Making the Most of Your Money Part 4- Protect

There are five principles, which we will call building blocks, you need to know to make the most of your money.  The blocks represent the key principles to keep in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.  In this post, I will review the third block, Protect.  1  2

Protect

The Protect principle means taking precautions about your financial situation. It stresses the importance of accumulating savings in case of an emergency and buying insurance. Be vigilant about identity theft, and keep aware of your credit record and the credit score.

Actions You Can Take

  • Keep your financial records in order.
  • Establish an emergency savings fund as soon as possible.
  • Watch out for fraud and scams, and protect your identity.
  • Choose insurance to meet your needs, including health care insurance.

Hints and Tips

  • Open an emergency fund savings account at your bank and strive to build it up to $1,000 as soon as possible.
  • A good system for keeping personal money records will include copies of important documents like your will, property ownership documents, information about savings and insurance, and other important personal records. It should include an overview of what happens to property after a major life event occurs.
  • Assume that any offer that “sounds too good to be true” – especially one from a stranger or an unfamiliar company — is probably a fraud.
  • Look at your bank statements and bills as soon as they arrive and report any discrepancy or anything suspicious, such as an unauthorized withdrawal or charge.
  • Be wary of request to “update” or “confirm” personal information, especially your Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, personal identification numbers, your date of birth or your mother’s maiden name in response to an unsolicited call, letter or email.

For more Federal information, guides and helpful tools about the Save and Invest principle, go to  https://www.mymoney.gov/fast/Pages/results.aspx?k=save%20and%20invest&s=General%20Information&r=principle%3D%22AQdQcm90ZWN0CXByaW5jaXBsZQEBXgEk%22%20AND%20principle%3D%22AQ1TYXZlICYgSW52ZXN0CXByaW5jaXBsZQECXiICIiQ%3D%22.

The information you will find at this site includes Managing Household Records; Detering, Detecting and Defending Against Identity Theft;  Get Help Finding and Using Health Insurance; and Tips on other kinds of insurance including homeowner and renter’s insurance.

The next building block is “Borrow.”  Don’t wait, go to the blog post now.

###Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:13618692665_b524af0c59_o.jpg
  2. My Money Five, https://www.mymoney.gov/mymoneyfive/Pages/mymoneyfive.aspxThe Five Principles

Making the Most of Your Money Part 3- Saving & Investing

There are five principles, which we will call building blocks, you need to know to make the most of your money.  The blocks represent the fundamental principles to keep in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.  In this post, I will review the second block, Saving, and Invest your money.  1  2

Saving and Investing

Saving is a fundamental principle. People who make a habit of saving regularly, even saving small amounts, are well on their way to success.  It is important to open a bank or credit union account, so it will be simple and easy for you to save regularly.   Then, use your savings to plan for life events and to be ready for unplanned or emergency needs.

Actions You Can Take

  • Start saving, develop a savings habit, and pay yourself first!
  • Open and keep an account at a bank or credit union that meets your needs.
  • Track your savings and investments, and monitor what you own
  • Plan for short-term and long-term goals
  • Build up emergency savings for unexpected events
  • Consult with a qualified professional on investments and other critical financial matters
  • Save for retirement, children’s education, and the other main items

Hints and Tips

  • A simple way to save is to pay yourself first.  That means each pay period before you are tempted to spend money, commit to putting some in a savings account. See if you can arrange with your bank to automatically transfer a certain amount from your paycheck or your checking account to savings every month.
  • People who keep track of their savings often end up saving more, because they have it on their minds. New phone apps are available to help people pass up purchases they do not need – you might want to try one!
  • Once you start investing your money, it is good to consult with a qualified professional about your plans. Before you purchase investments, be sure to build an emergency savings fund to cover your needs for at least three months. Keep the savings in an insured bank or credit union account that you can access if you need it.
  • Many professionals call themselves “financial planners.”  Before you hire one, ask for a description of the services offered.  A good place to check the credentials of an investment advisor is your State’s consumer protection office, the State’s Attorney General’s office, or the issuing agency for any professional licenses or certifications.

For more Federal information, guides and helpful tools about the Save and Invest principle, go to  https://www.mymoney.gov/fast/Pages/results.aspx?k=save%20and%20invest&s=General%20Information&r=principle%3D%22AQ1TYXZlICYgSW52ZXN0CXByaW5jaXBsZQECXiICIiQ%3D%22.

The next building block is “Protect.”  Don’t wait, go to the blog post now.


 

###Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit: 9681616268_31b18bdb14_o.jpg 
  2. My Money Five, https://www.mymoney.gov/mymoneyfive/Pages/mymoneyfive.aspxThe Five Principles

Making the Most of Your Money Part 2- Earn

There are five principles, which we will call building blocks, you need to know to make the most of your money.  The blocks represent the key principles to keep in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.  In this post, I will review the first block, Earn.  1  2

Earn

The “Earn” principle is about more than the amount you of your paycheck.  This principle is about knowing the fine print and details about your paycheck, including deductions and withholdings.  To put it another way:  To make the most of what you earn, it helps to understand your pay and benefits.

Income

Income is the money that comes into your household. You use the income to pay for the things you need and want. It comes from part-time or full-time work, self-employment, and investments.  Gifts from others, tax refunds, and inheritances can also be income.

