Financial Wellness

Helping you manage your money, for school and for life!

October 1, 2013
by Carissa
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Spending $936 on lunch

The report is official: the average American spends $936 each year by going out for lunch (as reported by Visa’s survey at Practicalmoneyskills.com).  And that doesn’t even include the daily trips for coffee that many often make… 

I don’t know about you, but when I look at how I spend my money each year, I definitely don’t plan for almost $1000 of my hard-earned money to go to restaurants!  That’s money that could be used to pay down debt, start an emergency fund, invest in my retirement account, or even take a really nice vacation – the possibilities are endless!

Although eating out is by far the biggest “spending leak” in the budgets of most, there are MANY other ways in which we needlessly spend/waste our money.  From late fees to interest charges to missed tax breaks, this Kiplinger article on Yahoo Finance has a great list to help you identify and start combatting all the ways in which you may be losing money.

If you have any great tips or comments on spending leaks, let us know!

August 6, 2013
by Carissa
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Beware of “grey charges”

Previously on this blog, we’ve talked about the importance of reviewing your credit card statements to monitor any activity that may indicate ID theft.  But what if that activity was coming from a company you trusted and did business with — and it was legal?  These charges do exist, and we call them grey charges.

According to this USA Today story, many Americans are paying around $215-356 each year in these charges, which often stem from the expiration of a free trial period, or from services that automatically renew (think magazine subscriptions).  These are charges that many people never intentionally plan to take on but, once charged, the amount is usually too small to notice for those who are not reviewing their monthly statements.  It’s the gradual build-up of these small grey charges that, over the course of a year, really add up to a significant amount!

This infographic from BillGuard shows the ABC’s of grey charges, and what you can do to avoid them.

Click to view full infographic

July 11, 2013
by Carissa
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Freeze your credit BEFORE your ID is stolen

Did you know that you can proactively prevent others from opening new accounts in your name, or from gaining access to your existing credit reports, even before ID theft occurs?  Credit freezes can be used to do just that, and are a great way to ensure that no new credit activity is occuring without your consent.

Credit freezes can also be “thawed,” which grants temporary access to new lines of credit or inquiries — good to know if you’re applying for a new credit card or loan, or if your report is being reviewed for a housing application or for an employment background check.

For more information on freezes, thaws, and fraud alerts, check out the FTC website  or Clark Howard’s guide to credit freezes and thaws.

June 21, 2013
by Carissa
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How to (and why you should!) dispute credit report inaccuracies

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me stress once again how important it is to CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT REGULARLY! Your credit report/score can be used to determine what interest rate you receive for loans or credit cards, whether or not you’re approved for an apartment or mortgage loan, and many employers are now screening credit reports to help them make hiring decisions. Clearly, mistakes on those reports can end up costing you more than you know!

CNN Money has some tips on how to start policing your reports, and what to do once you find those pesky errors. Also, you can visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website for tips on how to find a reputable credit counseling agency. For more informationon on checking your credit report, head on over to the Credit 101 section of our blog.

If you have any credit repair stories or tips, please leave us a comment and tell us about it!

May 22, 2013
by Carissa
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The Sandwich Generation

Taking charge of your finances is usually not just about the individual; whether you’re married, planning to get married, or have kids, your financial health can and will affect the lives of those around you.    To take it one step further, the American Institute of CPAs has a unique spin on this topic, addressing  the growing challenges facing many middle-aged Americans: worrying about their own futures, caring for children and/or college expenses, AND now having to assist aging parents or other relatives.  It has created a “Sandwich Generation” of people caught in between all of these responsibilities, and strengthens the argument that improving our own financial health is one of the best things we can to do help others.
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This article has some great tips on what you can expect with elderly care, how you can prepare now, and ways to juggle the needs of your children, your parents or relatives, and yourself!

If you have any experience with this or need some advice from others, feel free to leave a comment.

April 12, 2013
by Carissa
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The Best of the Week

As we wrap up Financial Literacy Week here at Franklin, we wanted to share some highlights of the week’s events:

  • All of the workshops from this past week have been recorded via FranklinLive!, and are accessible through this page.
  • Students had the the opportunity to view and print their federal student loan history via the National Student Loan Data System.  Click here for instructions on how you can do this on your own!
  • Graduating students had a chance to learn more about Exit Counseling and ask questions via our staff led online Exit Counseling sessions.  Please view these sessions by clicking here.
  • Beginning next week and through April 29, Franklin students can donate non-perishable food items to the university library in order to have library fines erased!  Read more about Food for Fines.

 

Don’t forget that April is Financial Literacy Month, and so there are still plenty of opportunities for you get a handle on personal or school finances!  Here’s a “best of the web” compilation:

  • Thirty Steps to Financial Wellness  – a whole month’s worth of money management activities to get you started!
  • Free financial counseling – Apprisen is the local consumer credit counseling agency for Columbus, offering free initial counseling for those requesting money management help.  If you are outside of the Columbus area, click here for an agency close to you.
  • Money Smart Week – Morningstar, an investment research database in our library, is sponsoring investment webinars the week of April 20 – 27th.   Additionally, they have created a fantastic tool to get all of your finances in order so that you can begin to focus on investing.  Click here to view this handy guide.
  • Debt.org – Everything you need to know about student loans, managing student debt, paying back student loans — and that’s just one part of the website!  You can also explore personal debt, and how to get free debt consultation services.

We hope you have enjoyed this week’s activities, and continue to explore the many resources available to you to help you on your path to fiscal responsibility.  If there’s a favorite site of yours that has not been included, feel free to leave us a comment and tell us about it!

April 8, 2013
by Carissa
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Financial Literacy Week Starts Today!

Remember to visit the Financial Literacy Week events today through Thursday, both onsite and online!  These events are open to all students, faculty, and staff.  At the end of the week, we’ll draw winners for fuel cards and gift cards to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, and Subway — but you have to participate to win, so click here to see today’s events, or check out the rest of this week’s activities.

March 25, 2013
by Carissa
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March Madness for your money

Cincinnati.com has a great article on how to apply March Madness bracketology to your personal finances.  Here’s just a snippet of their sports-themed advice:

A motto of March Madness teams has become “survive and advance.” Do whatever it takes to make it to the next round. In your financial tourney, this means living below your means. It wasn’t a basketball coach who first said, “No pain, no gain.” It was actually Ben Franklin. What he was referring to was the fact you need to accept some pain now (in the form of saving rather than spending) if you want to reap financial gains in the future. Unfortunately, this is a lesson lost on many at both the consumer and government level today.

After reading this article, you can create your own personal financial bracket by heading over to http://www.financialfour.org/.  Here, the National Endowment for Financial Education and Financial Planning Association has already selected 32 sound financial goals.  Pick your top priorities to advance through each round, helping you to identify your top financial goals, and see how you stack up to the rest of the bracket entries.

January 28, 2013
by Carissa
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The scary truth: viewing your credit report

Checking your credit report can be an intimidating proposition if you have not looked at it in a while – kind of like stepping on the scale after the holidays!  But taking that first look is a critical step in assessing your financial well-being.  Your credit report will show you a summary of all accounts out there in your name, from loans, to credit cards, to mortgages, and their balances.  It can help you identify any inaccuracies that may be doing damage to your credit score, and it’s also a great way to reveal identity theft.

Check out the credit section of this blog to learn more, including how to obtain your free annual credit report from each of the three major bureaus.  TIP: don’t get all three reports at once!  Space them out so you can view a different credit report every few months, keeping you informed all year long.  Continuous inspection of your credit report is a great way to improve and maintain its health!