Business & Economy
Personal Finance Article: High School Grads Need to Understand Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Steve Burke   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:30

By Jason Alderman

If you've got a recent high school graduate who's getting ready to head off to college or join the workforce, let me share a few lessons I learned the hard way about managing personal finances that you can pass along to your kids.

Young adults are just starting to build their credit history. In the coming months they'll probably encounter many unfamiliar expenses – and many financial temptations. If they're not careful, a few ill-thought decisions made now could damage their credit for years to come.

Here are several actions your kids can take to build good financial habits and strong credit – and a few minefields to watch out for:

Probably the most fundamental tool to for young adults to help manage their finances is a basic checking account and debit card. A few tips to pass along:

  • Look for a bank/credit union that charges no monthly usage fee, doesn't require minimum balances and has conveniently located ATMs so you don't rack up out-of-network ATM charges.
  • Enter all transactions in the check register and review your account online regularly to know when deposits, checks, purchases and automatic payments have cleared.
  • Don't write checks or make debit card purchases unless the current balance will cover them – many transactions now clear instantaneously.
  • Banks must ask whether you want overdraft protection. If you opt for coverage, understand that overdrafts can be expensive – up to $35 or more per transaction.
  • Request text or email alerts when your balance drops below a certain level, checks or deposits clear, or payments are due.

Credit cards for young adults can be a useful tool, but they must be used responsibly. By law, people under 21 must have a parent or other responsible adult cosign credit card accounts unless they can prove sufficient income to repay the debt. If you allow your child to become an authorized user or joint account holder on one of your accounts, remember that any account activity, good or bad, goes on both your credit reports, so careful monitoring is critical.

Another way to build credit history is to start out with a "secured" credit card – a card linked to an account into which you deposit money. Typically you can charge up to the amount you've deposited and then replenish the account with more funds.

After they've made several on-time payments, have your kid ask the lender to convert it to an unsecured card, or to at least add an unsecured amount to the account. Just make sure that the lender agrees to report your payment history to at least one of the three credit bureaus; otherwise, the account does nothing to improve your credit.

If they qualify for an unsecured credit card, have your kids follow these guidelines:

  • Always make at least the minimum payment – on time – each month.
  • Strive to pay off the full balance each month; otherwise, the accumulated interest will add significantly to your repayment amount.
  • Avoid using credit cards for cash advances, which often incur upfront fees and begin accruing interest immediately.
  • Look for a card with no annual fee and also compare cash advance, late payment, balance transfer, over-the-limit and other fees.

For more tips on building and maintaining strong credit, visit What's My Score, a financial literacy program for young adults run by Visa Inc. (www.whatsmyscore.org).

 
Bank workers fired over federal regulations, Grassley pursues answers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:17
Friday, August 31, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is looking into the enforcement of federal regulations that are meant to protect consumers from financial fraud but might be penalizing bank employees for old, minor infractions that are not a threat to current financial consumers.  The Des Moines Register reported that Wells Fargo has fired workers including a 68-year-old customer service representative in Des Moines for putting a cardboard dime in a washing machine 49 years ago.  Grassley’s staff has had an initial conversation with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the agency that promulgated the rule, to learn more.  His staff has asked the agency for a briefing to cover the topic in more depth, especially regarding allegations that banks including Wells Fargo are seeking waivers from the regulation for executives but simply firing low-level employees rather than pursue waivers for them.  Grassley also wants to know whether the firing of individuals for minor infractions, such as the washing machine incident, was an unintended consequence of the rules.  Grassley’s staff also contacted Wells Fargo for a briefing on how the bank is implementing the rules.

 

Sen. Grassley comment:

“I intend to get to the bottom of how these rules can be applied fairly.  The intent of the law was to go after those who posed a potential danger to the financial system, not to target employees who may have committed petty crimes that are decades-old.  Congress gave the FDIC the responsibility to write these regulations.  We have a responsibility to make sure the rules make sense and have their intended effect of protecting the general public.”

