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H&FF Radio: Find a Job, Tame Your Spending

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WASHINGTON (8/30/13)--This week Home & Family Finance Radio announces that it's time for you to get the job you want and to exorcise the impulse-buy demons always whispering in your ear. 
 
In this rebroadcast of a show that aired earlier this year, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Get a Job--Now!" Dana Manciagli, author and career coach, Bellevue, Wash., shares job-searching advice from her new book "Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era."
  • "Cut Spending, Enjoy Life." Kathryn Greiner, director of credit education for the University of Michigan CU, Ann Arbor, Mich., tells you how to control your spending without sacrificing the good things in life.
  • "You Gotta Have It...But Do You Need It?" Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association, Madison, Wis., offers advice about how to avoid impulse spending.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 95 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, read "Gotta Have It? Check Impulse Spending" and "Do You Need a Financial Plan?" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Tapping 401(k)s Early Can Be Addictive

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NEW YORK (8/27/13)--Like potato chips, 401(k) loans can prove too tempting to stop at just one.
 
Fidelity, which manages the 401(k) plans of 12 million workers, studied the behavior of 180,000 401(k) borrowers over a 12-year period (The New York Times Aug. 18). About 66% took more than one loan, 25% took three or four loans, and 20% took more than five loans.
 
Most financial experts condone limited 401(k) borrowing, particularly if it's to keep you afloat during a period of financial distress (USA Today Aug. 12). After all, it's easy to do, the interest rate is low--usually a point above prime--and you're paying back the money to yourself.
 
But before you tap your 401(k), consider these points:
  • Fidelity found that, on average, 401(k) borrowers reduce their retirement contributions by 2% until two years after the loan is repaid. So not only are you losing out on the compound earnings of the original borrowed sum, but also on the amount you stopped contributing in order to repay it.
  • According to calculations by Fidelity and the Employee Benefit Retirement Institute, if you took out two five-year loans in your 30s and dropped your contribution rate by 2% until two years after they were paid back, you would retire with 13.8% less than someone who didn't take out a 401(k) loan.
  • You're paying taxes twice on the earnings--the first time because the interest you're paying comes from after-tax dollars, and again when you withdraw the money after retirement.
  • If you leave your job, the loan likely will be due within 60 days. If you default, you not only owe income taxes on the amount still outstanding but also a 10% penalty if you're younger than age 59 1/2.
Given those liabilities, it might make more sense to seek a low-interest home equity loan or line of credit from your credit union before imperiling your retirement goals. That's especially true if taking a 401(k) loan leads to double--or quadruple--dipping.

For related information, read "IRA Withdrawals: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Auto-paying Bills, Protecting Your Money On H&FF Radio

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WASHINGTON (8/23/13)--If you've ever wondered if you should auto-pay your bills and what are the best methods for safeguarding your money, Home & Family Radio provides the answers.

In this rebroadcast of a show that aired earlier this year, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Protect Your Cash." Luke Reynolds, chief of outreach and program development at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Washington, D.C., discusses how to protect your valuables and the most secure locations for your money.
  • "Bill Paying--Set It and Forget It?" Stacy Rapacon, a personal finance writer for Kiplinger, Washington D.C., explores the pros and cons of auto-paying your bills.
  • "Get Organized, Save Money." Susan Fleischman, a professional organizer and owner of Clutterfree, Chicago, shares 20 ways staying organized can save you money.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.

Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 95 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.

CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.For related information, read "Benchmarks Help Gauge Financial Progress" and "Offering Help for Hoarders" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Spot And Avoid Water-damaged 'Sandy Cars'

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NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (8/20/13)--Warning to bargain hunters on used-car lots: More than 212,000 flood-damaged cars, many of them from Superstorm Sandy, are making their way across the country and could end up in a dealership near you, according to new data from Carfax (Bankrate.com Aug. 7).
 
Referred to as "sandy cars," these water-logged vehicles that sat in corrosive saltwater appear safe on the outside but are rotting on the inside and dangerous to drive. Common problems include damage to critical components like computer and electrical systems, which could lead to antilock braking and airbag system failures.
 
Scam artists grab cars that have been paid out as total losses on insurance claims and try to resell them. The hucksters know they're more likely to bilk unsuspecting buyers if they move damaged cars far from areas hard-hit by hurricanes or floods. If you're not checking for signs of flooding, you could wind up paying thousands in costly repair bills--or worse if you're in an accident.
 
Carfax offers these tips to avoid flood-damaged vehicles:
  • Take a deep breath. Smell for musty odors from mildew, particularly on upholstery and in the trunk.
  • Dig around. Open the glove compartment, check the trunk, and look below the seats for signs of water damage--silt, mud, or rust.
  • Check for stains. Discolored or faded materials could indicate water damage. New upholstery or carpeting that doesn't match the interior may indicate it has been replaced. Be suspicious of new carpeting on a 10-year-old car.
  • Look for corrosion clues. Rust on screws, door hinges, hood springs, trunk latches, or brackets under the dashboard indicate those metals had significant contact with water.
  • Turn the ignition key. Make sure the accessory and warning lights come on and work properly. Also confirm that airbag and ABS (anti-brake system) lights come on.
  • Look at lamps. If the headlights and taillights appear foggy, water may have accumulated inside. The instrument panel and interior/exterior mirrors also may have moisture that never evaporated.
  • Do a background check. Ask to see a vehicle history report, which can reveal past problems. Was the vehicle titled or registered in at-risk areas during recent flood and hurricane seasons?
Finally, deal with reputable dealers, and always have used vehicles checked by a trusted mechanic before handing over your money.

