SPECIAL EDITION Money Tips for All Ages Your Finances at Different Stages of Life Ideas for… Any Age or Stage Teens Young Adults Newlyweds People at Midlife Teaching Our Kids Before You Retire After You Retire Financial Caregivers Coping After Changes F E D E R A L D E P O S I T I N S U R A N C E C O R P O R A T I O N For Any Age or Stage Practical Advice for Everyone on How to Save and Manage Money No matter how old or young you are, there are some basic things you can do to better manage and protect your money. Here are recommendations The Federal Deposit Insurance from FDIC Consumer News. Corporation was created by Comparison shop for financial Congress in 1933 to protect services. Just as you would do for depositors and ensure the safety any major purchase, look at what is and soundness of the U.S. being offered by your bank and a few banking system. Since that time, competitors, then try to find the best the FDIC has remained true to deal to meet your needs. For instance, its mission — to be a source of with a mortgage, credit card or other confidence and stability for the loan, you may be able to negotiate the American people. In fact, because Consumer Response Center. “Don’t let of the FDIC, no depositor has interest rate and other terms. This can a low teaser rate lure you in; you may save hundreds or thousands of dollars lost a single cent of insured funds be surprised later.” as a result of a bank failure. over several years. When you consider opening checking The FDIC is celebrating our Start by comparing the Annual and savings accounts, compare the Percentage Rate (APR) on a loan 75th anniversary in numerous Annual Percentage Yield (APY) offered ways, including the publishing or credit card. The APR is the cost by several financial institutions. The of credit expressed as a yearly rate, of “Money Tips for All Ages,” APY expresses the annual interest rate this special edition of FDIC including interest and certain fees. you will earn on a deposit account, “Many people looking for a loan Consumer News. We invite depending on the frequency of you to learn more about what only focus on the dollars they’d pay compounding. However, keep in mind each month instead of the APR and, we do to serve and protect that fees — such as those for ATM consumers — and what you can because of that, they don’t realize withdrawals, account maintenance and how much the loan will cost and they do to better manage your money. checks returned because of insufficient Start by visiting our home page could pay too much,” said Rae-Ann funds — aren’t factored into the APY. Miller, special advisor on consumer at www.fdic.gov. You also can Fees can make a big difference in how call or write the FDIC for help issues in the FDIC’s research division. much you actually earn from money For example, she said, payday loans regarding deposit insurance and you have on deposit. banking. See the back page for (unsecured loans that borrowers promise to repay out of their next Get a free copy of your credit information on how to contact us. paycheck or regular income payment) reports. These reports are prepared by companies called credit bureaus. loan or credit card. Another reason to and car-title loans (secured by the They summarize your history of paying review your credit reports is to protect borrower’s car) “may be quick and easy loans, credit cards and other bills. against identity theft (see Page 4). sources of cash, but they also have an APR as high as 300 to 400 percent.” If you apply for a loan, insurance or Under federal law, you are entitled a job, or you want to rent an to one free credit report every year Also, for a mortgage, consider a apartment, chances are your credit from each of the nation’s three major fixed-rate loan even if adjustable-rate report will be reviewed. credit bureaus. To order your free mortgages (ARMs) carry a lower One reason you should be monitoring reports or for more information, go to initial interest rate or lower monthly your credit reports is to correct errors www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call payments at the start. “If you are or omissions that can leave bad marks toll-free 1-877-322-8228. thinking about an ARM, before you commit to one, make sure you know on your credit history. Inaccuracies Try to save more and spend less. how much the monthly payments in your credit report can needlessly First, if you don’t already have a could go up and be comfortable with reduce your “credit score” and, in turn, monthly budget, consider preparing those higher payments,” cautioned may cost you hundreds of dollars each one to get a better handle on your Janet Kincaid, Chief of the FDIC’s year due to higher interest rates on a income and expenses for necessities, FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 2 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES such as housing, utilities, food and could be to ask your bank to cover transportation. You can also decide insufficient funds by automatically Understand your FDIC what is appropriate for non-essential transferring money from your savings insurance so you can be fully expenses, such as entertainment, eating account. out and the latest electronics. “This is protected if your bank fails. The • At the ATM, limit or avoid how a budget can help you commit to “surcharges” (access fees) by using your basic coverage is $100,000 per saving a little money every month and own bank’s machines or those owned splurging a little less,” said Kincaid. depositor per institution, but by institutions that don’t charge fees She also said that “a budget doesn’t to non-customers. If you definitely you may qualify for more FDIC have to be complicated or scary,” need cash when you’re out of town or insurance depending on the and that while there are budgets you otherwise not near an ATM owned by can easily create on a computer, “a your bank, consider getting cash back circumstances. notebook and a pencil can be enough when you use a debit card to make a to get you started.” purchase at a supermarket or another beneficiaries upon the death of the merchant. owner, such as in payable-on-death Keep banking costs down. With planning, you can sidestep some of • Don’t be afraid to ask for a break. accounts, also can be insured for the more costly fees and penalties. Bounce a check or send in a late more than $100,000 under certain Examples: payment for the first time ever? Think circumstances. And, some retirement the fees for your mortgage application accounts (notably Individual • With credit cards, try to pay the Retirement Accounts) are insured up are a bit steep? Depending on the card balance in full each month to to $250,000. circumstances, your bank might be avoid interest charges. If you can’t willing to reduce or waive a fee or For guidance about your FDIC pay in full every month, send in as penalty, especially if you’ve been a insurance, including how to make much as possible to keep interest good customer and don’t have a history sure that all your funds are protected, costs to a minimum. “Think twice as a “repeat offender.” go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/ before accepting an offer from your credit card issuer to skip a payment,” For more ideas on how to cut banking index.html to find FDIC brochures, said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the costs, see previous issues of FDIC videos and an interactive insurance FDIC’s Community Affairs Outreach Consumer News at www.fdic.gov/ calculator. Or, you can call the FDIC Section. “It’s likely that interest will consumernews, including our Summer or write or e-mail questions to us still be charged, so you’ll actually be 2007 special edition called “51 Ways to (see the back page). paying more in interest because you’ll Save Hundreds on Loans and Credit Remember that investments carry a higher balance on your card for Cards” and the Summer 2005 feature can lose value. Investment a longer period of time.” “A Shopper’s Guide to Bank Products products include stocks, bonds and and Services.” mutual funds. Over the long term, In addition, pay your credit card bill on time. One reason is to avoid late Understand your FDIC insurance investments might produce higher fees. Another is that late payments can coverage so you can be fully returns than bank deposits. However, damage your credit record. If repeated, protected if your bank fails. If you investments are not deposits, they they could even trigger interest rate (or your family) have $100,000 or less are not FDIC-insured — not even increases on your credit cards and in all of your deposit accounts at the the ones sold through FDIC-insured loans. same insured bank, you don’t need to institutions — and they can lose value. worry