Personal Finance:

Term Life Insurance VoIP Savings Retirement Planning Cash Back Rewards Grants And Scholarships Financial Literacy Foreign Lottery Fraud Medicare And Social Security


An Affordable Way To Protect Your Future

(NAPSI)—There’s good news if you are looking for a way to safeguard your family’s financial future while maintaining your budget—term life insurance.

Term life is temporary insurance designed to last for a specific period of time, and it can be one of the more economical ways to purchase the life insurance your family needs.

According to Mutual of Omaha Vice President Ernie Rongish, there are a number of advantages to term life insurance.

A Benefit For a Fixed Period

Term life insurance is especially suited for people who want competitive premiums, are looking to supplement life insurance they get from work or to make sure longer-term financial obligations, such as a mortgage, are taken care of should something happen to them.

“With term life, you choose a fixed benefit amount for a specific period of time,” Rongish said. “Plus, whether you choose a 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year term, you pay just for that length of time and the premiums are guaranteed not to increase throughout the full policy term. Death benefits of $100,000 and up are generally available and you can convert the coverage to permanent life insurance if your needs change.”

Customer-Friendly Features

Along with simple and quick underwriting provided by many plans, popular features of term insurance include:

• A variety of rider options, including an accidental death benefit that pays benefits in addition to the term life insurance benefit in the event of accidental death;

• A waiver of premium feature that waives your term life insurance premiums if you incur a disability; your premiums are waived for as long as you are disabled;

• An accelerated death benefit that pays a lump-sum benefit immediately if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness;

• A provision whereby you can convert your term life insurance plan to permanent insurance should your life insurance needs change.

Many consumers who have worked hard to establish a comfortable home and lifestyle for their family see term life insurance as a smart and affordable way to help protect their family’s future.

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Five Ways To Put Money Back In Your Pocket Each Month

(NAPSI)—If you’re like most people, you’re looking to cut costs and save money. Fortunately, a few simple things can really add up and help you save a lot. Leah Ingram, a frugal-living expert and author of “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier & Healthier for Less,” suggests a few of her own family’s simple changes that can save you money every month.

• The average American drinks 1,132 cups of coffee annually—3.1 a day—and spends $1,562 a year on brewed coffee or $2,773 on espresso drinks at stores, restaurants and coffee shops. The cost to brew the same number of cups at home can be as low as $147 ($.13 per cup). By making your coffee at home, you can save some $2,626 per year.

• Bottled water is more expensive than gas—about $10 per gallon. Americans spend about $1,400 a year on bottled water, or about $117 a month. If you got a refillable, reusable water bottle and filled it from the tap, you would save about $117 a month.

• Americans who eat lunch out every weekday spend, on average, about $7 per meal. If you packed your lunch, you would incur some grocery costs in buying what you need to make lunch but you could save nearly $2,000 a year—about $166 a month.

• Ingram’s family used to spend about $750 a year on phone service from the phone company; now they’re making calls free. A landline phone is quickly becoming a duplicative expense. If you’re already paying for high-speed Internet, you should consider a VoIP system, such as the Ooma Telo. This device can be hooked up to the Internet instantly, letting you make unlimited long-distance calls within the U.S. with crystal-clear call voice quality. You can also reduce cell phone expenses by switching to a prepaid plan and using your home phone more, once the VoIP system is up and running. This monthly savings can add up to $40 to $50.

• Nearly every home in the United States has some sort of computer printer and those printers go through a lot of ink cartridges. Rather than toss them in your recycling bin, bring them to an office supply store that will not only recycle them for you but give you cash back for your good, green deed. At Staples, for example, you can get $5 per recycled ink cartridge for recycling those cartridges. That can add up to $240 back in your pocket each year.

All these little things can add up to big savings in the long run.

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The Need To Develop A Retirement Plan

(NAPSI)—Preparing for retirement can be a challenging process—and emerging trends are not helping matters. Fortunately, developing a retirement plan can help.

That’s the word from experts who say changes in employee benefits, longer life spans, uncertainty with Social Security and Medicare and the rising cost of health care have made funding retirement more difficult.

