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

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



Lawmakers preparing to protect military families from financial predators

Federal and state officials responsible for regulating lenders want to provide greater protection for military families' finances, according to an article in Military Times yesterday.  Lenders are skirting the edges of the law -- or defying it outright -- and lawmakers want it to stop.  They're calling for better financial education for service members and better laws to protect our military families.

The Library's Smart Investing project is planning a series of financial workshops on Redstone Arsenal, for both adults and teens.  Working with Army Community Services and Redstone Arsenal MWR's HIRED program for teens, we'll help military families get started with investment basics, budgeting, saving money, and preparing for retirement -- and more.  Check us out starting January!

Tired of marketing phone calls and mail?

If you'd like to cut down on telemarketers at dinnertime and marketing offers in your mailbox, consider these resources recommended by FINRA.

To place yourself on the telemarketing "Do Not Call" list, go to  donotcall.gov or call toll-free (888) 382-1222.

To reduce direct mail and email offers, go to dmachoice.org.

To let credit card companies know that you're not interested in "pre-screened" offers, go to optoutprescreen.com or call toll-free (888) 567-8688.
***NOTE: it's not required to give information beyond your name and address, although it asks for your SSN, date of birth, and phone number.

TheMint.org: It Makes "Cents" for Kids!


A few words about themint.org

Launched in 1997, the site provides tools to help parents as well as educators teach children to manage money wisely and develop good financial habits: the building blocks for a secure future. Given the current rate of savings and debt in America, this is a lesson that desperately needs to be learned.

Sections on this site have been designed for families. Most pages are written in a kid-friendly style so families can work together – or older children can work independently in learning money lessons. However, some sections have been developed exclusively for teachers and parents.

  • Ideas for Teachers contains activities to illustrate sound money-management concepts.
  • The Parents section provides tips for mentoring and nurturing children, to help them grow in financial responsibility. Some of these tips lay very simple groundwork and can be used before children start grade school.

We invite you and your family to explore this site. It will give you a fun and interactive way to learn about all the things people do with money: earning, saving, spending, investing, donating safeguarding, and borrowing.

Themint.org is endorsed by the American Library Association as a Great Web Site for Kids. More than 400 Web sites were evaluated based on their authorship, sponsorship, content, purpose, design and stability by the Association for Library Services to Children Great Web Sites Committee. Themint.org is one of 34 sites that meets the criteria and is honored with the Great Web Sites Seal of Approval. More information and links to other Great Sites for Kids can be found at www.ala.org/greatsites.

mint.org logo in color

For military families: a roadmap to less stress about money

Feeling a bit stressed when it comes to money?  Nearly two thirds of the U.S. military families feel the same way.  Good news: you can reduce your stress!  Military.com recently published this roadmap to working your way through your financial worries.

Starting January 2014, the Library is teaming up with Army Community Services on Redstone Arsenal to offer a series of classes and workshops geared towards personal finance mastery for military families.  Stay tuned for more information!


MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout the site, you will find important information from more than 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.  One featured article titled My Money Five is summarized below.

My Money Five

Making the most of your money starts with five building blocks for managing and growing your money -- The MyMoney Five. Keep these five principles in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.

The Five Principles

EARN – Make the most of what you earn by understanding your pay and benefits.

SAVE & INVEST - It’s never too early to start saving for future goals such as a house or retirement, even by saving small amounts.

PROTECT – Taking precautions about your financial situation, accumulate emergency savings, and have the right insurance.

SPEND – Be sure you are getting a good value, especially with big purchases, by shopping around and comparing prices and products.

 BORROW – Borrowing money can enable some essential purchases and builds credit, but interest costs can be expensive. And, if you borrow too much, you will have a large debt to be repaid.

For more insight about My Money Five or other financial information from this website go to MyMoney.gov


Jump start your retirement savings in 5 easy steps

According to Frank Paré, a certified financial planner and founder of PF Wealth Management Group LLC in Oakland, California, many people “are just really unsure of what the process is” to saving for retirement. Here is his simple 5 step process: 

  1. Forget yesterday. “Do not get caught up in what you haven’t done. It just creates this internal angst,” he said. “It’s time to focus on what you can do now.”
  2. Automate savings. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account, ideally into a savings account that’s harder to raid. Online-only banks, which often offer slightly better interest rates than traditional banks, usually entail a slower withdrawal process, which can be a good thing.
  3. Get to positive cash flow A workable savings strategy requires that you’re not overspending. Your next step is to track income and spending.
  4. Build your reserve. Your reserve account is essential to ensure that unexpected emergencies don’t waylay your finances, forcing you into high-cost credit-card debt or into pulling money out of tax-deferred retirement savings (depending on the circumstances, that can bring a tax hit and other penalties).
  5. Create buckets based on goals. Next, nail down your short- and long-term goals and allocate your money accordingly. “Start to attach goals to the money that you are setting aside,” Paré said. “Now that the reserve is built, perhaps the next goal is to build up a certain amount of money for your retirement.”

For more insight to Paré's steps read the full article at MarketWatch.com

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