about your insurance coverage. Because of the risks associated with • With your checking account, avoid any investment, always deal with a Your deposits are fully protected under fees for insufficient funds and bounced reputable, licensed salesperson and federal law because the basic insurance checks. “Record every deposit and research the product before making coverage is $100,000 per depositor per withdrawal in your checkbook — a purchase. See Page 12 for securities insured institution. especially remember your debit card and insurance regulators that can help. purchases and ATM withdrawals,” said You also may qualify for more Reynolds. “It is important to know how than $100,000 in coverage at one Certain annuities are a type of much money you have in your account insured bank. For example, the investment. In general, an annuity so you won’t overdraw your balance.” money you have in your individually is a contract with an insurance owned accounts (not including your company. The consumer makes one Your bank may offer various “overdraft or more payments to the insurer, as an retirement accounts) is insured up to protection” services for your checking investment, and the insurer agrees to $100,000 separately from your share account, but be aware that these come make a series of income payments to of any joint accounts at the same bank. with their own costs. Reynolds added the consumer as long as he or she lives. Deposits designated to pass to named that one of the least expensive options continued on next page FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 3 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S Be particularly careful before investing accounts — especially after a birth, • Assume that any offer that “sounds in “variable” annuities (see Page 12), death, divorce or other major life too good to be true” — especially which frequently come with high fees event — to ensure that the named one from a stranger or an unfamiliar and penalties if you withdraw money beneficiaries are correct. company — is probably a fraud. early. Example: You receive a call or letter Also build an emergency savings announcing you’ve won a lottery Especially troubling have been reports fund, preferably of about three to six or other prize you don’t remember of marketers steering people into months of living expenses, so you have signing up for, and you are told to pay annuities that are unsuitable for them. ready resources you can tap to pay “taxes” or “fees” before you can claim The National Association of Insurance your mortgage, insurance or costly your (nonexistent) prize. Commissioners has published a home repairs or medical bills. The consumer alert to help consumers, safest place for emergency savings is a • Beware of transactions in which especially seniors, better understand federally insured deposit account. another party sends you a check for annuities and recognize questionable more than you are due and then asks Simplify your financial life. Have sales practices. Read it online at you to wire back the difference. “If the your pay and benefit checks deposited www.naic.org/documents/consumer_ check is fraudulent, you could lose a directly into your bank account. alert_annuities_senior_citizens.htm. lot of money,” said Michael Benardo, Arrange to automatically pay for manager of the FDIC’s financial crimes There also have been reports of recurring expenses, such as a mortgage section. marketers making false statements loan, insurance premium or utility bill. about the FDIC — such as claims that Banking and bill paying online or by • Look at your bank statements and the FDIC doesn’t have the financial phone also can be good options. credit card bills as soon as they arrive resources to protect insured deposit and report any discrepancy or anything These and other ideas can help you accounts — as a way to sell investments suspicious, such as an unauthorized save time, reduce stress, eliminate or annuities to consumers. Again, for withdrawal or charge. clutter, lower the fees you pay, and information about the FDIC or FDIC maybe help you earn a little extra on • Keep bank and credit card insurance, be sure to contact us. your savings and investments. statements, tax returns, credit and debit Be cautious when borrowing against cards and blank checks out of sight, Protect against fraud. Here are basic the “equity” in your home. If you even at home. Also shred sensitive precautions against identity theft, have property valued at $300,000 and documents before discarding them. check fraud and other financial scams: you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, Why? Because dishonest relatives, your equity is $200,000. Home equity • Be wary of requests to “update” or neighbors, workers around the house loans and lines of credit are ways that “confirm” personal information — and other people could use these items homeowners can borrow money using especially your Social Security number, to commit identity theft or other their home’s value as collateral and bank account numbers, credit card crimes. gradually pay it back. numbers (including security codes), • Periodically review your credit personal identification numbers Home equity products are relatively reports to make sure an identity thief (PINs), your date of birth or your low-cost ways to borrow money, but hasn’t obtained a credit card or loan mother’s maiden name — in response they must be repaid like any other loan. in your name. Experts suggest that, to to an advertisement or an unsolicited Especially important to remember is maximize your protection, you request call, letter or e-mail. Your bank won’t that if you cannot pay a home equity copies from all three credit bureaus call or e-mail you to confirm account loan, you risk losing your home. but spread out the requests during the numbers or passwords it already has. course of the year. Prepare for the unexpected. Have • If you want to find out if a company adequate insurance, especially for life, To learn more about common financial is legitimate, look it up using a reliable health, disability, personal liability, frauds and how to protect yourself, source. Don’t rely on the contact and coverage of property. Review your see back issues of FDIC Consumer information that was provided to you coverage annually to ensure that it is News (online at www.fdic.gov/ on a Web site or in an unsolicited up to date. consumernews) and our multimedia call or e-mail. For information about presentation “Don’t Be an Online Consult an attorney or another trusted banks, you can use Bank Find, the Victim” (at www.fdic.gov/consumers/ advisor about having a will and/or FDIC’s online directory of insured consumer/guard/index.html). establishing a formal “trust” to specify banking institutions, at www2.fdic.gov/ how your bank accounts, property and idasp/main_bankfind.asp. Or, call the For more help or information at other assets should be distributed upon FDIC’s toll-free consumer assistance any age or stage: Keep reading this your death. Periodically review your line at 1-877-ASK-FDIC, which is special edition for tips and strategies life insurance policies and retirement 1-877-275-3342. for different times of your life. Q FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 4 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES then making the right choices with For Teens your money to help you achieve those goals.” How to Ace Your First Test Managing Consider a part-time or summer job. Whether it’s babysitting, lawn Real Money in the Real World mowing or a job in a “real” business, working outside of your home can As a teen, you’re beginning to make If you need some help sorting and provide you with income, new skills some grown-up decisions about how counting your change, he said, find out and references that can be useful to save and spend your money. That’s if your bank has a coin machine you after high school or college. Before why learning the right ways to manage can use for free. If not, the bank may accepting any job, ask your parents for money…right from the start…is give you coin wrappers. their permission and advice. important. Here are suggestions. Some supermarkets and other Think before you buy. Many teens Save some money before you’re non-banking companies have make quick and costly decisions to buy tempted to spend it. When you get self-service machines that quickly the latest clothes or electronics without cash for your birthday or from a job, turn coins into cash, but expect to considering whether they are getting a automatically put a portion of it — at pay a significant fee for the service, good value. least 10 percent, but possibly more — often close to 10 cents for every dollar into a savings or investment