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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - June 2013  

In this Issue


 

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Financial Road Trip

As the school year ends and families gear up for summer vacations, many are planning to take a road trip. Whether it is to visit relatives, national parks, or popular amusement destinations, these trips need to be planned out in detail so that the destination can be reached with as few bumps in the road as possible. Your finances can be viewed in the same manner. Your goals represent your destination. What is the process you need to take in order to get there? This month, Apprisen offers you a map to guide you on your financial road trip.

 

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Protecting Your Cyber-Identity

At no other period in history have people been more reliant on technology than at the present time. From online banking to email correspondence, for many of us, our main source of personal and business communication is the Internet. June is National Internet Safety Month, and it’s extremely important to focus on our digital footprint—to evaluate our digital behaviors, understand online security, and become responsible, digital citizens.

 

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Four for the Fourth

As the nation gets closer to celebrating its independence, it is a perfect time to reflect on your spending behaviors the first half of the year and make a “mid-year” resolution to get back on track. Re-examine your goals and the actions you are taking to reach them. Maybe, you are spending more on food and entertainment than you think. Apprisen offers these tips to help you save, not only for the Fourth of July celebrations, but year round. 

Read the entire article.

 

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First Time Homebuyer Workshop
Nashville, TN & Overland Park, KS

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 these free workshops:

Saturday, June 29th - 10:00am - 4:00pm.

To learn more or register click here.
 

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Webinar: June 25th & 26th

First Time Homebuyer   

In this webinar you will learn:

  • How to prepare for homeownership
  • The realtor’s role in the home buying process 
  • How to understand budgets and credit history
  • The lender’s role in the process
  • Home inspections and home maintenance
  • How to prevent a loan default

Attend this free webinar on:

Tuesday, June 25th - 12:00pm EDT & 12:00pm PDT.

Wednesday, June 26th - 12:00pm CDT.

To learn more or register click here

 

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Two-thirds of Engaged Couples Express Negative Attitudes Toward Discussing Money

The recent poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, with five percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding. Apprisen recommends the following Do’s and Don’ts for that much-needed financial conversation.

Read the entire article.

 

 

Financial Road Trip 

As the school year ends and families gear up for summer vacations, many are planning to take a road trip. Whether it is to visit relatives, national parks, or popular amusement destinations, these trips need to be planned out in detail so that the destination can be reached with as few bumps in the road as possible. Your finances can be viewed in the same manner. Your goals represent your destination. What is the process you need to take in order to get there? This month, Apprisen offers you a map to guide you on your financial road trip.

Is Your Car Ready?

Before hitting the road you need to make an assessment of your car’s condition and take care of some maintenance issues. The same goes with your finances. What financial shape are you in? Be realistic - is your current state going to allow you to reach your final destination or do you need to make some adjustments first? Begin by adding up all of your debt – credit cards, car loans, student loans, mortgage, etc. Next, add up your equity in your home, savings, investments, and retirement. Subtract the total of your debt from this number and that is your net worth. Is it what you think it should be?  If it is, great!  Your plan might not need many modifications. If it is not, then some repairs need to be made.

It is not safe to assume you know what is wrong with your car; you need to get under the hood to get a clear understanding. Think of handling your money the same way. You need to review where you are spending your money before you know where the problems are. Start by tracking your expenses for thirty days. This will give you a good idea where your spending is out of alignment with your income. Create a spending plan where every dollar that comes into your household is allotted towards an expense. If you have too many expenses to fit your income, there are only two things you can do – increase your income or decrease your expenses. Give yourself a financial tune-up to help get you on the road to your final destination. 

Setting Your GPS 

In the “olden days” when you were planning a trip you pulled out maps and would highlight your route in red. However, today it’s so much easier to set your GPS and go. But that doesn’t mean you still don’t need to have a plan. You know where you are headed, but there are things you need to think about while you are getting there. For example, what are the costs associated with the trip? You need to have a plan in place on how much you are going to spend on gas, food, lodging and entertainment, just like your everyday life. By having a spending plan, you know how much you can spend on each expense to ensure all your needs are being met.

Hit the Road

You’re ready to go. The maintenance on the car is done, your GPS is set and everyone is excited about getting on the road. But, it is important to remember to keep track of your expenses along the way. It is so easy to swipe that debt or credit card and not realize how much you are spending. At the end of each day, pull out your receipts, add them up, and keep a running total in each spending category. For example, if you find that gas prices were higher than you expected and you are spending more than you anticipated, you might need to cut back on your food expenses. This is the same routine you need to be doing throughout the month to make sure you are staying within your spending limits. It will keep you on track and allow you to make changes to your spending behaviors when needed.

Uh Oh!

Your trip has been perfect so far. You are maintaining your expenses and making adjustments when necessary, when all of a sudden you get a flat tire. You definitely didn’t count on that but, hopefully, you knew something like that could happen and planned for it. An emergency savings account is necessary for when “life happens.” Be realistic about the amount you are putting in the account. You are not saving if you save $50 in from every paycheck and then take $45 out to cover your monthly expenses. You will be better off to put $5 in and leave it there than continually withdrawing from the account.  Small amounts add up over time.

