Consumers have important decisions to make when it comes to managing money and saving for their future, particularly in a tough economy when every dollar counts. To help consumers make choices based on practical information from reliable sources, the Fall 2011 issue of FDIC Consumer News offers simple strategies in three areas: saving for retirement, improving credit scores, and buying vs. renting a home. In addition, the issue offers new tips and information related to Internet banking. Here’s an overview:
Ways to plan and save for retirement: Consumers and small business owners are fortunate to have a variety of retirement savings options, which are especially important now that traditional pensions and other employer-funded retirement plans have become increasingly rare. The FDIC newsletter discusses basic characteristics of different types of retirement options so that consumers, perhaps in consultation with a financial planner or tax advisor, can make the right choices.
Improving credit reports and scores: The information in a credit report may be used to help determine whether or not someone will get a loan and at what price — and perhaps even the cost of insurance or the ability to get a new job or apartment. The FDIC newsletter describes simple steps for improving credit reports and credit scores, including the importance of paying loans and other bills on time.
Renting vs. buying a home: With housing prices still low in many areas and a favorable mortgage-rate environment, people who don’t own a home may be thinking about buying instead of renting. The newsletter offers points to consider on both sides. For instance, renting offers more “freedom to move” and smaller up-front costs, while buying a home and living there long enough to pay off the mortgage yields a valuable asset to sell or leave to a family member.
Connecting to Internet banking: The newsletter describes the new guidelines from the FDIC and other federal regulators, effective January 1, 2012, on how banks should verify that someone logging on to a bank’s Web site is the real owner of a particular account. The FDIC also is warning consumers to be on guard against a repeat of previous scams that surfaced the last time the agencies announced new security guidelines in 2005. The newsletter also offers tips for people who haven’t tried Internet banking but would consider getting started.
The goal of FDIC Consumer News is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information about financial matters, free of charge. The Fall 2011 edition can be read or printed at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall11 .
-Information courtesy of FDIC.