account. “A $200 pair of shoes hawked by counted, plus you still have to take the This strategy is what financial advisors a celebrity gets you to the same cash to the bank to deposit it into your call “paying yourself first.” Making this destination at the same speed as a $50 savings account. a habit can gradually turn small sums pair,” said Reynolds. “Before you buy of money into big amounts that can Keep track of your spending. A good something, especially a big purchase, help pay for really important purchases way to take control of your money is to ask yourself if you really need or just in the future. decide on maximum amounts you aim want the item, if you’ve done enough to spend each week or each month for research and comparison-shopping, Also put your spare change to use. certain expenses, such as entertainment and if you can truly afford the purchase When you empty your pockets at the and snack food. This task is commonly without having to cut back on spending end of the day, consider putting some known as “budgeting” your money or for something else.” of that loose change into a jar or any developing a “spending plan.” And to other container, and then about once Be careful with cards. Under most help manage your money, it’s worth a month put that money into a savings state laws, you must be at least 18 years keeping a list of your expenses for account at the bank. old to obtain your own credit card and about a month, so you have a better be held responsible for repaying the “Spare change can add up quickly,” idea of where your dollars and cents debt. If you’re under 18, though, you said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the are going. may be able to qualify for a credit card FDIC’s Community Affairs Outreach “If you find you’re spending more as long as a parent or other adult agrees Section. “But don’t let that money sit than you intended, you may need to to repay your debts if you fail to do so. around your house month after month, reduce your spending or increase your earning no interest and at risk of being An alternative to a credit card is income,” Reynolds added. “It’s all lost or stolen.” a debit card, which automatically about setting goals for yourself and deducts purchases from your savings or checking account. Credit cards and debit cards offer convenience, but they also come with costs and risks that must be taken seriously. Protect yourself from crooks who target teens. Even if you’re too young to have a checking account or credit card, a criminal who learns your name, address and Social Security number may be able to obtain a new credit card using your name to make purchases. One of the most important things you can do to protect against identity theft continued on next page FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 5 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S Save some money before you’re For Young Adults tempted to spend it. When you get cash for your birthday or What to Know Before Declaring from a job, automatically put a Your Financial Independence portion of it into savings. Twenty-somethings may not realize the better your credit history and it, but every time they enter a new credit score, the better your chances is to be very suspicious of requests for phase of their life as young adults — are of getting a loan, including a credit your name, Social Security number, perhaps starting college, a career or a card, with an attractive interest rate. passwords or bank or credit card family — they’re also venturing into Credit reports and scores also can be information that come to you in an a new world of money management. considered when you apply for a job, e-mail or an Internet advertisement, no Here are ways to be prepared. an insurance policy or an apartment. matter how legitimate they may seem. Save money that could make your One of the best ways to build and “Teens are very comfortable using future dreams a reality. It’s important maintain a good credit record is to pay e-mail and the Internet, but they to put money aside for purchases you your credit card bill and other debts need to be aware that criminals can expect to make in the next few months on time — to show you are a reliable be hiding at the other end of the or years. But even at this stage of money manager. computer screen,” said Michael your adult life, it’s smart to save for What else can you do to improve your Benardo, manager of the FDIC’s long-term goals, perhaps buying a credit score? “Try to charge on your financial crimes section. These types of home, owning a business or saving for credit card only what you can afford fraudulent requests can also come by retirement (even though that may be to pay off immediately or within a phone, text message or in the mail. 40 or 50 years away). reasonable time frame,” said Robert For more guidance on how to guard To help you stay focused on saving Mooney, FDIC Deputy Director for your personal information, see Page 4. money and controlling your spending, Consumer Protection and Community think about creating a formal or Affairs. “Whenever possible, pay your Be smart about college. If you’re informal budget. “The important thing credit card bill in full each month, but planning to go to college, learn about is to understand how much you earn if you can’t do that, pay as much as you your options for saving or borrowing each month, how much you pay for can over the minimum amount due.” money for what could be a major essentials like rent or transportation, expense — from tuition to books, If you need to get a car, consider and how much is left over for fees and housing. Also consider the the best way to pay for it. For many everything else,” said Janet Kincaid, costs when you search for a school. young adults, their first big purchase Chief of the FDIC’s Consumer Otherwise, when you graduate, your and ongoing expense is their vehicle. Response Center. It’s how you spend college debts could be high and may Often, the first question is whether what is in the “everything else” limit your options when it comes to a to buy (which may involve taking out category that is critical to successful career path or where you can afford a loan) or lease (which is similar to money management, Kincaid added. to live. renting a car but for a few years). Also, to make saving easy and painless, For more information on saving “There are different pros and cons consider arranging with your bank and borrowing for college, visit to buying or leasing,” said Kincaid. or employer to automatically transfer www.students.gov, a Web site with “For example, monthly lease payments a certain amount each month to a information from the U.S. government are usually lower than monthly loan savings or investment account. and other sources. payments, but at the end of the lease Build a good credit record. As you you don’t own the car you’ve been For more help or information for become responsible for paying your paying for and you may owe a sizeable teens: Read “Start Smart: Money own debts — for credit card purchases, sum of money. If you buy, you do have Management for Teens,” a special rent, car loans or student loans, and a vehicle you can sell or trade in.” edition of FDIC Consumer News from other obligations — you are building the Summer of 2006 with information The Federal Reserve Board has a credit record. Companies called to help teens (and many pre-teens) published a guide to the differences credit bureaus are authorized by law learn how to make good decisions between buying and leasing a car. to collect information on each person’s about their money. Find it online at “Keys to Vehicle Leasing” is online at history of paying debts, which is then www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/leasing. used to prepare “credit reports” and news/cnsum06. Also see our tips for If you’re thinking about buying a car summary “credit scores.” In general, anyone at any age starting on Page 2. Q and borrowing money to pay for it, see FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 6 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES the Summer 2007 FDIC Consumer News (www.fdic.gov/consumers/ For Newlyweds consumer/news/cnsum07/auto.html) for tips that can help you save time and money, perhaps hundreds of dollars. Starting a Household on Solid Ground Financially If you’re renting a house or For newlyweds, the first big financial apartment, consider if it’s time to decisions go beyond how to pay for the buy. Once you start earning a good, honeymoon and how to invest all those steady income, you’ll most likely face checks. They also involve starting the decision about when is the right a new household on solid ground time to own your first home. Real financially. “Financial