I hope no one you love ever dies. It is my special hope that no one you love dies young. But people do die and sometimes the death is especially tragic because the loved one is young and has a family counting on their love and their income.Why have life insurance? When a parent or guardian dies, the family not only looses the love of their parent may loose their lifestyle, too. They may no longer be able to stay in their home, go to the same school, or have a stay-at-home parent or one that only works part-time. Your death alone would be devastating, but to add to that the loss of a child’s whole world would be such a heavy load on their little heart.How much insurance is right? The answer to this question depends on you, your income, the age of your dependents, the income or finances of the household. Would you want to keep the living standards the same, or change them? Do you want to cover college costs? What about the mortgage? Is that covered with another insurance policy? Will the insurance need to cover the cost of a babysitter for several years? Are there other family members for whom you contribute income and who would suffer a financial blow should you die unexpectedly? Some web sites I saw say have 5-10 times your annual salary in insurance, while other sites recommended a more detailed analysis of your needs. What type of insurance? There are several types of life insurance with the two most common being whole and term. Whole life insurance lasts from the time you purchase it until you die- so long as you pay the premiums. It accrues cash value. Term life is purchased for periods of time, such as 10 years or twenty and is often used to cover a particular time in life where more substantial insurance needs occur, such as those of parents while children are dependent. Term life doesn’t not have cash value. There are other types, but these are the two basic.Keep your health and credit score in mind- Your driving record, health history, and even your credit score are all pieces of the underwriting used to determine your cost for any insurance. Think about it, if you drive drunk and smoke like a chimney you may not live as long as your careful, health conscious twin whose rates may be substantially lower than you insurance rates.Company strength- The insurance you choose needs to be payable to your family and from a company whose financial position is strong. Their insurance rates may be different than other companies, but they need to be in business years from now to pay that claim.Everyone dies. Money won’t fix that horrible loss, but is could make life without you much less painful.Citations:Met lifehttp://www.newyorklife.com/nyl/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=3fcace42249d2210a2b3019d221024301cacRCRDToday- 10 tips
So you’ve got a budget and you’re chugging along. Now you realize that you don’t have a way to make future dreams and goals come true. You need to set financial goals! Here’s how (and I’ve included web sites that have some worksheets that you may find helpful).Include everyone- Include your beloved and the kids if applicable in making this financial map for your future. The more money is spoken about out loud, the better for your family’s health.Make short and long-term goals- Goals can include things as close as this month all the way out to well into retirement. The further out you plan, perhaps the more loose you may want to keep the plan.What’s the cost?- Now that you have decided what you’d like to accomplish, what is the cost of this most excellent dream? Write it down, and investigate less expensive and more creative methods of financing the dream.Break it down- How much will you need to actually save to reach the goal? If you initial plan was not realistic because you can’t save that much that fast, take it back a notch or trim some of the vision. OR, get a part-time job. You no have the tools to make life decisions because you can weigh what you want and what lifestyle you are willing to live with to get to that goal.Goals change- Recognize that life is full of surprises. You will mature and your goals may change. That’s okay. Help the family realize that when you begin this planning process. Save!- Start saving and figure out how to track your success. Citations:University of TN Extension worksheethttp://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/pbfiles/pb1454.pdfRutgers worksheet:http://njaes.rutgers.edu/money/pdfs/goalsettingworksheet.pdfConsumer Counseling Credit of DVhttp://www.cccsdv.org/resources/setting-financial-goals Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Almost 600,000 new business start each year. Do you have what it takes to be one of the entrepreneurs who plan to open your own business this year? Here’s a list of some of the characteristics that may help you.Discipline- You need a plan and then you need the discipline to stick with the plan. People will hesitate to even begin to do business with you if you don’t have what it takes to stay in business very long. That discipline is important to me. I get my hair cut by women who have the discipline to run a great business, I go to church where- I agree with the doctrine- but they also run a disciplined business. That makes me confident.Risk taker- Starting a business is all about taking a calculated risk. Few people want to take more risk than necessary, and I think minimizing your risk is important, but you will be risking your reputation, your money and your time when you start a business.Spirit of excellence- Building a business takes hours, days, and years of consistent excellence. You will not have repeat customers if you always fail. Mistakes are normal, but you need to be committed to an attitude of excellence in your business activities.Determination- You need passion, a fire in your belly, a determination to succeed because you won’t get every contract, not every person will want to hire you- and really you don’t want them anyway. Not every human being breathing is a good customer for you services. Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be discouraging, so you need to be determined to succeed.Communication- Owning your own business means doing it all- at least at first. You need to share your passion for your goods or services. You need to negotiate with suppliers, you need to work with employees and train them and instill your passion for the work in them. You may need to work with investors and convince them of the excellence and worth of your business. Communication is key to your success.Energetic- To do all this you need to be hardworking and have a lot of energy. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing for your business, you will probably need all these skills to succeed. Live long and prosper!Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
I have a degree in Business with a concentration in Finance, so I am equipped to understand the world of investing, but I also want to help clients feel good about the process of creating their financial plan. To help me do that part of my job better I study books on decision-making. In the Paradox of Choice author Barry Schwartz explains that there are several stumbling blocks to making good decisions. Some of them we control, some is the result of too much choice.MaximizersVs.SatisfiersMaximizers vs. Satisfiers- There are two basic kinds of decisions makers. Maximizers are those of us who want the perfect, only the best choice in their decision. They are plagued by fears that they have not seen all there is to see so they cannot have seen the ‘right’ choice yet. When they finally make a decision they fret and worry that there were better choices out in the world they have missed so even after their decision they are depressed and dissatisfied.Satisfiers have high standards in their decision-making but they believe that their choice is a good one and they let any belief in what else might have been purchased or decided upon, slip away and they rejoice in their choice.The paradox Schwartz refers to in the title is that when we are presented with 6 choices, 30% of people can make a decision and follow through on their choice. But when we are faced with 24 choices of an item, like chocolate, only 3% of people buy. The ‘freedom of choice’ is many times a tie that binds.Why discuss this in a finance section? Investment decision are critical to your retirement future and the book explains how folks decide – very unscientifically- for their investment plans. Overwhelmed and trying to do what is ‘right’ people put a small amount in each investment choice. That wasn’t the reasoning in offering those options. Doing nothing because you are overwhelmed is another common thing I see as an advisor. Decide today to seek help and partner with an advisor who will wisely assist you in planning you financial future. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Maybe you’ve been together for years and you think you know each other. But inside the beautiful brain of the person you love may lurk an assumption and since you are, undoubtedly wanting a happy futre it would be good to make ceratin that you are both on the ‘same page.’Get specific- It’s time for a talk about exactly what the next ten or twenty years will look like. Did one of you mention moving to Florida as a retirement plan and the other ignored that comment? So has your partner maybe then made plans thinking that’s what’s happening while you are just hoping they have forgotten? You’ve got to talk more specifically about your hopes and dreams now before any more time passes.Be creative- If you do end up with very different hopes for the future see if you can stir those great ideas all together and get an even better future. Can you do several of the ideas and make everyone a little happy? There is still time to work out the kinks, to save more money, to come up with a plan. Whatever has come before is water under the bridge. Ditch the ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda’ and focus on now and your great future, together.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Saving for retirement is important. It may seem boring but it’s important. Maybe you don’t have a plan. If that’s true I’d really like you start one this year. There are many kinds of plans for all different situations. And I can’t say for sure which one is right for you because I don’t know your exact needs, but here is a general idea of what’s available and how it would work.Retirement plans boil down to two general types: plans for the work place and plans for individuals. The tax code determines narrows down the choices of the plan that is right for your needs. Plans for the work placeThe most common work place plans are 401(k)’s, 403(B)’s and SIMPLE IRA’s. Tax-exempt organizations, such as schools, hospitals and towns probably use 403(B)’s. Business generally use 401(k)’s. Smaller businesses may use SIMPLE IRA’s. They may have less administrative costs and can be used with businesses with less than 100 employees.Plans for individualsFor individuals there are Individual retirement plans, the IRA. There are all kinds of IRA’s which may be why it may feel a bit confusing when you think about them: ROTH IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s, SEP IRA’s. Your needs and particular situation determine what plan is right for you.This can be confusing because the tax code is the controlling regulation for the variations. Talk with a financial advisor, an attorney or your tax preparer for more info. But DO start a retirement plan today! Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
