News from the Reference Desk Category: Finance

Get Smart About Money in 2018!

Well, the holidays are over and it’s the start of another year–and another opportunity to reevaluate your financial life and practices, woo-hoo! The good news is that it just got a lot easier, thanks to all the wonderful resources and tools available at Smart About Money (SAM). Smart About Money is one of the many programs of the National Endowment for Financial Education®. NEFE® is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. They offer tips, strategies and information on diverse topics like crisis and fraud, saving and investing, spending and borrowing, housing and transportation, taxes and more.

Click through and take a look at some of the tools like the Life Values Quiz, designed to help you better understand how and why you make financial decisions. Knowing your own habits and patterns is the first step to making positive changes in your financial life!

When Will Tax Cuts Start?

President Trump is poised to sign the recently passed tax bill, and the first question on many folks’ lips is: when will the tax cuts start? Because the legislation is complex, it’s hard to know exactly when it will effect taxpayers across the U.S. Some of the bill’s impact will begin at the start of 2018, though other elements won’t take effect until 2019 and beyond. For instance, when you file your 2017 taxes in April, you’ll already be getting some benefits like lower tax withholding, but other perks won’t show until you file your tax return in April 2019. Luckily for us, the experts at Fortune magazine have broken it all down quite nicely HERE

NEFE Has Financial Education Resources for You!

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is the leading private nonprofit 501(c)(3) national foundation dedicated to inspiring empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. With more than a quarter-century of dedication to the public good, NEFE continues its legacy of service with commitment to providing financial education and practical information to people at all financial levels, including high school and college students, folks planning for retirement, and overspenders. NEFE provides objective and credible information through its programs and partnerships. Their materials continually evolve with the changing financial climate, technological advancements, and societal trends to meet consumers’ shifting needs. All NEFE resources and teaching materials are provided at no cost: consumer and educational resources, current financial news, programs and initiatives and more–check it out at www.nefe.org today and find something to help your own financial literacy grow!

Leasing vs. Buying a New Car

Will you be needing a new car in the near future? Have you wondered what the advantages are to leasing a new car? Consumer Reports just published an article comparing and contrasting both approaches as well as a specific example that compares the financing details between buying and leasing a 2017 Honda Accord. There are pros and cons for both approaches but Consumer Reports provides all the necessary information in order to make an informed decision. The Library has a subscription to the online Consumer Reports which is linked on the Web Resources page–you will need your library card number and pin to access remotely. Please contact the Research Services Desk (847 590 4050/reference@mppl.org) on the second floor of the Library if you have any questions.

Turn Your Passion into a New Career?

It’s one of the things we all hear so much over the course of our lives–“find what you love to do and make it your career.” And while many have managed to find ways to accomplish this, for most of us it’s easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that you shouldn’t even contemplate the possibility. The folks over at Practical Money Skills (produced by Visa, and one of the partners in this year’s Financial Literacy Summit held in April to kick off Money Smart Week) have put together a few strategies and guidelines to consider HERE if you’re someone who is looking to make a change in their life and career.

Financial Advisors and the Dept. of Labor’s New Fiduciary Rule

As of June 9, 2017, a new Fiduciary Rule put forth by the Department of Labor will go into effect, potentially changing the level of accountability for many financial advisors currently not officially considered a “fiduciary.” The new rule expands the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Essentially, the Department of Labor’s definition of a fiduciary demands that advisors act in the best interests of their clients, and to put their clients’ interests above their own. It leaves no room for advisors to conceal any potential conflict of interest, and states that all fees and commissions must be clearly disclosed in dollar form to clients. The definition has been expanded to include any professional making a recommendation or solicitation — and not simply giving ongoing advice. Previously, only advisors who were charging a fee for service (either hourly or as a percentage of account holdings) on retirement plans were considered fiduciaries.

Read HERE for a more detailed explanation.

Two New Databases for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

MPPL has recently added two new and exciting databases from Gale focused on resources ideal for entrepreneurs and small business owners: Business Insights: Global and Small Business Resource Center. Available as part of our Web Resources and accessible to anyone inside the library (and remotely at home for MPPL cardholders), these two powerful resources offer information and help around everything from writing a business plan, market research and industry reports to company information, funding sources and management strategies. If you’re someone working to start your own business or simply looking for ways to enhance your current one, take a moment to explore these rich and user-friendly tools!

How Long to Save Your Important Documents

storing-documents

Trying to organize your important paperwork and questioning what you need to hold onto and what you can just shred or recycle? Here’s some guidelines as to how long you should keep your documents.

What to Keep for a Limited Time
– Household furnishings paperwork
– Investment purchase confirmations
– Loan documents
– Savings bonds
– Vehicle records

What to Keep for a Year or Less
– Bank records
– Credit-card bills
– Current-year tax records
– Insurance policies
– Investment statements
– Pay stubs
– Receipts

What to Keep for Seven Years
– Federal and State tax returns and supporting documents

What to Never Toss
– Defined-benefit plan documents
– Estate-planning documents
– Life-insurance policies
– Safe-deposit box inventory

For further details see http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2010/03/conquer-the-paper-piles/index.htmhttps://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/How-long-should-I-keep-records

Talk to Your Teens About Money

It’s the time of year when many of us make decisions about our employee benefits for the coming year–“open enrollment” season. The Office of Financial Education, a part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offers this sound advice:

You can guide your children in finding the financial help they need

The financial world of today isn’t the same world you grew up in. New services and choices are being offered all the time. For your children to navigate the new financial world they’ll face, they need to know when to seek out information and how to evaluate it. Your children need practice making money choices, and they could use your guidance. At this age they may be earning some money of their own. Now, as you make benefits choices for next year, think about including your teenager in your decision-making process. You can help your teenager think about how to use information to make a good decision. If you have benefits fact sheets or Web sites from your employer, sit with your teenager and go through them. Talk through the questions your child has, and ask a few questions of your own:

  • What is the most important thing to think about for the family’s health care? Why?

  • Have there been any changes in the family since last year that could make a difference to health care? To insurance? To flexible spending dollars?

  • What could be the advantages or disadvantages of having benefits deducted from your paycheck, compared to paying the costs on your own?

  • How trustworthy is the information you receive? How would you look for further information?

You don’t have to do anything you wouldn’t do normally, when you make your benefits choices. Just by showing your teens how you approach enrollment, you’re helping them practice the decision-making process before their own paychecks are at stake. For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.

Free Financial Literacy Programs

Summer is almost over, but the need for money smarts will never end! With that in mind, here are a few free, prepackaged programs and curricula selected and compiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) designed to help you improve your own financial literacy and develop the best personal strategy for saving, investing and more.

Elementary School Economics
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Personal finance and economic lessons are paired with popular children’s books. Librarians can read the book to the children and follow the reading with discussions about money decisions, saving, spending, choices, needs and wants and much more. Includes lesson plans and handouts.

Econlowdown
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
An online learning platform for more than 25 courses about money, financial decisions and economics. Register free to access the full list of courses. Instructors can select courses for their online “classrooms,” hold online discussions with classroom students, view progress, and present poll questions or surveys.

Money Smart for Older Americans
CFPB, FDIC
An instructor-led training developed jointly by FDIC and CFPB, this module provides awareness among older adults and their caregivers about how to prevent elder financial exploitation and to encourage advance planning and informed financial decision-making.

Thrive by 5
Credit Union National Association Inc.
Simple activities and other resources that are parent-and-child tested and meant to give you ideas for: Teaching how money works and what it can do, talking about how your family uses money, and modeling good money management.