incompatibility estate can be an excellent investment. is a primary reason for a significant But home ownership is a big financial number of failed marriages,” said commitment, and home values Lee Bowman, National Coordinator sometimes can go down. “There’s a for Community Affairs. “Achieving lot to consider before making that big harmony regarding financial matters leap into home ownership, and what before marriage, or as early in the works for one person isn’t always the marriage as possible, is critical to best fit for someone else,” said Lee sustaining the relationship and Bowman, FDIC National Coordinator preventing conflicts.” for Community Affairs. Before exchanging wedding vows, Understand the risks and First look at the costs of renting versus have a candid discussion about responsibilities of jointly held paying a mortgage. “When buying a your finances. Be open and honest accounts. If a husband and wife are home, the most important thing to about matters that could be a source co-owners of a credit card and one look at is what you can reasonably of friction in the future, such as major of them goes on a spending spree, afford,” added Kincaid. “Remember outstanding debts from student loans the other spouse may be held you’ll be paying real estate taxes and or credit cards. responsible for paying the bill. insurance, mortgage interest payments, Likewise, irresponsible use of a Some experts suggest that both of you and the costs of maintenance and jointly owned credit card by one order your latest credit reports and improvements. But also remember spouse would be reported on both of then, together, sit down and review the upsides of buying a home, such their credit histories, and that could them to avoid major surprises. Credit as tax benefits, the potential for your damage the “innocent” partner’s reports include information on debts home to appreciate in value, and the chances of getting a good loan or credit outstanding and, for example, whether satisfaction of having a place to call card in the future. And when two someone has filed for bankruptcy. your own.” people use the same checking account, By federal law, you can receive one they should share one checkbook Other factors to consider include how free copy of your credit report every and record all transactions, because long you plan to stay in the house, how 12 months from each of the three otherwise they risk losing track of much money you have for the down nationwide credit reporting companies their balance and paying charges for payment, and how good your credit (www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call insufficient funds. record is. “If your credit record is less toll-free 1-877-322-8228). than stellar, you may only be offered For more help or information for Set short-term and long-term a mortgage at a high interest rate,” newlyweds: See the Spring 2005 financial goals. Figure out how much Kincaid said. special issue of FDIC Consumer News, money each of you should be able to which is devoted to helping young To learn more about renting vs. spend for “fun” and how much you adults, including those just beginning buying a home and paying a should set aside for important goals, a family, to learn the right ways to mortgage, go to www.mymoney.gov/ perhaps to buy a home. Financial save and manage money. It is online at homeownership.shtml, a federal Web advisors suggest that young couples www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ site for information from a variety of consider preparing and following a news/cnspr05. Also see our basic tips for consumers starting on Page 2. Q sources, and www.hud.gov, the U.S. monthly budget (see Page 6). Department of Housing and Urban Development. on Page 2 and those for newlyweds of Your Finances,” which is online at For more help or information for above. Also see our Spring 2005 FDIC www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ young adults: Turn to our financial Consumer News special issue for news/cnspr05. Q tips for consumers of all ages starting young adults entitled “Taking Control FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 7 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S Also consider paying off high-interest At Midlife debt, such as the outstanding balances on your credit cards. Multi-Tasking In Your 30s, 40s or 50s Plan a strategy for having a home and a mortgage. If you don’t own Managing for today and saving for tomorrow, including a house, consider if it makes sense a child’s college expenses and your retirement to buy one, especially if you don’t plan to move in two or three years. If you’re “living in the middle ages” — for parents and students, and loans Homeownership can offer tax you’re 35 to 55 (or thereabouts), from private financial institutions. advantages and a stable place to live, the years between young adulthood There often are big differences but don’t take on more of a mortgage and senior status — you’ve got a between government and private loans, than you can afford to pay each month. lot to think about when it comes to though, and private lenders could offer managing money. both types. So ask questions and fully If you do have a mortgage, periodically understand the fees, the interest rate, compare your interest rate to current Among the issues you face: how to market rates and, if rates have and when loan payments and interest maximize your income during your declined, calculate whether refinancing charges will begin. remaining work years so you’re better makes sense. positioned to retire when, where “Teenagers are solicited by direct mail and how you want. Here are some for very large student loans that would “Just because you can get a new suggestions for minimizing stress and put a heavy debt burden on them mortgage at a better interest rate than maximizing results. when they graduate from college,” what you already have, you’ve still said Deirdre Foley, an FDIC Senior got to be careful before refinancing,” Save as much as you can for your said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the Policy Analyst on consumer issues. retirement. Tax-advantaged savings FDIC’s Community Affairs Outreach “My recommendations to parents vehicles, such as Individual Retirement Section. and students are to shop around at Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s, are solid multiple lenders, read all the fine print, “First,” he added, “if you only have choices. And once you reach age 50, and borrow only what you need for a few years left on your mortgage, you can also make “catch-up” (extra) school-related expenses that are not refinancing doesn’t make sense if the contributions to these retirement covered by grants, scholarships or costs to refinance are greater than the savings accounts. other sources.” cost savings from the lower monthly Consider speaking with a financial payments. Second, remember that if Also be on guard against scams that planner or other personal advisor you stretch out the number of years begin with a “guarantee” or promise about a recommended investment you have to repay the new mortgage, of scholarships, grants or fantastic strategy for your age and stage of you will pay more in interest over the financial aid packages. For details, see life — especially the mix of stocks, total life of the loan.” a Federal Trade Commission warning bonds, mutual funds and lower-risk about fraudulent scholarship offers at So, if you have 15 years left on your alternatives such as U.S. Savings Bonds www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/ 30-year mortgage and you want to and bank deposits. education/scholarships.shtm. refinance, in the long run, you’re Explore tax-preferred ways to save usually better off with a 15-year loan Make the best use of a financial money for a child. State-sponsored instead of refinancing into another “windfall.” Many people receive “529-plan” savings accounts and 30-year loan. a large sum of money from an Coverdell educational savings accounts inheritance, a home sale or an For more help or information for carry tax advantages and help families insurance payment, and they aren’t people at midlife: Find basic tips on a and individuals save for higher sure how to use or protect it. Consider variety of topics starting on Page 2 of education expenses. asking a financial or tax advisor about this special edition as well as online at Also, many families may be able to the best options, which may include www.mymoney.gov, a U.S. government qualify for a tax break on earnings starting or adding to a rainy-day fund Web site. For parents teaching kids from certain U.S. Savings Bonds used for emergency expenses or putting about money, see our tips on the next for educational purposes. money into