By- Marion SyversenMonitor spending – Make every dollar work for you by knowing where each one goes! Know what percent of your income is used for food, entertainment, savings, and the rest.Make a budget – Now you can make a budget. Find a budget type- there are many- that works for you and get a plan for this year.Pay off debt- While you are at it, pay off, or at least pay down, debt. Under most circumstances, we have enough money to pay more on our debt. It is only under life’s most dire conditions that we can’t achieve at least some progress. Use cash and pay down debt this year!Check your credit report- Free credit reports are available from each of the three agencies so either get them all at once or, a better solution may be to get one from each agency at four-month intervals. Experian in January (at Experion.com), Equifax in May (at Equifax.com) and Transunion (at Transunion.com) in September. That way you can monitor your credit score and credit activity for free.Back up your information- Does your family have an emergency plan, do you have a disaster recovery plan for your financial records? Consider options that would help you recover your pertinent data if anything happened to your records.Check insurance and beneficiaries- Is you life and property and casualty insurance up to date? If there have been changes to your family is that information reflected in you insurance and is your beneficiary information correct and current? Put your mind at ease and get your financial house in order with these tips for your best 2010!Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial, Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., and all other companies listed are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
By- Marion SyversenLet’s say you think opening an account for your little pumpkin would be a great idea for Christmas. Let’s look at the rules for some of the most common types. Savings account- If you open a joint account with your little sweetie, that account is typically an UGMA account. UGMA stands for Uniform Gift to Minors and allows minors to own an asset because it is owned for them or with them. But when they are 18 years old it becomes their asset. You might think, “oh, this will be the money that I give junior for college,” but in fact Junior can use it for his first car as soon as he is 18 years old. And Princess might give the money to her misunderstood boyfriend, and she would be within her legal rights to do so if you open an UGMA account for your kids or grandkids, since it becomes their money at age 18.College savings account- If you open a 529 account for your little angel the UGMA rules will only apply if you are moving money from an UGMA account. If you are opening a new 529 account that account is held for the darling and is completely in the name of the account owner but can be used for your darling. The money can be used for post secondary schools such as golf or cooking schools, 2 year colleges, trade schools, anywhere that federal funds are accepted in the US and a few schools in Canada. Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
By- Marion SyversonGet organized- Please use a list and pare it to who really needs gifts. Money isn’t a substitute for love so don’t mistake the two.Give group gifts- Can you buy a group gift of a great game, puzzle or event, like a dinner? Can you offer babysitting or another gift that is time versus money? Think out-of-the-usual box for a unique expression of thoughtfulness.Know the recipient- How many gifts have you received that were not even close to what you might use? It’s better to save your money than to spend it without thought and care. Know the recipient or don’t give a gift at all.Could online be cheaper?- Online retailers are offering discounts and offering cheap or no-cost shipping for gift giving. You might save time gas and travel buy doing some shopping online.No impulse buying- I have had really good intentions and started my shopping really early only to be sidelined by impulse shopping as Christmas approaches. Only buy what you have decided to get and stop shopping. Bake, do kind deeds, but stop shopping!Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial, Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., and all other companies listed herein are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
