Volume 4 #5
Spare Change:                                                                         687,000 tons of     Medicare premium...

             atural disasters such as hurricanes   lower your homeowner’s insurance premium.
vehicle to burn too much gasoline.
                                                  Consolidate trips. Reduce drive time ...
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Freedom Debt Relief ~ Over Draft Protection : Good Or Bad


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The term “bounce” or “bouncing” can refer to fun children’s games or a cute newborn baby. However, when the word bounce is used to describe a check, negative thoughts may come to mind.

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Freedom Debt Relief ~ Over Draft Protection : Good Or Bad

  1. 1. Volume 4 #5 Overdraft Protection: Good or Bad? • Spare Change Recent Grads Face Bleak Economy • Money-Saving Gas Tips Are You Financially Prepared for a Disaster? Summertime Tips To Keep Cool & Save Money Welcome to the Freedom Debt Relief monthly newsletter! As part of our ongoing goal to enhance our services, we will be sending you a monthly newsletter filled with interesting articles and helpful financial tips and advice. We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you find the enclosed 1-800-655-6303 information helpful as you continue on the road to financial freedom. Overdraft Protection: Good or Bad? T he term “bounce” or “bouncing” can charge an annual fee or cash advance fee for this these programs, but the new proposal does not refer to fun children’s games or a cute service. With most overdraft protection plans, require banks to obtain permission to “opt-in” newborn baby. However, when the banks usually deduct money from the linked the overdraft programs before enrolling account word bounce is used to describe a check, negative account in certain increments. For example, if holders in the systems. thoughts may come to mind. your account is about to be overdrawn by $10, According to a recent Center for Responsible Let’s face it. Most of us have inadvertently your bank may still take $50 from a line of Lending (CRL) survey, consumers want, but miscalculated our checking account or forgotten credit. Therefore, banks encourage you to spend are not getting the choice of whether or not about an automatic deduction. It can happen and borrow more money than you really need. their checking account will include a fee-based to even the most budget-conscious individuals. Much controversy surrounds the issue of overdraft loan feature. Interestingly enough, Unfortunately, these simple oversights may have overdraft loan products. As you may know, even respondents to the survey reported that they resulted in an overdrawn account and costly fees. if you do not have a linked account for overdraft would overwhelmingly prefer that their debit According to the Center for Responsible Lending protection, banks will still allow you to overdraw transaction be denied at the checkout counter (CRL), a $100 overdraft with a $34 fee has an your account when you make check payments, if approving it would cost them a $34 fee. The APR of 884% if the overdraft lasts 2 weeks. withdraw money from an automated teller CRL survey also found that 16% of In addition, your bank may also charge you a machine, or use a debit card. respondents pay 71% of overdraft daily fee, averaging $2 to $5, for each day your Then, they routinely fees. account has a negative balance charge overdraft Keep in mind that overdraft Overdraft protection may help you avoid some fees. Legislation was protection is intended to help you out in case you accidentally of these fees and aggravation associated with recently proposed in overdraw your checking account bounced checks. You usually have to sign up for an attempt to end this once in awhile. According to this service and have an additional account with practice. However, Bankrate.com, banking your bank. If your account becomes overdrawn, representatives from experts estimate that overdraft protection kicks in and obtains funds five major consumer approximately 50% of from a savings or checking account, a credit card, advocacy groups are consumers that have or a home equity line of credit. Because of your disappointed with overdraft protection use limited access to credit, you may consider using the outcome issued it every month. If you find an additional checking or savings account for by the Office of Thrift yourself using this service this overdraft protection. Supervision, the Federal frequently, you may consider When it comes time to re-establish your credit, Reserve Board, and the keeping better track of your you may want to reconsider using a credit card or National Credit Union expenses. Our tips on how to balance line of credit for overdraft protection. Bankrate. Administration concerning bank your checkbook listed below may help com states that consumers may incur 18 percent overdraft loan products. The new you bounce less checks and use overdraft or more in interest when they use credit for proposal will require banks that allow protection as little as possible. overdraft protection. Some banks may also overdrafts to provide a right to opt out of Tips on Balancing Your Checkbook of us have busy schedules. $When shopping or running errands, keep all receipts in your wallet or another convenient $Check your account balance on a regular basis. place. Log all expenses in your checkbook Take advantage of services such as online and when you have a free moment. This is telephone banking. Also, contact your bank especially important if you use your debit card to see if they offer any type of automatic alert frequently. service. Your bank may be able to alert you via phone or e-mail if your account falls below a $Mark all of your automatic deductions in your certain amount. calendar. These can be easy to forget since most
