FINRA Foundation Newsletter and RSS feedPosted: December 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm
FINRA FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (formerly Securities Industry Regulatory Authority) offers a free Newsletter and RSS feed containing investor alerts.
These alerts educate investors about important and timely investing issues and can be delivered
automatically to your feed reader or news service (like Google News, Yahoo or Net NewsWire).
Most Recent Alerts
- Year-End Investment Considerations for Individual Investors
- When Trading Stops: What You Need to Know About Halts, Suspensions and Other Interruptions
- Public Non-Traded REITs—Perform a Careful Review Before Investing
- Exchange-Traded Notes—Avoid Unpleasant Surprises
- Nutraceutical Stock Scams—Don’t Supplement Your Portfolio With These Companies
|Subscribe to the FINRA Investor Alerts RSS Feed|
FINRA also offers a free financial information newsletter which you can preview and subscribe to from this page: www.finrafoundation.org/news/newsletters/
Job TrainingPosted: November 23, 2012 at 11:25 am
The Maine State Library offers a web portal that brings together resources to help visitors learn new skills find jobs. The portal, found here, can be accessed from home or from within the Curtis Library.
It offers more than 80 free career and digital literacy courses, webinars, and resources.
Additionally, the portal offers free access to the Learning Express Library, a platform featuring more than 770 practice tests, tutorials, and e-books on job searches, workplace skills enhancement, GED exam preparation, certification and licensing exam preparation, and college and graduate school admissions exam preparation.
The Learning Express Library includes popular video-based tutorials on Microsoft Office, Adobe products, and other software used in the workplace today.
You can access these resources from home or from our public computers.
We’re here to help! Please ask a Curtis librarian for assistance.
725-5242 ext. 510 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning for Retirement While You Are Still YoungPosted: November 17, 2012 at 10:44 am
Retirement probably seems vague and far off at this stage of your life.
Besides, you have other things to buy right now. Yet there are some crucial reasons to start preparing now for retirement.
You’ll probably have to pay for more of your own retirement than earlier generations. The sooner you get started, the better.
You have one huge ally – time. Let’s say that you put $1,000 at the beginning of each year into an IRA from age 20 through age 30 (11 years) and then never put in another dime. The account earns 7 percent annually.
When you retire at age 65 you’ll have $168,514 in the account. A friend doesn’t start until age 30, but saves the same amount annually for 35 years straight. Despite putting in three times as much money, your friend’s account grows to only $147,913.
You can start small and grow. Even setting aside a small portion of your paycheck each month will pay off in big dollars later. Company retirement plans are the easiest way to save. If you’re not already in your employer’s plan, sign up.
You can afford to invest more aggressively. You have years to overcome the inevitable ups and downs of the stock market.
Developing the habit of saving for retirement is easier when you are young.
Read the rest of the publication here.
Questions to Ask Before InvestingPosted: October 25, 2012 at 9:18 am
2. Is the person selling you this investment licensed in Maine? If not, beware.
3. Do you understand all of the important features of the product, including expenses and commissions, holding periods, surrender charges or penalties, tax consequences, and so on? If not please get more information before proceeding.
Check Before You Invest
Call the Office of Securities to check out a broker, investment adviser or investment:
Thinking About Starting a Business?Posted: October 19, 2012 at 9:48 am
If you are considering starting a small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov) has provided 10 steps to help guide you through the process:
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Step 6: Register a Business Name (i.e. “Doing Business As”)
Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
* For information on Maine Tax ID numbers, please go here.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits (if applicable)
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities (if you’re not going it alone)
10 Steps to Starting a Business
Curtis Money Offers Access to Financial Education in Print and Multimedia FormatsPosted: September 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm
The Curtis Memorial Library is providing people of all ages with the tools to make sound financial decisions.
The importance of sound money skills, knowledge and tools cannot be overemphasized in our current economic climate.
Smart Investing @ your library has a YouTube channel which features short and to the point instructional videos on personal finance and job searching.
Here for example, is a video entitled Tapped Out.
Other Smart Investing @ your library videos include:
- Smart Investing for Kids
- Using Consumer Reports
- Interview Tips
- Job Hunting
- Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
You can access these financial education videos by clicking here
These Smart investing@your library videos (and others that we will be recommending here on the Curtis Money blog) can be watched from home and/or on any of the Library’s public PCs.