your retirement accounts. page. And for anyone caring for an ill Do your homework if you need a If you deposit a large amount of money or elderly relative, read our article on loan to pay for a child’s education. in a bank account, make sure it is fully Page 13. Q Among the many options are protected by FDIC insurance (see government-guaranteed loan programs Page 3). FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 8 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES For Parents Teaching Children the Financial Facts of Life Showing the importance of saving, spending wisely and sharing with others We try to teach our kids to be Help your child start a savings or street-smart and use good manners, investment account. Young kids will but teaching them the financial facts enjoy saving money in piggy banks, of life can be difficult. To help parents, but at around age eight, think about guardians and even grandparents raise helping them open a small savings responsible money-managers, FDIC account. That way they also begin Consumer News offers the following learning what banking is all about. suggestions. Many parents reward their children Play “show and tell” while you for sticking to a savings plan by manage your own money. If you matching or adding to what the child expect your kids to become responsible contributes. with their money — and yours — As children get older, discuss the pros practice what you preach. Serve as a and cons of owning investments, such good example of what it means to save, as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. spend wisely and share with others. Investments can produce higher You’ll make more of an impression on returns than bank deposits over your children if they can see and hear the long term, but remember that what you’re doing to manage your investments can lose money and they money. Encourage older children to get are not insured by the FDIC. So, take your child along on shopping work experience. Summer or Give an allowance. If used as a part-time jobs can teach young people trips and discuss what makes some teaching tool and not a giveaway, an good business skills and how to be items “too expensive” and others allowance can be one of the best ways responsible. They also may enjoy “good buys.” to teach kids, even as young as five or earning and saving money. Also take your child to the bank. six, about money management. It also Note the variety of services provided allows children to experiment with For more help or information by visiting different departments of money management and learn from for parents: The FDIC has a new the bank. Explain basic principles, their mistakes without losing too much financial education program for youths such as how money deposited in in the process. between the ages of 12 and 20 that is insured accounts is protected by the primarily for use by teachers but also Encourage them to decide in advance can help parents explain the basics of government against loss. how much should go into savings good money-management to their Around the house, let your child help (which reinforces the concept of children. You can order a free CD of with simple tasks associated with “pay yourself first”), how much should the FDIC’s “Money Smart for Young preparing deposits or investments, go into the spending pile (for their use Adults” at www.fdic.gov/consumers/ or balancing the checkbook. As you as “pocket money”) and how much consumer/moneysmart/young.html. pay your bills, especially the ones for should be set aside to share with your credit cards, explain how debts others — for charity or birthday or Find other resources on money must be repaid on time or you can holiday gifts. Giving an allowance in management for youths from the face additional fees and have trouble small bills or coins also allows them Jump$tart Coalition® for Personal getting a good loan in the future. to easily set aside the portions for the Financial Literacy, which consists different purposes. of more than 180 national partners, Also discuss your charitable including the FDIC (go to contributions and why you are Consider gifts that encourage www.jumpstart.org), and the money making them. Ask your child for saving. Examples include U.S. Savings pages at www.kids.gov, a federal input on which charities to support. Bonds and books that reinforce government Web site for children and He or she also can help you prepare financial responsibility. educators. Q contributions, even if just by stuffing checks into envelopes. FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 9 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S Before You Retire Getting Your Finances Ready for Your Golden Years If you’re seriously considering Susan Boenau, Chief of the FDIC’s more conservative investment strategy retirement, you also should be Consumer Affairs Section. than in the past so you can avoid losses seriously thinking about how to to principal that could mean having For example, consult with the ensure that your financial life is as to postpone retirement or struggle Social Security Administration comfortable and stress-free as possible. financially. (call 1-800-772-1213 or go to Here are a few tips. www.socialsecurity.gov) or your For additional guidance, see “Helping Make the most of your remaining accountant to learn how much Social Your Money Last...After Your Last paychecks to save for retirement. Security and pension income you’d get Paycheck” in the Fall 2005 How much money you’ll need to set each month if you “retire early” — any FDIC Consumer News, online at aside for retirement — which for many time between 62 and your “normal” www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ people could last 30 years or more — retirement age — and how much more news/cnfall05/helpingPG2.html#q1. will depend on a variety of factors. you would receive if you hold off on For more help or information Among them: When do you expect retirement. The penalty for starting to for people nearing retirement: to quit working? Will you continue collect Social Security payments early Read our tips for consumers of all to earn some income part-time? How can be substantial. ages starting on Page 2, including much money do you have in savings Discuss with a financial advisor how those regarding annuities, which are and pensions? And, what kinds of and when to withdraw money from investments commonly marketed expenses will you incur for housing your tax-deferred retirement accounts, to people in or near retirement. and health care? such as employer-sponsored retirement Also see our suggestions regarding Because the future is uncertain, it plans and traditional IRAs. Also “reverse mortgages” and “variable makes sense, while you’re still periodically review your retirement annuities” in the article starting on working, to put as much money as portfolio — your mix among stocks, the next page, and our guidance for possible — 10 to 20 percent of your mutual funds, CDs (certificates of financial caregivers on Page 13. For annual income, if not more — into deposit), bonds and so on — to be more information about retirement savings for your golden years. Also sure it’s well-diversified. And as you planning, see www.mymoney.gov/ make use of employer-sponsored get closer to retirement, consider a retirement.shtml. Q retirement plans (especially if you’ll receive matching contributions) and tax-advantaged Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Try to reduce or eliminate debt. “Another way to save more money now for a more enjoyable retirement later is to cut back on unnecessary expenses,” especially if you will need to go into debt to pay for them, said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Community Affairs Outreach Section. He said to try to pay off most or all of your credit card balances and other loans to save on interest charges and avoid being burdened with repayment during your retirement years. Develop a plan to stretch your money through a long retirement. “The idea is to determine where your money will come from during retirement, so you won’t have to live in fear of running out of money,” said FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 10 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES After You Retire Managing Your Expenses on a Fixed or Reduced Income Once you’ve retired, you finally have do your banking and bill paying online the opportunity to work at your dream 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be job — keeping yourself happy. It’s your sure you know about any fees. chance to visit places you’ve always Look for banking services geared wanted to see, take up a new hobby to older consumers. Find out if and spend more time with your family your