  2. 2. Spare Change: 687,000 tons of Medicare premiums, health care, utility bills, paper would be and in-home services. For more information on saved every year this program, visit www.BenefitsCheckUp.org. News, financial tips, and other – enough to circle the Earth Consumers are owed free credit information regarding personal 239 times. reporting. TransUnion recently announced financial freedom that it will soon begin providing eligible U.S. Web consumers up to nine months of free credit site allows monitoring and related services. The offering Study reveals that consumers seniors to search for assistance. A is part of a preliminary settlement of a class still cling to paper statements. A action lawsuit that has been pending for many significant amount of the elderly population, new report released today by Javelin Strategy years and arose from a business TransUnion especially those with limited incomes and & Research examines green banking issues, discontinued in 2001. The Class includes resources, are living in poverty. For example, including consumer habits, green banking individuals who had an open credit account some 5 million seniors experience some form of behaviors and recommendations for financial or an open line of credit from a credit grantor food insecurity. Many others struggle everyday institutions seeking to attract environmentally (including, for instance automobile loans, bank with meeting their basic needs. The National conscious consumers. Researchers found that credit cards, department store credit cards, Council on Aging’s (NCOA) BenefitsCheckUp® although most consumers expressed an interest other retail store credit cards, finance company strives to change that. Through its free, in adopting green banking behaviors, three out loans, mortgage loans, and student loans) confidential online service, Americans 55 years of four consumers still receive paper statements. located in the United States anytime from and older can determine if they qualify for help According to Javelin, if every U.S. household January 1, 1987 to May 28, 2008. with the costs of groceries, prescription drugs, stopped receiving paper bills and statements, Obtain health insurance. Because you are no longer a full-time student, many health Recent Grads insurance plans will not cover you under your parent’s insurance. If you secured a job with a company that offers health coverage, consider Face Bleak Economy joining their group plan. In most cases, it is less expensive than an individual plan. Keep in mind that most companies have a designated probationary period before you are eligible for R ecently, many young adults have you may want to obtain renter’s insurance, as health insurance. In the meantime, you may graduated from college and are getting many leases require it. Landlords usually have want to contact a local insurance agent for more ready to make the transition from insurance on the building, but not your personal information on temporary or short-term health college life to the “real world.” Unfortunately, a belongings. coverage. recent data report from Demos, a public policy organization, indicates that this generation of Control credit card debt. According Develop a plan to pay student young adults may be the first not to surpass the to Truth About Credit (www.truthaboutcredit. loans. According to statistics from the National living standards of their parents. Factors such org), a student public interest research group, Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the average as declining incomes, growing debt, the high college students are graduating with an average student loan debt among graduating seniors is cost of homeownership and healthcare costs all of close to $4,000 in credit card debt. If you have $19,237. Because many students defer payments impact this prediction. Below are some tips for obtained a student credit card(s) during college, while attending school, this may be the first young adults as they begin to make important consider establishing a plan to reduce your debt. time that they see how much their education financial decisions in the current economy. If Refrain from using credit to charge expenses such really costs. Although it may take time to pay you are a recent graduate, congratulations and as food and gas, unless you are able to pay the off your student loans, you may have options we hope this information helps you launch the balance in full each month. if you are not able to make payments. Contact next chapter of your life. As for parents, use these your lender immediately to see if you qualify for tips to guide your son or daughter in the right a forbearance or deferment. Avoid defaulting on direction or pass this article on to them. your student loans because it may result in wage garnishment or the inability to obtain additional