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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Electronic Security/ Identity Theft
credit monitoring

How to Protect Yourself When Your Social Security Number is Public Information

In the last few years, we've had data breaches at the IRS, grocery stores, retail stores and now a major credit bureau. After much thought, I've come to accept that my Social Security number is no longer private, and won't be for the rest of my life. In addition, because I care more about someone using my identity for financial gain than anyone else, it's up to me to monitor my financial ac...

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To Freeze or Not Freeze My Credit Report?

With the recent data breach at Equifax, a credit bureau company, you may be wondering whether you should freeze your credit report. I am one of the people Equifax has identified as "potentially impacted" by the data breach so I've been pondering my actions. First, what is a credit freeze? A credit freeze stops the credit bureau from releasing your credit report...

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Celebrate April: Taxes, Money Smart Week, Financial Literacy Month!

With the hint of spring in our gardens, I feel like we're moving out of the slow-moving pace of winter into the season of festivals, events and outdoor activities. On top of all these activities, April is National Financial Literacy Month, taxes are due, and Money Smart Week returns to our communities during the last week! As you can imagine, my calendar is filling up – maybe you'd like to add...

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SOCIAL SECURITY

How to Guard Your Social Security Number!

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about scams and what tasks you need to do right away if you become a victim . Recently my sister had her wallet stolen and unfortunately, her social security card was inside. According to the...

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Scam-Grams! Watch out!

Everyday someone falls victim to a scam or fraud. With the help of technology, scams happen more often each day. Recently a member of my family fell into a scam. She went to look for some help online with her printer, searched online for the phone number and called asking for help. After 45 minutes on the phone, the scammers installed software to "help" her printer and then asked her for $75. T...

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Why the Next Four Weeks are Critical to Filing Your Taxes

Death and Taxes - two things we can't avoid. I don't know about you but I really hate filing taxes. It is so much paperwork and time consuming, even when my paperwork is organized. I usually put it off until later, much, much later. What I have been reading lately about identity theft and stolen identity refund fraud is making me change my mind. Accordin...

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Maui 2015

Reflecting on 2015 ... Moving Forward in 2016

During the holidays I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Maui. As I walked along the beach, listening to the surf and marveling at the full rainbow over the ocean, I thought about where I am in my life and what I'd like to do in 2016. I believe in the value of reflecting on what we've done as well as setting goals for the future. In this mood, let's take a quick look at the Pla...

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tax time

Seven Things you can do NOW to Prepare for Tax Time.

It's tax time! I know it's only December and you'd rather do anything but think about filing your income taxes which aren't due until April 15 th 2016, but I am urging you to start preparing now and file as early as humanly possible. There are lots of reasons to begin your income taxes before the end of the year that could save you money. Making tax deductible contribu...

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Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

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NEW Twists on Scams and Identity Theft

Recently I heard an excellent presentation by Ella York, an attorney from the Illinois Attorney General's office. Identity theft is the #1 issue that is reported by consumers to the Illinois Attorney General's office. I appreciated Ms. York's well-thought out presentation and came away with several tips regarding protecting yourself from identity theft, and I thought you'd like to know them too...

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Minimize the Risk of Someone Using Your Identity

Recently identity theft has been in the news frequently. First, it seemed like one store's credit card database after another were breached. Now, government offices like the IRS online transcript service and the Office of Personnel Management's personnel files have been hacked! I feel like it is hard to know whether or not your identity is secure. I don't believe in being too paranoid about id...

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Son of a Breach!

With the news that JP Morgan Chase's breach of accounts was much larger than previously reported, millions of people and businesses are shaking their heads and wondering when this will all stop. It will not. Hackers have the upper hand and we mere mortals are at the mercy of those we entrust with our financial information. To be fair, the JP Morgan Chase breech...

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