We are all concerned about identity theft. Fortunately we can reduce our risk of becoming a victim. Here are some tips.
The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends sharing good food and gifts. Unfortunately, this time of sharing can create stress for individuals and families who are living on a tight budget. The extra gifts, food, and travel expenses can make a budget that is already stretched, snap. Planning ahead and making decisions about spending will help the holidays be more enjoyable.
Are you or your child planning to attend a post-secondary institution in the fall of 2017? A new rule from the Department of Education allows you to file your 2017-2018 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as October 1, 2016. Parent or student income and tax information from the previous year, this year using 2015 information, will be reported on the application.
As drought conditions continue to expand across the state this year, more thought is given towards South Dakota’s limited water resources. We live in a state where weather conditions and rain patterns seem to comfortably exist at the extremes; we either have way too much or nearly not enough. While this isn’t always the case, it is important to keep in mind that our water resources are finite and all of us should be thinking about doing what we can to protect them.
Did you know that if your annual salary is $60,000 or less you qualify to use Free File software? Seventy percent of Americans can do their taxes for free using brand-name software. The National Association of Tax Professionals found that in 2014 the average tax preparation fee was $159 to file a 1040 with a standard deduction and $273 for itemized deductions. Wouldn’t you like to keep a little more of your money?
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may not even know this has happened until you efile your retune and you discover a return has already been filed with your SSN. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying they had identified a suspicious return using your SSN.
The topic of Medicaid Expansion has been in the news a lot again lately. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, the State of South Dakota decided not to expand the Medicaid program. The SD Legislature is looking at the possibility of now expanding the state’s Medicaid program. Politics and state economics aside, let’s take a look at how this could impact some low-income people.
The Spring 2016 Spring Semester has just begun but it’s time to start thinking about financing your education for the next academic year. Whether you are a new student next fall or a returning student the first step to obtaining federal financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
As the end of the year approaches, we once again find ourselves dreading the paper pushing and number crunching of tax season. But, let’s not forget the excitement that comes with getting back some of your own hard-earned money in the form of a tax refund. Saving a portion of your tax refund can be a big step toward meeting your savings goals, so it’s no surprise that a 2015 tax season survey found that a majority of those who receive a refund planned to save it.
On Sunday, November 1st, you can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan in the Marketplace during the Open Enrollment Period. The enrollment will go until January 31, 2016. These dates are significantly different from the previous open enrollment. Remember, if you have an employer-sponsored health plan and it is “affordable” (not greater than 9.5% of your household income), you are eligible to purchase a plan in the Marketplace, but not eligible for any premium tax credits.
Stay on top of your finances wherever you are. That’s where financial apps can come in handy. They let you manage your money, track your track expenses, do accounting, convert currencies, calculate how much you owe, plus they can even track your stocks.
Payment and affordability calculators provide an estimation of how much your monthly payments will be and what you are able to pay monthly based on your current salary. These calculators will not give you final numbers, but can give you estimations before making a large purchase to be a more informed consumer.
The interest you pay on debt can become very expensive. Control your personal debt and accomplish your financial goals. Know which debt to pay down first. Calculators can be used to compare mortgages, home equity and auto loan costs, perfect your budget, and pay down debt.
Both saving and investing are important parts of your financial life. While many people think that these are the same things, they are two completely different concepts. Here are a few things to consider about the difference between saving and investing.
Setting financial goals and creating a budget are tools to help you start making better financial decisions. Setting goals will show you where you want to go financially and creating a budget/spending plan will give you a map of how to get there. This page will give you some links to calculators and tools that may help you in setting your goals and creating your budget.
A secure, comfortable retirement is every worker's dream. And now because we live longer, healthier lives, we can expect to spend more time in retirement than past family members. Achieving the dream of a secure, comfortable retirement is much easier when you plan your finances. The biggest question for retirement is “How much do I need?”
Education and careers go hand-in-hand. Some jobs require more education than others. Using education calculators can help you determine if you should attend a post-secondary institution and what type you should attend for your specific career choice.
Owning a home offers you and your family stability, security, and pride. Homeownership is also one of the fastest ways to build equity and accumulate wealth. Today, the process of buying a home, coupled with the wide variety of mortgage products and services that are ever changing; it's not surprising that homebuyers are sometimes fearful of the process.
Having a health insurance plan does not mean that all medical expenses are covered. Health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible savings accounts (FSA) are designed to help consumers budget for deductibles, co-pays, prescription costs, plan out-of-pocket costs, and other unexpected medical expenses. In addition to helping a consumer manage planned and unexpected medical expense, both HSAs and FSAs lower an individual’s taxable income, which in turn reduces the amount of annual taxes paid to the IRS.
Nursing home care is expensive. The average length of stay in a nursing home is 2.5 years. Without long-term care insurance or a large savings, many people will receive financial assistance from state government agencies.
For more than 80 years, Social Security has helped secure today and tomorrow with information, tools and resources to meet our customers’ changing needs and lifestyles. April 4 – 13, 2016 is National my Social Security Week. With the groups and organizations, Social Security will host numerous events and activities across the country to raise awareness about the benefits of opening a secure online my Social Security account.
