Keeping Your Financial Records Secure

Computer on a desk.Photo by Ian Dick. Used with permission.

Watch this webinar recording Keeping Your Financial Records Secure and learn how to manage your financial records – paper, electronic, and web-based – to keep them secure and accessible at all times. 

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This webinar was presented by Sara Croymans, Lori Scharmer, and Steve Judd. Croymans is a family resiliency Extension educator with University of Minnesota; Scharmer is a North Dakota State University Extension family economics specialist; and Judd is manager …

Can I cancel my health insurance at any time if my premiums are deducted pre-tax?

Because your premiums are deducted pre-tax, this means that you purchase your health insurance through your employer and are responsible for paying a portion of the cost. Health insurance is canceled when you quit paying the premiums.

Assuming that you will be receiving health insurance from another source in the future, work with your employer’s human resources office (in a small company that might even be the person who handles payroll) to stop paying the health insurance premiums.

Make sure …

Credit Card Fees and Traps

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

There are two types of credit card fees: those that are charged to all borrowers to use a credit card or specific card features (e.g., annual fees and transaction fees for cash advances and balance transfers) and those that have been established to discourage, and indeed profit from, certain consumer behaviors (e.g., late fees and over-the-limit fees). Both types of fees increase the cost of borrowing money. Some credit cards with relatively …

Making the Right Move in Retirement: Where Will You Live?

Making the Right Move in Retirement: Where Will You Live?

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

 

family

Finding affordable, comfortable, and safe housing in later life is an important component of the retirement planning process. Along with health care, housing costs (especially property taxes) are often among the most expensive parts of a retired person’s budget. Are you planning to “age in place” and continue to live in your current home and/or community or do you want to move …

How Much Consumer Debt is Too Much?

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

The term “consumer debt” refers to all types of non-mortgage debt obligations. Examples include outstanding balances on credit cards, installment loans for cars and other “big ticket” items (e.g., furniture and appliances), and student loans. For every person with outstanding consumer debt, there comes a point, called “enough,” where carrying too much debt starts to cause financial stress. Even minimum required payments become difficult to make or perhaps some payments get skipped …

Dealing With Collection Agencies

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

Outstanding credit accounts often go to collection agencies when people fail to pay their creditors. One of the most stressful parts of being in debt is receiving phone calls and letters from collection agencies requesting immediate repayment of outstanding balances. It is typical for calls and letters to become more aggressive and threatening over time. The term “collection agency” describes a variety of business models that have one thing in common: recovering …

Danger Signals of Excessive Debt

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

According to Webster’s Dictionary, debt is defined as “the state of owing.” Most commonly, the word debt is used in reference to money that is owed to various creditors as in the case of debt incurred through loans and credit cards. How do you know when you have taken on too much debt? Take the following quiz to determine whether you are using credit wisely or getting in over your head.

father and child

Circle …

Cultural Differences in Handling Credit

Cultural Differences in Handling Credit

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

When it comes to decisions about borrowing money and handling credit, the culture of a family, community, and country can have a major influence upon an individual’s behavior. What people are taught to believe about borrowing money and the use of credit can affect their financial decisions and debt payment practices for the rest of their lives. This is especially true when strong family role models or …

Credit Scores: What You Need to Know

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

If credit reports are like receiving a “report card” in school, credit scores are similar to a grade point average. They are a three-digit number, ranging from 300 (lowest) to 850 (highest), used to measure the risk that borrowers will become delinquent or default on their debt obligations. Credit scores are based upon information contained within credit reports. Thus, consumers will likely have different credit scores from each of the three major …

What You Need to Know About Your Credit Report

Man looking at his credit report

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

Remember those report cards that told you (and your parents!) how you were doing in school? Maybe you thought those days were over, but they’re not. Every day, millions of people are “graded” with credit reports. The better your “grade,” the better your chances of obtaining a loan or credit card and obtaining lower-cost credit that can save thousands of dollars of interest. Credit information is also used in setting rates for …