Friday, 22 May 2015

Americans have limited financial knowledge, survey says

A new survey authorized by the Fifth Third Bank and performed by Research Now, reveals that Americans have limited financial knowledge and stability, based on The Corliss Group online magazine report.

The survey was conducted from March 5 to 17 and had 1,068 respondents.

Ninety percent of Americans didn't know that individuals under the age of 50 can make contributions up to $18,000 a year to a 401(k) plan.

57.9% of those surveyed said they were financially knowledgeable and 38.5% understood the annual percentage rate (APR) on their primary credit card.

In addition, 60% did not have sufficient savings to survive for at least 6 months.

A certified financial planner Eric Meermann, who is based in Scarsdale, N.Y., said that financial literacy is truly a big concern and based on the survey, it is not focused on nearly enough.

55.8% of those surveyed knew what a credit score measures. Meermann says that you should have a focus on getting a good credit score if you wish to be able to accomplish many things that a lot of Americans consider important. Simply because the better credit you have, the better terms and fees you can get on your debt.

Strikingly, only 13.3% of the younger generation knew the maximum amount they could put into a 401(k) plan for the year. This indicates that the gaps in finances and knowledge among Millennials were also surprising.

Stacie Haas, a spokeswoman for Fifth Third Bank says that when she was younger, she would see her parents balancing their checkbook and actually going to the bank to make a payment.

She thinks that you don't see that anymore, and she also thinks that kids these days don't grow up witnessing the daily management of money. It just happens around them or inside the cellphone or laptop.

"They do not understand there's a real management level to this. You don't just make it and spend it."

The Fifth Third Bank's senior vice president of community and economic development, Camino Smith says that younger people are not going to understand financial issues in school if they don't achieve it in home, because schools usually doesn't have a lot of financial literacy courses or themes provided within the curriculum.

Fifth Third Bank provides different type of financial literacy program such as the "young bankers club" that has educated thousands of fifth-graders about the benefits of maintaining a budget and other guidelines regarding money.

Another program instructs adults how to pay for a home, as well as retirement and higher education.

Smith added that there many Baby Boomers retiring who are not prepared for retirement, and somehow they're going to have to be supported or reduce their standard of living. And that's not good for the economy or the country as a whole.

He also thinks that if individuals make financial literacy more of a priority in the education system, it could truly help the next generation, and generations to come.

For more information and updates check our Corliss Group Online Financial Mag Blogspot or you can follow us on Twitter @CorlissGroupMag.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

10 ways to reduce your vulnerability on tax-related identity theft

Identity theft continues to be one of the major growing crimes in United States nowadays, and places a large burden on victims, businesses, non-profit organizations and government institutions, especially when filing tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tax-related identity theft happens when somebody uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

Usually, an identity thief will use your SSN to file a false return early in the year. You may be unaware you are a victim until you try to file your taxes and learn one already has been filed using your SSN.

Identity theft is a top priority for the IRS. They have already taken aggressive action to protect taxpayers and aid victims, with more than thousands of employees assigned to work on identity theft related situations. They also train employees to recognize return fraud and to help victims when it happened.

Because of this, the IRS prevented $14.6 million suspicious returns, and protected more than $50 billion in fraudulent refunds from 2011 to November 2013.

You can't prevent tax-related identity theft because we are all vulnerable, but here are ways on how to reduce your chances of being a victim.

1. Safeguard all your personal information in a secured place at home and at work such as a safe with a locked combination. Don't leave it lying around.

2. If you wish to file by mail, do it at a post office, not from an unsecured mailbox in front of your house.

3. Use a secured computer on a protected network if you wish to file electronically. Remember not to do anything financial or tax-related on public Wi-Fi networks.

4. Beware of phishing scams. Phishing includes seemingly harmless emails being sent to you, asking you to verify certain things such as passwords, account numbers or credit/social security details. Any email looking for this kind of information must be an immediate red flag for you. Avoid opening emails that doesn't make sense to you or that comes from people or organizations that you don't know. It might be possible that they include viruses or worms. Remember that the IRS doesn't begin contact by email to specifically ask for your personal or financial information.

5. Protect your social security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Only carry them with you unless you are going somewhere where it will be absolutely necessary. Don't forget that identity thieves only need a social security number and some fake documents. It is much easier than selling drugs or stealing cars.

6. Tear up or shred any documents with identifying information on them. Don't just throw your old billing statements and other documents containing important information into your garbage. There are "dumpster divers" who are willing to go through old coffee grounds and rotten orange peels to get your data into their hands. Purchase crosscut paper shredder and completely destroy any piece of paper that has your credit card number, your social security number, or your bank account number on it.

7. Regularly monitor your financial accounts for there might be unusual withdrawals or credit card purchases.

8. Check your Social Security Administration (SSA) earnings statement every year.

9. Get your return done as early as possible. It really is in your best interest to file as early as possible.

10. Protect your computer. Some identity thieves now use advanced software to get your personal information such as login details and passwords. A strong and regularly updated firewall, anti-virus program and anti-spyware program will give most of the protection you need.

