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News from the Reference Desk

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

Identity Theft

In 2012, approximately 16.6 million individuals (or 7% of the population) over the age or 16 were victims of identity theft in the United States according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increasing number of security breaches occurring just in the past few months has made it imperative that consumers take precautions to safeguard their private information and to know where to turn and steps to take if they become victims themselves. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website has an Identity Theft  guide which provides useful and detailed information for victims and tips for those who would like to safeguard their identity. Specific sections (e.g. initial steps to take if you are a victim; what to do later in the process; how to safeguard your identity and different types of identity theft) are presented in an easy to understand format with helpful checklists to simplify the process.

By julie collins on April 23, 2014 Categories: Consumer, Credit Cards

Why do employers do background checks?

This guide explains the why and how of background checks. It also tells you what can be covered in a background report, your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

By MPPL on September 15, 2011 Categories: Credit Cards, Employment, Jobs

FTC Warning on Imposter Credit Reports

The Federal Trade Commission has important information on how to obtain a free credit report, and how to spot “imposter” sites.
By MPPL on August 8, 2011 Categories: Consumer, Credit Cards

Employment based on credit history or credit no longer permitted

Earlier this year, Illinois enacted the Employee Credit Privacy Act, which prohibits the use of credit histories or credit reports in making employment decisions. As with most employment laws, the Act doesn't apply to all employers or all employees, so please take a look at what the law requires.

 

By MPPL on May 13, 2011 Categories: Credit Cards, Employment, Jobs

Credit Reports

You are entitled to request one free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  While prices may vary when requesting a credit score from these or other companies, the score is an additional cost and is not included in the free credit report unless ordered.

  

 

Equifax

P.O. Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374

800-685-1111

Request a fraud alert online, or call 1-888-766-0008

 

TransUnion

2 Baldwin Place

P.O. Box 1000

Chester, PA 19022

800-888-4213

Request a fraud alert online: fvad@transunion.com or 800-680-7289

 

 

Experian

955 American Lane

Schaumburg, IL 60173

888-397-3742

To add a fraud alert or 888-397-3742

 

Sun-Times columnist, Terry Savage, recommends Consumer Credit Counseling Services (800-388-2227) for helpful advice to review your credit history or debt issues.

By MPPL on August 24, 2010 Categories: Credit Cards, Finance

Getting Through Tough Financial Times

Another of our MoneySmart Week programs, Getting Through Tough Financial Times, had some useful information we wanted to share with you from the University of Illinois Extension.  

Setting Spending Priorities

Managing Your Debt

Talking with Creditors

The Check Your Credit Report fact sheet

By MPPL on April 27, 2010 Categories: Credit Cards, Employment, Finance

New Credit Card Laws

New rules governing credit card companies went in to effect Monday, February 22, 2010.  To find out how the new laws will affect you, the Federal Citizen Information Center created these summaries and explanations:

  • A good place to start – the Gov Gab blog entry on the subject
  • Learn about the new features on your credit card statement, calculate how long it’ll take to pay off your card balance and more on the new interactive Credit Cards website from the Federal Reserve Board
  • Besides changes in credit statements, your prepaid gift cards will experience some adjustments as well, including extended expiration dates and limits on fees
By MPPL on February 23, 2010 Categories: Credit Cards