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News from the Reference Desk

Talk to Your Teens About Money

It’s the time of year when many of us make decisions about our employee benefits for the coming year–“open enrollment” season. The Office of Financial Education, a part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offers this sound advice:

You can guide your children in finding the financial help they need

The financial world of today isn’t the same world you grew up in. New services and choices are being offered all the time. For your children to navigate the new financial world they’ll face, they need to know when to seek out information and how to evaluate it. Your children need practice making money choices, and they could use your guidance. At this age they may be earning some money of their own. Now, as you make benefits choices for next year, think about including your teenager in your decision-making process. You can help your teenager think about how to use information to make a good decision. If you have benefits fact sheets or Web sites from your employer, sit with your teenager and go through them. Talk through the questions your child has, and ask a few questions of your own:

  • What is the most important thing to think about for the family’s health care? Why?

  • Have there been any changes in the family since last year that could make a difference to health care? To insurance? To flexible spending dollars?

  • What could be the advantages or disadvantages of having benefits deducted from your paycheck, compared to paying the costs on your own?

  • How trustworthy is the information you receive? How would you look for further information?

You don’t have to do anything you wouldn’t do normally, when you make your benefits choices. Just by showing your teens how you approach enrollment, you’re helping them practice the decision-making process before their own paychecks are at stake. For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.

By joecollier on December 17, 2014 Categories: Business, Children, Consumer, Economic, Education, Finance, Jobs

Searching Consumer Reports Made Simple

if yoConsumer-Reports-Logou were familiar with the convoluted method of searching the Consumer Reports databases through MasterFILE, you will be relieved to hear those days are over. Consumer Reports is now easier to search through Article Finder. We have set up a special link to help you. Click here – Consumer Reports – and put whatever items you need reviews for in the box, then hit enter. You’ll find it’s an easy and modern search!

By Steve Browne on December 12, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Online National Archives Genealogy Fair

On October 28, 29, and 30, 2014, the National Archive and Records Administration is hosting a big online genealogy event.  During these three days of Internet broadcasting, those interested in learning more about genealogy can listen to genealogy experts from the National Archives facilities and from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services talk about using Federal records as resources for family history research.  The sessions start at 10 AM EDT each day.  After the event, recorded sessions and handouts will remain online.  Learn more at http://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.

By annes on October 27, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Insurance Enrollment Assistance

It’s the time of year when many health insurance decisions must be made. If you need assistance in determining the best options, here’s some help:

Medicare Open Enrollment:

The Medicare Open Enrollment period began on Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7. The Illinois Dept. on Aging offers assistance through the department’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP.) Their counselors can explain the drug, health, and supplemental plans that are available. The nearest SHIP sites are at Arlington Heights Senior Center (847/253-5532) and Wheeling Township (847/259-7730.) For additional SHIP information, call 800/252-8966 or click here .

The Village of Mount Prospect Human Services Department also offers assistance for Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) enrollment. Call 847/870-5680 to set up an appointment.

Affordable Care Act Marketplace:

The enrollment period for uninsured people to sign up for coverage through the Illinois Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. If you want your insurance coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2015, you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2014.

The Library is offering several programs to assist those using the Illinois Marketplace. Representatives from Get Covered Illinois will present an overview program,” Affordable Care Act Update,” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Library will also host two enrollment events with trained navigators from Get Covered Illinois to provide assistance in navigating the site and signing up for insurance. The enrollment events are on Dec. 13, 2014, and Jan. 31, 2015,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 847/392-8682 ext. 227. Walk-ins are also welcome.

By JoR on October 22, 2014 Categories: Community, Consumer, Health, Health Care Reform, Insurance, Seniors

Home Movie Day, October 18

Older photographs and home movies are rich treasures of family history.  Have you been wanting to look at and preserve your older home movies?  The Center for Home Movies (http://www.centerforhomemovies.org/) has designated October 18 as the day to do just that.  Over 100 museums and film societies across the world are hosting special events where people can bring their films, view them with others, and get professional guidance about how to best preserve them.  The free Chicago-area event is being held at the Chicago History Museum on October 18 from 11 AM to 3 PM.   At this event you will be able to watch the films with musical accompaniment by silent film pianist, David Drazin.  For more information about this event click here.

 

By annes on October 8, 2014 Categories: Community, History, Photography

Britannica Library

britannicaThe Library now subscribes to the excellent and authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica’s online presence, Britannica Library. Explore thousands of topics in science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics for school projects, review concepts taught in the classroom, or learn something new. Very impressive are the more than 90,000 images, videos, and audio clips. There are 3 levels – children’s, teen, and adult – with great information for everyone. It would be easy to spend an afternoon or evening exploring here.

By Steve Browne on September 25, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Free Financial Literacy Programs

Summer is almost over, but the need for money smarts will never end! With that in mind, here are a few free, prepackaged programs and curricula selected and compiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) designed to help you improve your own financial literacy and develop the best personal strategy for saving, investing and more.

Elementary School Economics
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Personal finance and economic lessons are paired with popular children’s books. Librarians can read the book to the children and follow the reading with discussions about money decisions, saving, spending, choices, needs and wants and much more. Includes lesson plans and handouts.