Find a place to live. Although it may student loans to further your education in the not be an ideal situation, you may consider living future. at home temporarily until you are able to save enough money for your own place. Transportation has hidden costs. Your job location will also influence where Many young grads are eager to purchase a new you live. If you must rent an apartment or a vehicle. Be careful not to take on more of a car house, this cost will probably consume the payment than you can afford. If you are under majority of your income. According to a study 25, you will probably pay premium insurance from the Center for American Progress, more rates because of your age. Also, some apartment Helpful Sites for Grads young people are considered “housing burdened” buildings and cities require you to purchase because they are paying more than 30% of pre- parking passes. You may want to consider public tax income on rent. • www.youcandealwithit.com transportation if it fits into your work schedule. Realize that living on your own not only It may not be as convenient as driving your • www.creditcardnation.com involves rent and housing costs, but you will own car, but it may help you to save money also have to pay for items such as food, cleaning • www.finaid.org on gas, insurance, and car payments. In fact, products, and other incidentals that you may in large metropolitan cities such as Chicago have taken for granted while living at home. • www.youngmoney.com and New York, owning a car may be more of a Consider renting with roommates or friends to disadvantage. defray some of the housing expenses. As a renter,
  3. 3. A N atural disasters such as hurricanes lower your homeowner’s insurance premium. Summertime Tips To can cause devastating damage. According to the Insurance Information Hurricane season recently began on Institute (III), it is a good idea to make sure you Keep Cool & Save Money June 1 and runs through November 30. Experts have enough insurance to rebuild your home at the NOAA Climate Predication Center are and replace all of your personal belongings. A s the temperature rises during the projecting a 65% chance that the Atlantic You may also want to consult your insurance summer months, air conditioners hurricane season will be above normal this year. company about Additional Living Expenses unleash comfortable cool air, AIR Worldwide Corporation, a leading risk (ALE) coverage, which pays for the additional soothing people from the scorching heat. modeling company that helps clients manage costs of living away from home such as hotel This modern day convenience seems the financial impact of catastrophes and weather, bills and restaurant meals while your house is impossible for most people to live without... report that hurricanes and earthquakes have the being repaired or rebuilt. until the electric bill arrives. The ideas listed potential to cause approximately $500 billion Fires may affect any home, so installing smoke below may help you reduce your electric bill of total economic losses. Although it may not detectors may be a good idea. The American Red this summer so your balance does not heat be possible to completely protect yourself from Cross recommends that you contact your local up with the weather. the wrath of mother nature, below are some fire department to see if they make free house precautions and valuable information that may calls. In some cities, a fireman may visit your Contact your utility company for help you recoup a portion of your loses if you home to evaluate your property and make fire information about money saving energy are a victim of a natural disaster. safety suggestions. plans. Most energy companies offer budget payment options. In most budget Visit www.ready.gov, the plans, your utility company will bill you According to the Federal Emergency official web site of the U.S. Department of in equal monthly amounts, which results Management Agency (FEMA), flooding Homeland Security (DHS), for a printable in more consistent payments. These is the number one natural hazard. Many emergency supply list. In addition to items plans allow you to budget your money people have the like prescriptions so you will not receive any surprisingly misconception that and non-perishable high bills. Any overpayments are usually their homeowners food, USHS also credited to your next bill. insurance will cover recommends that flood damage; you include copies of If you are experiencing a hardship that however, it does insurance polices and prevents you from paying your electric not. In fact, FEMA bank account records bill, you may qualify for energy assistance indicates that only in a waterproof plans based on your income level. It is 25 percent of the 10 container. Although essential for you to frequently update million homes that you may be on a your utility company on your situation. lie within high flood budget, you may In most cases, they will be willing to risk zones carry consider keeping work with you without interrupting your flood insurance. In a small amount of service. order to obtain flood cash on hand or a insurance, you must live in one of the 20,000 small roll of quarters in case phone lines are If you are purchasing a new air communities that participates in the National down and you have to use the pay phone. For conditioning unit, select an