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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - April 2014

In this Issue


 Money and the Single Parent

Money and the Single Parent

Being a single parent is not easy. As a matter of fact, it is really hard. Single parents are stretched in every direction and often face the problem of never having enough of anything -time, patience, or money. If you are like most single parents, one of the biggest challenges you face is the difficulty of keeping your personal finances on track. You feel as though there’s not enough money to meet your needs. While the road is not an easy one, we have plenty of advice to keep your finances healthy.

Download your free copy of the e-book and start your journey down the path towards financial stability.
 

Prom

Prom Costs HOW Much?

For many, going to prom is a rite of passage. It is the last big party with friends before heading off into the real world. Often times, teens spend months preparing for that one special night. Girls daydream about their dresses, shoes, how they want to wear their hair, and makeup. Young men are trying to plan the perfect night for their lady. But how much does all this cost? A recent Visa survey of more than 1,200 parents of prom-aged teens revealed that they plan to spend an average of $978 for the event this year.

Read the entire article


debt

Consumer Debt is on the Rise

With consumer confidence growing, many consumers are pulling out their credit cards once again and forgetting about their savings accounts. A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that almost 30 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in savings. Additionally, only 51 percent have enough emergency savings to pay off their credit card debt.

Read the entire article


 poll.jpg

Poll Reveals Gaps in Knowledge and Execution of Basic Personal Finance Skills

As Financial Literacy Month begins, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, released the results of the 2014 Financial Literacy Survey conducted online in March by Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. In its eighth year, the survey provides a snapshot of the American consumer's level of knowledge as it relates to financial literacy, as well as behavioral and attitudinal trends associated with personal finance. The 2014 survey was sponsored by Experian Consumer Services.
 

Read the entire article


 

Mobile App Welcome Screen

Mobile App 
  

On the go? Not a problem. Apprisen now fits in your pocket!

Are you an Apprisen DMP client? Now you can use your smart phone or tablet to access your Apprisen account information, manage your account balances, make payments, and more. Better yet, you can do it all anywhere and anytime that’s convenient for you.

Download the FREE mobile app

 



 

MyApprisen


Apprisen is hard at work on its new client portal, MyApprisen. The new service will give Apprisen clients better online access to their account information. Using MyApprisen, all website visitors will have the ability to save favorite web pages and the results from our many online financial calculators. The development of MyApprisen has required the removal of Apprisen’s previous client portal. However, clients can access their account information using Apprisen’s new mobile apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.


Prom Costs HOW Much? 

For many, going to prom is a rite of passage. It is the last big party with friends before heading off into the big world. Often times, teens spend months preparing for that one special night.  Girls daydream about their dresses, shoes, how they want to wear their hair, and makeup. Young men try to plan the perfect night for their lady. But how much does all this cost?  A recent Visa survey of more than 1,200 parents of prom-aged teens revealed that they plan to spend an average of $978 for the event this year.  Most parents want their teen to have a memorable experience, but will the amounts they are going to spend exceed what they can afford?  Often, these expenses were not planned out in advance and money that should be going to more essential bills might be spent on this one event. That is why it is so important to have realistic expectations on what you can afford. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your kids get started:

Have a Budget! Know what you can afford to spend. It will then be up to your teen to prioritize their wants in order to fit within the budget. Anything extra, they would need to pay for themselves.

Shop Smart. For many young ladies the dress is everything. They could spend a lot of time researching and shopping for the perfect one. But, even with this being a major expense, there are ways to find a bargain.

  • Second Hand Stores. As these types of outlets are increasing in popularity, so is the quality of merchandise that can be found in them. These dresses have often been worn only once and are in pristine condition. After prom, consider selling the dress to generate extra income.
  • Shop Your Friend's Closet. They might have an amazing dress that would be perfect. It shouldn’t matter that it was worn previously by someone else, nobody will remember.
  • Shop Online. Shopping online allows the opportunity to comparison shop. You can price the same dress at different retailers to find the best deal. Make sure you know your exact measurements to order the right size. Check their return policy before you buy just in case it isn’t exactly what you wanted or doesn’t fit.
  • Get a Rental. While this is a traditional option for men, many women do not explore this opportunity. Rent the Runway is a popular online website where you can rent designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. There might be local retailers in your area that offer the same service.

Research Restaurant Specials. Many restaurants offer deals through sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Make sure you read the fine print and see that the discount is valid at the time you are planning to go.

    Have a Dinner Party. Invite friends over for dinner before the big event. You can divide up the cost of having food delivered with all those attending. Create a romantic environment by lighting candles and using special dinnerware.

    Borrow Your Parent's Car. You don’t need to spend hundreds on a ride that will last only a few minutes. It doesn’t matter how you get there, you will have fun regardless.