If you have a notebook computer, please take advantage of the Library’s free high-speed Wi-Fi.
If you don’t have headphones for your notebook, please ask a staff member.
21 Strategies for Creating an Emergency Fund, and Why It’s CriticalPosted: September 12, 2012 at 10:58 am
Leo Babauta posted 21 easy, down-to-earth ideas for how to put together an emergency fund to help tide us through such “rainy days” on his Zenhabits.net website:
- Start small. If you don’t have much to save, it doesn’t matter — the important thing is just to start. Even if it’s only $25 per paycheck, just start. It will slowly grow each paycheck, and you will be glad to see at least a little in your savings, and will soon be motivate to try to save more.
- Payroll deduction. If you have discipline problems, there are accounts where you can have the amount deducted directly from your paycheck, before it’s deposited into your checking account (or before your employer cuts the paycheck).
- Treat it as a bill. Every payday, you have a list of bills to pay before you can spend any of your money on variable expenses such as gas, groceries or eating out. Well, add your emergency fund contribution to your list of bills, and pay it at the same time. This makes it non-negotiable, and then what’s left over is what you can spend on other stuff.
Money Matters: Tips from the Federal Trade CommissionPosted: September 6, 2012 at 9:49 am
- How to deal with debt – including credit repair and debt relief services
- How to manage your money – budget, saving, spending
- Credit cards – how to choose and how to use them
- Scam watch – So how is someone supposed to know whether a product, service, or offer is legitimate?
This FTC “microsite” also features audio Public Service Announcements as well as short and to the point instructional videos such as Dealing with Debt Collectors.
Visit Money Matters.
Tricks of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment FraudPosted: August 30, 2012 at 11:51 am
An Hour-Long Documentary on Preventing Investment Fraud
Order a free DVD copy of this documentary, as seen on public television stations nationwide:
By phone: (866) 973-4672
Watch the trailer here.
“Any informed borrower is simply less vulnerable to fraud and abuse.”
― Alan Greenspan, American economist and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve of the United States
Alternatives to Payday LoansPosted: August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, Payday loans are typically small, short-term loans intended to cover a borrower’s expenses until their next payday.
Payday loans vary by lenders, but the majority use the borrower’s next paycheck as collateral while charging an interest and fee for the loan.
While the most common name for this type of loan is “payday loan,” they can also be referred to as cash advance loans, check advance loans, post-dated check loans, or deferred deposit loans.
The Consumer Federation of America has calculated that one would pay about 426% APR on a payday loan.
This being the case, the FTC recommends exploring the following alternatives to taking out a payday loan:
- Consider a small loan from your credit union or a small loan company. Some banks may offer short-term loans for small amounts at competitive rates. A local community-based organization may make small business loans to people. A cash advance on a credit card also may be possible, but it may have a higher interest rate than other sources of funds: find out the terms before you decide. In any case, shop first and compare all available offers.
- Shop for the credit offer with the lowest cost. Compare the APR and the finance charge, which includes loan fees, interest and other credit costs. You are looking for the lowest APR. Military personnel have special protections against super-high fees or rates, and all consumers in some states and the District of Columbia have some protections dealing with limits on rates. Even with these protections, payday loans can be expensive, particularly if you roll-over the loan and are responsible for paying additional fees. Other credit offers may come with lower rates and costs.
- Contact your creditors or loan servicer as quickly as possible if you are having trouble with your payments, and ask for more time. Many may be willing to work with consumers who they believe are acting in good faith. They may offer an extension on your bills; make sure to find out what the charges would be for that service — a late charge, an additional finance charge, or a higher interest rate.
- Contact your local consumer credit counseling service if you need help working out a debt repayment plan with creditors or developing a budget. Non-profit groups in every state offer credit guidance to consumers for no or low cost. You may want to check with your employer, credit union, or housing authority for no- or low-cost credit counseling programs, too.
- Make a realistic budget, including your monthly and daily expenditures, and plan, plan, plan. Try to avoid unnecessary purchases: the costs of small, every-day items like a cup of coffee add up. At the same time, try to build some savings: small deposits do help. A savings plan — however modest — can help you avoid borrowing for emergencies. Saving the fee on a $300 payday loan for six months, for example, can help you create a buffer against financial emergencies.
