Looking for Free or Cheap Family Summer Fun? Try These Tips

July 2015

Hot summer weather signals time for family fun—at home, out of the house, or on vacation. Your budget will enjoy these activities that are free or cost only a few dollars. You may have to spend a little time planning, but involve the whole family to get input and help ensure success.

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Dating Online? Beware of Scams

Their Goal Is to Steal Your Money

Millions of Americans are using online dating sites to meet people. While many people form successful relationships, unfortunately, others are victims of scammers. The scammers create fake profiles using fake or stolen images.

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Being Young; Being Bankrupt!

Are you ever in trouble with money? Ever have the feeling you can't get out of it? Well, you're not alone. Young people born between 1980 and 2000 (Millennials) are more likely to experience financial problems more often than any other age group.

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Checked Your Credit Report Recently? Four Reasons to Do It Now

June 2015

The information in your credit report affects many aspects of your financial well-being. It informs your credit score, which affects your ability to borrow money and the interest rates you will pay on every loan from credit cards and auto loans to home mortgages. It can also affect the insurance rates you’ll pay or your ability to land a new job or rent a new apartment.

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Do You Check Your "Specialty" Consumer Reports Annually?

Most consumers know that they should check each of their credit reports from the big three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once a year. But did you know that you should check your other consumer reports each year too?

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Donating to the Nepal Relief Effort? Watch out for Scams.

The pictures from the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the Katmandu Valley have many people wanting to help. Charities and relief organizations are asking for donations. Unfortunately, fake charities and other scams take advantage of the disaster.

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Have Student Loan Debt? Six Tips to Pay It Off Faster

May 2015

Debt from student loans for higher education is now the largest category of debt in the U.S. As of December 2014, over 43 million borrowers owed a cumulative total debt of over 1.2 trillion dollars in federal and private student loans, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Board of New York. The average individual debt is $26,700.

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What Is Renters Insurance and Should I Get It?

Well, let's start with an example of how insurance works...

Life is filled with risks. You might fall off your skateboard and break an arm. Or maybe you crash your car into a wall and it is no longer drivable. The idea of insurance (and/or insurance policies) is to lower, or take away, the risk of financial loss.

In this scenario, your health insurance pays for the cost of the hospital bill from the skateboarding mishap, while your auto insurance pays for the damage to your car.

So, what is renters insurance?

Last month, one member of the FoolProof team accidentally dropped a glass of water on his brand new MacBook. The Apple warranty—like most (if not all) computer manufacturer's warranties—does not cover water damage.

This specific person (who shall remain nameless) would have been out about $2000 if it wasn't for insurance. Luckily, his renters insurance covered the full cost of the MacBook. Phew!

Renters insurance helps replace your personal items that you keep at your residence if they are damaged, lost or stolen.

  • Some renters insurance will even pay for your items if they are stolen while away from your place. For instance, if your computer is stolen at school.
  • Some rental insurance will cover expenses if a person visiting you is injured in your apartment and sues you.

Be sure you know what is covered under your renter's insurance policy!

How does rental insurance work?

Pretty simple. Typically you would pay a monthly, semi-annual, or yearly premium to the insurance provider for this type of coverage.

Normally there is a "deductible" on any insurance policy. The "deductible" is the amount you have to cover yourself in the occurrence of an event, or the portion of the loss that is to be paid by the insured (you) before any claim benefits can be paid by the insurance provider.

For instance, in Martin's MacBook case (oops, slipped his name!), he dropped water on his $2000 computer and ruined it. His deductible was $500, so his insurance only paid out $1500.

What's the smart way to buy renters insurance?

Here's a start:

  • List the value of all items you'll be keeping at your (new) place.
  • Research different renter's insurance policies from various providers or ask CCU's Insurance Agency how they can help!
  • See if any of the policies would pay off if your items are lost.
  • Pick that one that covers most and fits in your budget.
  • Choose the one that best fits your needs before you sign an agreement.

What's the most important thing to look at if you're going to get renters insurance? Consider adding the replacement cost endorsement to the policy. This ensures the insured (you) will receive the money to go out and buy the damaged item new, rather than receiving the depreciated value of the item at the time of the loss.

Should most people get renters insurance? Probably, if the cost is in your budget, and if you have items that would cost a lot to repair or replace.

What is FoolProof's biggest tip?

Brush up on your insurance intelligence. Some companies that sell renter's insurance have more fine print than your credit card statement... and some of the companies may be shady. Work through our "Parachute Required" interactive FoolProof Solo lesson on insurance to learn the tough details.

Make sense?

Cheers, Will

Traveling? Think Twice Before Using Your Hotel's Wi-Fi

When traveling do you use the hotel's Wi-Fi? If so, you should think carefully before you use it on your next trip. Hackers are using security vulnerabilities in hotel Wi-Fi to steal passwords and other personal information. They do this by getting to you download a software update when you try to get online using the hotel Wi-Fi. The downloaded software is designed to steal your information or damage your computer.

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Arm Yourself Against Fraud Directed at Seniors

April 2015

Some of today's most popular financial frauds tend to target older adults. Why? Like the old bank robber said, because that's where the money is. Most older adults have accumulated more assets than younger adults. They also tend to have good credit. Although many of the following scams can trick and trap people of any age, if you or a family member is over 55, you should be aware of these fraudulent schemes and how to avoid being taken in by them.

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IRS Calling? No! It's a Scam. Here's What to Do.

Near the top of the IRS's annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams are phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents. In these calls, the scam artists claim that you owe money on your taxes and demand immediate payment and may threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. Often they demand that payment be made by prepaid debit card. In a similar type of call, the scam artists may say that you have a refund and try to get you to disclose your personal information such as social security and bank account numbers.

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Living Paycheck to Paycheck? 7 Tips for Saving More Now

March 2015

Are you and your family living paycheck to paycheck with no financial breathing room? Perhaps you are going a bit beyond your income to make ends meet, running up credit card debt or dipping into savings. If so, you are not alone. At least 47% of U.S. households spend all of their income (or more) according to a new report based on national data and prepared by the Pew Charitable Trust.

If you find yourself in this situation—or close to it—it’s time to pause and look for new ways to cut spending and enhance saving. Having even a small emergency fund can put you and your family on a more secure financial footing. So why not try using the following tips to help improve your financial situation?

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What Do You Need to Know About Health Care Data Breaches?

Data breaches involving health care providers (labs, doctor offices, hospitals, clinics) and health insurance companies have been on the increase. For example, earlier this year, Anthem announced that they had been hacked and as many as 80 million customers had their account information stolen. Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurance company, announced customers of Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caremore and Unicare may be affected as well as other independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in any of the areas that Anthem serves. AnthemFacts.com has more information.

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Spotting Money-Flipping Scams on Social Networks!

As if the lack of privacy on social networks isn't bad enough, there is something else that may be worse. You could lose a lot of money if you are caught in a "money-flipping" scam.

How, you ask? And what is a money-flipping scam?

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