Has Your Identity Been Compromised?

From FTC blog:

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.


Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.



There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused.

Retirement Security

What does retirement look like for you?   Do you see sandy beaches and a frozen drink in your hands or are you like many facing a retirement of continued work to make ends meet?  While Census figures indicate that retirees live an average of 20 years in retirement, the average nest egg saved for retirement would only cover approximately 3 years of pre-retirement expenses.  Whether you are just beginning your career or ending it, now is the time to plan for your golden years!

Retirement Security

October 4, 2017
5:00 - 8:00 pm
Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.  


Get great information on Social Security, estate planning and retirement funding, reverse mortgages and more.  Meet individually with CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) professionals, Medicare counselors, Estate Attorneys and more!  No strings attached.  Presentations and free resources will help you live well for as long as you live!

Schedule:

5:00 pm - 7:45 pm - Meet one on one with planners, Medicare counselors, estate attorneys.  Bring your questions!

5:30 pm - 6:15 pm - Retirement Security: Your Financial Planning Starter - speaker Bob Ponton, CFP(r) from Financial Planning Association of Hampton Roads

6:30 pm - 7:15 pm - Splitting Heirs: Control Your Finances from Cradle to Grave - speaker Ginny Brown, PC from Financial Planning Association of Hampton Roads

REGISTER for this free, no strings attached event.

Weather Policy

Inclement weather can show up any time of the year.  Because our Bank On Hampton Roads classes are offered multiple times throughout each month, if there is a weather event and you do not feel comfortable traveling to the class location, please check out the calendar of classes to find an alternate location for your class.  Please do not put yourself in danger to attend a Bank On Hampton Roads class.

Bank On Hampton Roads classes will be provided at their regular schedule UNLESS the libraries in that city are closed because of weather.  Most cities advertise the early closure of their public locations such as libraries, so it should be easy to determine if your class will be held at its regular time and location.

If you follow the Bank On Hampton Roads Facebook page, there will be an announcement of any class schedule change listed there as well.

Living Paycheck to Paycheck? You are NOT Alone!

Barely scraping by is becoming less of an isolated event and more of a way of life for Americans.  Recently, a study released by Careerbuilder.com indicated that 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  For these Americans, financial stress is common and employers should be concerned about the loss of productivity among their employee base.  If you are in this majority group of Americans, there is hope!  Bank On Hampton Roads can help you gain control of your monthly finances so that you can have more money to reduce debt and to build savings!

Living paycheck to paycheck is not limited to low-income Americans.  Nearly 10% of Americans earning more than $100,000 reported that they are living paycheck to paycheck.  As income ranges decrease there is an increase in the percentage of those living moment to moment.  28% of those earning 50K - 99K and 51% of people earning less than $50K usually or always live paycheck to paycheck.

Savings is the key to breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle, but 25% of workers indicate they are not setting aside ANY savings each payday and 56% percent save less than $100 per month.  It is clear that the majority don't have enough saved to cover emergencies much less periodic expenses, hence, we could be just one hiccup away from a real financial crisis!  Additionally, 18% of Americans surveyed indicated they have reduced their contributions to their 401(k) and 38% make no contribution at all!  Retirement is starting to look like a distant dream for many.

Finally, dependence on debt is increasing.  25% of Americans say they cannot make ends meet from month to month.  What does that mean?  When the going gets tough, the credit card comes out to tide us over.  71% of those surveyed indicated they are in debt and 56% believe they will always be in debt.

While the statistics paint a grim picture, Bank On Hampton Roads is here to help you avoid being a statistic.  In 10-months, you can increase savings, build credit and reduce debt with the help of a personalized coach and once per month classes.  Now is the time to take action!  New classes begin in September 2017 and best of all they are FREE!  Invest in yourself - sign up today!


Lessons from Hurricane Harvey

As this post is written, Hurricane Harvey is having some catastrophic impact on the people of Texas.  Texans are currently working through the financial impacts resulting from a natural disaster.  We can learn from the lessons of Harvey to protect ourselves against any future catastrophe.

