Money Talks

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Money Talks: Save Cash To Invest

Do you need to save money on your regular expenses to have money to invest for retirement?

We'll share some money saving tips from AARP's 99 Great Ways to Save and our expert, Ryder Taff will comment.

Reimbursed ATM Fees:      Most online banks and some traditional banks will reimburse you for fees incurred when you use another bank's ATM. That can save you an average of $4.68 per transaction.

Hire a Haggler:    Not a negotiator? Companies like Billfixers and Billshark will haggle with your cable TV company or other service providers in exchange for a cut of your first year or two of savings. Billfixers says it saves clients $300 a year.

Property Tax Breaks:  Many states offer property tax breaks for homeowners over 65, including rebates, caps on assessed value, and tax-rate or assessment freezes.  In Mississippi: Persons 65 years or older and persons who are totally disabled, who are otherwise eligible for homestead exemption, are exempt from taxes on the first $75,000 of true value on their home.

Go All In on 401(k)s:  One-quarter of the workers employed at companies offering 401(k) plans don't take advantage of the full company match of the first few percent invested in the plans. That means they are missing out on an average of $1,336 in free money annually.

Mortgage Magic:         A 30-year $300,000 mortgage at 4 percent costs $1,432 a month. But if you pay $716 every two weeks, you can cut interest payments by $34,000 over the life of the loan.

Credit Card Rewards:          Stay on top of your points and use them before they lose value. Don't waste the cash or credits.

Get Savings Matched:                   Individual development accounts are designed to help people of modest means buy a house or start a business. Some programs provide up to $4 for every $1 you save. Go to to find community organizations that administer IDAs. Their website has a number of enterprise development organizations in Mississippi.

Negotiate Bank Fees:                    Banks now charge fees even for receiving money via wires, something many customers may not realize. Be sure to check your statements, and dispute those fees if you find them — even if you need to speak to a manager. The bank needs your business. A 10-minute call may save you about $25.

Stop Smoking:  Nonsmokers, exercisers and people who maintain a healthy weight can get as much as a 50 percent savings on life insurance.

Combine and Save:    Companies charge up to 20 percent less if you get home and auto insurance policies from them.

Raise Your Deductible:       An increase from $500 to $1,000 can save you up to 25 percent on a homeowner's premium.


Money Talks: Retirement Investing

Ryder Taff, our investment expert from New Perspectives, suggests reading J.P. Morgan's Guide To Retirment

There are a number of retirement calculators available on the internet. Each person’s situation will be different. You will need to enter your current age, income, savings balance and how much you save toward retirement each month. Estimating travel expenses, health care, and if your home is paid for are all factors in deciding how much money you will need to live on during retirement.                Vanguard and Nerd Wallet dot com each have a calculator you can play around with, putting in different amounts.


Money Talks: Cyber Security

Expert Ryder Taff from New Perspectives and guest host Jay White, from MPB's Everyday Tech , update listeners on financial data breaches and hacks. Federal Trade Commission From their site you can file an Equifax Claim, learn about Annual Credit Reports 1-800-322-8228, and find more information.

·      What can you do if you suspect your financial information has been compromised?

Check if your accounts have been affected           Accept the breached company's offer(s) to help.      If the breached company offers to help repair the damage and protect you for a certain amount of time, unless there have been issues with their offer, take them up on it.

Place a fraud alert. If you suspect fraud, place a fraud alert with each of the credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The alert notifies creditors that you have been a victim of fraud and lets them know to verify that you are actually making new credit requests in your name. Placing a fraud alert does not affect your credit score.

Contact fraud departments. For each business and credit card company where you think an account was opened or charged without your knowledge, contact its fraud department. While you are not responsible for fraudulent charges to an account, you need to report the suspicious activity promptly.

·      What is the difference between a credit freeze and a lock?

If you want to stop anyone from opening credit and requesting loans and services in your name without your permission, you can freeze your credit. You will need to request a freeze with each of the three credit reporting companies, which again are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To apply for new credit, you need to unfreeze your credit, again, through each of the credit reporting companies. You can either request a temporary lift of the freeze or unfreeze it permanently.

Credit agencies also offer a service called credit “locking,” which offers the same protections as a freeze, but typically cost a monthly fee. It is easier to unlock verses unfreeze your own credit accounts.

·      What else can you do if you think your financial information has been stolen?

Create a recovery plan. The Federal Trade Commission has a valuable tool that helps you report identity theft and recover your identity through a personal recovery plan. 

·      What can you do anytime to keep an eye on your digital credit information?       

Monitor your credit reports. You get one free credit report a year from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. On your report, look for unusual or unfamiliar activity, such as the appearance of new accounts you didn't open. And watch your credit card accounts and bank statements for unexpected charges and payments.

Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Pick a credit monitoring service that constantly monitors your credit report on major credit bureaus and alerts when it detects unusual activity. To help with the monitoring, you can set fraud alerts that notify you if someone is trying to use your identity to create credit. A credit-reporting service like LifeLock can cost $10 to $30 a month -- or you could use a free service like the one from Credit Karma. Capital One said it will provide free credit monitoring and identity protection to all affected customers.

Credit monitoring only looks for changes on a credit report, indicating that someone is using your personal information to open new accounts in your name. But it does not prevent someone from taking out a loan in your name. That would require a lock or freeze.

·      What are some best practices concerning your financial data?

Consumers should never give out personal details over the telephone, even if the caller seems to represent Capital One or the email appears to be from a Capital One address. Consumers need to be careful whenever they are contacted by an unsolicited caller. Hang up and call the number on your card.

Security experts generally recommend never re-using security passwords and say people should use two-factor authentication on their phones, which requires a user to enter a code sent to their phone or email into an app or website in order to log in from a new device or to change a password. They also say those affected by such hacks should freeze their credit report.

Change and strengthen your online logins, passwords and security Q&A. It's important to immediately change your online login information, passwords, and security questions-and-answers for the breached account(s)-along with your other accounts if they have similar passwords and security Q&A-to limit the reach of the hackers' arms.

Filing your taxes early, before a scammer has the opportunity to use your exposed Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return.

·      What’s the difference between a hack and a breach?

A breach is when data is unintentionally left unsecured and vulnerable to hacking, as a result of malicious activity or from negligence. A hack specifically refers to the activities of cyber attackers who purposely compromise IT infrastructure to steal information or to hold systems ransom; that’s what happened with Capital One. If your data was part of a breach, it’s possible it was just left exposed online and was not stolen.


Money Talks: Back to School Finances

We'd like to help you save on your purchases, save for college, and help you get money for your school.

Segment 1

We’d like to remind folks that Mississippi has a tax free weekend coming up Friday, the 26th and Saturday the 27th. BUT there are some stipulations:

·      Sales Tax is not due on the sale of articles of clothing, footwear, or school supplies if the sales price of a single the item is less than One Hundred Dollars

·      There are definitions of Clothing, footwear, accessories, and school supplies.

·      Layaway sales of eligible items do not qualify for the holiday.

·      Sales of eligible items that were placed or ordered by mail, telephone, or the internet are not subject to Sales Tax if the purchaser orders and pays for the items during the Sales Tax Holiday and the items are less than the $100.00 threshold.


To maximize the learning experience, involve your kids in the back-to-school shopping process. Together, identify your spending goals and decide where you’ll do your shopping. Discuss a strategy for spending on “extra” things that are not on the shopping list.


  _DeSoto County Public Schools: student’s first day August 7th. That’s also the first day for Jackson Public Schools. Harrison County Public Schools start August 8th. 

We’ve got some shopping tips for back to school:

·      Visit your local brick and mortar retailers. Stores offer competitive bargains versus internet-only retailers. Look for specials and door busters, but try not to let good prices lure you into spending on things you don’t need.

·      If your family feels that time is your scarcest resource, searching for deals online may still be your best way to save both time and money.

·      Use store coupons and rewards programs. Check your mailbox or inbox for weekly coupons and store websites for printable coupons. These can mean big savings on your more expensive items. You can also sign up for a store loyalty program where you can earn rewards points toward future purchases.

·      Consider taking advantage of any pre-packaged, school supplies program offered by your school district. This usually involves paying online for a tailored packet of school supplies that is delivered to the school, ready for use. These programs can offer competitive pricing and save you the time and effort of shopping online or driving to the store.

·      Buy used textbooks or download digital textbooks.

·      Look around your house before you shop.

SEGMENT 3                    The state treasurer’s office’s website has information about saving for college. The state offers prepaid tuition calls MPACT – Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition. There’s also the savings plan – MACS – Mississippi Affordable College Savings.

MPACT is guaranteed by the State to cover the cost of college and mandatory fees at Mississippi’s public colleges. If a student attends an out-of-state or private school, the plan will pay Mississippi’s average tuition rate. MPACT offers four-year university plans, two-year college plans, as well as combination plans. The plan also offers a variety of payment options to fit your budget.

MACS offers investment options that appeal to all types of investors, from the conservative investor to the aggressive investor.

As 529 plans, both programs offer a state tax deduction as well as tax deferred earnings.

Families who begin planning and saving for college when their children are young have a much better chance of reaching their college savings goals than families who wait until their children are in high school.

Segment 4                       There are ways to get free money for your school. To encourage you to show at their stores, retailers have cash back programs for not for profits, like schools.

Target has dropped their program. But Office Depot and Kroger each have ways for you to designate your school so that a portion of your total is donated to that school.

 Box Tops For Education is a programs where consumers collect and give to the school labels or “box tops” for them to send in for cash. There’s also an app where you can scan your store receipt instead of sending in the top of mac and cheese boxes or soup labels.

