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How to Survive a Layoff

September 23, 2009 | Financial Tips | Press Releases | No Comments
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As the recession winds down, unemployment continues to hang overhead, forcing many consumers to do more with less. The American Bankers Association Education Foundation offers personal finance advice for consumers with limited resources — especially the unemployed.

“We all know someone whose job has been affected by the economy,” explains Laura Fisher, director of the ABA Education Foundation. “Even during these difficult times, there are some things that consumers can do to remain in control of their finances — even while unemployed.”

The following are some personal finance tips for tough economic times:

  • Assess what you have. Review and update your budget. Consider all sources of income like unemployment benefits, severance payments, savings and checking accounts. Look at past debit and credit card statements to discover spending patterns. ABA Financial Calculators.
  • Get your benefits. Unemployment benefits can help you to stay afloat as you restructure your household budget and look for a new job.
  • Ask for help. If you are having a hard time paying your bills, contact your creditor to arrange a more manageable payment plan. Then contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to find a local credit counselor to help you develop a budget and a plan for paying down debt.  To reach NFCC, call (800) 388-2227 or visit www.nfcc.org. ABA Education Foundation’s Help Contacts.
  • Talk about it. Inform your network about your employment situation. Friends, fellow club members, former co-workers and other associates can be a great place to turn to find a new job.
  • Eat in. Cut out fast food and dining out. It’s cheaper to eat at home. You’ll be surprised how much you will save by taking the time to prepare meals in your own kitchen.
  • Cut, cut, cut.  Cutting cable television, cellular phone and Internet service can save you hundreds of dollars each month. Use the library’s Wi-Fi, your landline and a TV antenna until income returns.
  • Shop smart. Pay with cash or debit cards, not with credit cards. Shop around for deals, use coupons and purchase store brands.
  • Get creative. Look for free or inexpensive ways to entertain such as playing family games, choosing the library over bookstores, watching movies you already own or doing some local sightseeing.
  • Go green and save green. Cut utility costs by turning off and unplugging unused appliances, wash with full loads, set your thermostat to 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer and use fans.

For more personal finance tips, visit www.abaef.com.

The ABA Education Foundation provides financial education programs and resources that help bankers make their communities better.  Nearly 90,000 bankers have taught basic finance skills to about4 million young people through participation in the Foundation’s signature programs, Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit.  Founded by bankers in 1925, the foundation is guided by a board of bankers and is an affiliate of the American Bankers Association. For more information, visit www.abaef.com or call 1-800-BANKERS.

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Ebay and GM Extends Online Promotion to Buy Cars

September 1, 2009 | Financial Tips | Press Releases | No Comments

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eBay Motors and General Motors Company today announced the extension of their first-of-its-kind promotion that enables consumers to shop new cars, crossovers and trucks online from participating California Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac dealers. The promotion, originally launched on August 11, has been extended through September 30. Customers can access the promotion at gm.ebay.com.

Since the beginning of the program through August 30, shoppers visited dealers’ virtual showroom sites more than 1 million times and logged more than 1.4 million searches of GM inventory. In addition, nearly 4,000 new car buyers entered into negotiations online, over the phone and in person as a result of this promotion. At the conclusion of the California promotion, GM and eBay Motors will evaluate extending the program nationally, based on consumer demand and dealer feedback.

Complete program details including participating GM dealer inventory available through individual GM brand websites can be found at gm.ebay.com, chevrolet.ebay.com, buick.ebay.com, gmc.ebay.com, and pontiac.ebay.com.

The promotion enables consumers to browse hundreds of vehicles in dealer inventory online, ask questions, negotiate prices, and arrange financing and payment to purchase select new 2008, 2009 and 2010 cars, crossovers or trucks online. Additional GM 2010 model-year inventory is being added to this extended promotion.

With more than 225 GM dealers in California participating, shoppers can expect to see a wide selection of new GM vehicles at competitive prices. Vehicles will be offered through eBay Motors’ traditional formats such as “Buy It Now” (where shoppers agree to pay the advertised price) and eBay’s innovative “Best Offer” option (where buyers indicate the price they are willing to pay and can negotiate online with the dealer for the vehicle).