Lesson 1:  Preparation
It isn't good enough to just have an insurance policy to protect against disaster.  Much of the devastation can be mitigated by some good advanced planning. While we know about common preparations like food, and water and knowing evacuation routes, here are some financial tips to help you in advance of a disaster:

A. Know your coverage:  Take time to review your insurance policy coverage so that you know what you are covered for.  Does your insurance policy include flooding?  Will your policy cover the replacement value (value of comparable item new) of lost items or fair market value (current value of used items)?

B. Documentation:  Do you have photos of your items to document their condition for an insurance claim?  You may want to consider uploading these photos to the cloud or other internet storage location to access after an event.

C.  Organization:  If you should need to evacuate, do you have important papers with you?  Beyond your insurance documents, you may want to organize your birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other vital records to go with you.  Bank On Hampton Roads has a checklist that might be a great tool to get started.

D.  Communication:  Discuss with family members where you plan to evacuate to in the event of a disaster and identify a key point of contact that does not live in your local area.  You may have a family member or good friend who could serve as a key contact in the event that people need to know where to find you or update friends and family after an evacuation.  Communication with one person will minimize the drain to cell batteries and communications may be spotty after a disaster.  Your friends and family will want to know you are safe and secure after an event.

E. Protect your stuff:  Think about how you might store your valued items that can't evacuate with you to protect them from damage.  If flooding is a potential, you may want to move items to a second floor to protect them.  You may also wrap items with plastic to minimize water damage.  Ahead of a disaster, it may be difficult to anticipate what will impact you most (wind, trees, loss of utilities, or water) but better to protect as much as possible.

F. Have an emergency fund:  This is a great reason to have a stash of cash.  Not only will you need funds during an evacuation, but the recovery process may mean time away from work and extra expenditures you may not have anticipated.  Even with a fantastic insurance policy, there will be deductibles to cover if you need to file a claim.  Also, in the aftermath of a storm, you may find that ATM's may be unavailable and some services may go to a cash only system if power is interrupted.

Lesson 2:  Getting out of harm's way

A. Know when to leave:  If your city management is giving you an evacuation recommendation, it is better to heed that evacuation and find out you were safe than to not leave and life through the devastation.  No one can replace you; your stuff is secondary.

B.  Communicate your plans:  Let your neighbors, family and friends know you are leaving and where they may be able to reach you.  If you have a disaster point of contact established let them know who is the primary contact.

C.  Plan for a period away:  Once evacuated it may be several days or a week or more before you may be able to safely return.  Plan to take items you need for a period of time.  This will include medicines, food supplies, bedding, children's activities and pet supplies.  Your emergency fund will be a great help if you need to stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants for a few days.

Lesson 3:  Return to normal
Returning to normal may be more of a process than an immediate action.  Depending on the damage encountered, recovery can take from a day or two to a year or two.  You may be living with an altered normal state for an extended period of time as you get back on your feet.

A.  Inventory damage:  As you return to your home after a disaster, you will want to begin to inventory the damage and file insurance claims.  Your photos will be a help for you.  You want to develop as complete a list as possible as you file your insurance claim.  If your damage is less than the deductible, you may need to bear that cost alone.

B.  FEMA:  If the area is declared a disaster area, FEMA funds may be released to help restore normalcy.  There will be FEMA stations set up; check your news or FEMA website to learn where you can speak to a FEMA representative to explore your options.

C.  IRS: There may be some losses may reduce your tax liability with the IRS and the IRS may offer extensions for filing taxes for certain disasters.  IRS has a Disaster Assistance page to give you general information about help you may receive.

C.  Other resources:  During the recovery phase of a disaster is where the community really comes together.  Neighbors offer assistance to neighbors, but additional resources from non-profits, churches and public resources may be needed to get back on your feet.  Bank On Hampton Roads' Resource Guide is a great place to start as you search for community resources to help you recover.

We never want to see our fellow Americans suffer disaster, but when disaster strikes we can learn lessons from people who have been there and avoid losses in future disasters.  In the meantime, if you would like to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, consider making a financial contribution to American Red Cross' fund for relief for people in the wake of this devastating storm.

