HOME & MONEY
MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about
financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook or investing in your
401K, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout
the site, you will find important information from 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help
you make smart financial choices.
Five Reasons to avoid Instant Tax Refunds
In this age of instant satisfaction, Tax Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) are truly not the best option for hard-working taxpayers. Here are five simple reasons why consumers should avoid these not-so-satisfying loans this tax season:
1. Triple-Digit Interest Rates: The annual interest rate for the typical “instant refund” can range from 50% to 500% (depending on how long it takes the IRS to process the paperwork and issue the refund).
2. Not-So-Fast Service: In most cases, a tax refund loan only speeds up the process for a few weeks or less and with recent technological improvements in the IRS, the benefit may even be reduced to just a few days if a taxpayer files electronically.
3. Pickpocketing Fees: Even if you manage to avoid the posted triple-digit interest rates, many refund anticipation loans carry additional “administrative” fees designed to steal away more of your own hard-earned money.
4. Unexpected Refund Changes: If for any reason the amount of the anticipated refund changes or is denied by the IRS, the Quick Cash Refund quickly turns into Long-Term Debt as the taxpayer must unexpectedly paid the difference or fear a debt collector.
5. It’s Your Money, Keep It! In this economy, every little penny counts. American taxpayers work too hard throughout the year to give up such a huge chunk of their refund. Instead of using a Refund Anticipation Loan, open a checking account; file your taxes electronically; wait for the direct deposit; and keep more of your money!
Source: 2009 Center for Responsible Lending
Prevent Identity Theft On The Road
The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that victims of identity theft spend an average of 330
hours resolving the crime. Stay safe while traveling by following these tips:
• Don’t sign your full name on hotel charges
• Keep your paper trail secure. A common identity theft scheme is to have hotel housekeeping
staff take pictures of checks, deposit slips or credit card information. Travelers
have no knowledge that their information has been stolen until it is too late.
• Don’t give sensitive information such as credit card numbers, addresses, or phone numbers out
when you are in a public place such as a train, plane, or airport.
• Always leave a photocopy of credit cards and your passport at home.
• When heading out alone, leave a note in your hotel room saying where you are going, what
time you left and what you are wearing.
• If you like to jog while away on business, carry ID with you (such as a dog tag attached
to your running shoe) that shows your name and an emergency contact.
• Enter an emergency contact number in your mobile stored under the entry ICE (In Case of
Emergency). Police, fire and medical responders are trained to look for this.
• Walk with a purpose – head high and shoulders back. Attackers are less likely to target confident pedestrians.
• When leaving valuables in a hotel safe, place one of your shoes in the safe as a reminder to
collect your items before checking out.
• Always carry a small flashlight when on the road.
• Snap a picture of where you parked to avoid walking around lost in parking garages
• Don’t leave your rental car agreement in the vehicle. If the vehicle is broken into or stolen, the thief would obtain your contact information.
• Avoid leaving your luggage in the rental car as (especially in Europe) rental cars are targets for thieves.
• When taking a cab, keep your luggage next to you on the seat in case you need to make a quick exit.
Avoid Purse-snatchers and Pickpockets
• Women avoid taking a purse if possible, or bring two purses or carry two purses – one visible with just a few dollars in it and another under a jacket.
• Keep the zipper of your bag or purse facing forward so pickpockets cannot remove valuables from behind.
Family Nutrition Program (Budget)