Elder financial abuse is a growing problem in the United States. According to a recent study, elder citizens throughout the United States lose more than $2.9 billion annually due to financial abuse.
Bank employees are trained to notice red flags like unusual recent withdrawals or a new person accompanying older customers to the bank – behaviors that may identify whether or not a customer is vulnerable or currently a victim of financial abuse.
Car payments. Student loans. Rent. Gas. Food. Starting out on your own can be an expensive proposition. While the road to financial success can be intimidating, there are certain stops to take along the way to protect yourself and your financial future. Starting early makes all the difference in the world. The economic downturn of the past few years has reinforced the need to have a roadmap for an ever-changing financial landscape. Key among them is the need for a solid foundation for personal finances.
Stop One: Develop an Emergency Fund. Putting aside the equivalent of six months’ worth of expenses in a safe and liquid account is the cornerstone. This insulates against the financial unexpected such as a job loss or added medical expenses, and minimizes financial shock. It also allows unexpected items to be covered without adding debt.
Stop Two: Start Early. Time is your friend. While it may not feel like it, your earning power when you are starting out is great. More than anyone, you can enjoy the rewards of long-term compounding returns. An investment of $5000 that earns an average return of 8% will become $10,000 in less than 10 years. Left alone, that $10,000 will become $20,000. Qualified Retirement Accounts such as 401ks and IRA’s can grow even faster due to tax structures. If you work for an employer who matches your contribution these savings grow even faster. Maximizing this step is essential to long-term prosperity.
Stop Three: Shed the Debt. Many people today carry student loans for many years. It is important to know not all debt is bad. Borrowing in support of hard assets such as a home or income producing activity such as the right education can be worth it. However, using credit cards for daily living and new car loans is never in your best interest. Eliminate any non-housing debt first. Use the dollars freed up through debt elimination to pay down other items or place it into long-term savings.
Stop Four: Automate. Having saving and debt payments automatically deducted from your paycheck will make sure they occur before you get your take home money. This is the most painless and efficient way to build toward your financial goals.
Stop Five: Have Fun Money! The first four stops are critical to a well-balanced financial plan. Stop five is essential for a well-balanced life. All too often we look at saving as a hardship. Along the way, remember to reward yourself for working hard. Put some funds aside for fun! Whether that is dining out at your favorite restaurant, or taking a dream vacation, having a fun money fund can help you enjoy life without straining other financial sources.
Remember, you are responsible for your own financial security. Taking small steps early on in life you can pay off big later in life.
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According to the National Retail Federation, the average household will spend $669 on back-to-school shopping this year for each K-12 student. If you’re like most people, you don’t have an extra $669 in your checking account. And, remember, that number is multiplied by the number of school-age children you have!
STAR offers these tips for saving money on those necessary back-to-school supplies:
It’s that time of year when many young people are getting ready to head to college. Going to college can be exciting, fun…and expensive. And we’re not just talking about tuition, room and board. There can be a lot of unexpected, small expenses that can add up. Expenses like new clothes, school supplies, books, furniture, a computer, and spending money. Get a good start on your higher education by learning, or brushing up on, some personal finance skills while you’re hitting the books. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of your expenses and be financially fit come graduation day:
Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, chances are you care about protecting the environment – and saving money. Here are some tips from STAR Bank and the American Bankers Association to help you do both.
If you’re settling in to a new home, there are some important things you need to consider. STAR Bank and the American Bankers Association recommends the following tips.
Before you can make the transition from renting your home to owning your home, you will need to have a substantial down payment, typically 5 to 20 percent of the home’s value. STAR Bank and the American Bankers Association suggests the following tips to help save for it: