Starting a New Year is a GREAT time to start putting your fiscal house in order. The month of January, we will focus on tips to do just that.
This week, Reviewing your credit report may not seem like a savings tip, until you consider how much extra you could be spending on a high-interest loan due to errors on your credit report! If you’ve never reviewed your own report, I would suggest starting by obtaining a copy of all three major reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you’ve taken care of any initial issues or errors, begin pulling one credit report every four months. This way, you’ll never go longer than four months without reviewing one of your credit reports. In the event someone attempts to steal your identity, your credit won’t be a train wreck before you can identify the issue and control the damage. Bonus tip: Save the money you pay toward monthly credit monitoring and do it yourself!
This week, we travel to Racine County. Here’s a look at the Top 5 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you see anyone on this list you know? If so, have check out www.wismissingmoney.com and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 855-375-CASH (2274)
Gail M Lloyd
Ganton Technologies Incorporated
Today at 11am, Matt Adamczyk was sworn into office as Wisconsin’s 35th State Treasurer.
Saving For College
A college education is the ticket to the middle class in the United States. But it’s an expensive ticket, and the cost rises every year.
The overall annual cost for a college education ranges from about $7,000 for community college to $35,000 for a private school, according to US News & World Report.
Our friends at www.practicalmoneyskills.com help map out a college savings plan that works for you.
Those are some scary numbers. But if you have the benefit of time, they’re not as bad as they seem. Here are some steps you can start taking today:
- Go over your monthly finances and find a little extra money you can put away. Even $50 or $100 can make a big difference. Opening an Edvest (Wisconsin’s College Savings plan) is a great start! www.edvest.com.
- Make a commitment to devote at least that amount each month, and to add to it as your income increases.
- Shop around for the best interest return you can get for your money.
Because the cost of college is rising faster than inflation, it’s smart to invest your savings to get a higher interest rate than a typical bank can offer. Consider putting your money into:
- Mutual funds
Help Paying for College
One important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t necessarily have to come up with the entire cost of college. All higher education institutions offer financial aid in the form of grants and loans. These are most often funded by the federal government. But there are also often aid offerings from the state and from the school itself. Be sure to look into all the options available.
Handling the Unexpected
There’s nothing harder to plan for than unexpected events that impact your life and finances. Yet loss of a job, the death of a loved one, illness or other unexpected occurrences happen at one point or another in most of our lives. The key to successfully surviving these life-changing events from a financial perspective is to anticipate hard times. Shore up your financial situation before you are hit with an unexpected expense, so you will be covered in the event something happens. Our friends at www.practicalmoneyskills.com help you map out a plan.
The Importance of an Emergency Fund
Because we cannot predict when life will throw us an unexpected challenge, it is important for everyone to build and maintain an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses. The key to building an emergency fund is to set money aside every month, no matter how small the amount. This Emergency Fund calculator can help you get started.
Financial experts recommend that, unlike retirement funds, emergency savings should be kept fairly liquid, in a savings account or a money market fund. Hopefully you will never need it. But if you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.
A New Financial Picture
Once the immediate financial matters are taken care of after an unexpected life event, it will be time to take stock of your new financial situation and create a plan for yourself moving forward. Whether you have faced job loss, divorce, illness or another event, you should create a new budget reflecting your situation. This is the first step toward financial security and rebuilding your emergency fund, which you may have tapped into to manage a financial crisis.
To develop a budget, write down your current expenses, indicating whether each expense is a necessity or a luxury. Pulling out recent credit card bills and bank statements can help with this process. Next, estimate your monthly income, including only income that you are certain you will receive. Then compare your income to expenses. If your expenses are higher, you will need to trim your expenses until your income is higher than your expenditures.
You can learn much more about budgeting and utilize our free budgeting worksheet here.
Some of the Numbers have changed as the Unclaimed Property Program is now being adminstered by the Department of Revenue. The Office of the State Treasurer is still responsible for promoting the program and is happy to answer any questions we can for you. However, at the request of the Department of Revenue, direct lines to claims processors were removed from our website and they asks you to call and general line. That number is:
YES! What better way to honor your little one than by investing in their education this holiday season! It’s easier than ever through Edvest College Saving’s e-gift option. With our e-Gifting option, you can invite family and friends to make a contribution through our secure website in just a few clicks. There’s even a selection of gift certificates that can be printed so they can share the good news. With e-Gifting there are no checks to be mailed or deposited.
For more on how to invite friends and family to e-Gift, CLICK HERE