June 2009 Newsletter

We are revising the Financial Planning for Women email list.
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Thank you for your help! Jean
June 10: Spend your way to happiness!
Spend, spend, spend like there is a tomorrow. Dr. Jan Andersen, USU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist
Successful financial planning and management is primarily about spending.
Dr. Andersen will present strategies and tips on how to become a Master Spender.
Topics will include:
  • Identifying financial and non-financial problems.
  • Recognizing negative spending patterns.
  • Spending today v. spending tomorrow.
  • Money and happiness (or how to spend your way to happiness).
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 programs:
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.
Book of the month: The Wall Street Journal Guide to Staring your Financial Life by Karen Blumenthal. A great gift for new graduates includes: how to establish good credit, whether to buy or rent, what type of health insurance you need, and smart investment strategies.
Quote of the month: "If you want to grow rich, you have to spend less than you earn. Itís that simple." Jonathan Clements, former Wall Street Journal Personal Finance writer and author of upcoming book:
Facing a furlough? Develop a plan
A great website! The Simple Dollar: financial talk for the rest of us.
If you read only one part of this web site, read: Ten Financial Reasons To Turn Off Your Television - And Ten Things To Replace It With
Personal Finance Blogs recommended by The Wall Street Journal:
Get RichSlowly.org/blog "Personal finance that makes cents." I really liked The Lazy Way to Investment Success Tuesday, 2nd June 2009 (by J.D.)
Bargaineering: Engineering a richer life bargaineering.com
Bank Deals. BankDeals.blogspot.com
Beware of paying for ID theft prevention. All that these companies do is set up fraud alerts and keep renewing them. Consumers can do this on their own at http://www.annualcreditreport.com†where you should periodically review your credit report for suspicious activity. Donít pay for ID theft protection service. The fraud alert is supposed to require a creditor to call you at a number you have designated before they will open an account. A federal court in California has prohibited LifeLock, one of the largest companies in the business, from setting fraud alerts with Experian. Check your credit report today. This website is one of the few places where it is OK to provide your social security number.
Workshops and events:
The Family Life Center is offering a financial management workshop on budgeting, saving, and debt management. "The Nuts and Bolts of Nickles and Dimes" costs $15 per household; scholarships are available. The workshop is scheduled for the first and third Wednesday of the month from 6:45 P.M.-9:00 P.M. at the Family Life Center. To register call: 797-7224
Home Ownership Workshop. June 13: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wednesday, June 17, July 15 & August 19. 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
Strange But True: Claim and Suspend Social Security
by Alicia H. Munnell, Alex Golub-Sass, and Nadia Karamcheva May 2009 IB#9-11
†"With the current financial crisis wreaking havoc on retirement savings, many older people have had to reassess their retirement plans Ė they may decide to work longer or, if already retired, to re-enter the workforce. For those currently in the labor force, working longer increases monthly Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits are actuarially adjusted so that, on average, lifetime benefits remain the same whether a person retires at any age between 62 and 70. So the later a person retires, the higher the monthly benefit. For those thinking of re-entering the workforce, Social Security provides for higher benefits later in exchange for withholding benefits while they are employed. For those under the Full Retirement Age (currently 66), this adjustment is accomplished automatically through the annual retirement earnings test. For those over the Full Retirement Age, the adjustment can be made through the voluntary option of "claim and suspend."

The "claim and suspend" strategy also enhances the claiming options of one-earner couples. For example, a husband who reaches the Full Retirement Age may elect to claim and immediately suspend benefits, allowing his wife to receive a spousal benefit based on his earnings record. The husband is then free to continue working and receive delayed retirement credits, which increases not only his monthly benefit but also his wifeís survivor benefit. By using "claim and suspend" in this way, the couple can enhance the value of their lifetime benefits..."
More about Social Security (a personal story)
Do you know that surviving spouses are eligible for a one-time $255 payment to help cover funeral/burial expenses? You must file a claim for a death benefit within 2 years of the death. I only know this because I teach this stuff. No one is going to notify the survivors. So if you experience a death in the family or know of friends who may be eligible, tell them to apply. You cannot apply online; an eligible survivor must apply in person.
You also need to know that at the death of a retired married person, the surviving spouse may be eligible for a higher SS monthly retirement benefit. For most married couples the husband is older and dies first; typically he has the largest benefit based on his employment history. The wife may have a benefit based on her work history or be eligible for a benefit equal to half of her husbandís benefit. If the spouse with the higher benefit dies first, the surviving spouse is supposed to receive the larger of the two monthly benefits. But in order to collect the larger benefit one must apply in person at the SS office.
I am currently battling SS to get them to increase my motherís benefit to the higher amount my father was receiving prior to his death on March 15. Itís June 3 and Iím still battling SS!!! Talk about bureaucratic! It takes knowledge and persistence to get what you deserve. Are you prepared to assist your elderly parents, relatives or neighbors when their time comes? FPW has the Nolo Press book Your Little Legal Companion: Helpful Advice for Lifeís Big Events
to give away if you bring someone new to the seminar.
Getting Personal: Retirees Can Reset Social Security Benefits
Dow Jones Newswires (05/18/09) Knight, Victoria E.
Investors can collect higher Social Security payments if they defer the benefit to age 70, say financial advisors of middle- and high-income earners anxious about their retirement savings. Those who began collecting Social Security at age 62 and want to return to work may start over, so long as they return the payments they have already received. By deferring, experts say, retirees can earn an additional 7 percent to 8 percent a year until they turn 70. The recession has forced some workers who anticipated a comfortable retirement padded by 401(k) benefits, Social Security, and other investments to come out of retirement and recoup retirement losses. "They're looking to create a bigger financial cushion," says Evensky & Katz LLC wealth manager Brett Horowitz, CFPģ, who is informing clients about their option to reset their Social Security benefits. However, many advisors recommend that workers in poor physical health apply for Social Security as early as possible in order to maximize the benefits.
What Every Woman Should Know...about Social Security

Our local SS office:

Social Security, 2nd Fl FOB
324 25th Street
Ogden, UT 84401

1-800-772-1213 Monday - Friday: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM except federal holidays
Resources
FINRA Investor Education Web site
Itís your Turn (CFP Board Newsletter)
Search review recent newsletter for topics of interest and sign up to receive the monthly e-mail news. Read: "How to Talk with Children about Money" in the May newsletter. Itís Your Turn has published a series of four articles on kids and money, presenting tools and tips to help parents and children get a handle on personal finance. To find out more, read:
Kids and Money I: The Early Years
Kids and Money II: The Adolescent Years
Kids and Money III: The College Years
Kids and Money IV: Living at HomeóAgain
Idaho's Two Cent Tips
Large file, please allow 30 seconds or more for download.
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:
Noloís Essential Guide to Divorce
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
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
The Smart Womanís Guide to Midlife and Beyond
You and Your Money: A No-Stress Guide to Becoming Financially Fit
50 & Forward: A womanís journey of financial awareness and self discovery
Get a financial life: Personal finance in your twenties and thirties
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.
FPW topics for 2009
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?