bank has special accounts, clubs, and friends. But to be successful at this discounts, events, publications or other new position, you’ve got to make the services for senior citizens, sometimes most of your income and investments. including people as young as 50. Here are suggestions. Comparison shop among several banks Make it easy to manage your money to get the best package of services to and pay the bills. One way is to meet your needs. have your Social Security benefits, Consider a second career or pension payments and other income working part-time. “Working longer, automatically deposited into your bank even part-time, can allow you to account each month. “Direct deposit increase your savings and may boost isn’t just safe and reliable — it also your retirement income,” added ensures that you don’t need to schedule Boenau. “That alone could also enable your activities around a visit to the you to delay or reduce withdrawals bank just to deposit your funds,” said thief has stolen one of your cards and from your savings to cover living Susan Boenau, Chief of the FDIC’s made purchases with it. expenses.” Consumer Affairs Section. But if you already are collecting Understand the pros, cons and costs Signing up for direct deposit of before borrowing money with a Social Security benefits, find out if Social Security or other government “reverse mortgage.” This is a type of income from a job could reduce what payments is easy and free. Contact home equity loan — a way to get cash you are entitled to collect from the the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Go by borrowing money using your home government. Likewise, understand if Direct” hotline at 1-800-333-1795 or as collateral (see Page 4). But there are going back to work could reduce any visit www.GoDirect.org. some important differences between a benefits from an employer’s retirement Banks also offer quick and easy or pension plan. reverse mortgage and the traditional money-management and bill-paying home equity loan. Be careful with credit cards. You’ll services by telephone or online by First, a reverse mortgage is available to probably find that credit cards in computer, usually for free or at low homeowners age 62 or older. Second, retirement are just as necessary as they cost. With telephone banking, you can you don’t need an income to obtain a were when you were younger. But monitor your account balance, find out reverse mortgage. And third, you don’t be cautious with your credit cards. If if checks or deposits have cleared, or need to pay back what you owe until you carry a large balance, you’ll pay a transfer money between accounts at you move out of the house, sell the lot of money in interest charges for a the same bank. If you have a personal property or die. long time. If you have many accounts computer with Internet access, you can and get too deep in debt, your credit While there are potential benefits to record could be damaged, which means reverse mortgages, they don’t make Make it easy to manage your you would have a tougher time getting sense for everyone. They generally are the best deal the next time you apply not advisable if you plan to stay in your money and pay the bills. One for a loan, insurance or an apartment. home for less than five years or need way is to have your Social extra monthly income for relatively Another problem with having Security benefits, pension numerous credit cards is that if you’re small expenses. Among the reasons: not closely monitoring your accounts, The fees associated with reverse payments and other income mortgage loans can be high. You still you can forget to send a payment (and automatically deposited into your incur late fees and additional finance will be responsible for maintaining the charges) or you may not notice if a house and paying property taxes. And, bank account each month. continued on next page FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 11 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S your beneficiaries won’t inherit the full the policyholder’s cash value is invested value of the house. They will have to in one or more portfolios of securities. While there are potential benefits pay off the loan either by refinancing to reverse mortgages, they don’t The second product is an annuity, for or selling the house. which the consumer invests, through make sense for everyone. Among Also be aware that some unscrupulous the insurer, in a variety of investment individuals or companies have options, typically mutual funds. the reasons: The fees can be promoted reverse mortgages that were high. You still will be responsible Insurance companies issue both not in the consumers’ best interest products, and anyone who sells for maintaining the house and or that involved extra payments for them must be registered under state unnecessary services. paying property taxes. And, your insurance laws and state and federal For example, there have been securities laws. beneficiaries won’t inherit the reports of companies attempting to Although these products provide full value of the house. sell questionable home repairs or tax-deferred earnings, you can lose investments in connection with a money investing in them. Income and reverse mortgage, or they charged value can move up and down. That’s of Insurance Commissioners has a a fee for information about reverse what the “variable” in the name means. Web site (www.insureuonline.org) that mortgages that is available for free from the U.S. Department of Housing These products also may carry includes a special alert for seniors on and Urban Development (HUD) or relatively high sales commissions, annuities. The NAIC also provides other sources. One problem with using fees and “surrender charges” if you information on how to contact your any loan product to fund an investment withdraw money early, typically state insurance regulator to verify that is that you could lose money on the within the first five to eight years after a company and an individual agent are investment and still owe on the loan. purchasing the product but sometimes licensed to sell in your state. after a longer period. For additional guidance about variable How can you protect yourself? As with any loan you’re considering, So, think of variable annuities as annuities and what to consider before do some research using information long-term investments that can tie buying, the U.S. Securities and from neutral, unbiased sources, such up your money for many years. The Exchange Commission has published as HUD. If you later decide that a older you are, the less likely a variable investor tips at www.sec.gov/investor/ reverse mortgage is right for you, annuity is suitable for you. pubs/varannty.htm. contact several reputable lenders and Also consider going to the Web site Of special concern is that securities read and understand all documents and of the Financial Industry Regulatory and insurance regulators have reported contracts, perhaps with the help of an Authority (www.finra.org), the largest an increase in unsuitable sales of attorney you trust, before you agree to non-governmental regulator of variable products to older investors, anything. securities firms operating in the United who experts say should generally stick For help or guidance regarding to low-risk, low- or no-fee financial States. It publishes investor alerts and reverse mortgages, go online at products instead of those with provides background and disciplinary www.hud.gov/buying/rvrsmort.cfm potentially high risks and fees. information about securities firms and or contact a HUD-approved housing brokers that sell these products. “Before you invest in a variable life counselor by calling toll-free For more help or information for insurance or variable annuity product, 1-800-569-4287. Also, to receive retirees: See our tips for consumers of be sure that you fully understand how a reverse mortgage insured by the all ages starting on Page 2. Also read the product works, the risk of loss, Federal Housing Administration “Fiscal Fitness for Older Americans,” and the applicable fees and surrender (FHA), you must first speak with a the Fall 2005 special issue of FDIC charges,” said Victoria Pawelski, an HUD-approved counselor, who can Consumer News, which is a special FDIC Policy Analyst. “Carefully help you determine if the program guide for seniors and their families. It evaluate whether the product is meets your needs. is online at www.fdic.gov/consumers/ suitable for you given your investment Do your research before purchasing objectives and time frame. And consumer/news/cnfall05/index.html. “variable life insurance” or a beware of high-pressure sales tactics Also find out about federal government “variable annuity.” Both