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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - July 2013  

In this Issue

 Back to School Board

Organizing Back to School Finances

Summertime is winding down and families are gearing up for the chaos that is associated with back to school. According to the National Retail Federation, last year consumers spent an average of $688.62 on back to school expenses for their children. With many families struggling, having to shell out that amount of money could put a strain on their finances that might be difficult to overcome. So why not start off this school year with a plan? Apprisen offers some suggestions to get started.

 

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 Three generations

Generational Financial Differences

Summer is here and many families are getting together for reunions. Many generations celebrate their past while creating new memories. This month, Apprisen takes a simplistic look at the different generational views on finances, lessons we have learned and steps to move forward towards a stronger financial future for everyone, regardless of the year you were born in.

 

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Exclamation Point

Health Care Reform and the Informed Consumer

As most of us know, the health insurance landscape is about to change. Starting October 1, 2013, the Affordable Care Act, through the Health Insurance Marketplace, will bring coverage options to those who are uninsured, underinsured, or buy their own coverage. The Marketplace is designed to be a resource tool to help you find acceptable coverage that fits your needs and budget. But beware! Scammers are already at work!
 

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Homebuyer Workshop Davie

First Time Homebuyer Workshop
Davie, FL

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, July 27th - 9:00am-3:00pm.

To learn more or register click here

 

 Back to School Webinar Flyer

Webinar: July 30th & 31st

Going Back to School Expenses   

Every fall, we send our kids back to school. For most of us, this means shopping for supplies, clothes, and many other necessary items. However, we don’t have to bust the budget to be prepared for school.

  • Learn how to prepare for school expenses throughout the year
  • Learn how to handle the costs of special events
  • Get some solid advice on your children’s allowance

Attend this free 30 minute webinar on:

Tuesday, July 30th - 12:00pm EDT & 12:00pm PDT.

Wednesday, July 31st - 12:00pm CDT.

To learn more or register click here 

 

 poll.jpg

Poll Reveals Consumers Confused Over Purpose of a Budget

A recent poll on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that 57 percent of respondents misunderstand the purpose of a budget, viewing it as a restriction on their spending, when in fact, just the opposite is true.

Read the entire article

 

 

Organizing Back to School Finances  

Summertime is winding down and families are gearing up for the chaos that is associated with back to school. According to the National Retail Federation, last year consumers spent an average of $688.62 on back to school expenses for their children. That did not include other expenses that pop up throughout the year. With many families struggling, having to shell out that amount of money could put a strain on their finances that might be difficult to overcome. So why not start off this school year with a plan? Sit down with your kids and map out a strategy that will satisfy their needs and help you organize your financial obligations for the year. Apprisen offers some suggestions to get started.

Advertisements
Businesses are eager to get their marketing message out to take a cut in the over 84 billion in sales that back to school shopping accounts for in the retail world. They have bombarded us with commercials, internet ads, in store displays, and anyplace else they can find an audience to pitch their product. Their primary target audience? Your child. How many times do parents hear “I HAVE to have that!!” or “Everybody else has one?” It is important that we talk to our children about how advertisers try to influence our decisions on what to buy. Point out “tricks of the trade.” For example, using characters to gain attention or offering something free if you “buy now.” By starting this discussion at an early age, eventually children learn to pick up the cues. 

Create a Budget
When you are creating a back to school budget, consider all the expenses you might incur for the whole year - extra-curricular activities, pictures, special events, fieldtrips, fundraisers, etc. Open a special account where you can deposit money each paycheck and then you would have it available when the expense comes up. If you find that your budget doesn’t allow for some of these costs, you might have to cut back. For example, you can limit the number of extra-curricular activities your child participates in or purchase equipment at garage sales or second hand stores. In the case of special events, like dances, have a set amount you are willing to pay and then let your child decide how to spend it. This is something that every adult has to deal with and by teaching your children this lesson at a young age; you are better preparing them for the real world. They will learn how to prioritize what is important to them.  If necessary, have them chip in some of their money to cover the “extras” they may want. Don’t feel guilty if you cannot afford to allow them to do everything they want. The lesson you are teaching them about living within your means is far more valuable than a $250 prom dress they won’t remember.

Back to School Shopping
Go through the list of the items that your child “must have” that you were sent from the school. Are there items on the list that you have left over from last year and that you can still use? Do you really need all of the items listed in the quantities that are suggested? Prioritize the list by the supplies you must buy now and things that possibly could wait until later.  Often times, there are items on the list that the teacher wants for the use of the whole classroom, like Kleenex or baby wipes. If money is tight, you might speak with them and offer to send your contribution at a later date.

