News from the Reference Desk Category: Economic

Get Help from the Small Business Administration

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur with a great idea, you may be looking for resources to help answer some of the many questions you most likely have. Well, the Mount Prospect Public library is here to help–with a little assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA)! The SBA is the government agency tasked with providing information and programs dedicated to assisting small businesses, and one of the best is their yearly Small Business Resource Guide. Inside you’ll find info on everything from how to start a business and writing a business plan to programs designed to help veterans and native Americans, as well as funding sources. Just click above or HERE to get started, or grab a paper copy from the Business Resource Center behind the Research desk. And if you need help navigating this or other business resources available at the library, MPPL Business Reference Joe Collier is available for one-on-one reference appointments–just email or call the library to set one up!

Protecting Seniors from Scams in Assisted Living

Financial fraud and exploitation of seniors seems even more rampant than ever. This population, more vulnerable than others due to an uneasy relationship to rapidly changing technology in the internet age, is often targeted by those unscrupulous folk looking for an easily duped victim. While most of us undoubtedly do our best to protect our loved ones close to us, what happens when they’re no longer as much under our wing? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is here to help, with a handy manual designed to offer tips and strategies for caregivers and others responsible for the safety and well-being of those residing in assisted living facilities. Protecting residents from financial exploitation: A manual for assisted living and nursing facilities is published by the CFPB and provides practical advice on how to help protect seniors from falling victim to common scams or fraudulent schemes. Some of the most common include:

  • -The resident receives news about a prize or other windfall that requires payment of fees or taxes up front.
    -The resident is pressured to keep good news a secret until a transaction is complete or risk losing out on this one-time opportunity.
    -A caller constantly seeks more information and pressures the resident to comply.
    -A third party claims to be from a government agency, financial institution or other entity and asks for information that they should already have. A resident receives a lot of mail or email for sweepstakes, contests or other sources suggesting that he or she has already been scammed.

Review and download your copy today, and join the fight to protect our seniors!

Livability Index

In June 2018 AARP released its Livability Index which is a tool of the AARP Livable Communities program. This index rates every U. S. city, town and neighborhood in seven categories.  The categories include Health, Housing, Engagement, Opportunity, Environment, Neighborhoods and Transportation. The data used to compile the ratings comes from 50 sources. Mount Prospect’s rate is 53. The Livability Index is a great source for people who are moving, planning a retirement location or just for those curious about how neighboring communities compare.

Avoiding Bitcoin and Virtual Currency Fraud

Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are the newest buzzword for more and more investors–even if you can’t exactly explain what a Bitcoin “is,” you may still recognize the potential for return. However, as with all new technologies and financial endeavors, the fraudsters are keeping pace in their unrelenting mission to separate you from your money! One place to start before taking the Bitcoin plunge is at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are classified as commodities, the CFTC is the government agency tasked with regulating them. Subsequently, they provide a wealth of information on their website HERE for consumers to help avoid being defrauded and make safe investments in legitimate companies. If you’re considering getting into this financial area, cruise over and check it out!

Investing in Illinois

Did you know that the Illinois Treasurer serves as the state’s chief investment officer? It invests approximately $25 billion on behalf of the state, units of local government, and families saving for college. Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs maintains, however, “that we must also invest in people. The best way to do that is to provide people the tools to invest in themselves.”

One way is to capitalize local banks and lending institutions. The Treasurer’s office provides money at below‑market rates in return for their commitment to loan that money to individuals and businesses trying to better themselves and, by extension, their community. Farmers are familiar with their popular Ag Invest program which has provided more than $1 billion in loans over the years. Some homeowners are familiar with the Finally Home program that helps homebuyers who barely miss qualifying for a conventional mortgage. This year, it has added a new program to the portfolio to help small businesses still wading through the ripple effects of the recession. The Community Uplift Program commits $500 million in new money to flow through local banking institutions to help individuals obtain loans at below-market rates to fund business growth or expansion. The program provides capital in a manner that supports community development while meeting primary investment objectives of safety, liquidity, and return on investment.

Currently, 300 lending institutions are qualified to participate. Growing the number of institutions willing to participate in just one of these loan programs will help strengthen Illinois. If you are a business owner, farmer, or potential homeowner, click here for more information. Bankers and other lending institutions can click here.