Month: August 2008


ARCHIVED TIPS (2007)


As a follow-up to last weeks post (2006 archive of tips), I have provided a topical/organized archive for 2007 tips. The hot links will allow you to easily review prior tips. You can also view archived tips (by date) on the blog site (http://financialtip.blogspot.com).

BUDGETING.
Free Budgeting Tools (02/2007)
Payment Myopia (07/2007)

CREDIT.
Credit Freeze Update (10/2007)
Credit Inquiries (11/2007)
Credit Scoring (04/2007)
Credit ‘Piggybacking’ (09/2007)
Free Credit Score (03/2007)
Improving Your Credit (10/2007)
Ordering Your Free Credit Report (02/2007)
Your Credit – Your Rights (06/2007)

CREDIT CARDS.
Credit Card Balance Transfers (08/2007)
Credit Card Selection (11/2007)
Credit Cards – ‘Risk-Based Re-Pricing’ (12/2007)
Do You Understand Your Debit Card? (02/2007)
Understanding Your Credit Card Statement (01/2007)

DEBT ELIMINATION.
Debt Settlement (11/2007)
Eliminating Credit Card Debt (07/2007)
The Road to Eliminating Debt (08/2007)

EXTENSION.
American Saves Week (03/2007)
Cooperative Extension Resources (03/2007)

FINANCIAL PLANNING.
Be a Smarter Investor (04/2007)
Compensation for Financial Advice (07/2007)
Financial Planning Resources (10/2007)
High Yield Savings Accounts (08/2007)

IDENTITY THEFT.
Identity Theft Resources (03/2007)

INSURANCE.
Selecting an Insurance Company (05/2007)

OTHER.
Consumer Action Handbook (05/2007)
Getting the Best Deals (02/2007)
Moving? Relocation Resources (04/2007)
Open Courseware (06/2007)
PayDay Lending (09/2007)
Sunk Cost Effect (06/2007)
What is Your Money Personality (03/2007)

STUDENT RESOURCES.
FAFSA (01/2007)
FAFSA Priority Deadline (02/2007)
Finding Scholarship Dollars (09/2007)
Legislative Information for Current Students (01/2007)
Loan Consolidation Updates (10/2007)
Private Loan Consolidation (05/2007)
Purchasing a Textbook (09/2007)

TAXES.
Free Tax Assistance – VITA (01/2007)
Splitting Your Tax Refund (01/2007)

ARCHIVED TIPS (2006)


After a financial tip is sent, I often wonder what transpires after that … Read? Deleted? Behavior or attitude change? Further research into topic? Hopefully [when personally relevant], it is reviewed by most of you at that time. After that? It likely turns into an 'out of sight, out of mind' situation… I felt it would be beneficial to provide a summary of past financial tips. I will begin by topically listing ones sent in 2006. Interestingly, of the 25 that were sent (although I had started the financial tip about 6 years prior, I only started blogging during the second half of the year), 23 of them are still as viable today as they were then (of the other 2, one was a “welcome to my blog” and the second addressed student loan consolidation which has endured numerous changes since then). “Hot” links are provided so that you can easily review any prior tips; the date is also listed in the event that the links don't work for you; you can go to the archive on the right side of the tip blog site (http://financialtip.blogspot.com) to review the information.

BUDGETING.
Emergency Funds (09/2006)
The “Latte” Factor (08/2006)

CREDIT.
Credit Myths (10/2006)
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (08/2006)
Specialty Credit Reports (08/2006)

CREDIT CARDS.
Credit Card Trap Widens (10/2006)
Negotiating a Lower Credit Card Rate (11/2006)

DEBT ELIMINATION.
Eliminating Debt – Psychological vs. Financial (11/2006)

FINANCIAL PLANNING.
Pension Protection Act of 2006 (10/2006)
Vesting (09/2006)

IDENTITY THEFT.
Lost Your Wallet (08/2006)

OTHER.
Extended Warranties – Unwarranted? (12/2006)
Opting Out of Credit Card Offers (09/2006)
Opting Out of Unwanted Solicitations (08/2006)
Personal Finance – Educational Resources (11/2006)
Record Keeping (09/2006)
Successful Models in Financial Education (11/2006)