America Saves Week (February 22 – 27, 2016) is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. The theme for this year’s America Saves Week is simple: Save Automatically. Try these five simple steps during "America Saves Week" to help yourself save automatically – and successfully.
The holiday shopping season is over. That doesn’t mean you can’t still get some good deals on items you may need (or even want). The New Year usually means new products. This can be a good thing for consumers when retailors start bringing in the new and trying to sell the old.
Christmas is a little over a week away. It’s time to pick up those last minute gifts. It’s also that time of year when you may catch yourself spending more than you intended. I will be the first to admit that I have a problem with impulse shopping. The holiday season brings out the worst in me. I love seeing people open gifts that I picked out for them. The surprise, the appreciation of finding the perfect gift, etc. give me a sense of happiness.
According to College Board, 2014-2015 tuition and fees for an in-state public 4-year college costs on average $9,139 per year. In addition to tuition, room and board will cost another $9,804 per year. These two expenses make up the majority of college costs but there are additional expenses (books/supplies, personal, and transportation expenses totaling approximately $4,388) added to these as well.
Consumers are getting savvier about saving during the holiday season. According to the Annual CFA-CUNA Holiday Spending Survey, 32 percent of us said we’d spend less in 2013 and 33 percent of us said the same in 2014. As that number increases, the ranks of those who said they would spend more has seen an equally notable decrease. But retailers are catching on to this trend.
I work with quite a few student loan borrowers who have gotten a little behind on their payments. After discussing options with them for a while, we typically will request either a deferment or forbearance from their loan servicer until they can start making regular payments again. Many people think that their credit will be negatively affected by having their student loans in deferment or forbearance status. Your credit score will not be affected at all.
Very few of us have money at the ready to cover an emergency, never mind the money for the larger purchases we’d like to make. This is why it’s that much more important to prioritize savings to cover both the items you need as well as those you want.
Financial education for today’s youth is an extremely important undertaking. There are concepts that need to be understood and practiced for adults to lead financially healthy lives. Learning these concepts while younger may help alleviate some bad financial decision making later in life. As youth educators, we have a unique opportunity to help teach basic and complex financial concepts to youth across the state.
The need to educate youth about money is greater than ever. Studies conducted by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth have shown that many young people have little understanding of finance and economic.
Captain Cash is a youth financial literacy program developed by Purdue Extension targeted to 3rd – 5th grade students. The program is designed to guide students as they learn about real life money management.
Games and activities can be a great way to learn financial literacy for youth. Play can be a very powerful teaching tool. This page offers resources for youth to learn about how to manage money using online games.
We try to teach our kids life skills and to use good manners, but teaching them financial facts can be difficult. The best lesson is taught by being a good role model. Financial education has been introduced into school systems, but research shows that youth learn most of their financial skills from watching their parents.
College is one of the largest expenses you will have in your lifetime. It is an investment that will pay off in higher income, expanded career opportunities, and greater personal satisfaction throughout your life.
When a family emergency or disaster occurs, having quick access to important financial documents is essential. These documents include banking information, insurance cards and policies, wills and power of attorney documents, household inventory, and birth and marriage records. This article will address what are the important financial records, where to keep financial records secure, how long to keep records, and how to create a Grab and Go box.
Since people are living longer than ever, retirement savings need to last longer and work harder. It is more important than ever to make smart financial decisions. There are four standard sources of retirement income, Social Security, retirement plans and/or employer sponsored pensions, investment income, and earned income from part time employment.
No matter what your age or when you plan to retire, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. Saving becomes secondary when we prioritize other demands, such as marriage, buying a house, and/or raising children. Each month you delay impacts the total savings you will have when you begin retirement.
Using a budget is an essential skill in managing personal finances. If you are a business owner, farmer, rancher, earn based on sales commissions or are seasonally employed, you may not have consistent income from month to month. When your income is irregular, it may be difficult develop a budget that can be used to plan your spending for the month.
Solid Finances was a series of free financial education webinars. The webinars were designed to empower viewers to take control of their finances by improving their knowledge of personal finance topics.. This year’s topics ranged from Money Management, Student Loans, Retirement, to Investor Protection.
Credit is the trust given to another person for the future payment of a loan. Credit is a contract. The creditor loans money, you buy something, and you pay the creditor back. When a person signs an application for credit, he/she is agreeing to all terms of the contract.
Many people face a financial crisis at some point in their life that can make it difficult to pay bills. You may receive notices from creditors, your accounts could be turned over to debt collectors, or even worse, you could lose your home or car. Whatever the crisis is, it can seem overwhelming.
Setting financial goals and creating a budget/spending plan are necessary when managing your money. It is the only practical way to get a grip on your spending and to make sure you are spending money on the things that you should be. Financial goals should be set prior to creating a budget/spending plan.
A child’s education is one of the largest expenses many families face. College tuition and fees are increasing at a faster rate than the general rate of inflation. The sooner you start, the less money you’ll have to save per year. Because of the time value of money (interest compounding on interest over time), a little money saved early can actually exceed a lot of money saved later on.
One of the most important things you can learn in life is how to save money. It is the first step to getting where you want to be. Anyone can do it. You just have to put your mind to it. Once you start, it gets easier and easier and before you know it, you’re on your way to making your dreams a reality.