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Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.

Do You Know the True Cost of Debt?

Debt Credit Cards Security Clearance
Written by Super User · 09 January 2013

January 9, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach


Americans have a lot of credit card debt.  $852 billion dollars of it, as a matter of fact.  A 2010 FINRA study of military families found that nearly 30% of those surveyed had at least $10,000 in credit card debt.  Most households don’t even know how much their total debt is, and it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of just paying the minimum payment each month.  But that may be because it can be difficult to understand the true cost of debt.

Credit Card Interest and Fees

When a credit card is not paid in full each month, the interest fees and finance charges start to add up.  What those items at the register actually end up costing might be vastly different than the original price tag.  But there are sites like Bankrate.com, which has a calculator that figures out the true cost of paying only the minimum payment.   Before making a large purchase on credit, like a computer or a 3D TV, it might be useful to know what one will end up paying for an item.  For instance, a new 64Gb Retina display iPad, which lists for $699, will end up costing a whopping $1171 when you factor in price plus interest and will take almost 6 ½ years to pay off.  Given the life of electronics these days, will you still own it when you’re done paying it off?

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The National Resource Directory: a Place Where Veterans and Military Families Can Find Information on Everything

Benefits
Written by Super User · 08 January 2013

January, 8, 2013
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach

The Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs have partnered together to create a website that is a great resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families and caregivers.  Known as the National Resource Directory, the site provides access to resources at the local, state and federal levels.  While the goal is to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration, one can find information on a variety of topics including: benefits and compensation, education, training, employment, family and caregiver support, housing, health and homeless assistance.  Here are highlights of some of the topics that pertain to personal finance:

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Kickstart Your Savings: Have a Plan for Your Refund

Debt Saving Tax Refund
Written by Super User · 03 January 2013

January 3, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication and Outreach

About 80% of Americans got some sort of tax refund last year. According to a 2012 survey by the National Retail Foundation, 4 out of 10 Americans planned on using their return to pay down debt.  28.7% planned on using it for everyday expenses while over 33% were going to use it as “free money” to spend on a large purchase, such as a car or a vacation.  But by far the best idea is to have a concrete plan for your tax refund

The 30-40-30 Plan
One way you can look at dividing up your return is called the 30-40-30 Plan.  Using this plan, you take 30% of your refund and pay down debt.  You use 40% of your refund toward current needs (and this might include some discretionary spending).  Then you use the final 30% toward savings, whether that’s to build up your emergency fund or for longer-term savings.  If you have at least $500-$1000 in your emergency fund you can consider other savings goals, such as using a portion of your return to buy bonds or allocating more money to your retirement or college savings account.

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Be as Smart as Your Phone: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Consumer Protection
Written by Super User · 02 January 2013

The following post comes from the America Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

By Katie Bryan
America Saves Communications Manager

Consumers with smartphones spend a lot of time with their device of choice. Now, with so many flashy websites and applications (apps), it’s just as easy to spend or move a lot of money through our phones.  But are you taking steps to protect your identity through your Smartphone? The Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs developed tips to help you protect your identity at a time when many of us are using our phones to do our banking, pay our bills, or buy products with the click of a button.  Here are 10 tips from Consumer Affairs on avoiding identity theft on your smartphone:

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How to Plan for Your Future When You're Already Behind

TSP 401K IRA Retirement Savings
Written by Super User · 27 December 2012

December 27, 2012
Originally published on USAA.com

Maybe you cared more about Woodstock than shares of stock. Or it could be that you kept a closer eye on your favorite MTV VJ than on your 401(k).
Whatever the reason, you've put off saving for your retirement — until now. With retirement on the horizon, you worry that you're too late, that you'll never amass enough money, that your retirement dreams will stay just dreams.

If that's you, then listen up: It's not too late! If you're within 20 or even 10 years of retirement and haven't saved, you can still get a plan rolling. Here are three ways:

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 29, 2013

    Transferring #money from #checking to #savings is the fastest way to #save $500 - $1,000 >> http://ow.ly/e7ClM

Saver Stories View all »

On the Right Track to Build Wealth

Written by Super User | April 16, 2013

My name is Robina Wahl, and I am a military wife and a veteran. Although I am fairly new to the Military Saves Campaign, the message to “Build Wealth, Not Debt” reassured me that my husband and I were on the right track and doing the right things.

I have always been pretty responsible when it comes to saving and living within my means, but I was not prepared for the unpredictable employment lifestyle of being a Reservist and military spouse.

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A Disciplined Approach to Saving

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

I just recently retired after 30 years of service with the Marine Corps. I truly enjoyed my time serving the Corps and I flourished in the disciplined environment. I also took a disciplined approach to saving. Here are some of the tactics I used-they are very low to moderate risk.

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Money on the Side

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait -- A colonel in the 1st Theater Sustainment Command has money on his mind.

Army Col. George Fields, the Chief of Intelligence, or G2, has been teaching a free "Managing Your Money" class here in his spare time. More than 400 students have attended his six week-long class to learn more about increasing their own finances.

"All I did was sit down and listen to a guy one day who showed me what he was doing" said the colonel as he explained how he became interested in what he calls, "becoming financially free."

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