November 2007 Newsletter

Please email your suggestions for topics for 2008 to jean.lown@usu.edu ASAP!
Note date change to the first Wednesday for November
November 7: A Simple Guide to What Everyone Needs to Know About Money & Retirement Free 10 page guidebook produced by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.
Please forward this message to a friend and invite her to join us at FPW! Win a prize for bringing someone new!!
What Women Need to Know About Retirement is a new WISER publication you can download 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. For further information: (435) 797- 1569; lown@cc.usu.edu; Financial Planning for Women Home
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.
Upcoming FPW programs:
December: no program. See suggestions below about simplifying the holidays and spending less.
Please tell us what programs you want for 2008!
Planning for the holidays
Alternative Gift Mart
Saturday, November 17, 9:30-2:30
Presbyterian Church, 12 South 200 West, Logan
“Sending gifts of food, shelter, trees, gardens, medicines around the world since 1986. Select an alternative gift from 35 life- sustaining, worldwide projects to honor family and friends.”
Logan’s year round source for alternative gifts: Global Village Gifts, 146 N 100 E, Logan, 713-4347
The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Consider instead, celebrating International Buy Nothing Day(s): November 23 & 24, 2007
For December holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa
“And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!” How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
Interested? Check out The Center for a New American Dream
Live consciously, buy wisely, make a difference.
Do we really need more stuff? Why not give gifts that will enhance the recipient’s financial security rather than end up in the landfill?
Also, ponder the down side of gift cards- often loaded with fees and charges.
Financial security gifts:
Shares of a mutual fund or stock
Set up and contribute to a Utah Education Savings Plan for college savings (and get a state tax deduction for yourself)
Subscription to Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, or Consumer Reports (go to their websites for info)
Reduce, reuse, recycle: buy terrific gifts at thrift shops. Try out the new DI or Somebody’s Attic, 39 W 100 N in Logan or Somebody’s Attic Too at 3 South Main in Smithfield (proceeds go to CAPSA and the Child and Family Support Center).
For children: Money Savvy Pig: piggy bank for the 21st century
Something to think about:
A recent study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found a link between friends and obesity. Social networks have a greater impact on becoming obese than do genes. While no one has proposed a genetic link to financial security, think about the possible impact of the people you hang out with. Do your friends and co-workers encourage fiscal responsibility or overspending? Did you buy too big a house and spend too much on vehicles to impress your friends?
Quote of the Month
Don’t wait until the time or the market is just right to start investing- start now. The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago-the second best time is now.” James Stowers, Jr. Billionaire founder of AmCentury mutual funds.
Join Utah Saves! Register and find lots of great ideas to reduce debt and increase saving & investing
Need answers to your financial questions? Have you ever wondered:
How is a reverse mortgage the same as and different from a home equity loan?
What are some things that I should know about leasing a car?
How can I compare the costs of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages?
What are some good uses for unexpected windfalls such as a tax refund, bonus, or inheritance?
Can someone choose a bank or financial planner to be the executor of their will?
Find answers to these and other questions at E-extension website FAQs
CFP Board's "It's Your Turn" eNewsletter is sent monthly to those who have subscribed through CFP Board's Web site. Read the current newsletter and subscribe
sample article:
Getting to Know Annuities
It’s Your Turn CFP Board news October 2007
“Making sure you have enough money for retirement is kind of like going to a tailor to be measured for a new suit. The clothes you need depend on the life you lead. If you plan to be active, you’ll want something a bit loose with room to maneuver; if you plan to kick back and relax, then cotton will do just as well as silk.”
“An annuity — a financial product traditionally designed to provide a tax-deferred sum as the basis for a regular income over a fixed period — can often mean the difference between a retirement fund that fits you comfortably and one that’s too tight. But annuities come in so many different shapes and styles and sizes that consumers are often confused about which one, if any, to buy. So here is a brief shopper’s guide to what annuities are and how they might work for you.” Read the entire article at the link above.
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%
Improving Family Financial Stability in Utah
The United Way Financial Stability Council, is seeking your input! Read the proposals and tell them what YOU think.
Improving your own financial stability.... What is the interest rate on your savings account? If your emergency savings is sitting in a traditional bank or credit union account you’re probably earning less than 1% interest. With the average inflation rate of 3.1%, your savings is losing purchasing power. Don’t forget you also have to pay federal and state income taxes on the interest you earn each year. Although the recent rate cut by the Federal Reserve Board means lower interest for savers, on-line savings accounts are still paying about 4.5% APY. Check out www.emigrantdirect.com
http://www.us.hsbc.com/
http://home.ingdirect.com/
News & Resources to enhance life-long learning:
Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
U.S. households will receive 5.3 Billion credit card offers this year. Think about all the wasted resources: materials and energy to produce the offers and fuel to send them around the country. Besides offering crooks a chance to steal your identity, does anyone need another credit card? Do yourself and the environment a favor: Opt out of receiving these offers:
Visit 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.

ICFE eNEWS #07-19 - October 24th 2007
Institute of Consumer Financial Information
Now, Everyone Can Freeze Their Credit FilesCredit Freezes Can Also Help Rein in Credit Based Spending
San Diego, CA. No, it was not the result of an act of Congress; rather it was quite simply common sense, a rarity these days at most levels of government and private enterprise alike. The wave of common sense thinking first hit at TransUnion Corporation earlier this month when they announced all consumers would be eligible to freeze their credit files regardless of whether or not they had become the victim of credit or identity theft. It wasn't long after that Experian and Equifax both followed suit.
As of November 1st, 2007 any consumer in the USA can opt to have their credit files frozen for a nominal $10 fee at any of the three major credit reporting agencies. If someone is a victim of identity theft, there is no charge, if they submit a police report along with the initial freeze request.
Already there is a senator from New York state who wants the CRAs to make it free to all consumers who want to freeze their credit files. He says if the CRAs don't make it free, he will introduce legislation to bring that about. ICFE promotes credit freezes for all consumers as a way to help insure privacy, protect private information and guard against credit theft and also as a way to stop new credit based spending. If someone has to go through the credit file freeze lifting process, they may think twice about opening a new line of credit.
Family members or some thieves can still get a driver's license in a another consumer's name and maybe a cell phone, but they won't be able to get any new credit, if the files are frozen.
Some credit file freeze opponents argued credit freezes hurt consumers and slowed down the time it takes to get credit when it is really needed. This was a very weak argument coming from those who are against giving consumers the un-encumbered right to restrict who has access their personal credit files. All one needs to do is send in a freeze request via Certified Mail and enclose $10.
The temporary lifting procedure is easy too and can be done over the phone. The three CRAs send detailed instructions on how to allow temporary access. In most instances, temporarily unfreezing a credit report over the phone a consumer would need a credit card, for the fee and the PIN. The temporary lift can be for a few days or a week.
The ICFE has examples of opt-out letters from unwanted credit offers and also three variations of a letter requesting a credit file freeze available for download on www.icfe.info. Please click on "Credit Freeze Letters."
For copies of sample credit freeze letters: please visit http://www.financial-education-icfe.org/ http://ICFE.info/.
For more information contact: ICFE Executive Director Paul Richard, RFC - 619-239-1401.
Looking for a discussion on rib-eyes and telemarketers, as well as the subprime market, submarines and sub-par fashion? If you said yes, then this month's issue of Idaho's Two Cent Tips is for you. 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: Wall Street Journal Sunday
Housing and Financial Counseling (USU Family Life Center) workshops:
Saturday November 10 AND December 8: Homeownership workshop 8:30-4:30 Registration required: 435-797-7224.
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wed. November 14, 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
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.