 
AS ROMNEY ACCEPTS NOMINATION: Quad City Residents to Call on Bobby Schilling to Reject Romney Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by ActionNow.org   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:26

Voters to Demand That Representative Schilling Backs an Economy That Works for the 99% -- And An End to Outsourcing, Healthcare Cuts and Corporate Tax Breaks

 

 

(Quad Cities, IL) – On Thursday evening, as Mitt Romney accepts the Republican party’s presidential nomination, local citizens who are calling themselves “99% voters” - low wage workers, seniors, community activists, students and more - will roundly reject the Romney Economy.

 

Cynthia Rivers and Sandra Leathers are best friends and among the laid-off and low-wage workers who have just returned from protesting the Romney Economy at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

 

“I tried to meet and speak with my Congressman Bobby Schilling about these severe Medicare cuts, but was never granted a face-to-face meeting,” says Rivers. “I’ve been to his office twice. I want him to stand with me and the 99% instead of his wealthy friends and colleagues.”

 

As part of a nationwide movement rejecting “Mr. 1% -- and any members of Congress who also cater to the 1% at the expense of the 99% -- these citizens will speak out against the elements of the Romney Economy that are dangerous to the working and middle class. They will call on Romney and other Republicans – especially Representative Bobby Schilling – to reject outsourcing, tax breaks for the rich coupled with take hikes for the middle class, cuts to education and healthcare funding.

 

“I marched in the street and rallied at the RNC event in Tampa. Now I want to speak with Congressman Bobby Schilling about how to make the economy work for everyone, not just the richest 1%,” explains Leathers.

 

WHAT: Say No to a Romney Economy

WHERE: Republican GOP Headquarters

1721 5th Avenue #100 in Moline, Illinois

WHEN: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, August 30, 2012

WHO: The 99%: low- wage workers, community activists, students and more

 

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5 Tips for Setting Up Shop in Paradise PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:14
Entrepreneur Shares How He Traded Suit & Tie
for Flip-Flops & Cut-Off Jeans

Dreams come true, but not through wishful thinking, says John Berglund, a corporate executive turned “flip-flop perfumer.”

After successful careers as an attorney, lobbyist, trade-association executive and bowling industry magnate, Berglund tired of the corporate rat race.  He was also tired of winters bundled in layers of long johns, shoveling snow.

“Everybody has their own version of paradise,” says the author of A Beach Less Traveled: From Corporate Chaos to Flip-Flop Perfumer, (www.abeachlesstraveled.com). “Whether it’s New York City, the Great Smokey Mountains or my personal favorite, the French-Caribbean island of St. Martin, paradise is within reach – with a little planning.”

An essential part of that was deciding what to do for a living once he got there. Berglund would embark on his new career path as a perfumer with his wife of more than 30 years, Cyndi. How did he do it? He shares the strategies that worked – and some that didn’t.

• Dream big … and do it: Berglund remembers sunning on a pristine beach with his wife, listening to the gentle sounds of wind and turquoise seawater lapping on the shore. When Cyndi heard him order an adult beverage in French, she shook his arm to wake him for the morning commute to work … in the dead of winter in Wisconsin. He was dreaming – literally. “I’d always had a high standard of living, which I’ve enjoyed, but it was time for me to risk a completely foreign scenario – in terms of business and lifestyle – and follow this dream.”

• Business trends: Boutique perfumeries are where boutique wineries were three decades ago – they’re personal, fun and interactive, Berglund says. They’re not just about walking into a store and choosing a bottle from a shelf. He offers his customers a hands-on experience customizing their scents, and by using local ingredients, he offers visitors a meaningful souvenir of their stay. Berglund envisions his new business as a model at several vacation destinations.

