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April Curtis Money Scavenger Hunt with a side of Social Security!

Posted by Jessica Flaherty on April 4th, 2016

Whatley Farm winner

Thank you to the 41 intrepid people who dove into the topic of social security for the March Scavenger Hunt. Congratulations goes out to Jean A, our March drawing winner. Don’t fret, though, there are still two more months to play! And on top of the monthly drawings, each month you play, you are entered into the grand prize drawing.

Last month we added not one but two awesome new prizes. Now, monthly winners from one of the following prizes: a crockpot full of kitchen items; a feast with all the fixings; a sewing machine; a AAA Plus annual membership, a FitBit, a farm credit to Whatley Farms (which you can visit at the winter market as well as the summer markets) or a year of curbside composting if you are in the service area of WeCompostIt! Last month’s winner chose the Whatley Farm credit and enjoyed her part of her $100 bounty at last week’s winter market – how happy does she look in the above photo?? Thank you to all of our generous sponsors!

The April topic is retirement. Test your knowledge and be entered to win monthly prizes valued at up to $100 and a grand prize of $500 in heating oil, propane or electricity credit. The grand prize drawing will take place on National Scavenger Hunt Day, May 24, 2016. Visit either https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NZQTKQL or http://www.curtislibrary.com/making-it-in-maine-beta/scavenger-hunt/ to play!

There were so many amazing questions about social security raised last month that we want to bring the expert to you with the third Ask the Expert Lecture!  Social Security is a complicated, ever changing landscape that impacts each of us uniquely. Join Social Security Administration ‘s Public Affairs Specialist, Elizabeth Newport, to learn about upcoming changes to the laws and how you can be prepared! Lunch will be provided at this not to miss event. Wednesday, April 13 at 12pm in the Curtis Morrell Meeting Room. This will be recorded for those who cannot join us.

Get a head start on Social Security and learn more about an expiring option to help you maximize your benefits. It is called the File-and-Suspend Social Security Claiming Strategy. You can check our the great article from Kiplingers, a magazine we have in library as well as available on flipster for digital download, by clicking the link. Basically, the popular tactic one spouse to file for and immediately suspend benefits in order to open the door for the other spouse to claim spousal benefits which allowed allowed a family to collect Social Security while one or both spouses accrued delayed-retirement credits, hiking benefits by 8% a year between ages 66 and 70.

Play again this month for another chance to win and to learn how your library can help you Make it in Maine. You can do it! We can help.

What to do with your tax refund?!

Posted by Jessica Flaherty on March 23rd, 2016

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According to Governing, Mainers received some of the lowest income tax refunds based on tax year 2011, roughly $2324. To see how other states stack up, click here!

If you are anything like me, that nice “unexpected” chunk of change may tempt you! We hear people in the Making it in Maine classes talk about how they are waiting for their refund to buy something specific, treat themselves or simply catch up on life’s expenses. Is there a right choice? Are there smarter ways to spend your refund?

I follow The Alert Investor on Facebook. Their frequent, easy to read and timely posts in my newsfeed serve as gentle reminders about financial topics I need to know about. Plus, the site is run by our grantor, FINRA, so the information will always be unbiased and safe! Recently, they posted a list of Six Smart Uses For your Tax Return and I simply had to share it! I am copying the list below, but I really encourage you to check out the full story!

1. Pay Down Your High-Interest Debt

2. Supersize Your Savings

3. Fund Your Retirement Accounts

4. Bulk Up Your Kids’ College Funds

5. Invest In Your Career

6. Plan For Next Year

As the article says, for many, the tax refund is the single largest check people receive in a year, use it well. But, maybe treat yourself too, just a little!

Haven’t done your taxes yet? We can help. There is still time to take advantage of our local FREE AARP or CA$H Maine tax preparation. Learn more here: http://www.curtislibrary.com/2016/01/31/free-tax-preparation/

Not sure where to start with getting on the straight and narrow with your finances? We can help with that too! We are hosting the My Money Works series Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21, 28 , 9:30—12:30pm Seminar Room. This class can help you gain the skills and confidence you need to stretch your money, pay your bills, reduce debt, find money for savings, plan for retirement, and set personal financial goals. At the end of the class you will have a plan to achieve greater financial stability. To register for these FREE sessions call 386-1664 or email Erica.quineaster@maine.edu. Or register online: http://newventuresmaine.org/schedules/my-money-works-41/

-jf

Delicious Opportunity this week!

Posted by Jessica Flaherty on March 14th, 2016

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If it isn’t obvious by now, we truly LOVE New Ventures Maine. They are an unsung hero in our community. Not familiar with them? Let me tell you all the ways New Ventures can help you!

The mission of New Ventures is “Helping Maine people succeed in their jobs, businesses, and communities.We help individuals recognize strengths, overcome barriers, find resources, develop a plan, take action towards their goals: start a business, find a career, return to school, build assets, be active in the community.”

The offer FREE classes and individual counseling on career planning, money management, business basics, credit management and many others. For the full list: http://newventuresmaine.org/class-schedules/

On top of that, they offer a couple income-eligable matched savings accounts, such as a Family Development Account which can be used to help you buy a home, pay for school or training and starting or expanding a small business. They also have a Rainy Day Savings account that can help you pay for unexpected emergency expenses. For more information these programs, please visit: http://newventuresmaine.org/programs/manage-your-money/

We are partnering with New Ventures for a couple upcoming programs right here at the library. The first one is THIS THURSDAY! Money Smart Family Meal: Savings Strategies. March 17, 6:00 pm, Morrell Meeting Room. Join us for a FREE MEAL for all ages, from preschoolers to adults. Busy families can attend without having to find childcare or cook dinner! WildOats quiche, salad and cookies! Erica Quinn Easter will discuss strategies to build up your savings. To register, call 725-5242, ext. 510.

The second is a series starting in April. My Money Works Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21, 28 , 9:30—12:30pm Seminar Room. This class can help you gain the skills and confidence you need to stretch your money, pay your bills, reduce debt, find money for savings, plan for retirement, and set personal financial goals. At the end of the class you will have a plan to achieve greater financial stability. To register for these FREE sessions call 386-1664 or email Erica.quineaster@maine.edu. Or register online: http://newventuresmaine.org/schedules/my-money-works-41/