By- Marion SyversonI have discussed the differences between men and women before but a recent news story compels me to speak of this again. After all, a discussion in which I get to grab you by your adorable little ears and shake you always seems appropriate to me.Perhaps you read about Patricia Cornwell suing her financial advisors? Cornwell, author of the award winning, best selling crime novels, has published seventeen books featuring pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta and has earned millions of dollars.In late October, Cornwell sued her financial advisory firm for losses of $40 million. Many people have lost money with their investments in the two years. The bit about this story that I found shocking â€“ yes, shocking, I say – was the lack of involvement Cornwell had in her hard-earned finances and its management.According to news reports, especially in those publications widely read by investment professionals, there are some glaring red flags in my mind as to where some of the responsibility lies. #1- Cornwell didnâ€™t want to be, according to the suit, â€˜distractedâ€™ by that crazy money stuff. After all, sheâ€™s a famous writer and needs a calm and quiet environment in which to work. And, she stated in Britainâ€™sâ€™ Daily Express, â€˜I donâ€™t really want to know whatâ€™s going on in my business unless Iâ€™m made to face it.â€ Stomp you foot, Patricia, and make that pouty face. Thatâ€™ll make the big, smart men help you with your millions. #2- She never had a risk tolerance conversation, or so she claims. For a clever woman, Cornwell seems to have used her shiny pile of money to press people into letting her not be a participant in her financial affairs. Maybe she said, â€˜It hurts my head and I donâ€™t like it.â€Iâ€™ve got a message for Patricia Cornwell: Donâ€™t try that in my office. I have turned away clients who thought they could dump the responsibility of their finances. I like shiny things, and a large pile of jingly money definitely counts. But there is no way that your bag of cash excuses you from getting a face-to-face sit down at least annually for a discussion on the financial progress weâ€™re making towards your goals. Take that big ole bag of money to the many firms thatâ€™ll allow you to ignore your own checkbook and leave it their hands.In my book (Have I mentioned Iâ€™ve written a book? Just in case I havenâ€™t, check out Real Deal: Making Big Changes with Small Change) I have a chapter that includes the story of Paula Zahn. Married to a man who apparently enjoyed financial management, when they divorced her lawsuit claimed that he had, â€˜spun a Byzantine web of investmentsâ€™ and she was left with little to show of her $25 million in earnings. Whatâ€™s Marionâ€™s lesson for today? Moneyâ€™s hard to understand for you. I get that. We all have different abilities and talents. I stink at a bunch of things in which you probably excel. However (and Iâ€™m sure you know whatâ€™s coming, little chickadee), pull up your big person panties and pay attention when figuring out your finances. Please.Â Let the lunacy of others be a guide to you so we donâ€™t have to read about your sad story in tomorrowâ€™s paper.Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
This is the last in our series on Dealing with Financial Difficulty. These topics have involved not just financial but also emotional trouble resulting in our first week’s topic divorce, then last week’s job loss and this week’s topic which is the death of a loved one.Arrangements- Hopefully you and your loved one have spoken about what was wanted for funeral and burial arrangements. These things require action first. Communicate with relatives and the funeral home for help at this time.Incoming bills- Overwhelmed by grief financial paperwork can quickly pile up. ASK FOR help from a trusted family friend or family member.Death certificates- The Massachusetts Commission on end -of life care recommends 10-15 copies of them for many reasons and to settle many accounts.Insurance- if you had life insurance for your loved one ‘valid claims’ are paid relatively quickly, usually within 1 week from receipt of a death certificate. You will need to know the policy number. Assets- Informing Social Security, pension funds, changing ownership for checking and savings accounts, brokerage and deeds, cars and credit cards are some of the details that will need to be taken care of after the death of your loved one. Get professional advice when you are in doubt. Take your time. This isn’t a race!Be prepared to spend a lot of time with the financial concerns following the death of a loved one.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.comCheck out or website that includes weekly streaming videosWWW.NorumbegaFinancial.comVoted Bangor’s Best Financial Planning Firm 2009 by Market Surveys of AmericaIn compliance with requirements from FINRA, all e-mail sent via the WSFG domain will be subject to review and archiving by Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Email management, archiving & monitoring technology powered by Smarsh, Inc. Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
