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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

Consumer Action Handbook

The Consumer Action Handbook is published each year by the Federal Citizen Information Center at the General Services Administration. Inside, you’ll find helpful tips about preventing identity theft, understanding credit, filing a consumer complaint and many other useful topics. MPPL has two copies in English and one in Spanish in our collection. You may also view the entire Handbook online or in PDF format.

Topics include: Banking, Employment, Health Care, Housing, Identify Theft, and other consumer interests.

By Patricia Smolin on April 16, 2013 Categories: Consumer, Economic

Feb. 21, 2013: Community Resource Fair, Arlington Heights, IL

 The Illinois workNet Center will host a Resource Fair with organizations including:

-  the Anixter Center North, Catholic Charities, CEDA, Chicago Federation of Labor, Department of Rehabilitation Services, Disabilityworks, District 214, Frisbie Senior Center Des Plaines, Jewish Vocational Services, Journey, The Road Home, My Free Taxes, Safer Foundation, The Harbour, Inc.

The IDESis co-sponsoring this Resource Fair. This program is open to the general public.

“We are hosting this Resource Fair to meet the critical community needs by offering access to important services,”said Lisa Maentz, Associate Director Business and Career Services, Inc. Maentz added,“We feel it is especially important to provide access to these services under one roof .” To view participating organizations, visit workNet.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, February 21, 2013

WHO: Major resource agencies providing community support services access.

WHAT: Services include emergency/transitional shelter, Veteran’s Outreach, disability support, tax filing information, employment/job placement, re-entry support and more.

WHERE: IDES/Illinois workNet Center, 723 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL

By Patricia Smolin on February 15, 2013 Categories: Community, Economic, Housing, Taxes

Salary Surveys

Want to know what others in your field may be earning?  There is always salary.com, but there is also some specific detail available thru the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  BLS Wage Data provides occupation, compensation, industry, geographic, and other demophraphic figures which can be very helpful in setting and negotiating salaries.

By Patricia Smolin on December 21, 2012 Categories: Economic, Employment, Jobs

Counting Campaign Dollars

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) administers and enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) – the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The FEC is an independent regulatory agency and is assigned to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.

You can retrieve detailed lists of contributors based on type (individual or organization) and search for summary financial information about candidate campaigns, party committees, and other political committees.

Among thousands of data tables in the Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal is the Table of Contribution Limits 2011-2012

Historical data is available from the FEC’s Public Records Office (800) 424-9530 (press 2 when prompted) or e-mail pubrec@fec.gov.

By Patricia Smolin on September 19, 2012 Categories: Economic, Elections, Finance, Voter Info

What’s FRED?

What is FRED? Short for Federal Reserve Economic Data, FRED is an online database consisting of more than 55,000 economic data time series from 45 national, international, public, and private sources.

FRED, created in 1990 and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, combines data with a tools that help us understand and display economic data.

The categories that can be searched include: Money, Banking & Finance; Population, Employment & Labor Markets; Production & Business Activity; Price Indexes; International and Regional Data.

By Patricia Smolin on September 13, 2012 Categories: Consumer, Economic, Finance