energy- Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a component insurance reasons, you may also want to make a efficient model. Although they may of FEMA that handles flood insurance, list of your valuables. The Insurance Information cost more, it will save you money on floodplain management, and flood hazard Institute also recommends consumers visit the your monthly electric bills. Visit www. mapping. For useful information about flood site www.knowyourstuff.org to download free energystar.gov for more details. insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov, the official home inventory software. web site of NFIP. Use this resource to determine Install a programmable thermostat. This your area’s flood risk, estimate your premium, device may help you adjust settings to and helpful FAQ’s concerning flood insurance. FEMA offers many assistance keep your house warmer than normal programs to those affected by disasters. Visit when you are out and cooler when you are www.fema.gov and click on the “Apply for home. Depending on which disaster Assistance” link to familiarize yourself with is more likely to strike in your geographical the procedures. Depending on the type of Protect room air conditioners from direct area, take steps to reduce the risk of damage. emergency situation, you may qualify for a sunlight. If the unit does not feel hot, it For example, if you live in an area that is number of their programs including Disaster will not have to work as hard. prone to hurricanes, install hurricane shutters Legal Services, Disaster Unemployment on your windows. In regions that experience Assistance Program, and the Emergency Food Contact your utility company for any free earthquakes, secure objects like bookcases that and Shelter Program. Your local branch of the maintenance or check-up services for air could easily fall. You may also want to consult American Red Cross may also provide you conditioners. You may also try to install a building inspector for suggestions on home with basic needs such as food and clothing new filters in your unit. repairs that could prepare your home for a immediately following a disaster. Visit www. disaster. Certain home improvements may also redcross.org for more information.
  4. 4. vehicle to burn too much gasoline. Consolidate trips. Reduce drive time and keep needless miles off the odometer by Do not completely fill your gas tank. A finding one location in which you can bank, gallon of gas weighs about 6.2 lbs. If you grocery shop, and run errands. Visit www. have a 20 gallon tank, you are carrying an aaafuelcostcalculator.com to calculate road extra 124 lbs of weight at fill-up. The extra trip costs. weight affects your mileage and adds wear and tear to the vehicle. Comparison shop. Find the best gas price with the help of Gas Buddy (www.gasbuddy. Keep your tires inflated. A third of all com), a web site in which local price watchers vehicles have one improperly inflated tire. post current prices in your area. It is frugal For every pound per square inch (PSI) that to shop for the lowest possible price, but do your tires are under-inflated, you are lowering not waste gas by traveling to a distant filling Money-Saving Gas Tips your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent per tire. station just to save a few cents. Multiply that number by four and that could equal a lot of wasted fuel. Slow down. The faster a vehicle travels, the A ccording to the American Automobile more gas it burns. Driving faster than posted Lighten the load. Do not haul extra weight Association (AAA), the current national speed limits is also dangerous and increases in the passenger compartment, trunk, or average price for regular gasoline is stress. Leave enough time to reach your cargo area of your vehicle. A heavier vehicle $4.06 at the time of this printing. The Energy destination at a proper speed. uses more gasoline. Information Administration predicts that the average will peak at $4.15 in August. Below Avoid quick starts and sudden stops. Check your vehicle owner’s manual. If your are some helpful tips to help you conserve fuel This wastes fuel and wears out vehicle vehicle does not require premium or mid- during this difficult time. components. You may also increase your grade fuel, purchase less expensive regular chances of having a traffic accident. unleaded gas. Leave the gas guzzler at home. Do you have more than one vehicle? Is one of them Maintain your vehicle. Keep moving Carpool when possible. If commuting is a truck, SUV, or van? If so, use the more components lubricated and get regular tune- costing you a bundle in gas, consider sharing fuel-efficient vehicle as often as possible. ups to ensure your ignition and emission a ride at www.erideshare.com. This web site If you plan on making a vehicle purchase, systems are operating properly. This routine allows you to search for local commuters remember that fuel prices are part of the maintenance will help your vehicle achieve that are going the same route or you may total cost of vehicle ownership. It may be maximum fuel economy and extend its post your own listing. All services are free of more cost-effective to choose small energy- life. Poorly maintained spark plugs or charge. conserving vehicles. malfunctioning fuel sensors can cause your 1875 South Grant Street Suite 400 San Mateo, CA 94402 Phone: (800) 655-6303 FAX: (650) 897-8800