Mind Your Money


Welcome to the library's multi-author blog and associated resources for increased financial literacy. This program is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association

Join this blog to be notified by email of new posts or add the RSS feed to your aggregator to subscribe. Find us on Facebook, too.

For questions or comments about this program, please send email to mym [at] hmcpl [dot] org.



The Average Woman: How Does Your Spending Compare?

Do you ever feel a pang of guilt when you hand over $4 for a fancy coffee? Do you have an internal rule for how much is too much to spend on shoes?
True: There's no such thing as normal when it comes to spending -- money is about choices, and if you create a healthy budget that allows for your financial goals, everyday costs and lifestyle expenses, you should spend on what you intend to and feel good about it.
But that doesn't mean we're not curious about how other people spend their money!
Read the rest at

Americans Flopped This Personal Finance Quiz. Can You Do Better?

Only 14 percent of Americans correctly answered all five questions in a survey of financial literacy that was released May 30, 2013. Keep reading to the bottom of this article to see if you can do better.
Read the rest at

The Consumer Finance Watchdog Is Having an Impact

In the year and a half since opening its doors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has hired more than 1,000 staffers, collected 90,000 consumer complaints, and begun supervising many of the 153 banks under its authority.
Read the rest at

Free Credit Scores for Military Families from FINRA

Good news for military families striving to build or repair their credit!

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is pleased to make FICO® credit scores—and the educational information and tools in the FICO Standard product—available free of charge to active duty servicemembers and their spouses who could benefit from its use.

Please note that FINRA requires going through the financial counseling office of your military center.  At Redstone Arsenal, contact:

Kathleen Riester
Financial Readiness Program Manager
Army Community Service
kathleen [dot] k [dot] riester [dot] civ [at] mail [dot] mil

She also offers free personal budget counseling for the military community, including civilians working at Redstone.  This is an excellent resource -- make the most of it!

Air Force Boots

President Obama's myRA Retirement Plan

In his recent State of the Union Address President Obama introduced "MyRA", a government retirement account option that will help millions of Americans start saving for retirement. Class instructor Dorla Evans has sent these links to help us understand the new program:

From BusinessWeek:

The myRA savings account is intended for the roughly half of U.S. workers who don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. It’s a government-run account that will earn the same fluctuating interest rate as the Thrift Savings Plan Government Securities Investment Fund available to federal employees. Contributions, which will be deducted from after-tax pay, won’t be taxed on withdrawal. The purpose is to get people started on a lifetime of savings. Once an account reaches $15,000 it will be rolled over into a private-sector Roth IRA. The myRA plan is so new that some people in Washington are still pronouncing it like the woman’s name. It’s actually three syllables, a play on “I-R-A.”

From CNN Money:

Who can open a myRA? The accounts are targeted at the millions of low- and middle-income Americans who don't have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. That includes roughly half of all workers and 75% of part-time workers.


How will the account work? The account will function as a Roth IRA, which allows savers to invest after-tax dollars and withdraw the money in retirement tax-free.


How much can I invest? Initial investments can be as low as $25 and workers can contribute as little as $5 at a time through automatic payroll deductions. Like a traditional Roth account, savers will be allowed to contribute up to $5,500 a year under current limits.


What kind of returns can I expect? While the accounts will offer a safe place for many first-time retirement savers to put their money, they shouldn't expect big returns.


Will this help solve the retirement savings crisis? Retirement advocates are cheering the new savings program as an important step. But no one thinks this alone will fix the fact that millions of Americans have little-to-no retirement savings.

What you know about investing in retirement may be wrong

You probably know the conventional wisdom: People just entering retirement should have a big portion of their savings—say, 40% to 60%—invested in stocks to help their nest egg grow over time. And as they age, all but the wealthiest should gradually reduce their equity exposure to protect against 2008-style market declines. 

Actually, those who reduce their equity exposure right after retiring and then gradually raise it are less likely to run out of money, says The Journal of Financial Planning. Read more from The Wall Street Journal...

Thanks to Dorla Evans, one of our class instructors, for the tip!

Syndicate content