
Cost of Food at home at four levels
Ever wonder how your expenditures compare to some sort of standard? Is your spending plan realistic? While there are no simple answers, data from the USDA can help you evaluate your spending. A family of four with two adults and kids ages 6-8 and 9-11 years spends about $900/month under the moderate-cost plan. Please note that all meals and snacks are prepared at home. This means there is no allowance for restaurant meals or fast food.
Find answers to your personal finance questions at E-extension website FAQs
CFP Board's "It's Your Turn" eNewsletter is sent monthly to those who subscribe through CFP Board's Web site, www.CFP.net/learn.  
Read the current newsletter and subscribe at: http://www.cfp.net/enewsletter/
Improving Family Financial Stability in Utah
The United Way Financial Stability Council, is seeking your input! Go to: http://www.uwfinancialstability.org/  to read the proposals and tell them what YOU think.
News & Resources to enhance life-long learning:
Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
Visit http://www.magnetmail1.net/ls.cfm?r=15178959&sid=2983191&m=384054&u=finra&s=http://apps.finra.org/campaigns/campaign.asp?cid=91&lid=24  https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). You'll need to provide your Social Security number and date of birth in order to be offer-free.
Idaho's Two Cent Tips email newsletter. Send an email to erickson@uidaho.edu to subscribe.
View USU’s Dr. Phil Swensen’s Retirement Seminar videos (6 sessions) online at: http://www.usu.edu/hr/retirementseminars2.cfm
Read The Wall Street Journal Sunday in the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News Business Section or read it online: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/sundayjournal.html
Personal Finance Top Tips via e-mail
Often the best way to learn and take action is to receive information and advice in small amounts. Sign up for email advice from Money magazine columnists: http://money.cnn.com/services/newsletters/
Are you or someone you know a victim of the subprime ARM mortgage fiasco?
Federal Trade Commission: Facts for Consumers
“The possibility of someone losing their home because they can't make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps they are one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first 2 or 3 years and then changed to an adjustable rate. Perhaps they are anticipating an adjustment, and want to know what their payments will be and whether they'll be able to make them. Or, maybe they're having trouble making ends meet because of an unrelated financial crisis. Regardless of the reason for  the mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ), the nation's consumer protection agency, offers Facts for Consumers so citizens can learn how to help save their homes and how to recognize and avoid foreclosure scams. Visit the FTC Web site to learn more about mortgages and other credit-related issues.”
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wed. January 16, 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
NEFE® High School Financial Planning Program
The revised HSFPP is supported by a dynamic Web site that offers a large, continually changing collection of materials for teachers; online calculators, games, polls, and real-life learning exercises for students; and ideas for extending learning beyond the classroom, including a special section for parents.
Jump$tart Personal Finance Clearinghouse 
The Jump$tart Clearinghouse provides an easy-to-use, free online database of current personal finance materials designed for teaching and learning.
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.
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
Divorce and money: How to make the best financial decisions during divorce
Get it together: Organize your records so your family won’t have to
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 (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
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. For further information: (435) 797- 1569; lown@cc.usu.edu; http://www.usu.edu/fpw/
Bring a female friend or colleague with you who is attending FPW for the first time and you will receive a thank you gift. Please speak up at the meeting and let us know.
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.