- Find out if you have — or if your bank will offer you — overdraft protection on your checking account. If you are using most or all the funds in your account regularly and you make a mistake in your account records, overdraft protection can help protect you from further credit problems. Find out the terms of the overdraft protection available to you — both what it costs and what it covers. Some banks offer “bounce protection,” which may cover individual overdrafts from checks or electronic withdrawals, generally for a fee. It can be costly, and may not guarantee that the bank automatically will pay the overdraft.
Read the complete consumer alert at ftc.gov.
Payday loans are extremely expensive cash advances that must be repaid in full on the borrower’s next payday to keep the personal check required to secure the loan from bouncing. Cash-strapped consumers run the risk of becoming trapped in repeat borrowing due to triple-digit interest rates, unaffordable repayment terms, and coercive collection tactics made possible by check-holding.
― PayDay Loan Consumer Information
Benefits of Opening a Bank AccountPosted: August 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm
Your money will be safe from theft and fires. In addition, your money will be federally insured. So, even if your bank or credit union closes, you will get your money back. At the time of this writing, the maximum amount of money that can be insured is $250,000.
Checking accounts offer many benefits. Paying by check is much easier and cheaper than buying a money order (and you’ll have proof that you paid your bills). If you get an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or debit card for the account, you can withdraw money easily or make payments at stores. A debit card is usually accepted for purchases anywhere credit cards are accepted.
It’s an easy way to save money.
Many banks offer a small interest rate when you put your money in a savings account. The interest will help your money grow over time. Depending on the type of account you open, be sure to shop around and check what fees are involved. You don’t want to wind up paying more in fees than you are gaining in interest.
Banks and credit unions generally offer their account holders free or low-cost services, such as free check cashing or low-cost money wiring. Learn more on how to avoid fees from non-banking institutions
It can help you access credit.
Your chances of obtaining a home, automobile, student or personal loan are likely to improve because banks tend to favor their existing customers. Of course, you need to manage your money well and have a good credit report first (a topic we will address in an upcoming Curtis Money Blog post).
There is a certain Buddhistic calm that comes from having….money in the bank.
― Tom Robbins
RIP SmartMoney magazinePosted: August 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm
September will be the last paper issue and is presently on the “Current” shelves in the 1904 room.
SmartMoney is among the largest monthly personal-finance magazines, with a circulation of 813,730 last year.
“It’s clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the Web”
― Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal
For Young Parents: Sesame Street’s “For You, For Me, For Later”Posted: August 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Sesame Street: For You, For Me, For Later – This section of sesamestreet.org was developed in 2011.
It’s a free online training kit that provides parents, caregivers, and educators with strategies and resources to turn everyday experiences into financial moments.
“For You, For Me, For Later” includes a downloadable Parent and Caregiver Guide, a Children’s Activity Book, 3 Jar Labels, and free online videos and podcasts that feature Elmo, Cookie Monster, and their Sesame Street friends as Elmo learns the basics of spending, saving, and sharing.
A Spanish translation of all of these materials is also available.
“On Wednesday Elmo wanted to buy ice cream that he craved. / But Elmo didn’t spend at all. No that day Elmo saved.”
Curtis Money Featured Resource: Stop Acting Rich …and start living like a real millionairePosted: August 6, 2012 at 10:30 am
“Thomas Stanley has written a fascinating book that is based on years of research into how the truly wealthy live.
Stanley’s main contention is that those with millions aren’t among the nation’s hyper consumers. Rather it’s the “aspirationals,” those seeking recognition as members of the moneyed set, who are loose with a buck. It’s a hypothesis offered often, but the difference is Stanley’s research.
He has packed his book with oodles of statistics — and not just the usual numbers. For example, 75 percent of millionaires pay $19.79 or less for a bottle of wine. When it comes to a dinner, 75 percent pay $24.53 or less and 95 percent keep the tab to less than $40. This is all fascinating stuff and Stanley presents it in a very readable style. Stanley has written two other best-sellers on millionaires. It seems he’s done it again.” (The Star-Ledger)