Public benefits are income

Public benefits can also serve as income, but these financial resources are not as flexible as other types of income because there are usually restrictions on how they can be spent.

Income can be regular

Regular income means it comes into your household on a schedule and in an amount that is the same almost every time. Alternatively, it can be irregular − which means you cannot predict accurately when you will receive it or how much you will receive. These ups and downs can make it hard to be sure that you will have money to pay your bills and have enough on hand for expenses like food and transportation.

Seasonal Income

Sometimes income is seasonal − you may receive it for only some months out of the year. For example, if you live in a northern state and work in the building industry, you may be very busy.

Actions You Can Take

  • Learn about the details of your paycheck, including any deductions
  • Review the taxes that are withheld, including Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Explore and sign up for workplace benefits
  • Invest in your future – with education and training.

Hints and Tips

  • Remember, your employer has to subtract certain taxes and other items from your wages every pay period. Your take-home pay (net income) is what you receive after any taxes and deductions are subtracted from your gross earnings.
  • Usually, your deductions and withholdings include federal, state and city income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, your contributions for retirement savings, and payments for health insurance provided as part of your job.
  • Be sure you take advantage of all the credits and deductions that help lower your taxes.
  • It is a good idea to sign up if your employer offers a retirement savings program. If so, you can arrange to have retirement savings automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account. Many employers will match part of every dollar you save this way, and you will benefit from it when you retire.

The next building block is “Save and Invest.”  Don’t wait, go to the next blog post now.


 

###Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:4524868908_9468b2f0eb_b.jpg
  2. My Money Five, https://www.mymoney.gov/mymoneyfive/Pages/mymoneyfive.aspxThe Five Principles

Making the Most of Your Money Part 1- Five Building Blocks

There are five principles, which we will call building blocks, you need to know to make the most of your money.  The blocks represent the key principles to keep in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.  In this post, I will give a brief description of each block,  principle, and then cover each block in more detail in future posts.  1 2

The Five Building Blocks

EARN – Make the most of what you earn by understanding your pay and benefits.  The Earn principle is about more than the amount you are paid through work.  This principle is about knowing the fine print and details about your paycheck, including deductions and withholdings.

SAVE & INVEST – It’s never too early to start saving for future goals such as a house or retirement, even by saving small amounts.  Saving is a key principle. People who make a habit of saving regularly, even saving small amounts, are well on their way to success.

PROTECT – Taking precautions about your financial situation, accumulate emergency savings, and have the right insurance. The Protect principle means taking precautions about your financial situation.

SPEND – Be sure you are getting a good value, especially with big purchases, by shopping around and comparing prices and products. The fundamental concept of Spend is: make a budget or a plan for using your money wisely. It’s helpful to set short and long-term financial goals and manage your money to meet them.

 BORROW – Borrowing money can enable some essential purchases and builds credit, but interest costs can be expensive. And, if you borrow too much, you will have a large debt to be repaid.  Sometimes it’s necessary to borrow for major purchases like an education, a car, a house, or maybe even to meet unexpected expenses.

Please go to the first principle “Earn” to begin learning these five important principles that will help you make the most of your money.


###Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

 

 

 

  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:MoneyMakingBlocks.jpg
  2. My Money Five, https://www.mymoney.gov/mymoneyfive/Pages/mymoneyfive.aspxThe Five Principles

Know Your Rights When a Debt Collector Calls

When a debt collector calls, your best response is to confront the situation head-on.    1  2

Your first instinct may be to hide or ignore the situation and hope it goes away. But that can make things worse.

First, be sure the debt collector and the debt are legitimate.

Find out:

  • Who you’re talking to (get the person’s name)
  • The name of the debt collection company
  • The company’s address and phone number
  • The name of the creditor

Ask the debt collector for:

  • The amount owed
  • The name of the creditor
  • How you can dispute the debt or verify the  debt is yours

If the debt collector doesn’t tell you this information the first time it contacts you, ask for the information in writing. It is a good idea to get this written notice before you agree to pay the debt collector or try to negotiate.

Second, identify the debt

If you recognize the debt

You can contact the debt collector and work out a repayment plan that makes sense for you.

If the debt is several years old

Before making a payment or agreeing to a payment plan for a debt that is old, find out what your state’s statute of limitations is for filing a lawsuit to collect the debt. You may want to consult an attorney or the applicable law in your state.

If you’re not sure the debt is yours

Write and ask for formally written verification of the debt, including:

  • The name and address of the original creditor (if different than the current creditor)
  • How much you owe
  • Proof the debt is yours

If the debt is not yours

Write the debt collector to tell it the debt is not yours and that you do not want to be contacted about it again.

Third, keep your letters

Keep the letters you receive and make copies of the letters you send in case you need to dispute the issue later.

Harassment is illegal

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says debt collectors cannot harass, oppress, or abuse you or anyone else they contact.
For example, debt collectors can’t:

  • Make repeated phone calls that are intended to annoy, abuse, or harass you or any person answering the phone.
  • Use obscene or profane language.
  • Make threats of violence or harm.
  • Publish lists of people who refuse to pay their debts (this does not include reporting information to a credit reporting company).
  • Call you without telling you who they are.

If you believe a debt collector is harassing you, you can submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

###Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

 

  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:32671790441_dbc0255096_o.jpg
  2. consumerfinance.gov., Consumer Financial Protection Bureau