For more information and updates check our Corliss Group Online Financial Mag Blogspot or you can follow us on Twitter @CorlissGroupMag

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Corliss Online Financial Mag: Tips to become financially fit

Following are few easy tips made by Corliss Online Financial Mag that will help you move forward toward financial security and make your dreams become reality.

Put aside time and energy to talk

The first step to finding common ground with your finances is to take time to talk about money. Define your values and goals together with your family and clarify the difference between needs and wants. Don’t wait for a financial crisis to happen.

It is vital to instruct the children about the value of money and how to use it responsibly.

Make a budget

With your established values, you are now ready to create a budget. There are some tools out there to get you started such as Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB), but a Microsoft Excel document will probably do the job. Choose something that you are comfortable with and actually work for you. Set a time every month to check in and evaluate your goals as well as your progress. Make adjustments or improvements based on your situation.

Pay your debts

Lots of individuals in debt feel trapped and bogged down, but always remember that even small steps can have a dramatic effect on financial stability. Just pay small amount above the minimum payment each month. As little as $15-$25 more could help you pay off a credit debt five to ten years sooner.

Use a flexible spending account

Assess with your employer. Several companies allow you to take money out of your paycheck pre-tax to pay for expenses such as health care. However, make sure that you only take out what you need.

Save for retirement

Due to compound interest, your money increases dramatically over time. A small contribution now can mean larger returns later.

Prepare for abrupt problems

Consider the things that can have a huge effect on your life later on. Build an emergency fund, set up a life insurance policy, and open a 529 plan — defined by Corliss Online Financial Mag as a tax-advantaged method of saving for future college expenses that is authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code — to begin saving for your children’s education.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Corliss Online Financial Mag: Japan, Australia May Join China-Led Bank

Japan signaled that it could join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after all if certain conditions were met satisfactorily.

This is despite the United States already expressing concerns regarding AIIB and its capability to pass social and environmental standards and China's already growing diplomatic influence in the region. Still, about 30 nations, including major EU members, participated in this economic project.

Now, even the notable allies of the US -- South Korea, Australia and Japan -- are reportedly reconsidering.

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso announced that they are considering joining the AIIB if they can confirm that it has a "credible mechanism for providing loans". However, other Japanese senior officials remain doubtful if participating in a China-led bank could be truly advantageous.

"We have been asking to ensure debt sustainability taking into account its impact on environment and society. We could (consider) if these issues are guaranteed. We'll give it careful consideration from diplomatic and economics viewpoints. There could be a chance that we would go inside and discuss. But so far we have not heard any responses," commented Aso.

AIIB is also seen as a competitor of ADB (Asian Development Bank) which is a regional financial institution based in the Philippines. It is basically dominated by the US and Japan, with its leader customarily coming from the latter's finance ministry or the Bank of Japan.

The former president of ADB and current BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda cautiously said, "There are huge needs, demands for infrastructure investment in Asia. On the other hand, the World Bank and ADB have been helping countries in Asia to improve infrastructure for the last 50 years."

Despite being a China-led financial institution that the US is warning against, AIIB got Tokyo concerned of missing out on opportunity for more regional participation, reports Corliss Online Financial Mag.

Meanwhile, Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey said participating in AIIB has the potential to benefit local companies and should not adversely affect their relationship with the US. At any rate, he added that a final decision has yet to be made, although Corliss Online Financial Mag got reports that Australia could decide to formally join this week with as much as USD 2.3 billion in investment.

"There is a lot of merit in it, but we want to make sure there are proper governance procedures. That there's transparency, that no one country is able to control the entity. And because it's operating in our region, in our neighbourhood, it is important that Australia fully understand and look at participating in this Bank," said Hockey.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Corliss Online Financial Mag: P&G to Sell 100 Brands

Consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble confirmed last week that they plan to sell off a total of 100 brands, suggesting deeper cuts than originally reported.

P&G confirmed they have finalized deals for 35 brands out of 100 that they are expecting to sell by 2016. The troubled company is also expecting to sell those brands that have collected a total sales in the USD 10 billion mark, contrary to the USD 8 billion it has previously announced.

According to Jon Moeller, P&G's Chief Financial Officer, the brand divestitures could reduce their annual sales by as much as 14% -- a pretty big difference from the original 10% estimate loss in total revenue.

Meanwhile, other officials of the company confirmed that those decisions are already the 'refined' version of their original plans and that they are only trying to consolidate their brand portfolio.

Most of the brands shortlisted in its divestiture plans have already been sold on account of their low performance. But Moeller is quick to point out though that the brands they are selling are not necessarily weak ones -- they are just underperforming in the eyes of the management.