Minding the gap: A practice in financial feminism

America Saves, a national campaign that promotes savings, notes significant differences in savings between men and women. A 2014 survey showed that women displayed a greater interest in savings, but there was no greater savings effort or savings effectiveness compared to men. But just two years later in the same survey, the gender gap leaps off the page. Women were notably behind across 12 important financial indicators including consumer debt, savings habits, emergency savings, and general savings progress.
As concerns continue to rise over American's often inadequate retirement and emergency savings, it's become clear that the gender disparity can no longer be pushed aside. 2017 has already been dubbed the year of "financial feminism," and the momentum behind understanding and dismantling the financial gender gap has been picking up speed in headlines.
The fight to close this financial gender gap is a marathon, not a sprint, and there's still a great deal of work to be done. The challenges women face are not going to disappear anytime soon, but the financial choices women make in their circumstances can help to shift the tide.
Here are three actions women can take today to better set themselves up for long-term success:
1. Identify your savings goals: Women are outperforming men in the stock market, but the impetus behind their success isn't solely to make money. Successful female investors are successful because they've established long-term goals and savings targets. This practice is by no means limited to investing. In fact, savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully for things like retirement.
Think about what motivates you to save, and create concrete and realistic savings goals around that motivation.
2. Prioritize retirement savings: Enroll in any retirement options offered at your workplace and start making contributions as early and as often as possible. If your employer offers a match and you're not taking advantage of it, you are leaving money on the table.
If your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan, or a plan that works well for you, you can save for retirement by putting money in an individual retirement account (or IRA) or opening a myRA retirement savings account through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Compound interest will maximize your savings over time, helping to make retirement comfortable and ultimately combat the expenses of that longer lifespan. Learn more about IRAs and the different types here.
3. Ask for help: Don't miss out on opportunities to dig yourself out of a financial hole or enhance your financial literacy because of shame or unfamiliarity. Whether you are up to your ears in high-interest debt, tackling retirement savings, getting a divorce, or expanding your family, there are local and national resources, like the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) or the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), available to help educate and support you on your unique financial journey. Not sure if you're In debt trouble? Find out by answering these four simple questions.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

Declare Your Independence!

July 20,2017

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The most important thing you can do with your money is to give it a plan.  After all, if you don't tell your money where to go, you'll always be asking where it went.  Whether you call it a budget, a spending plan or a money map, having a plan for how you spend money will allow you to declare your independence and set you free to actually enjoy it!

This workshop will teach you how to identify where your money goes, track personal spending, find everyday ways to save and develop a personal plan that will allow you to take control of your dollars.

Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452


This event is made possible through a partnership with:

Detonate Your Debt!

Detonate Your Debt!
August 12, 2017
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Do you want to build your credit score so that you can get lower interest rates and better deals?  It all starts with obtaining your annual credit report.  At this event, you can obtain your annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com with the assistance of financial coaches. These coaches can help you review your credit report and identify key steps you can take to improve YOUR credit.

Looking to get out of debt faster?  Attend our workshop on building a Debt Snowball to accelerate your repayment and live the debt-free life!  Also, visit our POWERPAY station and set up your own account at www.powerpay.org to create your own debt snowball.  

Workshops:
  • 2:00 pm – Your Legal Rights in Negotiating with Creditors – 
    • speaker: Christopher Galloway, Legal Aid of Society of Eastern Virginia
  • 3:30 pm – Building Better Credit – 
    • speaker: Karen Munden, Virginia Cooperative Extension
This event is offered for free in partnership with Financial Planning Association of Hampton Roads, Bank on Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach Libraries, and Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union.

Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452


New Classes forming for April 2017

Your free financial makeover is just around the corner!  In 10 months you may see better credit, more savings and less debt with the help of Bank On Hampton Roads.  Each month you attend one class and then meet with a coach to help you apply your classroom instruction to your personal situation.  What are you waiting for?  Registration is open.  Sign up today?  Its free!