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

Coca Cola has a website where you SCAN OR ENTER A PRODUCT CODE TO DONATE to your local school

eScrip is an online portal. After you’ve signed up, shop at thousands of eScrip merchants, grocers and drug stores in your town. Your designated school or charity will get a check each month with their percentage of the spending done through that website.


Money Talks: Transferring Cash

Factors to take into consideration when deciding to give someone money:

·      Fees, Speed, Sending amount, Where the recipient is located, Security, access to actual cash

1.   Cash – easiest and most obvious.       

a.   About 3 in 10 Americans said they make no purchases with cash in a typical week. 

b.   In a survey of more than 2,000 Americans, U.S. Bank found that 50 percent of respondents said they carry cash with them less than half of the time they are out. 

c.   More than 1 in 10 millennials use their digital wallet for every purchase.

d.   Adults with an annual household income of over $75,000 were more than twice as likely as those making less than $30,000 to say they do not make any purchases using cash in a typical week.

2.   Bank Transfer       Banks electronically transfer money via ACH. Although some charge fees for a bank transfer, many banks let you transfer money for free to other accounts. Sending a wire transfer through your bank might be the best way to send a large amount quickly. Generally $2,000 to $10,000 per transfer, and delivery can take multiple days.

3.   Online Bill Payment       Although online bill payment is geared toward recurring payments, like monthly utility bills, it also works for one-time payments. Your bank will outline how to send money through its online bill payment system; the process typically involves logging onto the bank website, filling out the amount of money you wish to send and the recipient’s information, and authorizing the payment to be mailed out or transferred electronically.


Transfers from banks to banks:

4.   Zelle    Account holders at banks that are part of the clearXchange network can take advantage of the new Zelle app, which allows you to to securely send money to others by using your bank’s mobile app. With Zelle, users just need a mobile phone number or an email address to send money to their intended recipient. No account information is shared when you send money; the program will only use your email or mobile phone number to send or receive money to or from your bank account.

5.   Popmoney  Popmoney offers one of the easiest ways to send money via mobile devices or email if you have an account at a participating bank. You can send money for free if a Popmoney user sends you a request. Otherwise, it’s only 95 cents if you initiate the transfer.

Non-bank transfers:

6.   Walmart-2-Walmart: Walmart is cheaper than traditional money transfer companies, such as Western Union and MoneyGram. You can send to one of the thousands of U.S. Walmart stores, where a recipient can pick up the money within minutes. The maximum you can send is $2,500, and costs can reach up to $16.

7.   Person to Person apps - limit how much you can transfer. Examples are Square cash, Venmo – owned by PayPal, Facebook Messenger, Google Wallet, Dwolla

8.   International money transfers options:  When you make a transfer abroad, you generally encounter two costs: the upfront fee and the foreign exchange margin, or the markup on the exchange rate financial institutions use when transferring money among themselves. Consider both fees to find the best deal.

a.   TransferWise or OFX for free services

b.   Xoom, a PayPal division and MoneyGram are fast options

c.   Western Union  The biggest money transfer company worldwide, Western Union also has a sizable range of transfer options. On the provider’s price estimator tool online, you’ll see almost a dozen combinations of sending channels, payment methods and delivery options. You can send money from the Western Union website or its mobile app, and you can use a bank account, debit card or credit card — or send from a nearby agent location using cash.   The transfer giant’s physical network covers over 200 countries and territories and more than half a million locations globally.


Money Talks: ABLE Accounts

Guest Richard Courtney of Courtney Elder Law Associates, a division of Frascogna Courtney, PLLC is the guest.

To sign up for an account: or call 1-888-609-3469

ABLE accounts are savings accounts for individuals with disabilities which will not affect their public benefits. These accounts can be used for daily transactions and/or long-term savings. Income earned in the accounts is not taxed if spent on qualified disability-related expenses. Contributions can be made to an account by anyone and may qualify for a state tax deduction. 

The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services has more information:

Additional information( videos and access to Richard Courtney's Essential Planning Guide for Special Needs Children & Adults) can be found on Mr. Courtney's website: Phone number 601-987-3000


Money Talks: June Open Topic

What should you buy and what should you stay away from this month? How do you find cheap gas? suggests: Spring clothes, family movies, lingerie, gym memberships, local fruit and veggies BUT NOT Amazon products, laptops, grills, or patio furniture.

Ryder Taff and Nancy Lottreidge-Anderson took calls concerning medical bills, rolling over pensions, car buying, long-term care insurance and nursing home insurance.


Money Talks: Refinancing Mortgages

Guest: Adam Black, mortgage broker from Renasant Bank

The show discussed current interest rates, costs to refinance, and how to decide if you would benefit from refinancing your mortgage. Did you know most mortgages are originated by online, non depository lenders?

Calls talked about home equity loans, reverse mortgages, and cash out mortgages.