5 Ways to Start and Maintain an Emergency Fund
By April Crews, Military Saves Associate
December 5, 2013
This past October, I realized how important saving for emergencies is after needing emergency dental work. I wasn't happy that I had to dig into my hard earned savings that I had planned to use for a beach vacation, but it was either get the $2,000 procedure or live with excruciating pain. Unplanned life events like these are why I keep an emergency fund. You never know what can happen, and emergencies are almost always untimely and inconvenient. An emergency fund can help soften the blow.
Know your financial adviser: New guide from CFPB
By Katie Bryan, America Saves
December 4, 2013
Like planning for retirement, choosing a financial adviser can be much more challenging than it sounds—especially for senior needs. Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released “Know your financial adviser,” a guide to help you ask the right questions when shopping for an adviser. Did you know that titles like “veteran’s adviser,” “retirement adviser,” “senior specialist,” “benefits coordinator” or even “financial planner” don’t always mean the professionals are qualified to help you manage your money? Some titles require in-depth training, while others are easily picked up over a weekend.
A Saver’s Guide to Holiday Shopping
By Holly Petraeus, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
December 3, 2013
Ready or not, the holiday shopping season is here. Whether you’re anxiously waiting for Black Friday, Super Saturday, Cyber Monday or any of the multiple sale days between now and the end of the year, you can avoid being served a heaping side of seasonal debt along with your plate of turkey and stuffing if you keep a few smart saver tips in mind.
Saving for the Holiday Season: No Time Like the Present!
By Andia Dinesen AFC ® - Vice President, Association of Military Banks of America
November 27, 2013
When planning for the expense of the holiday season, it seems like I always spend more then I planned to because I forget about the little costs that add up. Especially when it comes to my sister, I like to shop in person and buy gifts for her that I can see and touch. There is nothing like the shock of piling up the gifts (I just had to get her) and then realizing that those objects have to go to overseas! Luckily she has an APO address, but really, sending her three flat-rate boxes is an expense that I forget to account for… every year! Then there are other state-side relatives, friends, etc. Every year these gifts go out the door and I forget that it will be another $100+ of shipping costs. Sometimes I am lucky and what I want to get for them I can get online and take advantage of some holiday sales or at least free shipping.
So what is my point of all of this? I like to complain? No, not really; ok- sometimes. But, what I am trying to get at is that the holiday seasons seems to be the time of year I am most likely to throw a purchase on my credit card and I am not the only one. According to Consumer Reports in 2011, holiday shoppers planned to put 53% of their purchases on a credit card. Another survey found that shoppers planned to spend an average of $646 on purchases this holiday season. That amount of spending and corresponding credit debt can be a recipe for disaster and not a great way to begin the New Year.
Online Holiday Shopping Traps Part Two: Phony Deals and Offers
November 26, 2013
When buying online, you are likely to come across at least one online scam, if not more. They come in all forms, pop-up windows, offers directly to your email inbox and in search results. To protect yourself, keep informed of shopping traps and scams. Here are three to be aware of:
1. Phony Black Friday or Other Ads
If you're planning to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you want to see the big sales in advance. Cybercrooks know that. So they create sites that try to capture traffic from searches for sales fliers. What they really want is your personal information. Similar to the $1,000 gift card scam, the goal of these crooks is to get your personal information, or have you click a link that secretly loads your computer with malware that captures and transmits your information to them.
To help protect yourself:
- Be vigilant. Don't click on random links, and don't download attachments from people you don't know.
- Update your software. Be sure your malware and virus protection software is up-to-date and turned on.
- Go to the source. If you're looking for Black Friday ads, look for legitimate sales information at sites such as BlackFriday.com or DealNews.com.
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