May 2008 Newsletter

May 7: Target Date Retirement funds: The Best Mutual Funds for Retirement (note change to first Wednesday)
The topic will be the best mutual funds for your Individual Retirement Account. You will learn about IRAs and the new Target Retirement Date mutual funds. My students will tell you the best funds from their investing class projects.
Please forward this message to a friend and bring her to FPW and receive your choice of a Nolo Press book as a reward. (See list of books at end of newsletter).
Upcoming:
June 11: Long term care insurance
July 9: Everything you need to know about credit
August 13: Property Insurance: Protecting your home and vehicles
Financial Planning for Women (FPW) is a monthly educational seminar that meets the second Wednesday (except December) at two times: 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Family Life room 118 or 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; jean.lown@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.
Reminder: PowerPoint presentations for the past few years are available on the FPW website.
How will you spend your $600 economic stimulus payment?
This opportunity does not come along very often– $600 tax free! It’s a great opportunity to pay down high interest consumer credit debt. If you are debt-free: Start (or contribute to) your Individual Retirement Account! Ditto if you received a tax refund.
If someone hands you $600 -- no strings attached -- what would you do with it?
"The biggest mistake people make is thinking [what they have] is too small an amount to invest," says Ric Edelman. "Rich people start off as poor people. The difference is they take the nickels and dimes and they invest it -- they didn't spend it all at the mall."
  • Pay down that credit card debt. OK, so this doesn't sound as appealing as a new DVD player. But if you can knock out -- or knock down -- the balance of even one high- interest credit card, you're making money.
  • Contribute to your IRA. Been putting this move off until you had "a little extra money?" Today's your lucky day.
  • Set up a rainy day fund in an online savings account paying 3% at www.iGObanking.com. The standard rule of thumb is to sock away three to six months of living expenses. So start with $300 and take it from there. (The bankruptcy courts would be a lot less crowded if Americans followed this advice.)
  • Start a 529 college savings account for your child or grandchild. Utah’s plan is among the best in the nation: www.uesp.org
  • Create a health savings account if you have high deductible health insurance.
  • Add it to your mortgage payment. "For most people, this is better than putting it in a savings account," says Robert Van Order, chief economist in the financial research division of Freddie Mac.
  • Increase your Insurance deductible. If you're paying through the nose for a low deductible, deposit your tax return in your emergency fund and increase your deductible by the same amount.
  • Donate to your favorite charity.
Adjust your withholding if you received a large refund. The average 2007 tax refund was $2,467. That’s $200/month! Think what you could do with that money each month! Even if you refund wasn’t that big, consider reducing your withholding to put your money to work for you.
W-4 withholding calculator
“The purpose of this application is to help employees to ensure that they do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay. It is not a replacement for Form W-4, but most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany Form W-4. You may use the results of this program to help you complete a new Form W-4, which you will submit to your employer.”
Opportunity to participate in research
If you are a woman between the ages of 25 and 55, and have made a positive change in your financial behavior within that past two years, you qualify to be paid for your research contribution! We are holding focus groups in order to research women and their motivations for financial behavior change. Participants will be paid $20 for participating in a 1-hour focus group. Contact Megan Rowley, graduate student, via email (m.rowley@usu.edu) or via phone (797.0494) for participation details. This research has been approved by USU’s Institutional Review Board. Please pass this info along to anyone who may qualify.
What to Do if a Health Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Major illness or a stay in the hospital following an accident can be stressful. It's not a time you want to be worried about your insurance coverage. However, for some insurance consumers, this is when they are hit with a denial — notification their insurance company won't pay all or part of a claim. To help understand your options when a claim is denied, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests a number of steps.
Eight simple suggestions culled from his two decades as a personal-finance writer for The Wall Street Journal. Jonathan Clements’ last Getting Going column
National Savings Rate Guidelines for Individuals
Follow up on April program on calculating retirement investing needs: consult the tables in this article from the Journal of Financial Planning
Need inspiration on ways to find money to invest? Check out: http://www.storyofstuff.com/
Did you get a large tax refund? adjust your W-4 withholding with this easy online calculator
Invest the extra amount each month instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.
Financial Steps for Caregivers
The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) has produced an updated booklet as part of the U.S. National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning. This WISER guide, Financial Steps for Caregivers: What you need to know about Money and Retirement provides step-by-step information to help family caregivers avoid common financial pitfalls and to plan for their own future economic security. Other financial planning information, including divorce and widowhood, health care, saving and investing, and retirement plans are available on the WISER Web site : http://www.wiserwomen.org/portal/
Idaho’s two cent tips newsletter- monthly email consumer news.
You can access old issues and listen to podcasts at Idaho's Two Cent Tips Archive
Send an email to erickson@uidaho.edu to subscribe or unsubscribe.
Enroll today to become an Aggie Saver at Become an Aggie Saver
Check out the savings strategies and resources. Registered Aggie Savers can get a free consultation at the Family Life Center. Call 435-797-7224 for an appointment.
News & Resources to enhance life-long learning:
FINRA e-mail newsletter- sign up
Find answers to your personal finance questions at E-extension website FAQs
http://www.extension.org/personal_finance
Read The Wall Street Journal Sunday in the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News Business Section or read it online: http://www.wsj.com/sunday
All of Jonathan Clements’s Getting Going articles from the Wall Street Journal are available on-line: http://online.wsj.com/search/aggregate.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/
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wed. May, 21 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
May 10 Home Ownership Workshop 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
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.
Social Security in Logan: Department of Workforce Services Building located at 180 N 100 W in Logan. 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM.
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
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.