PREDATORY LENDING.
PayDay Loans (08/2006)

STUDENT LOANS.
8% Rule (10/2006)
Alternative Student Loans (08/2006)
Grad Plus vs. Private Loans (08/2006)
Private Student Loan Consolidation (12/2006)
Student Loans – Legislative Update (08/2006)

SCHUMER'S BOX


All credit card offers are required to include a chart outlining basic rates and fees, referred to as the Schumer Box. This [cost of a credit] summary is named after Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Congressman responsible for the legislation requiring that card terms be clearly outlined in all promotional materials. Credit card companies are required to list long-term rates in at least 18-point type and other key disclosures in 12-point type. Click box to enlarge.


What “The Box” includes:
— Annual Fee [if applicable]
— (APR) Annual Percentage Rate [for purchases]
— Other APRs (balance transfer, cash advances, default …)
— Grace Period
— Finance Calculation Method
— Other Transaction Fees:
====> Balance Transfers
====> Late Payments
====> Exceeding Credit Limit Fee
====> Cash Advances

All credit card companies will utilize a similar format, making credit card comparison shopping much simpler. Although the Schumer’s Box contains “basic” card terms, there are other terms you should look for in the fine print (i.e., universal default clause, dispute resolution/arbitration, other fees, etc.) …

Additional Resources.
Credit Card Selection (11/07)
Credit Card Trap Widens (10/06)
Understanding Your Credit Card Statement (01/07)

[STILL] THE BEST HIGH YIELD SAVINGS ACCOUNTS


A year ago I shared information regarding high yield savings accounts. It shouldn't be news to anyone that interest rates have gone down since then — accounts that had been paying 5+ percent are now paying significantly less (yielding 3-3.5%). I wanted to know if highest yielding accounts at that time [Aug 2007] were still on top … [if you are not yet an 'e-banker' the FRB of NY provides useful information (http://www.newyorkfed.org/education/ebanking/index.html)]. While the Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient ways to conduct business, safe online banking involves making good choices to avoid costly mistakes and scams. Do your homework! Are my deposits [FDIC] insured? Is my personal information private and secure? The question for many at this point – does my savings account still offer the best yield …??

*THE BEST BACK THEN & WHAT THEY OFFER NOW*:
—————————————————————–
􀂄 Amboy (http://www.amboydirect.com) — 3.25%
􀂄 AmTrust (http://www.amtrustdirect.com) — 2.5%
􀂄 Capital One (http://www.capitalone.com) — 2.5% (3.5% if 10k+)
􀂄 Emigrant (http://www.emigrantdirect.com) — 3%
􀂄 E-Trade (http://www.etrade.com) — 3.3%
􀂄 First Nat'l Bank of Omaha (http://www.fnbodirect.com) — 3.5%
􀂄 Flushing Savings Bank (http://www.igobanking.com) — 3.28%
􀂄 HSBC (http://www.hsbcdirect.com) — 3.5%
􀂄 Savings Square (http://www.savingssquare.com) — 3.05%
􀂄 UFB (http://www.ufbdirect.com) — 2.96%
􀂄 Univest (http://www.univestdirect.com) — 3%

It appears if you used this list a year ago, you would have done quite well. The following are accounts that also currently fit the bill [not much difference between August 2008 and August 2007 – the best then appear to still be the best now!].

Heartland Bank (http://www.heartlandbankdirect.com/) – 3.55%
ING (www.ingdirect.com) — 3% (just missed cut a year ago – 4.5%)
Provident Bank (www.bankprovidentonline.com) – 3.3%
Washington Mutual (http://www.wamu.com/personal) – 3.75%**

Bankrate.com is a great web resource for current rate data on all types of financial products.

* A year ago, it was common practice to open accounts with no minimum balance required as well as no fees. Tiered interest rates – higher rates paid for higher balances is now a common practice. Always confirm this type of information prior to opening an account to avoid surprises!

** Must also have WAMU checking account open/linked to receive rate.

*** All rates provided were accurate as of first week of August, 2008.




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