The site also incorporates features that will allow consumers to compare pricing across models or participating dealerships throughout California, ask a dealer questions, and get tips and advice with a Buyer Checklist.

Debt Free U Helps College Students with Finances and Education

August 19, 2009 | Financial Tips | Press Releases | No Comments
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College students and young consumers across the country now have access to education and financial tools designed expressly for their needs. This 100% free, non-commercial portal launched today, just in time for the start of a new school semester.

Debt Free U empowers young adults to master money management during this critical stage in their lives. With a full range of interactive tools and practical information on the issue that matters most to young consumers, Debt Free U helps college students face tough financial decisions with confidence. Online calculators, an extensive resource guide and blogs with the latest information help students cut through the financial jargon and get clear, simple information on how they can control their debt.

Additionally, Debt Free U established social media websites including Facebook, Myspace and Twitter @DebtFreeU, to establish ongoing dialogue with the students and young consumers utilizing the site’s resources.

Now more than ever, students need education and support to establish smart money management habits. According to a national study conducted by Sallie Mae, one of the nation’s largest student loan providers, the average college student carries more than $3,000 in credit card debt on at least four credit cards, and close to one fifth of seniors carry balances of more than $7,000.

For more information visit DebtFreeU.org.

The Web Provides Valuable & Trustworthy Healthcare Info

July 28, 2009 | Healthcare | Press Releases | No Comments

The Internet has become a powerful influence in health care. Eleven years ago, in 1998, The Harris Poll reported that about one-quarter of all adults, 54 million people had ever gone online to look for health information. This number increased rapidly every year until 2007, when we found that 71% of adults, 160 million people, had done this. The great majority of users find this information reliable and many discuss it with their doctors.

However, last year and again this year we have found no increase in the number of cyberchondriacs (the word we use to describe these people). A new Harris Poll find that 67% of adults, 154 million people, now report having looked for health information online. This nationwide Harris Poll of 1,010 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive between July 7 and 13, 2008 shows how much cyberchondriacs value the information they find online:

  • The overwhelming majority (83%) of cyberchondriacs report that their search for information online was successful and almost half (45%) say it was “very successful”;
  • An even larger majority (87%) believes that this information was reliable (but only 28% say it was “very reliable”);
  • Fully 44% of cyberchondriacs have discussed information they obtained online with their doctors (however, this is lower than the 58% we reported in 2007); and,
  • Half (49%) of cyberchondriacs have searched for information online based on discussions they had with their doctors.


There are two reasons why the number of cyberchondriacs has not increased for two years. One is that the proportion of adults who are online, which rose rapidly from 38% in 1998 to 79% in 2007, has not increased for the last two years. The other is that the proportion of those online who report having used the Internet to look for health information has remained remarkably steady, varying only from 71% to 84% over the last eleven years, and currently stands at 78% slightly lower than it was in 2007.

To read the entire report visit HarrisInteractive.com.

U.S. Spending Falls for 1st Time in 4 Months

July 10, 2009 | Press Releases | No Comments

According to Discover Financial, the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor fell for the first time in four months from 86.2 to 85.6 (based out of 100), as consumer attitudes toward the economy reversed course from the previous three months with more consumers expressing concern over the current state of the U.S. economy. Overall, 59 percent rated current economic conditions as poor, a 4-point increase from the previous month and the first increase since February.

While consumers are clearly concerned over current economic conditions, the number feeling the economy is getting worse remained at a Monitor-low 49 percent in June.

The drop in economic confidence also appeared to have little effect on consumer attitudes toward personal finances. Thirty-three percent currently rate their finances as good or excellent, the same number reported last month.

But the reversal in consumer attitudes toward the economy appears to be affecting discretionary spending intentions. Higher gas prices, along with uncertainty as to whether the economic recession has bottomed out has consumers either holding the line or cutting their discretionary spending intentions in the month ahead.

Read more at DiscoverFinancial.com