Important Postal Service address directive: Use - Office of the State Treasurer, 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 - Do not use 55 Elm St.

Personal Money Management

Saving and asset building are the cornerstones of sound financial planning. Personal money management skills include budgeting, wise use of credit, managing debt, banking, and planning for the future. Learning to manage money well can increase your financial power by making your money work harder for you. Below are resources to help you make smart decisions about your money.

Earned Income Tax Credit Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Initiative
This initiative offers free income tax assistance (VITA) services by trained volunteers to help low and moderate-income working families apply for the Federal and State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and coordinated through regional nonprofit organizations, EITC tax preparation sites are located at approximately seventy locations across the state. At some EITC sites assistance in completing the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is also available.

The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (Wiser)
This organization works to provide all women with information on how to improve their long-term financial security and increase opportunities to secure retirement income. Visit www.wiserwomen.org for publications and fact sheets on social security, savings, and investing.

Save for America
www.saveforamerica.org
Established in 1982, Save for America has helped hundreds of thousands of grade school students realize the importance of saving money for their future. Save for America helps introduce children to a variety of skills that will be important when they become adults.

MsMoney
www.msmoney.com
MsMoney.com is a financial services consumer Web site offering content, community, and commerce to empower and educate people to be financially healthy. While MsMoney.com provides information for everyone, they pay particular attention to women's needs.

Credit Counseling Services of Southern New England
www.creditcounseling.org
More than just a credit counseling agency, the organization provides educational workshops to consumers nationwide. These workshops include such topics as budgeting, spending plans, identity theft, and financial management. Participants learn how to make informed educated decisions about their financial situation and the best course of action.

National Association of State Treasurers
The National Association of State Treasurers offers state financial literacy links.

National Endowment for Financial Education
www.nefe.org
National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) was created to provide Americans with practical money-management skills and an introduction to financial planning through course work that covers the fundamentals of insurance, investments, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.

American Savings Education Council
www.asec.org
The American Savings Education Council (ASEC) is a nonprofit national coalition of public- and private-sector institutions undertaking initiatives to raise public awareness about what is needed to ensure long-term personal financial independence. ASEC works through its partners to educate Americans on all aspects of personal finance and wealth development, including credit management, college savings, home purchase, and retirement planning.

An Income of Her Own
www.anincomeofherown.com
The mission of An Income of Her Own (AIOHO) is to give girls and young women the tools, knowledge, and experience to help them for independence and economic well being. AIOHO partners with such organizations as Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Association of Women Business Owners, as well as with school systems, and foundations which have as their common concern the economic future of young women.

 

Investing Basics

Investing your money is a critical part of planning your financial future, but it does involve risk. The more educated you are about how investments work, the better the chances are that you will make decisions that are right for you. There are many ways to invest and many professionals and firms to help you make these decisions. There are also ways to evaluate the quality of people and firms that provide investment advice.

Here are some suggestions on how to be a smart investor:

  • Start small. Rather than looking for fast money, try to make small gains. When you get a little more experience, move up to higher profile stock or mutual funds. Consider carefully consulting with professionals, and seek more than one opinion.
  • Diversify. That is, spread your money out. Try not to put all your money in one market. If, for example, the technology sector takes big losses, you will be protected by having some money in another sector, such as retail or manufacturing.
  • Understand mutual funds. Most mutual funds are supposed to generate growth over time and thus are geared toward long-term investors, not day traders.
  • Information is power. You can never have too much information about a company that you are interested in. If you invest in a company but don't know what they're doing, you could lose a major part of your investment. Some Internet sites and online brokers have research available for you; you can also check out the company's website.
  • Don't forget about commissions. The fees that you pay to your broker can eat up a significant portion of your returns. When determining how to invest, consider options with low fees.

Source: Investing Online Resource Center

Investment Advisers: What You Need to Know Before Choosing One
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) receives many questions about what investment advisers are and how to go about choosing one. The SEC has prepared a series of answers for some of the typical questions they receive from investors about investment Advisers.

Protect Your Money: Research Brokers and Advisers
Federal or state securities laws require brokers, advisers, and their firms to be licensed or registered, and to make important information public. But it's up to you to find that information and use it to protect your investment dollars. The good news is that this information is easy to get, and one phone call or web search may save you from sending your money to a con artist, a bad broker, or disreputable firm. Use the link below to help. http://www.sec.gov/investor/brokers.htm