Money Talks: Giving Tuesday 2019
Our discussion is about charities this week.
Where to Give on this Giving Tuesday.
Everyone hopes that the organization to which you donate money is a reputable group.
In Mississippi, The Charities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for the registration and regulation of all charitable organizations and fundraisers who solicit contributions in Mississippi. The division is also responsible for the investigation of charity complaints and/or violations to the State’s charitable laws.
Each year, the Secretary of State’s office kicks off a “Check your Charities” campaign during the holiday season. We encourage Mississippians to check their charities with the Secretary of State’s Office before they donate. Mississippians are some of the most generous in the nation, and the secretary of state’s office urges you to check your charity to ensure your hard earned dollars are wisely spent.
The website for the Secretary of State of Mississippi is sos.ms.gov
They also have links to: American Institute of Philanthropy: Charity Watch, founded 25 years ago as the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), is an independent, assertive charity watchdog.
BBB Wise Giving: The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. It produces reports about national charities, evaluating them against comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability, and publishes a magazine, the Wise Giving Guide, three times a year.
Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator is an evaluator of charities. In their quest to help donors, their team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. They use this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America's best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.
Other links at the Sec. of State’s website: Guide Star, Supporting Charities, IRS, Multi-State Filer Project, NASCO: the National Association of State Charity Officials, and Mississippi Center for Nonprofits
Money Talks: Open Topic/Lottery/Black Friday
Things to buy in December
- Gift cards
- Christmas decorations (after Christmas)
- Wedding dresses
- Golf clubs
- Cookies: National Cookie Day - Dec. 4
- New cars
One list had TO buy Jewelry, one list said DON’T buy Jewelry.
Things not to buy in December
- High-end electronics
- Exercise equipment
Tips for Black Friday shopping:
· Black Friday Sales have already started. Some of the best discounts are: iPads, Apple Watches, TVs, and headphones, but also air fryers, vacuums, Instant Pots and DNA kits also joining the Black Friday mix.
· Retailers want to entice shoppers into stores in the hopes they will purchase more – so that is why for some of the best deals you do have to go in person.
· Black Friday isn’t just on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Many retailers are starting their Black Friday sales earlier and earlier with some offering steep discounts as soon as Wednesday.
· Try online first; look for free shipping. Also consider in-store pickup when it’s available.
· Earn cash back: Whether shopping in-store or online, look to cash back through websites that encourage you to scan your receipts.
· Use coupons and rewards programs from stores.
· Don’t forget to mail in your rebates on small appliances.
Check The Odds
You might think they try to keep the odds secret, but they’re actually printed right on the back of every single ticket. You can even ask the cashier at the store to let you know what it says before you purchase. Go with games that have better odds.
The Cheaper The Ticket, The Worse The Odds
Similar to slot machines where you have to play big to win big, lotto’s tend to save the high dollar winnings for those willing to shell out a little extra in order to play.
· Mississippi has 4 scratch off tickets: a $1: ”Three times Lucky” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.75 , 2 at $2: “Happy Holidays Y’all” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.39 and “Triple 7” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.32 , and a $5 “$100,00 Jackpot” Approximate overall odds - 1:3.98
· This means that 1 out of every 3.98 tickets will be a winner.
· It doesn't mean that every fourth ticket in a row wins, and it doesn't mean that in a random sampling of 4 tickets, one will definitely be a winner. It means that in the total number of tickets allotted, in all the stores across the state, that percentage of tickets are winners.
Hold On To Losing Tickets
It’s tempting to toss them away after you’ve been disappointed, but several games (including scratch-offs) hold second-chance lottos where you can send in the dud and still win some cash.
You should also have the cashier scan them in case you overlooked winnings. It might not be the big prize, but you could be in store for at least a little cash to keep you going for the next round.
Set a scratch-off budget and stick with it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on a scratch-offs each month. This absolutely has to be money you can afford to lose, because you will lose money playing the lottery long-term. It's a guarantee.
When you've set a monthly budget, take money for scratch-offs from the leftover cash, not used for rent, groceries, or other necessary expenses. If you've got a fund set aside for fun stuff, you could take it out of there if you enjoy playing scratch-offs.
