September 2007 Newsletter

September 12:  AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend
A paper shredder will be given away at each meeting (12:30 & 7 p.m.). Light refreshments.
Nancy Register & George Barany from the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, D.C. will be in Logan on Wed. Sept. 12 to help kick off the USU Campus Saves campaign. They will speak briefly at each FPW program. Check out
Have you checked your credit report recently? It’s the best way to find ID theft early before the problem multiplies. 1 free report each year from each of the 3 major credit bureaus; stagger your requests throughout the year so you receive one every 3 months.
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;; Financial Planning for Women
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:
October 10:  The Wealth Care Kit & Smart About Money web site
November 7:  A Simple Guide to What Everyone Needs to Know About Money & Retirement  Free 10 page guidebook. (note date change to the first Wednesday for November only.)
December: no program.
Zions Bank Smart Women Smart Money conference
“Empowering Utah women to create and sustain their financial well being”
This year’s conference will focus on investing.
Thursday, September 27, 2007 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, SLC
FREE (including lunch) but you must pre-register at:
Zions Bank Smart Women Smart Money Conference
Need credit or insurance? Your credit score helps determine what you’ll pay. (FTC July 2007; 6 page brochure):
Planning on buying a vehicle?
AWARE (Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics)
“AWARE builds a greater understanding among consumers about how auto financing works. The group aims to ensure that potential buyers of new and used autos have the tools and resources they need to successfully navigate the auto financing process. AWARE focuses exclusively on the auto finance process, educating consumers in a Web environment free of advertising or lead-generation sales tactics.  Everything is available in English and Spanish.  Visit the AWARE Web site to find articles, brochures and other helpful resources.”
The 10% Solution
Ordinary people can accumulate extraordinary wealth.
“A minister’s mission” Alice Schulman & her late husband, Rev. Jacob Schulman gave $2 million to the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Boston. The Schulman’s invested 25% of their income each year while raising 4 children. When he died in 2006 at age 78 the couple’s net worth was $20 million.  (reported in Aug. 24, 2007 Wall Street Journal). If the Shulman’s could save 25% of their income while raising 4 kids on a minister’s salary, you can save 10%.
Consumer Federation of America website
check out their consumer information
Your credit score
6 steps to 6 figure savings
66 ways to save money
& many more
Utah Retirement Systems Pre-Retirement Seminar comes to Logan on Thursday September 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. This seminar is designed for URS participants within 5 years of retirement. Free for members and spouses. Seminars fill quickly so register now: 800-753-7750.
Avoid being part of the Sub-prime mortgage meltdown; the following Financial Alerts article is quoted from the CFP newsletter.
“Owning a home is a big part of the American Dream, but with the news featuring stories of bursting housing bubbles, sub- prime mortgage meltdowns and growing foreclosure rates, getting to homeownership may seem like a nightmare.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) are doing their part to help new home-buyers get  a good night's sleep by providing information to help people avoid some of the bogeymen lurking in the real estate industry and understand important parts of the home-buying process.
Deceptive Mortgage Offers
FDIC warns people shopping for mortgage loans to be aware of bogus lending practices that claim to award money under a loan program tied to the Federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and that purport to be supported by FDIC.  FDIC does not endorse or sponsor mortgage loan programs, and the CRA does not entitle people to grants or loans.  FDIC provides more information about this deceptive practice, as well as useful information for to help people find the right mortgage loan for them, at:
Deceptive Mortgage Practices
Title Insurance: Protecting Your Home Investment Against Unknown Title Defects
If you're a first-time home buyer, you'll want to read up on title insurance before closing on your new home. If you take out a loan to purchase your home, a lending institution will most likely require you to buy title insurance for an amount equal to the loan.  Before purchasing a title insurance policy, you should know what title insurance is, how it works and who needs it, and why you should shop for it yourself versus having a lender or real estate professional do it for you.
Read more financial alerts from the CFP Board
A follow up on the February FPW program on couple communication about money:
How to overcome money conflicts at home. Learn how couples can resolve issues that arise when dealing with money.
Investing Basics
Rule of 72: to find out how long it takes your money to double divide the interest rate by 72. Example: If your money is invested and earning 8%, it will take 9 years for it to double. If it is in a savings account earning 2%, it will take 36 years to double (and of course, the increase in value will be eaten up by inflation).
Need to Change Your Federal Tax Withholding?
IRS Has an On-Line Calculator That Can Help
Did you have too little or too much federal tax withheld from your pay in 2006 – owing money or getting a large refund when you filed your tax return? Have you recently experienced a lifestyle change such as marriage, divorce, new child, home purchase or retirement? Did you start a new job? If any of these situations apply, you may want to adjust your federal tax withholding with your employer. The withholding calculator, on the IRS Web site at can help you figure the correct amount of federal withholding and provide information you can use to complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.
Before you begin, you need to have a few items handy:
Your most recent pay stubs.
Your most recent federal income tax return.
Here are some tips for using the withholding calculator:
Fill in all information that applies to your situation.
Estimate when necessary. Remember, the results are only as accurate as the information you input.
Check out the information links embedded in the program whenever you have a question.
Print out the final screen that summarizes your input and the results. Use it to complete a new Form W-4 (if necessary) and give the completed W-4 to your employer. Keep the print of the final screen and a copy of your new W-4 with your tax records.
For many people, the withholding calculator is a great tool that can simplify the process of determining your withholding. However, if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax or self-employment tax or if your current job will end before the end of the year, you will probably achieve more accurate withholding by following the instructions in Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding, which is available at or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
Withholding calculator
Form W-4 (2007)
Homeowner’s Insurance
  1. The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a good time to review your HO insurance (or renter’s coverage). One new development: many insurers are shifting from a dollar amount (such as $1,000) for a deductible in the event of a claim to a % of the house’s value. This switch can greatly increase your out of pocket costs if you suffer damage. Consumers tend to ignore the inserts that come with their HO insurance bill. Don’t! Review your current deductible. Maybe you can lower your premium by increasing your deductible. Low deductibles can encourage homeowners to file relatively small claims which are likely to result in your insurance company dropping you as a policy holder.
  2. If you live in Utah you need earthquake insurance. Talk to your agent about coverage.
To learn more about HO insurance review the PowerPoint presentation on the FPW website
News & Resources to enhance life-long learning:
2 cent tips newsletter is produced monthly by two USU family Finance graduates who are Extension educators in Idaho. To receive this free email newsletter (written with a sense of humor) contact:
View USU’s Dr. Phil Swensen’s Retirement Seminar videos (6 sessions) online.
Read The Wall Street Journal Sunday in the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News Business Section or read it online.
Housing and Financial Counseling (USU Family Life Center) workshops:
Saturday September 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. September 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
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.