Search Icon
header-learningCenter

MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - May 2014

In this Issue


 

Family

Vacations on the Cheap

As summer rolls around, many people are planning on getting out of town. In fact, July and August are the two most popular vacation months. So now is the time to start planning that perfect get-away. But, how do you do that when money is tight? The first thing you need to consider is how much you can afford to spend without having to rely on credit cards.

Read the entire article


 spy  

The OTHER Consumer Reporting Agencies

According to the Department of Justice, each year over 11 million people in the United States have their identity stolen. In fact, identity theft has been the number one complaint filed with the FTC for the past 14 years. As we have seen in recent months with the various security breaches of databases at retail stores, the level of sophistication of hackers is increasing. They are continually working to find ways to gather personal and financial information to commit fraud.

Read the entire article


 poll.jpg

Poll Shows Young Adults May be Overlooking Obvious Resources for Sound Financial Advice

A recent online poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that if financial advice were needed, more people would reach out to dad more than mom for help. Moreover, the majority of poll respondents, sixty-four percent, felt as though they could obtain better advice than what either mom or dad can offer.

Read the entire article


 Mother and adult son talking

Mother's Financial Advice May be More Relevant Today Than Ever

As another Mother’s Day passes, it is once again confirmed that Mother was pretty savvy financially. If more of us had listened to the good, old-fashioned, common sense advice that our mothers dolled out, we might not be in the financial upheaval we are today.

Read the entire article


 United Way

The Power of $2 Pays Off for Apprisen and the United Way

As recognition of our efforts, Apprisen was honored as a finalist for the Agency of Excellence Award by the United Way of Central Ohio. Apprisen’s internal United Way agency campaign, The Power of $2, set new standards by dramatically increasing employee participation. The campaign stressed what could be accomplished by the United Way with a contribution of just $2 per pay period.

Read the entire article



Vacations on the Cheap

As summer rolls around, many people are planning on getting out of town. In fact, July and August are the two most popular vacation months. So now is the time to start planning that perfect get-away. But, how do you do that when money is tight? The first thing you need to consider is how much you can afford to spend without having to rely on credit cards. It is never a good idea to put vacation expenses on a card unless you plan on paying them off when you get home. Next, itemize your costs. How much do you plan on spending on getting to your destination? Food? Entertainment? Souvenirs? New clothes or necessities? Do your research so you won’t be surprised when you get there. Lastly, you need to find ways to cut costs. Apprisen offers these tips to help you vacation on the cheap.

  • Consider a “staycation”. Become a tourist in your own city or venture an hour or two out of town to explore new experiences. Think about if you had visitors coming to stay with you, where would you take them? Many of us have historical or cultural venues in our area, but never take the time to visit. Search your city’s visitors and tourism website for information. Don’t forget to take pictures!
  • Control your dining costs. This is one area that most people under-estimate the cost. Eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner can often be more than the cost of your lodging per day. Plan on purchasing breakfast items and snacks to have available in your hotel room. If venturing out for the day, stop by a local market and pick up pre-made sandwiches and fruit to put in a backpack. Also, consider visiting websites like Groupon and Living Social to find dining deals in the area.
  • Look for cheap fun. Check out the visitor’s website of the city you are going to. Often times, there are links to package deals or discounts at restaurants or local attractions. You can also go directly to the website of the attraction you are planning on visiting. They might have specials listed for buying tickets online or coupons to use once you’re there. Another resource is free-attractions.com. This will list all of the things to do for free in the area.
  • Reduce your transportation costs. Getting to your destination can be expensive. To cut costs, again do your research. If you are traveling by car, gasbuddy.com has a trip cost calculator which will give you a good estimate of the price you will pay for fuel. If traveling by plane, experts suggest flying midweek.  Airfare is often lower on a Wednesdays rather than any other day of the week. It’s best to book your reservations at least 7 weeks out.

Going on vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little homework beforehand, you can plan the perfect vacation on the cheap! 

    Return to the top

     

    The OTHER Consumer Reporting Agencies

    According to the Department of Justice, each year over 11 million people in the United States have their identity stolen. In fact, identity theft has been the number one complaint filed with the FTC for the past 14 years. As we have seen in recent months with the various security breaches of databases at retail stores, the level of sophistication of hackers is increasing. They are continually working to find ways to gather personal and financial information to commit fraud. With this information they are able to drain bank accounts, make unauthorized charges on credit cards, establish services, such as gas, cable, cell and power, obtain medical services and insurance, receive government benefits, gain housing, get a job, and open loans.

    So how can you protect yourself? Most people know about the three major credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, but are unaware of other agencies that collect information about them. There are companies that know about your check writing behavior, medical conditions, insurance claims and rental history. As an educated consumer, it is important that you see what is on those reports. Not only to confirm the information is accurate, but to see if you have been a victim of identity theft.

    Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are entitled to view these reports once a year. While some may be free, others might require a fee unless you can show that “adverse action” has been taken against you because of the information in the file.  

    A full listing of these specialty reports can be found on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website at www.cfpb.gov and search for consumer reporting agencies. But here are some of the most used agencies:

    Public Records

    LexisNexis Personal Reports details public records and other information filed under your name, including property ownership, criminal history, liens and bankruptcy.

    www.lexisnexis.com
    or call 866-312-8102

    Check-Writing History

    ChexSystems: www.consumerdebit.com  or call 800-428-9623

    Certegy Check Systems: www.askcertegy.com or call 866-543-6315

    Health Care

    The Medical Information Bureau reports contain coded listings of your reported medical conditions and tests. Also, contact your health insurer for an annual statement of your claims and treatments. Compare both for accuracy. 

    www.mib.com or call 866-692-6901 

    Prescription History

    Milliman IntelliScript: www.rxhistories.com or call 877-211-4816

    Insurance Claims

    LexisNexis Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE): www.verisk.com (type “order free report” in the search box) or call 800-627-3487

    Rental History

    CoreLogic: www.corelogic.com/products/creditiq.aspx or call 888-333-2413

    *Based on a range of information gathered from public and private resources.

