Personal Finance

Status of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Whatever your opinion of the government’s plan to oversee your finances, you should know that small business still has a voice with the power to affect legislation.
Tax

"Cash for Clunkers" may be cash for grandparents

Buy a new car before November 1st with a trade-in and get a tax-free credit of up to $4,500.

Who's your daddy? The Fed expands its role in your personal life

Some call it consumer protection. Some say it's necessary because government regulation has broken down and failed us, even though some who are expressing that opinion were heavily involved in the breakdown. Others see it as an ever-growing insult by the federal government, telling us that we are not smart enough to make good decisions, therefore we must leave it up to them. What's the target this time? The Fed is upset because you are not saving enough of your paycheck for a rainy day, and they intend to do something about that by taking your money before you get a chance to spend it.

Obama's proposed watchdog agency designed to reduce your risk

"Consumer protection will have an independent seat at the table in our financial regulatory system," says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently while discussing President Obama's proposal to form a new watchdog agency.

20% of companies eliminate 401(k) matching programs

A recent survey of U.S.

Wealthiest Americans are changing their spending, investing habits

U.S. economic woes and stock market volatility have prompted changes in the investment and social behaviors of high-net-worth Americans, according to a new survey of CPA Personal Financial Specialists conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.Lyle K. Benson, Jr., CPA/PFS, founder of L.K. Benson & Company, Baltimore, MD, said the behavioral changes in wealthier Americans illustrate the need for a greater emphasis in financial planning.
Technology

Microsoft to end sales of Money products

Microsoft announced yesterday in a very brief post to its Microsoft Money Web site that its personal financial software, Microsoft Money Plus, would no longer be available for purchase after June 30. Microsoft had discontinued annual updates of Money Plus in 2008. The company plans to support online services (including updates to tax rates and tables) for active customers through at least January 2011. After that, Microsoft will no longer issue automatic data feeds to the product.
Education & Careers

CPA Society offers lessons for new accounting graduates

At high schools and universities graduates are hearing commencement speeches filled with messages of hope and support. They're entering a tough world where jobs are few, costs are high, and mom and dad may be low on funds themselves.The daily news of jobs lost and businesses closed has made them more keenly aware of money - its value, its impact and its consequences - than any generation in recent memory. The Illinois CPA Society suggests sending off this year's graduates with some guidance for starting life on sound financial footing.

Free consumer Webcast series addresses key financial planning topics

The current economic situation has countless Americans wondering where to turn for unbiased, ethical guidance and advice. To help consumers deal with the current turmoil, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. has developed a new a Consumer Webcast Series featuring CFP professionals addressing key financial planning topics. Each Webcast discusses a specific area of financial planning and includes practical information and tips that consumers can apply to their personal finances in today's tough times.

Is your financial advisor really working for you?

As the events of the last several months have made clear, it's never been more important for consumers to act in their own best interests when working with a financial advisor. Consumers must ask the right questions when selecting an advisor, AND they must keep asking questions on a regular basis. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has been a vocal advocate for the consumer for more than 25 years and is currently working with other industry organizations, congressional leaders, and regulators to encourage increased protection for consumers.

Teach Children to Save Day is April 21

Do you remember the joy of opening a full piggy bank? Do your children understand the value of a dollar? Teach Children to Save Day, observed this year on Tuesday, April 21, is an annual event highlighting the importance of teaching our nation's youth about preparing financially for the future.

AICPA poll uncovers major concerns of Americans

Job security emerged as a top financial concern for Americans amid a 16-month U.S. economic recession, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Nearly five in 10 employed Americans – 47 percent – said they are "concerned" about losing their jobs soon. Fifteen percent said they were "somewhat concerned" and 10 percent said they were "very concerned." Nationwide the U.S.

New Jersey governor proclaims April as Financial Literacy Month

The importance of personal financial know-how to Americans can no longer be overlooked. The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) is undertaking a major effort to meet the needs of Garden State residents with information about managing their personal finances more effectively.

Oregon governor declares April Financial Literacy Month

Perhaps now more than ever is making wise financial decisions more important to Oregonians. Recognizing it is essential for citizens to manage their money wisely, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has declared April 2009 to be Financial Literacy Month. The national statistics are alarming, with the Federal Reserve reporting in 2008 that Americans carry more than $2 trillion in consumer debt.
Technology

Financial literacy moves to Second Life

By Spencer Elliott, Ohio University Outlook Ohio University and credit union industry leaders have launched a new educational video game that uses the virtual world Second Life to teach financial skills to young people. The game, Credit Union Island, is designed for high school students. Based in the teen grid of Second Life, a simulated world with millions of users, the game enables players to guide their avatars through real-life financial decisions such as taking out a college loan, making car payments and buying a home.
A&A

Obama pushes for mandatory retirement savings plans

Part of President Obama’s budget proposal would require employers who do not offer a pension plan to provide their employees with a direct-deposit retirement savings plan, modeled after a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA).“The result will be that workers will be automatically enrolled in some form of savings vehicle when they go to work, making it easy for them to save while also allowing them to opt out if their family or individual circumstances make it particularly difficult or unwise to save,” according to the budget plan.

Making smart investment decisions after a job loss

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Metropolitan New York and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have launched a resource for workers experiencing job loss as a result of corporate mergers, layoffs, or closings. The information is designed to help workers make sound financial decisions regarding their personal finances, retirement funds, and other severance pay during periods of unemployment.

CPAs offer tips for managing money in down economy

With many retailers filing for bankruptcy and liquidating merchandise, you may be tempted to splurge on items from clothing to electronics. However, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) encourages consumers to make wise financial decisions during this economic crisis. Here are some tips to help you avoid overspending and make sure you purchase only what you need and can afford:Take a closet inventory Before making a purchase, take a look through your closet. Ask yourself, do I really need new clothes? Everyone enjoys wearing the latest fashions.

Prosecutors want jail now for Madoff

Bernard Madoff, arrested December 11 after allegedly confessing to running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, may now face jail pending his trial, as prosecutors say he violated a court agreement by mailing jewelry and other valuables worth more than $1 million to relatives and friends.Prosecutors say he violated an asset freeze by mailing the heirlooms to his brother, son, daughter-in-law, and friends, but Madoff's attorney called it an innocent mistake.

How to avoid investment schemes in the future

The money that victims of Madoff's alleged fraud may be able to recover by any of a variety of avenues is likely to be limited, and investors need to remember that there is no insurance for investment risk.

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