We are in the middle of a short series of segments entitled Dealing with Financial Difficulties. Last week we covered Divorce. This week we will discuss losing a job.Another emotionally difficult life and financial issue is losing your job. It’s hard to keep your wits about you when you hear the news, but the calmer you can stay, the faster you can take necessary steps to move towards a better day.Assess- What do you have in the bank? How much do you owe this week? What might you have been in the middle of buying that needs to be stopped? House, car, furniture, communicate with the shop right away. Are you eligible for unemployment benefits? If so, apply immediately. You will want to investigate carrying over your health insurance – if your job was vital to the family’s coverage and investigate COBRA. This allows you to buy group rate health insurance for a limited time.Communicate- Let friends and family know the situation as soon as possible so that ears can be listening for job openings and opportunities. Communicate with utility companies and others about your situation. Many of them, when made aware of the situation, will do whatever they can to work with you, as long as you communicate! New direction- Is this an opportunity to go back to school or change your skills? Is your former job in an ailing industry or is this just a temporary setback? Try to take a reasonable and unemotional view of the future. Stay active even if is in small opportunities. You need to not be home sulking but working wherever you can doing whatever you can find. Stay positive, stay focused on others so you can get plenty of rest and get going tomorrow. It will all work out!Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.comCheck out or website that includes weekly streaming video.WWW.NorumbegaFinancial.comVoted Bangor’s Best Financial Planning Firm 2009 by Market Surveys of AmericaIn compliance with requirements from FINRA, all e-mail sent via the WSFG domain will be subject to review and archiving by Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Email management, archiving & monitoring technology powered by Smarsh, Inc. Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
By- Marion SyversenNot everyone enjoys finance, though as this segment of the news states I think Finance is FUN! To try to help, and with the encouragement of WABI-TV5 staff, I wrote a book that mixes ‘Finance with Chocolate SauceTM’ and also includes home and garden improvement tips.What’s the book about?Making your money count by understanding some cost-cutting and savings tips for your present- home and garden improvement- and your future- retirement planning.Will it hurt to read?NO! And there are plenty of pictures and graphics. Plus it has plenty of ‘Marionisms.’Who’s the reader?Well, it’s for folks at any age who want some encouragement. I spoke to a Senior Symposium in Boston and will be speaking to college students. You read it Catherine. Who do you think would like it?Where can I buy the book?Amazon or for autographed copies www.MarionSyversen.com I can speak for no cost to you church or group. Contact me on the web site to register.Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
Life is not all lollipops and sunshine. You already pragmatically address some of the daily down-side issues of life with the purchase of Band-Aids and toilet paper. But what do you need to plan for your ultimate earthly future?In the book Ahead of Your Time authors and local business owners, Dick and Sue Coffin, provide stories, insights and specific planning strategies to take control, of your final arrangements. Though this is an vitally important topic it is often ignored. Planning is the best gift you can give to your grieving loved ones. This week and next we will cover some of the tips offered in this essential book. (Available from Rogan’s Memorials and at www.aheadofyourtime.net
Life is not all lollipops and sunshine. You already pragmatically address some of the daily down-side issues of life with the purchase of Band-Aids and toilet paper. But what do you need to plan for your ultimate earthly future? In the book Ahead of Your Time authors and local business owners, Dick and Sue Coffin, provide stories, insights and specific planning strategies to take control, of your final arrangements. Though this is an vitally important topic it is often ignored. Planning is the best gift you can give to your grieving loved ones. This week and next we will cover some of the tips offered in this essential book. (Available from Rogan’s Memorials and at www.aheadofyourtime.net
Getting ready for retirement and our years in retirement, which thanks to longer lifespans, now account for a lot of years and work best with important planning. Here’s a look at of the typical journey. Fantasy- The 15 years before retirement people begin to fantasize about what they’ll do – on not do – in retirement. This group have high expectations but according to studies, less than half in this age group believe they are saving enough. Excitement- 5 years before retirement there is a growing excitement. In surveys, people have what I would consider, unrealistic expectations about how great retirement will be. As one researcher put it, “Boy, when I get out of work, I’m going to be soooo happy!” The Big Day – The next 2 – 15 years is a readjustment of your previous expectations. Optimism drops from 80% to less than 65%. 25% of retirees are totally confused about their role in life. Peace- comes about 15 years into retirement. It could come way earlier than that for others. (Your emotional readiness and preparation plays an important role in your contentment.) Later Years- Three times as many retirees worry about paying for health care as worry about dying. Plan with that concern in mind. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
