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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - March 2012 

In this Issue

 

Pot of Gold
Don’t Use Luck to Manage Your Finances

Don’t we all dream of reaching that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? To be able to have everything we want with no worries? To buy a house, send our children to college, vacation, retirement? Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do was rely on luck, and everything in our lives would go according to plan?  Unfortunately, luck only plays a small part in reaching our pots of gold. There has to be a plan. Apprisen offers tips to help you achieve all the financial rewards you seek.

 Read the entire article.

 

Know Your Rights When Dealing With Debt Collectors

A debt collector calls you every day, sometimes multiple times in the same day. He leaves you threatening messages at home, and tries to contact you at work. His messages threaten legal action if you don't make an immediate payment on the debt. The worst part? You don't even recognize the debt that the collector is trying to collect. What can you do to take control of the situation, find out if the debt is real, and prevent further harassment by the debt collector?

To read the entire article click here

 

Gasoline Savers

With gas prices averaging $3.80 across the country, many people are looking for ways to save at the pumps and conserve gas. Apprisen Financial Advocates offers tips to help you maximize those gas dollars. You will see a slight increase in your miles per gallon by following most of the tips, but practice a few of them together, and your savings will add up. 

Read the entire article.

 

Beware of Identity Theft!

Last month Apprisen asked “Have you ever been a victim of identity theft”?  Surprisingly, over half of the respondents had, fifty-three percent. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity without your permission with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes. Commonly stolen identity includes your name, Social Security number, or credit card numbers. The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

Read the entire article.

 

Pot of Gold
Don’t Use Luck to Manage Your Finances

Don’t we all dream of reaching that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? To be able to have everything we want with no worries? To buy a house, send our children to college, vacation, retirement? Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do was rely on luck, and everything in our lives would go according to plan? Unfortunately, luck only plays a small part in reaching our pots of gold.  There has to be a plan. Apprisen offers these tips to help you achieve all the financial rewards you seek:

  • Set your financial goals. These are your “pots of gold”. You have to know what you want and how much money you are going to need to get there. Write them down and review them often. Know how much you need to set aside every month in order to achieve them.
  • Track your expenses. Many people don’t realize how much they spend without thinking about it. Write down everything you spend in a month. Review your list and see where you can cut some of the extras to apply towards your financial goals.
  • Develop a spending plan. Whether you use a computer program or paper and pencil, you must have a plan for every dollar coming into your household. Apprisen has many tools on our website to help. Know what your expenses are, and have an allotted amount for each one, especially for food and entertainment, which are two things that many people spend more money on than what they think.
  • Find ways to increase income or decrease expenses. Be creative and really think about your needs and wants. Be mindful of that “pot of gold” that you are trying to achieve.  
  • Seek advice. If you are struggling to make it work, go to a professional. Apprisen can work with you to get back on track with your money, or visit the Financial Planners Association website for investment advice.

You can have your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but in order to reach it, you can’t depend on luck. Make a plan and work on it every day. However, don’t throw away any four leaf clovers you find, just in case.

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Gasoline Savers

With gas prices averaging $3.80 across the country, many people are looking for ways to save at the pumps and conserve gas. Apprisen Financial Advocates offers these tips to help you maximize those gas dollars. 

  • Shop Around -  Fuelprices.net and Gasbuddy.com are valuable resources to help you compare prices in your area.
  • Slow and Steady - By driving the speed limit, you can save on fuel and it won’t take you that much longer to get where you are going.  Besides, accelerating and slowing down is a real gas waster.
  • Plan Your Route – Take one day to run your errands and map it out beforehand to find the shortest route.
  • Routine Maintenance – Make sure your tire pressure is correct for the size of your tires and your engines air filter is clean for maximized miles per gallon.
  • Clean Out Your Car – If you are still hauling around sand bags from winter or have amassed a collection of “stuff” in your car, toss it out or bring it inside.  It can be surprising how all that could add up to 30 or 40 pounds of added weight.  
  • Shut It Off – If you are anticipating idling for more then one minute, turn off your engine. Restarting the car uses less fuel then letting it idle. 
  • Walk, Carpool or Ride the Bus – Everyone knows that these are great ideas to save on gas. But, what many people don’t recognize is that it is much easier then they think.  All that’s needed is a bit of time to research routes, ask friends and co-workers if they are interested or a good pair of walking shoes. 

You will see a slight increase in your miles per gallon by following most of these tips, but practice a few of them together, and your savings will add up. 

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Beware of Identity Theft!

Last month Apprisen asked “Have you ever been a victim of identity theft”? Surprisingly, over half of the respondents had, fifty-three percent. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity without your permission with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes. Commonly stolen identity includes your name, Social Security number, or credit card numbers. The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

The crime takes many forms. Twenty-four percent of the people responding to our  poll have been a victim of credit card fraud, twelve percent bank fraud or another kind of identity theft, and five percent phishing. Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many hours repairing damage to their good name and credit record.  Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans because of negative information on their credit reports.

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold.
 
Identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

1. Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

4. Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

5. Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.

6. Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

Awareness is the key. Knowing how information is stolen is the first step in protecting that information.

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