Econlowdown
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
An online learning platform for more than 25 courses about money, financial decisions and economics. Register free to access the full list of courses. Instructors can select courses for their online “classrooms,” hold online discussions with classroom students, view progress, and present poll questions or surveys.

Money Smart for Older Americans
CFPB, FDIC
An instructor-led training developed jointly by FDIC and CFPB, this module provides awareness among older adults and their caregivers about how to prevent elder financial exploitation and to encourage advance planning and informed financial decision-making.

Thrive by 5
Credit Union National Association Inc.
Simple activities and other resources that are parent-and-child tested and meant to give you ideas for: Teaching how money works and what it can do, talking about how your family uses money, and modeling good money management.

By joecollier on August 6, 2014 Categories: Business, Consumer, Economic, Finance

Skunked!

In case you hadn’t noticed (lucky you!) it’s skunk season! Removing skunk scent can be difficult because the oily compound responsible for the odor is not water soluble. In suburbia, the skunk’s prime target seems to be our dogs – mine got sprayed three times last year! Here are some tips from Carriage Hill Kennel in Glenview if your dog gets “skunked.”

1. Keep the dog outside. Most dogs seem to get sprayed in the face and the first thing they do is rub it all over your bed (or other furniture) and it’s very difficult to get the smell out of your house. For the same reason, put on old clothes and use old towels during the cleanup. It’s easier just to throw them away!

2. Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 2 Tablespoons of dishwashing liquid (Dawn works best.) Do not wet dog down before applying this solution. Pour mixture over the dog and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (be careful not to get it in the dog’s eyes.) Rinse the dog thoroughly and let dry in the sun if possible.

3. Don’t mix this solution before hand and store it in a container as it could possibly explode. There are also products at pet stores specifically for removing skunk odor.

4. If you prefer to take your dog to a groomer for the cleanup, let the groomer know the situation before you drop your pet off. Many times, there is a separate grooming area for “skunked” dogs as they do not want the smell to permeate their business.

5. If you discover skunks have taken up residence on your property – usually in wood piles or under decks or stoops – you will need to call a private company for removal. The Village of Mount Prospect does not remove any wild animals.

Good luck!

By JoR on July 11, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Flying the Flag – the right way!

It’s that time of year, when Old Glory is proudly displayed.  The United States Flag is one of the most visible and important symbols of our country and the United States Flag Code spells out proper use of the flag.

From a staff, the union (the blue field) should be at the peak, unless the flag is being flown at half-staff.  No other flag should be placed above or to the right of the American flag. The flag can also be displayed vertically, hanging flat so the folds fall free. The union should be uppermost to the flag’s own right (the observer’s left.)

Customarily, the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset, although it may be flown 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during night hours.  Proper illumination is a light specifically for the flag (preferred) or a light source in the area that allows the flag to be identifiable. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather, unless it is made of all-weather material (many are.)

The flag should not touch the ground or be used for draping or decoration. No part of the flag should be used as a costume, in clothing, or for advertising purposes.  Lapel pins are allowed and should always be worn on the left near the heart.

When a flag becomes too worn to display, it should be respectfully disposed of, preferably by burning.  American Legion Post 36 and VFW Post 2992 host an annual Flag Day (June 14) ceremonial burning of worn flags. For more information on displaying the flag, visit the American Legion website at http://www.legion.org/flag/code .

By JoR on Categories: Uncategorized

Summertime tips for financial literacy

Summer is finally here, and between planning your holidays and wondering when you should turn on the AC, I bet the last thing you’re thinking about is FINANCIAL LITERACY! However, this is actually the BEST time to start figuring out a plan to keep your life cruising along while planning for the future (ok, actually ANYTIME  is a perfect time to work on financial literacy, but why not start now anyway?).

There are many resources that can help, one of which is Feedthepig.org. Assembled by the American Institute of CPAs (and they oughta know!), Feedthepig.org is a great site that offers tips and strategies for putting together a financial plan, including how to create a budget, review your expenses, manage saving, retirement, and student loan debt, and much more. It’s easy to use and fairly straightforward—the real trick, as always, is ACTUALLY DOING IT. Mint.com is another helpful site. Mint pulls all your financial accounts into one place. Set a budget, track your goals, stay on top of your finances. See what’s happening with all your accounts – checking, savings, investments, retirement – at any moment of the day. There’s even a free mobile app to help you stay connected on-the-go. If you’re a student fresh out of college and looking at a mountain (or a molehill) of student loans, you should check out YouCanDealWithIt.com. YouCanDealWithIt.com provides practical and easy-to-understand advice on how to deal with common financial situations facing today’s college students and recent graduates, such as: understanding student aid, including the repayment of student loans, learning effective money management, including setting a budget, and dealing with the dangers of credit cards while enjoying the benefits. In addition to being a resource for students, this website also provides information and tools for parents and college financial aid administrators to help them communicate accurate and effective financial advice to their prospective students, current students, and graduates. So bite the bullet and get started on the road toward better financial literacy today—it may be tough at first, but you’ll be glad you did!

By joecollier on July 1, 2014 Categories: Consumer, Credit Cards, Economic, Finance