• Fortitude amid real-world challenges: A dream is the spark to the journey, but moving to St. Martin, where the natives speak French and Dutch, and starting a business takes work. The hurdles for Berglund included the search for property, anxiety on closing the property deal, remodeling, acclimating to life there, obtaining a business license, moving and the language barrier. “These problems may be deal-breakers for many people, but part of the excitement of doing anything worthwhile is the fact that it’s not easy,” he says.

• A history of business sense: Creating an unprecedented cottage industry may seem like a long shot layered in wishful thinking. “But this isn’t my first rodeo,” Berglund says. “I’ve made several career moves throughout my life, and no matter how unlikely, I always came out okay.” He acknowledges, however, that he was in the right phase of his life to pull off such a change. Plan and prepare so you’re ready for change, he says. Risk is involved.

• Loved ones: Even though Berglund’s children were grown and he was capable of achieving his dream, he needed to make sure Cyndi was on board. “You can do all the planning and troubleshooting that is necessary for a dream to work, but the one thing that can change the minds of the most passionate is the opposition of a loved one,” he says. “It’s worth a discussion with your family early in the planning process.”

About John Berglund

John Berglund began his career as the chief county prosecutor at age 24 and then transitioned into a lobbyist and trade-association executive. Another career shift led him to being voted the bowling industry’s most influential person for a decade. He followed his passion for chemistry, which he studied in college, and left the “rat race” for his Caribbean perfumery in St. Martin. Berglund lives with his wife of more than 30 years, Cyndi, who has significantly contributed to his dream job in paradise. The couple has two grown children.

 
Local Retailer Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home Explains How Cooperatives Make a Difference PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Douglas Patch   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:06

Thursday, August 30, 2012 (Davenport, IA) As a local Davenport area business and a member of a cooperative, Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home helps explain how cooperatives can be beneficial to business owners and consumers alike. 2012 has been named the International Year of the Cooperative by the United Nations to draw attention and raise awareness around cooperative enterprises.

Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is a part of the largest cooperative of flooring retailers in North America. As a member of the Carpet One Floor & Home cooperative, they are able to benefit from economies of scale when making purchases, advertising, merchandising their  stores and even training their employees — all while maintaining their autonomy as a local business.

Because Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home benefits from their membership in a cooperative, they are able to provide their customers the value they’re looking for without losing the personal touch of a local business.

“Our membership in the Carpet One Floor & Home cooperative has helped us remain competitive with big-box stores and survive through a rough economy,” said Douglas Patch, of Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home. “We don’t have to give up our independence, but we still have someone to lean on when we need advice or support.”

There are several types of cooperatives. Carpet One Floor & Home is a Purchasing & Shared Services cooperative, but another familiar type of cooperative is a consumer cooperative. Many people are familiar with local food co-ops. There are also producer co-ops like those formed by growers and worker co-ops where the workers actually own the business.

Participating in or purchasing from cooperative businesses helps to keep more money in the local community. Local business owners are more likely to reinvest in the community and donate time to local causes.

Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home would like to help spread the word about the International Year of the Cooperative and help educate consumers on the benefits of participating in and purchasing from cooperatives. “Customers aren’t surprised to find that we offer better service than big-boxes, but they are often surprised that we can give them the same value,” says Douglas Patch.

To learn more about the International Year of the Cooperative visit their website at http://social.un.org/coopsyear/index.html and join Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home in spreading the word about cooperatives at Facebook.com/ChooseACoop.

About Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home
Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is a locally owned flooring retailer serving the Davenport area. They are part of North America’s leading floor covering co-op. Their showroom is known for carrying a broad selection of beautiful carpet, wood, laminate, ceramic, vinyl, and area rugs including exclusive brands like Bigelow and Lees. They offer a unique customer experience with the exclusive SelectAFloor merchandising system that simplifies the shopping experience and The Beautiful GuaranteeTM, which guarantees that the customer will be 100% happy with their floor. Northwest Carpet One Floor & Home is also the home of the exclusive Healthier Living Installation system. For more information visit NORTHWESTCARPETONEDAVENPORT.COM.

 
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