For more information, watch "Find the Best Low-Cost, High-Value Car" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

H&FF Radio: Protect Credit Score, Prevent Child ID Theft

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WASHINGTON (8/16/20)--Learn how to prevent ageism, protect your children and avoid trashing your credit score with this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Protecting Seniors From Discrimination." Cristina Martin-Firvida, director of financial security and consumer affairs at AARP, Washington, D.C., explains why her organization supports a new bill in Congress to fight age discrimination.
  • "Six Credit Habits to Avoid." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Madison, Wis., outlines six slam-dunk ways to trash your credit score.
  • "Identity Thefts Targeting Children." Ross Kenneth Urken, an editor for the financial website TheStreet.com, New York, details how to protect your children from identity thieves.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 95 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, read "Child ID Theft: When Ignorance Isn't Bliss" and "Six Slam-Dunk Ways to Trash Your Credit Score."

Pension-cut Fears: What You Can Do

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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (8/13/2013)--In the wake of Detroit's bankruptcy filing and the threat of pension cuts to public-sector workers and retirees, many Americans are worried about their future pensions (CNBC Aug. 5).
 
Detroit isn't the only entity with heavy debt and public pension obligations. A number of state and local governments are in the same position, as are some private pensions.
 
Don't let the unsettling headlines shake confidence in your retirement security. Here's what you can do to take responsibility for your financial well-being:
  • Improve your financial literacy. Do your homework and then discuss your retirement financial planning with a qualified financial adviser.
  • Ask for a detailed annual report from your plan. You may need the help of your financial adviser to evaluate how well the plan is funded. Even if your pension is well-funded, there is some risk that your benefits could be curtailed by a bankruptcy court. Plan accordingly.
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Consider your pension as a part of your retirement funding, not the only source. Think about putting more money into an individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k), or into a public defined contribution plan such as a 403(b).
  • Create a worst-case scenario. Plan for a reduction. How much? In one example, the city of Central Falls, R.I., declared bankruptcy in 2011 and slashed a third of its retirees' pension checks by more than half. Envision how you'll get by if your pension is cut in half.
You might not be able to affect potential changes to your pension plan, but you can manage your expectations and make adjustments so you don't outlive your money. Plan to spend less, save more, work longer, and retire on less income.
 
For related information, read "Four Key Steps to 'No Regrets' Retirement" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

College Savings, School Shopping On H&FF Radio

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WASHINGTON (8/9/20)--This week, Home & Family Finance Radio prepares for the first day of school, serving up advice for college savings and savvy back-to-school shopping. Sunday's show also explains how to fix mistakes on your credit report.
 
In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • Tips for College Savings. Bill Hardekopf, CEO of the credit card-comparison website LowCards.com, Birmingham, Ala., outlines cost-saving measures for college including credit union cards, payment options for tuition, and 529 plans.
  • Back-to-School Shopping. Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics, pricegrabber.com, Los Angeles, dishes on what school supplies are essential and which ones you can skip.
  • How to Fix Your Credit Score. Robert Maynard, CEO of identity theft protection company LifeLock, Tempe, Ariz., details how to remove incorrect data from your credit record.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 95 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "Amid Rising Costs, Families Pay Less for College" and "Senioritis: Expect Big Expense for High-School Seniors." 

Young Driver Equals Higher Insurance Premium

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NEW YORK (8/6/13)--To many parents, it's a relief when their kids get drivers' licenses. They can cart themselves around, help transport siblings, and even pick up a few things from the grocery store. But the convenience of having an extra driver in the house comes at a cost; it's a given that insurance premiums will increase (CBS News July 22).
 
Young drivers pay more for auto insurance than any other demographic for good reason. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention finds that crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds are four times higher than those of older drivers. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
 
While households in Hawaii see only an average 18% annual increase in insurance premiums, households in Arkansas experience an average 116% increase. Adding a young driver to a family auto policy will increase the annual premium by an average of 84%--or about $2,000, according to a new study by insurancequotes.com.
 
Regardless of where you live, follow these strategies to lower insurance costs for young drivers:
  • Look for young driver discounts. Students ages 16 to 24, in high school and college, can qualify for "good student" discounts if they have at least a B average. Some insurers provide an additional discount to teens who take a defensive driving course or for those whose vehicles have full front seat airbags or restraints.
  • Buy older, safer vehicles. Premiums for collision and comprehensive coverage generally will be lower for older, less-expensive, safe cars. While most likely not your teen's first choice, larger to midsize sedans can be the best for safety and also are less costly to insure.
  • Delay letting teens get their licenses. This may be a tough one for many families but, by having your child wait even one extra year to get her license, premiums will go down. Wait an additional two or three years and the savings are substantial.
  • Change coverage. Ask your agent about policy changes, such as raising your deductible, which can reduce the cost of insurance. Though this can lower your rate, you'll pay more out of pocket if your teen gets in an accident; you can partially self-insure by designating a credit union savings account to cover your potential deductible. Depending on the age of the vehicle, removing collision and comprehensive coverage can lower insurance costs as well. Check with your agent for guidance--insurance regulations vary from state to state.
For the best price auto loan for your young driver, visit the professionals at your credit union. And for more information about auto insurance, read "Save on Auto Insurance: Drive Safely, Drive Less" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

H&FF Radio: Tax Tips, Financial Literacy Gap

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WASHINGTON (8/2/13)--Tips to get the biggest deductions from your tax returns and the financial literacy gender gap are the focus of this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.

In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Know the Taxman's Rules." Michael Eisenberg, certified public accountant, San Francisco, explains the home office tax deduction and the safe harbor rule.
  • "The Financial Literacy Gap." Liz Davidson, CEO of the financial education company Financial Finesse, El Segundo, Calif., discusses the gender gap in financial literacy, women's natural skills as investors and millennials' ideas about personal finance.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 95 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "Uneven Income Calls for Proactive Money Strategies" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.