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!
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.
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.
The Federal Trade Commission has important information on how to obtain a free credit report, and how to spot “imposter” sites.
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.
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.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Request a fraud alert online, or call 1-888-766-0008
2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Request a fraud alert online: firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-680-7289
955 American Lane
Schaumburg, IL 60173
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.
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
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