News from the Reference Desk Category: Finance

Tip of the Month: New Protections for Servicemembers and Veterans

In May 2018, the President signed new protections for servicemembers into law.  In addition to requiring free security freezes and one-year fraud alerts at the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, this law also addresses a number of key financial issues for the military, including:

  • -Holding lenders to more stringent requirements when they participate in VA’s refinance programs
  • -Ensuring continued foreclosure protections for servicemembers up to one year after they leave active duty
  • -Prohibiting medical debt that should have been paid by the VA to be reported as part of a veteran’s credit history
  • -Providing free credit monitoring for active duty military, including the national guard

Get more information about these protections here.

Are You Ready For Some Financial Football?

Already missing your weekly pigskin fix? Well, you can hang on a bit longer AND increase your financial literacy with this new game from Visa and the NFL! They’ve teamed up to help teach financial concepts with Financial Football, a fast-paced, interactive game that engages students while teaching them money management skills. The fall 2018 release features new 3D graphics and game changing opportunities with audibles, blitzes and game breaking plays. Are you ready for the new game?

Start 2019 with a Free Credit Freeze

Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

As of Sept. 21, 2018, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can get a free freeze for your children who are under 16. And if you are someone’s guardian, conservator or have a valid power of attorney, you can get a free freeze for that person, too.

How will these freezes work? You should contact all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request a lift of the freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it gets their request. The freeze can be lifted temporarily without a fee.

Don’t confuse freezes with locks. They work in a similar way, but locks may have monthly fees. If you want a free freeze guaranteed by federal law, then you should opt for a freeze, not a lock. Learn more about credit freezes and other Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection resources here.

Does Your Business Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Even with ample warning, no business owner can truly anticipate the extent to which a disaster may impeded their business’ ability to get back to normal after the crisis is over. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), up to 60% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster. One way to improve the odds is by having a Disaster Recovery Plan. Read more about it and download a Disaster Recovery Plan template created by experts at Purdue University Global here.

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!