Before walking out the door, have a plan on where you are going to go and how much you are going to spend. Just like you handle the money making decisions for special events, let your child decide how to divide up the budgeted amount.  Maybe they would be happy with using the same backpack from last year because they really want the more expensive notebook. Or, maybe they’ll decide to reuse much of what they had from last year and put that money in savings. That’s okay too. The more control they have over these decisions, the better prepared they will be for adulthood.

Allowances
There is a lot of debate concerning whether to give an allowance or not; should it be tied to chores, and how much should it be. The only way a child is going to learn how to manage money is to be able to have some control over how they spend it. The best lesson a parent can teach their child is the lesson of money management and giving an allowance lets them practice those skills and allows them to make mistakes when the costs are minimal. It also gives them a chance to evaluate their wants and needs and gives them an idea of how much things cost. When they have that appreciation, it makes their purchases so much more meaningful.

Many people believe that an allowance should be tied to chores. But what happens if the child doesn’t need the money and, in turn, doesn’t do their chores?  What are the consequences then? Chores should be done because they are a member of the family and not tied to the allowance. If acceptable, extra money could be earned for doing extra projects around the house. To learn money management, the child must have money to manage. 

Finally, how much should the allowance be? One school of thought is a dollar for each year of age. Another would suggest matching how much their friends get. A better approach would be to determine how much you are spending on them now, what you expect them to pay for, and then come up with an amount from that from that figure. Allowance should be paid on a weekly basis and as a child gets older, bi-weekly. The hard lesson here for parents is not to bail out their child when they don’t have enough money for what they want or they “forgot” their wallet. Give them the satisfaction of making that purchase on their own and providing a valuable life lesson.  

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Health Care Reform and the Informed Consumer

As most of us know, the health insurance landscape is about to change. Starting October 1, 2013, the Affordable Care Act, through the Health Insurance Marketplace, will bring coverage options to those who are uninsured, underinsured, or buy their own coverage. The Marketplace is designed to be a resource tool to help you find acceptable coverage that fits your needs and budget. But beware!  Scammers are already at work!

If you receive a call from someone who tries to sign you up for anything before October 1st, they are trying to scam you.  According to a representative at the Health Insurance Marketplace, the federal government will not call you directly. If your current benefits are affected in any way, you will receive a letter in the mail and be asked to respond accordingly. If you receive a phone call, email, or any direct solicitation from anyone regarding your benefits, especially if they are asking for your personal information or requesting payment, report them to the Federal Trade Commission. Try and find out as much as you can about the caller (name, location, phone number), and report them online or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP. 

The key is to know where to go to find answers. Healthcare.gov is the government website with all the resources you need to get started. On this website, there is a “live chat” option where you can speak with someone regarding your specific questions or concerns. You can also speak directly with a customer service representative by calling 1-800-318-2596, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You can sign-up for alert notices to keep you “in the loop” of what’s going on and any policy changes. The Kaiser Foundation also has an online cost-calculator that will help you determine what you may be paying for coverage. 

Remember, enrollment into the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013. Coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014, so early planning is key. Know your options, and know your rights! Don’t get scammed!

 

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Poll Reveals Consumers Confused Over Purpose of a Budget

A recent poll on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that 57 percent of respondents misunderstand the purpose of a budget, viewing it as a restriction on their spending, when in fact, just the opposite is true.

 A budget provides structure through which a person can be in charge of his or her spending, directing the dollars to their best use. Spending should be a reflection of a person’s priorities. But without having a plan in place, priorities often get pushed aside in favor of the tyranny of the urgent.

The reluctance to construct a budget suggests that people may be afraid to face the financial facts, choosing instead to allow the most pressing need or want of the moment to make the decision for them. Instead, Apprisen reminds consumers that a spending plan includes the following benefits:

  • Creates a thoughtful awareness of spending
  • Relieves financial stress
  • Increases financial security
  • Helps structure a plan for the future
  • Allows planning for large purchases
  • Assists in meeting financial goals
  • Frees up money to designate for savings
  • Uncovers money available to invest
  • Allows preparation for emergencies
  • Avoids late payments through scheduling timely payments
  • Finds hidden money for debt repayment
  • Potentially raises the credit score

Instead of being restrictive, a budget often creates more money due to smart spending choices. If financial freedom is the goal, a spending plan is the tool that starts the process. When every penny counts, it’s important to count every penny.

The actual poll question and answer results are below:

I consider a monthly budget to be…

A. A restriction on how I choose to spend my money = 57%
B. A freedom allowing me to spend my money as I have chosen = 43%
   



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