October 2008 Newsletter

Note the time and place change for the noontime programs! 12-1 p.m. in the Taggart Student Center room 335.
October 8: Reverse Mortgages.
Reverse mortgages are becoming more popular among senior citizens with limited incomes and are being aggressively advertised by mortgage lenders.A reverse mortgage is a way for seniors to get money out of their home without selling it and without having to make regular loan payments.Before pursuing a reverse mortgage, it is important to learn more about the pros and cons of this mortgage product.Speaker: Cindy Stokes is the co-director of USU's Family Life Center-Housing & Financial Counseling Services, a trained Financial & Reverse Mortgage Counselor.
Upcoming FPW programs:
November 12: Investment Asset Allocation in the wake of the global financial meltdown. How to allocate your assets is the most important investment decision. Should you make any changes as a result of the global financial crisis? We will also discuss whether USU employees who participate in TIAA-CREF should move any retirement assets to Fidelity, the new option offered by USU. With the stock market so low, now is a good time to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth; find out why and how.
December: No program
Input needed! What topics would you like FPW to cover in 2009? Send ideas for topics (and financial humor) to: jean.lown@usu.edu
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; FPW Home
Forward this message to a friend; bring a woman to FPW who has not attended before 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.
Long Term Care Insurance- should you buy it?
USU is offering USU employees (& family members) LTCI through John Hancock insurance company with no medical exam if you purchase by October 17. I attended one of the information sessions. John Hancock is a reputable company in the LTCI industry and the policy is a good choice IF LTCI is the right choice for you. You need to decide that by fully analyzing your financial and personal situation. If you are considering this purchase I recommend you consult a fee-only financial advisor who can help you make the decision.
Long Term Care Insurance
Top Five Facts for Investing in Turbulent Markets (Chartered Financial Analyst Institute)
  1. Having an investment policy statement makes weathering financial storms easier.
  2. Knowledge (of your risk tolerance) is power.
  3. Investing in a diversified portfolio of securities rather than individual stocks mitigates risk.
  4. The fundamental principle of investing is buy low and sell high.
  5. Frequent trading can be costly.
More details can be found here.
As we go through these troubling times please keep in mind, all bad things must come to an end.
Thoughts on Fear & Uncertainty from the Best Investors in History (thanks to Beacon Financial Planning)
“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”Warren Buffett
“A bull market is born on pessimism, grows on skepticism, matures on optimism, and dies on euphoria.”Sir John Templeton
“[The] argument is made that there are just too many [investment] question marks about the near future; wouldn't it be better to wait until things clear up a bit? You know the prose: 'Maintain buying reserves until current uncertainties are resolved,' etc. Before reaching for that crutch, face up to two unpleasant facts: 1) The future is NEVER clear; you pay a very high price in the stock market for a cheery consensus. 2) Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values.” Warren Buffet (Forbes Magazine, August 6, 1979)
National Save for Retirement Week (NSRW) is October 19-25, 2008. Utilize the many savings tools available on the Choose-to-Save web site to assist you in setting and achieving your retirement goals.
Wall Street doomsday humor: All the confusion and anxiety on Wall Street is leading to some doomsday humor. On the train from Chicago’s suburbs into the city, two traders were overheard having this mordant exchange: First: “Hey, good to see you haven’t jumped off a building yet.” Second: Not yet. I’m waiting to move to a higher office.” WSJ 9/19/08
Learn on your own: Family Finance open courseware class — free
Protect yourself from ID Theft: Freeze your credit report. Utah offers residents an easy way to freeze their credit to prevent ID theft. The new law just went into effect. Although it will cost $20, it could save much aggravation, money & grief.
Also: www.experian.org/freeze
www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze
HOUSE PASSES BILL TO ADDRESS CREDIT CARD ABUSES
“The House of Representatives today passed the “Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act” by a vote of 312-112, CongressDaily reported. H.R. 5244 restricts credit card billing practices that sponsors said have driven up penalties for late payments. The legislation requires that credit card holders be given at least a 45-day notice before raising interest rates on individual accounts and it would also ban the practice of double-cycle billing. Republican opponents said that the Federal Reserve has already proposed new rules to curb some of the unfair practices that the bill addresses. While the White House opposed the bill on grounds that "the legislation is likely to result in higher interest rates for consumers," it did not threaten a veto. House Financial Services Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D- N.Y.), the chief sponsor of the bill, pointed out that much of the language in her bill tracks the Fed's proposed rules almost word-for-word. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate remains uncertain.” American Bankruptcy Institute Update, 9/23/08
Workshops and events:
Smart Money education series for teenagers 14-18 years and their parents.
Wednesday October 15, 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
Home Ownership Workshop. October 11 & November 8: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 435-797-7224 to register.
Resources
Find a Utah Lawyer Directory. www.findautahlawyer.org
Currently over 400 lawyers are listed. Info includes lawyer’s years of practice, location, area of practice and languages spoken.
Small Steps To Health And Wealth
MetLife offers a new on-line tool to assist employees in making decisions about their benefit plans. The tool is a free educational tool and does not solicit any product. The Employee Benefits Simplifier Tool will help you make the most of your employee benefits. It will help you with such questions as:
  • Should you consider and HMO or PPO medical plan?
  • Should you get more disability insurance?
  • What other types of benefits should you consider?
New campaign to combat the issue of excessive debt and financial literacy
On September 16th the U.S. Department of Treasury along with the Ad Council, launched a new campaign to combat the issue of excessive debt and financial literacy. The PSAs (both TV and radio) urge young adults to take control of their financial decisions by directing them to www.controlyourcredit.gov which will provide information about credit and personal finance. The campaign targets young adults, ages 18-24, who are just starting to be financially independent and are experiencing debt and other forms of financial distress for the first time. Many do not have the knowledge about basic credit facts and have not been taught the importance of good credit and the negative impact of bad credit.
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:
Your Little Legal Companion: Helpful Advice for Life’s Big Events
Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce
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 Nolo Press
Also: How to Care for Your Parents’ Money While Caring For Your Parents
Thanks to the Certified Financial Planner Board Grant for financial support of FPW.