    Have a Pre-Party. Plan an afternoon of getting ready with friends. You can do each other’s hair, make-up and nails and save hundreds off the price of these services. 

    Going to prom doesn’t have to cost a lot. It is the people and the experience, and not the way your hair looked or how you got there, that you are going to remember.

     

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    Consumer Debt is on the Rise

    With consumer confidence growing, many consumers are pulling out their credit cards once again and forgetting about their savings accounts. A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that almost 30 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in savings. Additionally, only 51 percent have enough emergency savings to pay off their credit card debt.

    In the last quarter of 2013, America’s debt, which includes mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit card debt, rose 2.1 percent or 241 billion. That is the largest increase since the third quarter of 2007. As consumers grow more confident in their financial situation, they are rewarding themselves at the expense of accumulating more credit card debt. Before it gets out of control, Apprisen offers some tips to decrease debt and increase savings:

    Write down all of your outstanding debts. It’s important that you know who you owe and how much. Make a list of your creditors, balances, interest rates and minimum payments due. Once you look at the total, you might be surprised at how fast the debt accumulated and be more motivated to pay it off.

    Create a spending plan. By contacting the credit bureaus and placing a freeze on your files, you are ensuring that accounts cannot be opened up without your authorization. If at some point in the future you are anticipating needing immediate access to credit, you can contact them to remove the alert.

    Create a debt snowball. This is a good reminder to check all of our statements for fraudulent purchases on a consistent basis. Be aware of small transaction amounts –that could be a test to verify the account before larger amounts come through.

    Transfer a set amount from your paycheck to a savings account. Any email account that you have provided Target, change your password. Use upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols to make them more secure.

    Don’t fall back into old patterns of behavior. Before it’s too late, make a conscious effort to get your debt under control and your emergency savings funded, so when the next life event happens you will be financially prepared.
     

      

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    Poll Reveals Gaps in Knowledge and Execution of Basic Personal Finance Skills

    As Financial Literacy Month begins, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, released the results of the 2014 Financial Literacy Survey conducted online in March by Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. In its eighth year, the survey provides a snapshot of the American consumer's level of knowledge as it relates to financial literacy, as well as behavioral and attitudinal trends associated with personal finance. The 2014 survey was sponsored by Experian Consumer Services.

    Significant gaps of personal financial knowledge revealed in the survey include budgeting, saving, and understanding credit reports and credit scores - all key areas related to successful money management.  

    Budgeting and debt-Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults, the highest percentage in six years, admit to not having a budget. Financial experts generally agree that a budget is a basic tool of financial management, and without it, a person can more easily lose track of spending. Nonetheless, consumers appear reluctant to utilize this tool, which could explain why about one in three adults (34%) indicated their household carries credit card debt from month-to-month, with 15 percent, or more than 35 million people, admitting to rolling over $2,500 or more monthly.  

    Savings versus spending-When asked which areas of personal finance are most worrisome, the top concerns were evenly divided between insufficient "rainy day" savings for an emergency (16%) and retiring without having enough money set aside (16%). However, the proportion of adults who are spending less when compared to the previous year continues to decline, from a high in 2009 of 57 percent, to a low in 2014 of 29 percent. This suggests that, although consumers are uncomfortable with their lack of savings, they may have nonetheless continually increased their year-over-year spending.

    Credit reports and scores-Most adults have not reviewed their credit score (60%) or their credit report (65%) within the past 12 months. Close to one in four adults who did not order their credit report in the past 12 months (23%) indicated that they already knew their credit score(s), so they didn't think they needed their credit report(s). Although related, credit reports and credit scores are two very different expressions of a person's credit. Since each plays a critical role in a person's financial future, they both merit regular review. A further reflection of the confusion around credit reports and scores is that more than half of all U.S. adults (54%) mistakenly believe that a standard credit report typically contains a person's credit score(s).

    Knowledge of personal finance-Forty-one percent of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance. Therefore, it is not surprising that, when asked what their money would say to them if money could talk, about one in five (21%) thought it would say "I'm smaller than most of my friends." Curiously, about one in five (21%) also thought their money would say "I feel loved and nurtured."

    The absence of a budget, insufficient savings, spending beyond what can be responsibly repaid, confusion around credit reports and scores, and an admitted lack of knowledge pertaining to personal finance are reds flags that demand attention. The good news is that nearly three in four U.S. adults (73%) agree that, considering what they already know about personal finance, they could still benefit from advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional. Further, if they were having financial problems related to debt, twenty-seven percent of adults, or more than 63 million people indicated they would reach out to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency for assistance. It is now up to them to take the next step and attain the skills necessary for long-term financial stability.

     

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