You Have Arrived!

You may have reached your destination, but you are far from being finished making decisions. You still have activities that you want to do, food and lodging expenses, and your trip back home. As with many trips, things may not have occurred the way that you intended and you had to make changes to your plans. That’s life. Continue to set new goals, make adjustments when needed, and let your financial road trip take you to new and exciting places.    

 

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Four for the Fourth

As the nation gets closer to celebrating its independence, it is a perfect time to reflect on your spending behaviors the first half of the year and make a “mid-year” resolution to get back on track. Re-examine your goals and the actions you are taking to reach them. Maybe, you are spending more on food and entertainment than you think. Tracking your spending for 30 days will give you a good idea where you are nickel and diming yourself. Then, determine a certain amount you are going to allow yourself for these expenses, and with the amount you are saving, you can apply towards reaching your financial goals.

Apprisen offers these tips to help you save, not only for the Fourth of July celebrations, but year round. 

  1. Work the coupons - Whether you get them from the newspaper, online, or on a phone app, coupons can save you money if you take the time to search for them. Create your grocery list, and then look for a coupon that you can use for something you are already buying. It is never a good idea to buy anything that is on sale for the sake of getting a good deal.  
  2. Free entertainment - This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of all the outdoor activities your community has to offer. From concerts and plays in the park to the Fourth of July parade. But be careful when you go, high cost concessions could sabotage your free outing. Consult your community calendar on a regular basis to get ideas, and then start planning! 
  3. Farmers Market – What a wonderful local resource to buy fruits, flowers, vegetables, and other handmade goodies. It may be a little pricier, so consider going in the late afternoon when the venders are trying to sell their last products, you probably will get a better deal!  
  4. Social gatherings – This is the perfect time of year to get together with friends and family and host a BBQ or dinner party. But, that can be expensive. Offer to buy the meats and ask your guests to bring a side or dessert to share. It will save you the stress of making the whole meal and give your company an opportunity to show off their favorite dish.

 

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Two-thirds of Engaged Couples Express Negative Attitudes Toward Discussing Money

Apprisen Advises Couples to Talk Before They Walk

The recent poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, with five percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding.

With many brides and grooms walking down the aisle in June, regardless of how difficult it may be, the conversation about personal finances is one that should be neither ignored nor postponed.  As a matter of fact, to increase the odds of making ‘happily ever-after’ a reality, the discussion should take place before the ‘I do,’ not after.”

Apprisen recommends the following Do’s and Don’ts for that much-needed financial conversation:

  • Don’t spring the conversation on the other party. Instead, set a time to talk that is convenient for each.
  • Do make it a casual conversation about a serious subject, respecting the fact that each person has valid opinions and concerns.
  • Do be honest about the current financial situation. If the courtship phase of the relationship has painted a financially unrealistic picture, it’s time to be honest about what the long-term lifestyle will look like.
  • Do probe to understand long-held financial attitudes, often present since childhood and likely ingrained by observing how parents addressed money issues.
  • Do acknowledge that one may be a saver and one a spender, understanding that there are benefits to both approaches and agreeing to learn from each other’s tendencies.  
  • Don’t hide income or debt. This is known as financial infidelity. Instead, in the spirit of openness, bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, existing debt obligations and investments to the table.
  • Don’t point the finger of blame. That’s a real conversation stopper.
  • Do make a plan in advance to deal with any skeletons that come out of the financial closet. Such surprises can potentially compromise access to future credit. Now is the time to deal with surprises. 
  • Do construct a budget that includes savings. When just getting started, money is often tight, making it tempting to delay beginning to save. However, when every cent counts, it is even more important to have a financial safety net in the form of savings. 
  • Do decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills. It is likely that one spouse will be a good fit for this task, while the other finds it burdensome.
  • Do allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.
    • Do decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It’s appropriate to have individual goals, but having family goals is important, too. 
  • Do talk about loaning money to family members and friends. Decide if it’s something each is comfortable with, or should be avoided. 
  • Do talk about caring for aging parents, and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs, if necessary.

Often times, people bring financial baggage into a relationship, but don’t deal with it until problems arise. Baggage can come in the form of a poor credit rating, significant debt, or no experience managing money. Regardless of the issue, the time to address money differences is up front, before the financial bottom falls out. Court records show that financial stress is one of the main causes of divorce. Taking action now could prevent a disaster later.

The actual poll question and answer choices are below:

If I were getting married, I think that discussing money with my fiancé would...
A. Be a necessary, but awkward, conversation = 45%
B. Likely to lead to a fight, so I would avoid this topic = 7%   
C. Reveal financial issues I wasn’t aware of = 11% 
D. Cause us to call off the wedding = 5%   
E. Be a productive and easy conversation to have = 32%   



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