We spoke a couple of weeks ago about the changing credit card laws that will restrict issuance of cards for anyone under 21. So how can you help younger students learn good credit habits? here are a few suggestions from the Wall Street Journal. Test Drive a Debit Card- I’ve spoken with middle school kids explaining to them the difference between credit cards and debit cards because they appear the same to the unschooled or inexperienced. But we know that debit cards draw money from a bank checking account. If you can teach kids to manage a debit account, that could be a good first step in helping them get the hang of not using cash. Authorized user of one your card- the author of the WSJ article suggests that making the child an authorized user of ‘one or more of your cards’ – I can’t imagine why they’d need to be an authorized user of more than one card, but in this way the ‘payment history of the card will appear on the child’s credit file and help him or her build a good credit history-assuming, of course, that the parent handles the card responsibly,’ according to the article. Secured Credit card- secured cards put cash down. They are like a pre-paid phone and allow you to use only up to the amount deposited with the credit card. If you pay the bill you have whatever available credit remains and you are able to establish credit history. A few years of these ‘guardrail’s can really help kids get a more solid footing and help them with their credit futures. Citations:WSJ
Family living on one income might be a decision made because of values or a situation thrust upon you because of circumstance. Either way, these tips will help you live well on less. Be thoughtful – Think about the family’s real needs. If you consider earlier generations and how people in other countries live you’ll realize that cable is not a necessity. Convenience foods, some paper products, downloaded music and frequent movie rentals may need to be eliminated from the budget. How many cell phones are really needed and is texting really necessary? Homemade lunches are yummy! Proud to be frugal- Not proud because you are superior to others, but don’t be ashamed to simplify life so that owning and maintaining stuff has become your reason to go work every morning. Be organized- With someone staying home as their new job, make time to plan menus, make homemade meals and get to the library for the movies and magazines available for free. Make-ahead meals cooked in bulk saves energy but to do that you need to plan. Be creative- Involve the whole family by letting the kids in on the cost cutting. As it gets darker earlier, help them make a game of shutting off lights in rooms when no one is using them. Make homemade pizza and have game night instead of more costly pursuits. Maybe other families will have a game swap so that you can pass along games that you have played and trade those for ‘new’ games. have the kids help cutting cost at the grocery store by unit shopping and coming up with healthy snacks ideas. Get involved volunteering in the community to help families who may be worse off than you so you can foster a selfless attitude in everyone. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
If you hold a credit card you’ve probably noticed that you rates have increased. That’s in anticipation of legislation signed May 22nd that became effective August 20th. Regulations are phased in and the final portions take effect February 22, 2010.Wonder how your increased rate compares with others? According to the Washington Post Pew researches reviewed the lowest advertised rates of nearly 400 credit cards and found that they rose two percentage points, a 20 percent increase, since December. 45 day notice- for rate hike or other significant changes- you can decline the rate hike and pay off the card. Any new charges to the card would be at the new rate. Old requirement was 15 days notice. Bills arrive – the old rule was 14 days until the bill was due, the new rule is 21 days Rate increase for late payment AFTER 60 days instead of effective immediately and must be lowered after 6 months of paying on time. Under 21- Co-signers for those under age 21- and credit card companies on college campususes must disclose agreements with those schools and no ‘free gifts’ for signing up. Other inclusions: Bill will indicate when the balance will be paid off at the present rate. Payments will be applied to highest rate balances- such as a cash advance. Citations:
Why going back to school is good for businessItâ€™s that time of the year again — back to school time! If youâ€™re currently in business or considering starting a business now is a great time for you to head back to school! Like anything your chances for success in business can be greatly improved with education. Here are five other reasons why going to school is good for business.One – Small businesses classes can teach you specific things you need to know to successfully start and run a business.Two – By taking a class you can more easily figure out what parts of your business you do well and what parts you should have others do for you.Three – Youâ€™ll meet small business experts and service providers who can become great resources for you going forward.Four – Speaking of resources – small business classes are a great way to learn about the many resources and programs that exist to assist small businesses.Five – By attending classes youâ€™ll meet and network with other like minded individuals.To find a class near you check with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agencies, colleges and universities and this website www.mainebusinessworks.comSo grab your lunch box and get back to school!Iâ€™m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News