News From Our Blog

Talk through what you do with money—your children are listening

By CFPB and FDIC

Parents tell us they want to help their children be smart about money. But they’re not always confident about how to go about it.

We’ve got a suggestion: Talk through your money choices with your child as you go. (If you already do this, great!) You don’t have to change anything that you choose to do with your money. But your kids need a window into how to think about spending, saving, borrowing and more. You can show them how you think about these important choices.

Next time you pay a bill, or buy something online, or go grocery shopping, try speaking your thoughts out loud. “Now I’m looking at our electric bill, and I’m checking to see if it’s the right amount. And I’m looking at the due date, so I know whether the payment is on time or late.” This talk helps your child start to understand how to think about transactions. Over time, your child can turn these thoughts into good habits.

Free Webcast Walks you through Retirement Savings

From the Department of Labor

Many of us are living longer and will have healthier and more active years in retirement. That makes saving for retirement even more important.

Don’t let the math put you off. EBSA’s Savings Fitness online worksheets make it easy: Enter your information, and the calculations are done for you. In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are pleased to share with you the online worksheets in Spanish, as part of our publication Su Dinero y Futuro Económico.

Savings Fitness and Su Dinero y Futuro Económico have interactive worksheets that can help you:

  • set financial goals,
  • calculate your net worth,
  • estimate how much to save for retirement,
  • develop a cash flow spending plan (budget), and
  • make a plan to reduce debt.


In addition, we are holding a webcast in Spanish on September 18 to walk you through the worksheets and give you a chance to ask questions. Please join us. An archived English-language webcast is available on EBSA’s website.

Retirement may seem like it’s a long way off. But the best time to save, regardless of your age, is now. The earlier you start, the more prepared you’ll be when you are ready to retire. If your employer sponsors a retirement savings plan, that is a great place to save. However, not everyone can; only 54 percent of all America’s workers and 38 percent of Hispanic workers have a retirement plan at work. If your employer doesn’t offer a plan, it is even more important that you save on your own.

Regardless of whether or not you have started to save for retirement, and whether you need the information in English or Spanish, EBSA has some tools to get you started, answer your questions and track your progress.

The important thing is to get started today. Fill in your information, let the worksheets do the math, and take the first steps towards a secure retirement.

Raising Non-Violent Kids

Your child’s environment – whether at home, at school or socially – can greatly influence how they may behave in the future.

FindYouthInfo.gov, a government website focused on youth issues, found that in 2012, more than 630,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 were admitted to the hospital due to violence-related injuries.

If you’re worried that your child is at risk for violent behavior, there are some factors that may indicate a problem.

Risk factors for violent youth

During their teen years, some kids may behave violently because of some risk factors found in their environment.

Note: Some of these risk factors may be out of your control. However, it is recommended that you keep them under consideration.

At home

From an early age, young people could be exposed to:

  • Violent behavior between parents
  • Severe punishments
  • Parents who are frequently absent or don’t pay attention to their children
  • Rejection or emotional distance from parents
  • A broken home

At school

Youth may exhibit behavioral problems such as:

  • Teasing or bullying other students
  • Skipping class
  • Exhibiting either aggressive or introverted behavior
  • Difficulty concentrating or exhibiting hyperactive behavior
  • Developing learning issues or failing classes

In society

Young people could be considered violent if they:

  • Harass or provoke kids that are their same age or younger
  • Have been arrested before age 14 for committing a crime
  • Belong to a gang or other violent group
  • Take drugs or drink alcohol
  • Have been treated for psychological or emotional issues

Tips to prevent youth violence

You can help prevent violent behavior in your child by following these recommendations:

  • Spend more time with your child and include everyone in family activities.
  • Don’t argue with your spouse in front of your child.
  • Form a bond with your son or daughter. Communicate with your children if they have any problems or issues.
  • Make respect and open communication a priority in your home.
  • Do not give out severe or violent punishment.
  • Be aware of your child’s friends, but do not be overprotective.

Resources

STRYVE is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national initiative helping families and communities prevent youth violence.

FindYouthInfo.gov is a collaboration among 18 government agencies that supports programs and services for the prevention of youth violence.

Read this note in Spanish.

Protecting servicemembers from predatory auto loans: Harry and Ari’s story

By Ashley Gordon, CFPB

Watch Harry and Ari’s story

Protecting consumers from predatory financial products and services is part of our mission and something we take very seriously. We received a Tell Your Story from the father of a servicemember that led to us opening an investigation into an auto loan program. The program, which targeted servicemembers, was found to have deceptive marketing and lending practices. The investigation led to an enforcement action against auto lenders requiring them to refund approximately $6.5 million to over 50,000 servicemembers. Ari, a servicemember, and his father Harry, shared their story with us, and here’s what they had to say:

 “It’s very important to speak up because there are people within the government that are there to help us get through challenging financial situations,” Harry said. “It’s very important for any citizen to speak up and just tell your story.” Ari mentioned that: “The fact that the CFPB took action in the name of servicemembers across the entire country… really shows us that someone’s in our corner.”

 We were glad to be there for Harry and Ari - they shared their story with us and got the help they needed. To learn more about their story, share your own, or find resources for servicemembers check out www.consumerfinance.gov/yourstory.

Share Your Thoughts: New Labels to Help ID Safer Products

From the Environmental Protection Agency

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Image description: Samples of the newly redesigned Safer Product labels.

Do you look for safer cleaning and household products? Did you know that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a voluntary program that reviews products and allows them to display its Safer Product Label if they meet EPA’s stringent health and environmental criteria?

The EPA is redesigning its Safer Product Label (formerly, the Design for the Environment label) to give it a more modern look and make it clear that labeled products are safer for health as well as the environment.

Learn more and then share your thoughts on whether the potential new labels get the message across and will help you recognize safer products on store shelves. Input is welcomed now through the end of October.