Check Your State's Website: ms lottery home dot com
You don’t want to buy a ton of cards for a game only to check online and realize the biggest prizes have already been claimed, so make sure to look before even heading out to the store. Ticket will continue to be sold after prize money is given out, until all tickets are sold.
Pick Newer Games First
The website will also let you know when they introduce a new game so you can be first in line to claim all the fresh new prizes. You still have a chance at real money as long as those larger prizes are still in play, which isn’t always the case with older games.
"Please play responsibly."
"You must be 21 or older to play."
"Gambling problem? Call 888-777-9696."
Money Talks: In The News Podcast
Nancy and Ryder talk about financial matters the week before Thanksgiving.
(Dr. Nancy Lottridge-Anderson, President of New Perspectives and Ryder Taff, portfolio manager at New Perspectives. Nancy and Ryder are both Chartered Financial Analysts and Ryder also holds the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement from the CFA Institute.)
Money Talks: Funeral Planning
Money Talks: Getting To Work
Guests: Sharon Person discussing MPB's Nov. 20th Hiring Event and Adam Todd, Director of the Governor’s Job Fair
11/7/2019 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
National Guard Armory 300 Frontage Rd.
11/12/2019 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Southwest Regional Workforce Training Enter 1146 Horace Holmes Dr.
11/20/2019 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Mississippi Public Broadcasting 3825 Ridgewood Rd
2/6/2020 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Tommy E. Dulaney Center 915 Hwy 19 N
2/11/2020 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
The Ivy Venue, 1170 Luckney Road Flowood, Mississippi
Governor's Job Fair Network of Mississippi: https://www.jobfairs.ms.gov/Pages/home.aspx
More employment information and assistance at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security http://mdes.ms.gov/win-job-centers/
Listen to a previous Money Talks: Win Jobs Center: http://moneytalks.mpbonline.org/episodes/5cd31f1533f6c1be55607d85
Money Talks: Elder Financial Abuse
Guest Bridgette Wiggins, Director of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division
Everyone needs to protect their financial interests. Seniors might need a little help. We learn warning signs of Senior Financial Abuse and types of scams that are going round.
Scams on the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General's website: http://www.ago.state.ms.us/victims/scams/
ATTORNEY GENERAL JIM HOOD WARNS MISSISSIPPIANS OF A RECENT SPOOFING SCAM
November 20, 2015
Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippians today of a phone scam that challenges even the savviest consumer. “Scammers realize that consumers are much wiser and more likely to reject calls from unfamiliar numbers,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “They use caller ID spoofing technology to impersonate a known or trusted phone number to trick potential victims into answering the phone.”
Here is how the scam works. The phone rings, and we recognize the number on the Caller ID. The caller id shows that it is a local business, a neighbor down the street, or even the consumer’s own name and number. Because the number is known or familiar, the consumer answers the phone.
“Unfortunately, technology has evolved, and we can no longer fully trust that the number displayed is the number that is actually calling us,” said Attorney General Hood. “Our advice has always been to answer only those calls from known numbers, but that won’t work when the caller identification has been spoofed, or is displaying incorrect information.”
Mississippi joined other states in 2010 to enact the Caller ID Anti-Spoofing Act (2010 Miss. H.B. 872) to regulate and prohibit caller ID spoofing. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the scammers had a first amendment right to spoof phone numbers and upheld the legality of “non-harmful spoofing” in 2012 when it overturned the state law.
The Attorney General’s Office offers the following information and tips to follow on these types of scams:
- DO NOT answer the phone for a call that shows it is from your own number. That is a sure sign of a scam.
- REMEMBER THAT THE CALLER ID CAN BE MANIPULATED. Don’t completely rely on what appears on the screen. Scammers use technology that lets them display any number or organization’s name on your screen.
- HANG UP as soon as you realize the call is a scam. Even answering simple questions in the affirmative or negative could be used to try to scam you.
- BE SUSPICIOUS of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone.
- NEVER WIRE OR SEND MONEY in any form to persons or organizations you do not know.
- DON’T CALL THEM BACK. If you receive a voice mail message, do not call the scammer back.
- GUARD YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. Do not provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers to anyone calling you over the phone. Giving out personal information out could cause you to become a victim of identity theft.
- DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THREATS OF ARREST. Scammers may try to intimidate you by threatening to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested. Don’t believe them. If your physical safety is threatened in any form or fashion, be sure to report this to local authorities.
For more educational information on this and other scams, please visit the Consumer section of the Attorney General’s website www.agjimhood.com. Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of a scam should call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office for further assistance and guidance at 1-800-281-4418.
Article about call blocking phone apps: https://famisafe.wondershare.com/blocker/best-free-call-blocker-app-for-android.html
Money Talks: Social Security October
Guest, Shawn Mercer - District Manager for the Social Security Administration.
We had MANY listener calls dealing with when to select to draw income; can you draw from a divorced, ex-spouse's record; what if you didn't contribute to SS through your job.
Phone: (800) 772-1213
Money Talks: Solar Panels
Friday, October 18, 2019
Let The Sunshine In!
For quite a while, I’ve been interested in solar. Fifteen years ago, when I began investigating, there was no one in Mississippi selling or installing solar systems. It seemed just a pipe dream.
Lately, more and more companies are popping up to provide this service. So I decided it was time to get serious. The other thing that pushed me to pursue this option was the lucrative tax credit offered on a solar installation and the fact that this credit was disappearing at the end of the year.
I had to convince my husband to go down this path. Wouldn’t the panels on the roof of our house detract from its appearance? Would future buyers really care about having solar panels? Did this really make financial sense?https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/save-money-putting-solar-panels-roof/
We met with two different companies. The first was all sales. There was no schematic showing where the panels would be located. No spreadsheets showing usage and payback period. Just a promise that the sun would provide ALL our electricity, and we would only pay a small connection fee each month. Wow! That sounded great.
Of course, if you install solar panels on your roof, you need to consider the age of the roof. Solar panels are designed to last about 25 years, which matches the age of a new roof. If you put on a new roof 10 years ago, this changes the calculation. Most installers prefer to put their panels on a new roof. So now you’re not just paying for solar panels, you’re paying for a new roof.
Of course, we were told if you couple the two, you may be able to get the tax credit applied to BOTH the panels and the roof. That sounded appealing. What is the tax credit, and when does it expire? It’s 30% of the cost, and it IS a credit, not a deduction. That means a dollar for dollar savings on about a third of the project. To qualify for the year-ending tax credit, I would need to sign up quickly (or so I was told).
A few qualifiers…
You are only supposed to take the credit on roofing for the portion of the roof actually under the panels. And in order to get the full advantage of that credit, you need the income (and the tax associated with it) that is big enough to offset that 30% break. Many retired people don’t have enough tax to pay now to take full advantage. Again, a change in calculus.
The second guy showed up with a laptop full of charts and graphs. He pointed out the direction the house was pointing, how the sun changes during the year, and the many shade trees surrounding our roof. He climbed on the roof with his many gadgets to verify his estimates. Full electricity? Not so much. He expects we could supply about half of our electricity with solar, and this would take many more panels than the first group suggested.
And now we’re confused. I really wanted to go solar. It seems like a great idea. We would be using a renewable resource. If the power company keeps getting rate increases, won’t that eventually pay off?
Turns out our payback period would be about 12 years, under a generous set of estimates. Also, we would have to load up our roof to get the most of the system. My husband is shaking his head now. Ultimately, the overall cost of panels and a new roof was now hitting the $40,000 to $50,000 range. Even with a generous tax credit, the dollars made my head spin.
One caution—many solar companies sell customers on a system by offering financing that matches what you were paying on an electric bill. Sounds good, right? But the rate on those financings is in the 7-8% range—not cheap! Also, what happens if you sell the house before you pay off the loan? Maybe you move, but you still have to pay that monthly bill.
We planned to pay the full bill up front to make this a purely economic decision. The problem we encountered is that our electricity is pretty cheap. The price per kilowatt in our area makes going solar unreasonable. I tried. I really tried, but in the end, it just didn’t make sense.
So we’re not going to spend $40,000 to $50,000 on an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of energy. We’re not going to be the progressive family in the neighborhood doing our part on climate issues. I had to give up my pipe dream.
Instead, I’m going to redo the kitchen.