P&G has previously sold its pet food brands along with a handful of laundry and beauty brands. According to experts, Wella salon and Braun appliances are next on the list. According to Corliss Online Financial Mag, the largest potential divestiture yet is the Duracell batteries to Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The battery maker reportedly generates USD 2.6 billion in revenue per year.

Procter & Gamble's CEO Alan Lafley said in a conference that they expect selloff to be completed in 5 months. He added, "We have had a lot of interest in the assets we want to dispose."

Corliss Online Financial Mag has previously reported Lafley announcing last year that P&G plans to concentrate on around 70 brands as a core group of the company.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: WealthyU – Keeping You And Your Money Safe This Holiday Season

Every two seconds someone has their identity stolen. The holiday shopping season is in full swing and the scammers, crooks and identity thieves are on the prowl.

Financial guru Deborah Owens joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim of fraud and how to keep you, your identity and your money safe from would be thieves this holiday season.

One thing people can do to avoid being taken advantage of online is to be aware of phising schemes. These schemes present fake web sites that look like real web sites of retailers, banks and other financial institutions.

Owens told Martin people can protect themselves by looking at the URL and making sure that there is an “http” and an “s” in the address.

America’s wealth coach advises people to not “click on anything. Go to the actual website” of the online retailer you wish to purchase merchandise from.

“The reason why this is so important at this time of year is because our guards are down.” Owens added, when we’re on a mission “to get that perfect gift what you need to understand is that [you] don’t [want to] make yourself somebody else’s gift.”

Part of protecting yourself from potential thieves involves “being aware of your surroundings” and being conscious of what you are carrying on your person when you go out shopping.

Owens cautioned us to not take all of our credit cards with us when we go shopping. She said, “one credit card and some cash is probably what you want to do so in the event, if something does happen” everything is not stolen and you don’t have to try to create all that information again.

Corliss Group Online Financial Mag is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares. Corliss Group Online Financial Mag does this in a manner easy to understand and uses only relevant and essential information required to trade shares on the stock market.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: The five best money moves you can make in December

We all tend to get excited and go over budget amid holiday festivities but make a few smart moves now, and you won't get caught off guard by monetary misfortune this holiday season.

Your halls are decked with tinsel and ornaments and your fridge is stocked with eggnog — and amid the holiday excitement, you haven’t looked at your bank account balance in weeks.

You’re not alone. It’s easy to get caught up in festivities and forget about budgeting. But make a few smart moves now, and you won’t be caught off guard by monetary misfortune.

1.) Invest in your future self: Contribute to your 401(k).

In 2013, 42% of middle-class Americans said that it was impossible for them to pay their bills and still save for retirement, according to a Wells Fargo study. But even if you can’t get anywhere near the annual 401(k) contribution limit of $17,500, try to put aside as much money as you can, says Ken Stanley, a NerdWallet advisor from Harper Stanley Financial Services.

“If you have the opportunity to contribute to a 401(k), especially if your employer is matching the contribution, please don’t leave any money on the table,” he says.

Jonathan DeYoe, NerdWallet advisor and principal at DeYoe Wealth Management, adds that it’s important to re-evaluate spending at the end of the year and see if you can afford to contribute more.

“Your future self is really going to appreciate your current self’s savings,” he says.

2. Protect your identity online.

About 28% of shoppers say they prefer doing holiday shopping online rather than in a store to avoid crowds, according to a 2013 study by global information firm Accenture. If you’re planning to skip the long lines this month, do your best to keep your online information safe.

Avoid looking at your online bank profile or making online purchases on public Wi-Fi. If you have lots of weak or duplicate passwords, now is a good time to change those. Monitor your credit card statements closely and report fraudulent transactions as soon as possible.

3. Give to charity – the smart way.

If you have some excess income at the end of the year and you want to give back, donating before Dec. 31 can help you benefit from tax incentives.

When donating, make sure your money is going to a worthy cause. Two-thirds of Americans don’t research the organizations they contribute to, according to a 2011 study by Hope Consulting. Check the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to find out more about where your money is going.

4. Start thinking about taxes.

Don’t wait until April to start thinking about taxes. For new parents or recently married couples, filing a W-4 before the holiday season could mean less tax withheld from each paycheck. That could make a big difference during the holidays, says Harry Krampf, a NerdWallet advisor and a tax expert at

“It’s one of those things that people have direct control over,” he says.

If you’ve seen some big changes this year, ask your employer about filling out a W-4.

5. Accidents can happen at any time – get covered.

If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, now’s the time to enroll in coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Enroll by Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2015. If you choose to forgo health insurance this year, remember that you’ll have to pay a penalty, and in 2015, that will be more costly.

What’s important

Getting your financial life in order can be stressful, but once you’re done, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters. That makes all the budgeting, planning and investment worth it.

“It’s really about family coming together,” DeYoe says. “It’s about thankfulness, gratitude and really appreciating what we have.”

More tips or any economic issue that will help you? Corliss Group Online Financial Mag is here to help you. Corliss Group Online Financial Mag is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares. You can also visit our blog site for more update.