News From Our Blog

Spring Clean Your Finances


By Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, Federal Trade Commission

Does the sight of perky yellow daffodils send you into a spring cleaning frenzy? Those flowers should also remind you that it’s a great time to spring clean your finances!

The FTC has answers to many of your financial questions – especially those related to credit and debt. It’s right at your fingertips, and all for free.

Check out our website to learn about:

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  • See and hear various video and audio tips

Contacted By a Debt Collector? Proceed with Caution


From the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Consumers who fall behind on credit card payments or other bills sometimes hear from a debt collector. But people who don’t even owe any money may find themselves contacted by a debt collector…or someone who falsely claims to be one. Here are key points to know.

  • If a third-party collector (not your original lender) contacts you about a debt you owe, federal law requires you to be treated fairly and without harassment.

  • If you are contacted about a debt owed by a deceased relative, be careful. You may not have any legal obligation to pay these debts. Don’t send any more until you verify these claims.

  • Be aware that con artists sometimes pose as debt collectors. They may even claim to be from the government, including law enforcement, when attempting to collect on a non-existent debt. Warning signs include a caller who is unwilling to provide written proof of a debt (the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor you owe), who won’t provide a mailing address, or who threatens jail or violence.

Learn more about your rights when dealing with debt collectors.

So you’ve pulled your credit report, now learn how to understand what’s in it.

4 Things to do Before Making Any Financial Decisions


By Marietta Jelks, editor of the Consumer Action Handbook

Making financial decisions can be confusing and overwhelming, to the point that you do nothing to prepare for your financial future. Don’t fall victim to that feeling; take these steps to protect your hard-earned money and give you financial peace of mind:

Set a goal. Just as if you were shopping for a car, know what features you want to have in your credit card, investment, budgeting spreadsheet or any other financial resource. Establish how you want to use this particular resource and keep that goal in mind.

Shop around. Collect information about the options you are considering. Read and compare the overviews of different types of accounts, ask trusted friends and family about their choices and interview several financial planners to determine if they fit your needs.

Read contracts, account policies and disclosures. It’s tempting to sign contracts without reading them or all the fine print in account disclosures. Don’t give in to that temptation; many important details about your rights, minimum balance requirements, and fees are included in these documents.

Beware of scams. Unfortunately, some shady companies or professionals have the gift of gab that will make a disastrous investment sound like a golden opportunity.

We also developed a free packet of valuable publications to empower you while making financial decisions. Order the Financial Foundations toolkit for you and your family to get the advice and confidence you need.

Also, stay tuned to our blog throughout Financial Literacy Month. We’ll be offering many practical tips in the areas of credit, money management, investments, and retirement.

We want to extend a huge thanks to our partners for Financial Literacy Month:

  • Department of Labor

  • FINRA Foundation

  • America’s Health Insurance Plans

  • Federal Trade Commission

  • Social Security Administration

  • America Saves

  • IRS

  • FDIC

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • Securities and Exchange Commission

  • USDA Extension

Read this note in Spanish.