products are from sales representatives who may resources and information for senior part insurance and part securities. have an incentive to generate high citizens at www.usa.gov/Topics/ commissions and fees.” Seniors.shtml. Q The first is a type of “whole life” insurance product (also called For more information about insurance “permanent life” insurance) for which and annuities, the National Association FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 12 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES For Financial Caregivers Helping Disabled or Elderly Relatives With Money Management, Even From Far Away Millions of people serve as financial giving one or more people the caregivers for ill or elderly spouses, authority to handle finances or other parents, children or other loved ones. personal matters if the individual They perform services that include becomes mentally or physically paying bills, handling deposits and incapacitated. investments, filing insurance claims Suggest a “living will” or other and preparing taxes. Because this instructions about future medical role can be costly and physically and care. Most people should have a living emotionally exhausting, especially for a will specifying the type of medical caregiver who lives far away or has the care they want or don’t want if they usual time-demands, FDIC Consumer become terminally ill and are unable to News offers some suggestions. transactions or take ownership of communicate their wishes. Preventive Measures property. Experts also recommend a “health care Consider taking these steps before power of attorney” or “health care “First, it helps to have a trusted family someone becomes ill or disabled: proxy” designating a family member or member who is in regular contact other trusted person to make decisions with a disabled or elderly relative Make sure the family knows where about medical treatment. and, if necessary, helps review bank to find personal and financial and investment account statements documents in an emergency. These Living wills and health care proxies to look for unusual activity,” said include bank, brokerage and credit card are intended to ensure that someone’s Linda Ortega, an FDIC Community statements; original wills; insurance wishes regarding medical care are Affairs Officer. “Beyond that, there policies; and Social Security, Medicare honored, but they also can prevent are precautions to take, including and pension records. unnecessary and costly procedures. arranging for direct deposit of Social Think about the direct deposit of After an Illness or Disability Security or government payments, and pay and benefit checks into bank making sure that checkbooks and credit The following should be on a family’s cards are properly protected.” accounts. Direct deposit is safer and checklist after a serious health problem: more convenient than paper checks. To learn more about how to avoid or There are no delays in getting funds Get solid financial and legal advice report elder fraud, contact your state’s deposited, and no checks are lost or from professionals you know and Adult Protective Services department. stolen in the mail or forgotten at home. trust. Contact bankers, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents or For more help or information Consider automatic payment of for financial caregivers: The U.S. financial planners your family has important, recurring bills. You will Administration on Aging (AoA), part of dealt with in the past. Ask how they’d have one fewer thing to worry about if the Department of Health and Human recommend you deal with money you can arrange for utility bills as well Services, helps older Americans and matters and how they can assist. as other regular commitments (such as their caregivers connect with state insurance and the mortgage) to be paid Guard against frauds that target and local government agencies and electronically out of your loved one’s the vulnerable. Among the saddest community-based organizations that checking account. and costliest issues facing families is can assist with a variety of problems. fraud and theft committed against the Call 1-800-677-1116 or go to Try to make sure your elderly disabled or elderly by unscrupulous www.eldercare.gov to use the AoA’s relatives are properly insured. If you relatives, contractors, caregivers, Eldercare Locator service and obtain have doubts about someone’s insurance friends, neighbors or other individuals. valuable information. Also find coverage or ability to pay for long-term These sinister acts cover a wide resources for caregivers from the U.S. care, get a second opinion from a range of lies and deception, including government at www.usa.gov/Citizen/ financial planner or an insurance agent you trust. cashing checks without permission Topics/Health/caregivers.shtml. Q and changing legal documents to give Consider a “durable power of this other person rights to conduct attorney.” This is a legal document FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 13 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S For Major Life Events Ways to Cope Financially During and After a Big Change Here are suggestions for staying committing to any funeral costs, focused and avoiding costly decisions consult with other family members and during changing times. the lawyer about any prior instructions or arrangements. • Getting married. Newlyweds should say “I do” to a plan to manage money Locate important documents, such as together responsibly. Before getting insurance policies and the most recent married, a couple should understand will (an original, not a copy). Obtain each other’s attitudes toward saving multiple copies of the death certificate, and spending money. And to avoid big which will be needed to apply for death surprises, they also should know about benefits (such as through life insurance any major outstanding debts held by policies or Social Security) and to their partner. A husband and wife also access bank and brokerage accounts. should set short-term and long-term If the family’s medical insurance financial goals. For more specifics, see is through the deceased person’s Think twice before using credit cards the article on Page 7. employer, consider options for to pay for large medical expenses, • Buying your first home. For most continuing coverage. especially if you are already deep in people, buying a home will be the debt or if it will take years to pay Also, if your family has deposits of biggest expense of their life, starting off the card balance, in which case more than $100,000 at one bank, and with the initial purchase (including a the interest charges could add up one of the depositors or beneficiaries “down payment” and fees paid to the significantly. dies, you should review the coverage lender and others) followed by years to determine whether funds exceed If you can’t afford your medical or of monthly mortgage payments, real the insurance limits. The FDIC’s rules hospital charges, don’t allow the debt to estate taxes, insurance and maintenance allow a six-month grace period after a be turned over to a collection agency, costs. But homeownership often can depositor’s death to give survivors or which could damage your credit score. be a tremendous (perhaps your best) estate planners a chance to restructure Instead, contact the service provider’s investment and a source of tax breaks accounts. But if you fail to act within billing department to try to negotiate as well as stability. To learn more about six months, you run the risk of, for a reduced bill or a payment plan with the basics of renting vs. buying a home, example, joint accounts becoming part monthly payments. Also ask about see Page 7. of the survivor’s individual accounts, assistance from a government program • A new child. A new member of and that could put the funds over the or charitable organization. the family brings extra financial $100,000 limit. Also note that the responsibilities. You can have one death of an owner or a beneficiary You can also consider turning to a fewer thing to interrupt your sleep at named in trust accounts can reduce the credit counselor for guidance, but night if you get the family finances in deposit insurance coverage. choose one carefully because some shape. Start by getting spending under offer questionable or expensive services For more guidance about deposit and others may be scams. For guidance control (preferably with a budget, insurance coverage, go to the FDIC’s on choosing a credit counselor, see as described on Page 6). Also build Web site or contact us (see the back a Web site from the Federal Trade your savings accounts for short-term page). Commission at www.ftc.gov/bcp/ expenses (especially if a