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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - April 2013  

 

 

In this Issue

 

Women and Finances 

Let’s face it—the topic of money can be intimidating, but taking the time to focus on your personal financial plan is a crucial element to living an empowered life. The earlier we invest in ourselves and our futures, the easier it will be to transition to the next phase of life. Whether you’re a working single woman, a stay-at-home mom, or somewhere in-between, Apprisen offers these tips to become more financially secure.

 

Read the entire article.

Income Tax Identity Theft

Identity Theft. You know what it is. You have heard ads, news reports and warnings on ways to protect yourself. You probably have a firewall on your computer, are more cautious when you are using your credit or debit cards, and more mindful when you are giving out personal information. But are you protecting yourself from the fastest growing area of identity theft - income tax fraud? 

Read the entire article.

 

Webinar: April 23rd & 24th

Financial Foundation 101 

If you want to take control of your personal finances, you must first have a good grasp of the basics of personal finances.This online seminar gives you the information you will need to get started in the right direction.

In this webinar you will:

  • Learn the elements of a spending plan 
  • Understand strategies to reduce debt
  • Know why you should know what's on your credit report

Attend this free webinar:

Tuesday, April  23rd - 12:00pm EDT & 12:00pm PDT.

Wednesday, April 24th - 12:00pm CDT.

To learn more or register click here

 

 

First Time Homebuyer Workshop Cincinnati, OH

Saturday, April 27, 2013  

Apprisen wants to help you achieve your dreams by giving you the information you need to own your first home.

  • Preparing for homeownership
  • Working with a real estate agent
  • Understanding budgets and credit history
  • Finding and working with a lender
  • Home inspections and home maintenance
  • Preventing loan default

Each attendee will receive a HUD homebuyer certificate of completion at the end of the workshop.

Attend this free workshop:

Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10:00am to 4:00pm

Hyde Park Library - 2747 Erie Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45208

To register for this workshop visit: www.apprisen.com/homebuyer

 

 

NFCC and NBPCA Financial Literacy Survey Reveals Consumers’ Top Financial Concerns

April is Financial Literacy Month and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) have released the results of the 2013 Financial Literacy Survey.  In its seventh year, the survey annually provides data and trending around Americans’ attitudes and behaviors related to personal finance.

Read the entire article.

 

 

Women and Money  

Let’s face it—the topic of money can be intimidating, but taking the time to focus on your personal financial plan is a crucial element to living an empowered life. The earlier we invest in ourselves and our futures, the easier it will be to transition to the next phase of life. Whether you’re a working single woman, a stay-at-home mom, or somewhere in-between, Apprisen offers these tips to become more financially secure.

Be aware of your career field and earning potential.
In the last fifty years, women have made great progress in the workplace. However, according to the fourth-quarter 2012 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings of a woman working full-time were $692 and for men, $875. That’s a big difference, especially since 53% of all families have women as their primary earners as revealed in a recent survey conducted by Prudential "Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women."To narrow the gap, women need to consider higher paying careers and, if they are not getting the same pay as their male counterparts, speak up!

Give yourself a financial health check-up.
For those with minimal discretionary income, credit means everything! It is one of the most vital pieces of your financial health. Your credit score not only determines your interest rates on loans, it can affect your insurance premiums, and employers can use it as a pre-screen for job candidates. This also affects your personal bottom line, your budget. Make sure you take advantage of the free annual credit report offered by the three major reporting agencies: www.annualcreditreport.com After checking your credit health, set yourself on course with a financial spending plan that includes goals, identifies priorities, and creates strategies for managing debt.

Create a retirement strategy. 
TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies conducted a recent survey which revealed that nearly half of women have no retirement strategy. Interestingly, 56% stated that they would rely on their own savings to get them through. To help women get motivated to start, they need to visualize what they want their retirement to look like. If they have a firm goal in place, and a clear vision of what it looks like, they are more likely to take the steps to get there. 

Make your money last. 
In the United States, the average life expectancy age of a woman is 81, whereas a man’s is 76. With women being caretakers for aging parents, divorce rates being high, and the lack of financial literacy targeted toward independence, these are all the more reasons that women should start planning for their retirement at a younger age. Enroll in the company’s 401k plan, and if not offered by your employer, open a Roth or IRA account. Make it a goal to contribute the yearly maximum to these accounts. A financial planner is a good resource in helping reach retirement goals. 

Empower yourself.
The Prudential survey also revealed that only 23% percent of women, of more than 1,400 surveyed, feel “well prepared” to make financial decisions. That is a telling statistic on the status of women and money. However, it can change.  Knowledge is the key to gaining confidence – take the time to learn what you don’t know. Seek financial education resources, like the Learning Center on Apprisen’s website, or read personal finance books. Know the family’s current financial situation—know your assets and liabilities. Create a spending plan that makes savings a priority. Finally, keep personal and family debt low in case of financial or relational problems in the future. Equipped with the tools and knowledge to empower their financial self-efficacy, women can co-create their futures while maintaining control of their lives. For more information, visit our learning center: www.apprisen.com/learning-center.

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Income Tax Identity Theft

Be Aware Now
Identity Theft. You know what it is. You have heard ads, news reports and warnings on ways to protect yourself.  You probably have a firewall on your computer, are more cautious when you are using your credit or debit cards, and more mindful when you are giving out personal information. But are you protecting yourself from the fastest growing area of identity theft - income tax fraud?  In other words, someone could pretend to be you, file a fraudulent return, and walk away with a refund before the IRS knows that the filer wasn't you. According to the IRS, in 2010 there were 224 investigations of fraudulent tax filings; however, by the end of January of this year, there were already 542 complaints. In most cases, you are only made aware that you have been a victim after you have filed your taxes and are waiting for a refund.  Instead, you get a notification that your taxes have already been filed, you have a balance due, or you failed to report income from an employer.

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. Apprisen offers these ways to help protect you from this kind of identity theft:

Guard your social security number
Protecting your social security number is the key to preventing this type of identity theft. Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or anything else that might have your social security number on it. If applying for a job and the application asks for your social security number, leave it blank. Only show it to an employer after you have been offered a job. You will also be required to give it to lenders when applying for credit. If anybody else asks for your social security number, inquire what they will be using it for. If you decide the reason is legitimate, ask how that information will be stored.

Don’t respond to emails from the IRS
The IRS does not request information by email or social media. If you receive an email requesting personal information, such as, you are being electronically audited or that you are getting a refund, forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Secure your personal information
Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software. If you are e-filing your taxes, when finished, save the file to a CD or flash drive and then delete the personal return information from your hard drive. Store this, and all personal information in a safe place, such as a lock box or safe. Shred any statements or documents that contain personal information. If possible, contact your bank or lender to inquire if e-statements are an option.

Use reputable tax professionals
Some identity thieves work together to form a company and pose as tax preparers. Never hand your information over to any person who is not a recognized tax professional.  Use only preparers that have been recommended to you or from a company you are familiar with. If in doubt, contact your local BBB for information about the firm. 

Check your credit report
If a thief is using your social security number to file false tax returns, chances are they are also opening up fraudulent accounts. One way to see if that is happening is to check your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy of your report from each of the credit bureaus once a year through www.annualcreditreport.com. If you question any of the information on the report, you can dispute it. The process of how to do this is supplied at the end of the report. 

File early
The IRS processes returns as they receive them.  If you file early, the thieves have less of a chance of getting your refund.   

If you have received a letter from the IRS and you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you need to respond immediately! Notify the IRS and provide them with the name and number printed on the notice. If you want more information on Tax Identity Theft, visit www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection  

 

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