    Return to the top

     

    Poll Shows Young Adults May be Overlooking Obvious Resources for Sound Financial Advice

    Moms may receive a book on personal finance as their Mother’s Day gift this year. A recent online poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that if financial advice were needed, more people would reach out to dad more than mom for help.

    Moreover, the majority of poll respondents, sixty-four percent, felt as though they could obtain better advice than what either mom or dad can offer. Considering the abundance of financial guidance available, consumers indeed have many options, but leaving parents out of the equation might mean missing an opportunity for solid, tried and true financial advice. 

    Taken together, only slightly more than one-third of respondents would turn to either parent. Younger generations may want to reconsider where they seek financial advice. In the NFCC’s 2014 Financial Literacy Survey the 55-64 age range indicated that they had their financial act together in many areas associated with successful money management.

    Consider the following:

    • Sixty-four percent give themselves a grade of A or B on their knowledge of personal finance.
    • Eighty-two percent pay all of their bills on time and have no debts in collections. The only age group with a better record (91%) are those age 65 and above.
    • More than half (52%) carry no credit card debt over from month-to-month.
    • Only three percent are worried about not being able to pay their credit card debt, and a meager one percent has made a payment that was less than the required minimum in the past 12 months.
    • Seventy-two percent report having savings beyond that earmarked for retirement. 
    • People in the two oldest age groups, 55-64 and those over 65, contribute at least 20 percent annually toward their retirement savings.

    Overall, the baby boomer generation feels confident about the lifetime of financial decisions they’ve made. When asked if their money could talk, 45 percent indicated it would say “we’ve been a successful team".

    The NFCC April poll question and results are as follows:
    If I needed personal financial advice, I would ask

    A.    Mom, as she’s more financially savvy than Dad =16%
    B.    Dad, as he’s more financially savvy than Mom = 20%
    C.    Neither, as I could get better advice elsewhere = 64%

    Note: The NFCC’s April Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC website www.DebtAdvice.org from April 1–30, 2014, and was answered by 861 individuals.

     

    Return to the top

       

      Mother's Financial Common Sense May be More Relevant Today Than Ever

      As another Mother’s Day passes, it is once again confirmed that Mother was pretty savvy financially. If more of us had listened to the good, old-fashioned, common sense advice that our mothers dolled out, we might not be in the financial upheaval we are today.

      Here are some tried and true Mom-isms:

      • Mother said not to spend more than you make. She didn’t say to buy now and pay later, nor did she say to charge purchases and spread the payments out over months. One has to wonder how different our country would be today if people had lived within their means.
      • Mother said to pay yourself first and save for a rainy day. Most Americans have insufficient savings and for many that “rainy day” is now. There is still time to start preparing for the next financial rainy days.
      • Mother practiced doing unto others. She said it was more blessed to give than to receive, and lived out that principle. Charities are hurting financially, but their needs continue, and we’re the only ones who can rectify that situation.
      • Mother knew that if it looked to good to be true, it probably was. Greed has strongly contributed to our economic woes. People were blind to the most basic investment principles and were instead drawn to get-rich-quick schemes, some of which in retrospect appear very close to snake oil. 
      • Mother told me I’d better shop around. She never bought on a whim or impulse. Instead, she only purchased something if she truly needed it, and always shopped for the best deal with coupon in hand. It seemed as though looking for a sale and bargain hunting was a part of her DNA. Apparently, that gene wasn’t passed along to some of us who now shop as though it were our hobby. 
      • Mother told me there’d be days like this. Those words can be very comforting when the pink slip arrives, or we open our 401(k) quarterly report. Mom had lived long enough to know that as hard as we may try, things don’t always go as planned, even if we’ve done everything right. She also knew that this too shall pass. 
      • Mother said there’s always a silver lining. Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find it, particularly today, but if she said it, it’s bound to be true.

       

    Return to the top

     

    The Power of $2 Pays Off for Apprisen and the United Way

    As recognition of our efforts, Apprisen was honored as a finalist for the Agency of Excellence Award by the United Way of Central Ohio.

    Apprisen’s internal United Way agency campaign, The Power of $2, set new standards by dramatically increasing employee participation. The campaign stressed what could be accomplished by the United Way with a contribution of just $2 per pay period. The end result was a 500 percent increase in participation and a doubling of employee donations for the United Way. 

    In an award ceremony held May 7th, Apprisen found itself in good company with the other two finalists: The Red Cross and Directions for Youth and Families. All three organizations ran creative and very effective campaigns. We applaud the excellent work of Directions for Youth and Families as the winner of the Agency of Excellence Award.

    The honor also recognized Apprisen’s effort to support the United Way’s campaign to stamp out poverty. In 2013, Apprisen’s Cara Hill was committee chairwoman of the United Way’s Tax Time Financial Education and Asset Building Group. She developed a special coaching position that meets with consumers seeking tax preparation assistance. The group also overhauled the Central Ohio Financial Resource Guide and developed training materials for the coaches.

    Together with the United Way, Apprisen is dedicated to improving the financial health of Americans through education, outreach, counseling, and financial services.

     

    Return to the top

Apprisen BBB Business Review United Way