spouse will be leaving a job) and long-term needs • A medical emergency. First, conline/pubs/credit/fiscal.shtm. (including college tuition costs). In carefully review all doctor and hospital If your medical bills are sufficiently addition, review and update your bills and insurance claim payments/ high, you could qualify for a federal tax insurance coverage (life, health, denials, because mistakes do happen deduction, so be sure to save bills and disability) and wills (to designate who and uncorrected errors can be costly. cancelled checks or other receipts for will raise the child and handle finances If you are unable to resolve a billing your tax preparer. in case of your death). dispute with a doctor, hospital or insurer, contact your state consumer • A divorce. Consult legal counsel • The death of a family member. because uninformed decisions could protection office or insurance regulator Contact the deceased person’s attorney cost you. Also consider discussing tax for guidance. and other financial advisors. Before issues with an accountant or other FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 14 M O N E Y TIP S FOR ALL AGES advisor because certain decisions, such • You can’t make your mortgage as who will claim children on his or her payment. Regardless of the cause, if FDIC tax return, can affect each parent’s tax you’re having difficulty paying your Consumer News liability. For more information, see IRS mortgage, you should contact your Published by the Federal Deposit publication 504, “Tax Information for loan servicer and find out if you qualify Insurance Corporation Divorced or Separated Individuals,” for modified loan terms or other online at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/ options to help you keep your home Sheila C. Bair, Chairman p504.pdf. instead of losing it to foreclosure. Andrew Gray, Director, You also may be able to reduce some You may also want to seek help from Office of Public Affairs (OPA) legal fees by working with a mediator a trained homeownership counselor. Elizabeth Ford, Assistant Director, OPA to resolve issues such as child custody. To find a reputable counselor, contact Jay Rosenstein, Senior Writer-Editor, OPA the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline Cancel joint credit cards to prevent Mitchell Crawley, Graphic Design at the Homeownership Preservation the other spouse from running up large Foundation (1-888-995-4673 or FDIC Consumer News is produced bills. Start or build your own credit www.995hope.org) or the U.S. quarterly by the FDIC Office of history independent of the marriage, Department of Housing and Urban Public Affairs in cooperation with such as by opening a new credit card Development for a referral to a other Divisions and Offices. It is in your name only. Decide who is HUD-approved homeownership intended to present information in a responsible for debts incurred during counseling agency (1-800-569-4287 nontechnical way and is not intended the marriage. If you change your last or www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/ to be a legal interpretation of FDIC name, notify the major credit bureaus hcs.cfm). or other government regulations and (www.equifax.com, www.experian.com policies. Mention of a product, service and www.transunion.com). • You’re having problems making credit or company does not constitute an card or other loan payments. No matter endorsement. It’s also important that you update your what triggers a personal financial crisis, will and the list of beneficiaries you This publication may be reprinted in the important thing is to be proactive designate on life insurance policies, whole or in part. Please credit FDIC and address the problem as soon as retirement savings accounts and U.S. Consumer News. possible by contacting your lender to Savings Bonds, so your money and try to negotiate a long-term, workable Send your story ideas, comments, other assets will go to the right people solution. and other suggestions or upon your death. And if you need help negotiating questions to: Jay Rosenstein, Editor, • A job loss. Try to keep spending FDIC Consumer News, 550 17th with a lender or otherwise getting a under control so you can pay your Street, NW, Washington, DC 20429 debt problem under control, consider bills using existing bank and brokerage email@example.com asking an attorney, accountant or accounts for, say, the next three to six another trusted advisor to refer Find current and past issues of months. If possible, avoid withdrawing FDIC Consumer News at: you to a reliable credit counselor or borrowing money from your www.fdic.gov/consumernews. Refer to (see Page 14) who, at little or no cost, retirement savings. If you anticipate that same index to locate issues that are can help you develop a recovery plan. problems paying debts, such as your specially formatted for being reprinted If you’re facing problems on a loan mortgage or the minimum due on your in any quantity. secured by your home, including a credit card (see the next two sections), home equity loan, see the previous To receive an e-mail notice about contact your creditors immediately and bullet point about mortgage payments. each new issue with links to stories, attempt to work out a payment plan. For more help or information follow instructions posted at: One reason to keep loan and credit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/ when dealing with changing events: card payments current is so that you index.html. See the back page for suggestions can maintain the best possible credit about government resources you can record. Prospective employers may contact regarding money matters. For More Information review your credit reports when you One is www.mymoney.gov, a financial from the FDIC apply for a new job. education Web site from the federal Go to www.fdic.gov or call Also, carefully review your employer’s government that includes a page of toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC — that’s severance benefits, including the information about responding to life events. Another is 1-800-FEDINFO 1-877-275-3342 — temporary continuation of your salary and health insurance, and try to (1-800-333-4636), a toll-free hotline Monday through Friday negotiate a better deal. you can call if you’re not sure which 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., federal government agency can provide Eastern Time. guidance with a problem. Q FDIC Consumer News Spring 2008 15 MONEY TIPS FOR AL L AGE S For More Help or Information on Managing Your Money The Federal Deposit Insurance Other federal regulators of financial offered by the U.S. Department of Corporation has staff and other institutions publish consumer Agriculture in partnership with the resources that can answer questions information and have staff, Web sites Cooperative Extension System (go to about deposit insurance and banking and other resources that can help www.csrees.usda.gov/financialsecurity). and can help resolve questions or answer questions on financial matters. One of Cooperative Extension’s complaints involving an individual Start at www.mymoney.gov, the federal projects is an interactive Web site institution. government’s central Web site about featuring answers to more than managing your money. It is a service of 1,100 frequently asked questions on Start at www.fdic.gov/quicklinks/ the interagency Financial Literacy and personal finance and the opportunity consumers.html or call toll-free Education Commission, of which the to “ask an expert” from a university 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). FDIC is a partner. (www.extension.org/personal+finance). FDIC publications, including our quarterly FDIC Consumer News and Other federal, state and local You can also find additional articles referred to in this special guide, government agencies publish information at your state or local are available at that same Web site and consumer information, offer financial government’s Web site or by calling telephone number (select the option education classes and help answer a consumer affairs office listed in the for “FDIC publications”). questions on money matters. government pages of your phone book. You can also e-mail us using the For more help from the U.S. Financial institutions, consumer Customer Assistance Form at government, start at www.usa.gov/ organizations and the news media www2.fdic.gov/starsmail or send Citizen/Topics/Money_Taxes.shtml publish personal finance tips you can a letter to the FDIC, Division of or call toll-free 1-800-FEDINFO find by searching the Internet. Q Supervision and Consumer Protection, (1-800-333-4636). Also check out the 550 17th Street, NW, Washington, financial information and programs DC 20429-9990.