With most of the responsibilities for financial aspects of retirement now falling squarely on the shoulders of individuals, the key, according to Insured Retirement Institute President and CEO Cathy Weatherford, is to have a comprehensive plan that addresses both retirement income and expenses-including health care.

National Retirement Planning Week was created to remind consumers of the importance of having a plan for funding their retirement.

For those needing help, a professional financial advisor can assist when creating a road map toward attaining financial security.

To learn more, visit

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Consumers Spending More In 2012 On Leisure And Entertainment

(NAPSI)—New data from a major financial institution revealed that many Americans are enjoying themselves more in 2012. According to the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index, a barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardmember spending data, consumers are spending more on leisure activities and entertainment this year compared to the first quarter of 2011.

The data shows that in the first quarter of 2012:

• Spending at movie theaters increased by 24 percent, while theme parks saw a 21 percent increase compared to 2011.

• Spending at recreation facilities, such as golf courses, ski resorts and campgrounds, rose by 7 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.

Additionally, based on last year’s data, celebrations of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations are driving springtime spending on gifts and consumer wish list items, such as flowers, jewelry and electronics. Between April and May of 2011:

• Spending on flowers increased by 92 percent—although men spend nearly twice as much as women on flowers on Valentine’s Day, both spend roughly the same on bouquets and blossoms in May.

• Spending on jewelry increased by 28 percent between April and May 2011. States in the Northeast drove the biggest increase, with 36 percent.

• Total consumer electronics spending increased 21 percent nationwide, with a larger increase of 28 percent in the West.

To help you get in on the good times, consider these money-saving tips when you make a purchase in one of these popular categories:

• Shop electronics retailers on Sundays for the best deals on consumer electronics.

• Take advantage of 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent at movie theaters and grocery stores, now through June 30 with a Chase Freedom card.

• Earn up to 15 extra points for every dollar spent on flowers from retailers such as ProFlowers, KaBloom and through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Freedom Cardmembers can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants from July through September, and on accommodations purchased directly from the hotels and tickets purchased directly from the airlines and at Best Buy and Kohl’s from October through December. Cardmembers can activate 5 percent cash back online, over the phone, via text message, on Facebook or at one of Chase’s 5,500 branches.

Learn More

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Career Education Assistance For A Competitive Job Market

(NAPSI)—Even with the U.S. unemployment rate high, technicians and skilled trade workers top the list of the hardest jobs to fill, according to a Manpower Group talent shortage survey. This gap in today’s competitive job market can be a great opportunity for those who are considering attending a trade or technical school over a traditional college or university. Specifically targeting this high-skilled worker need, one organization has introduced a Career Education Grant Program to provide a one-time $1,000 grant to members and their eligible dependents toward enrollment and attendance at an accredited trade or technical school.

“Higher education provides a tremendous advantage toward success,” says Paul Pevsner, M.D., President of the Alliance for Affordable Services, “but the cost of postsecondary education continues to increase. That is why it is important for Alliance to offer members assistance in achieving their educational goals, regardless of the type of school they choose to attend.” The grant program is a welcome complement to the already successful Alliance Scholarship Program. Over $1.9 million in scholarship awards has helped more than 1,200 high school graduates and college students pursue undergraduate degrees since the scholarship program’s inception in 1996.

The Alliance is dedicated to helping its members live better and save more. It leverages its strength in numbers to provide access to valuable benefits and services to meet the personal, professional and health care needs of over 75,000 members nationwide.

Benefit availability is dependent on the package option chosen and the member’s place of residence and may be subject to change. For more information or to join, visit or call (800) 733-2242. The annual grant application deadline is June 30.

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An Equation For Success

(NAPSI)—When looking for the best way to teach children about handling money, parents and teachers may benefit from a financial literacy program that really adds up.

Partnering with members of Congress, SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation offer a fun financial literacy program for students in 4th through 12th grades.

The SIFMA Foundation Stock Market Game—“Capitol Hill Challenge”—helps students develop the math, research and team-building skills that are critical in business and a global economy.

By increasing students’ understanding of personal finance, it can help them make more-informed decisions in their own lives.

According to a recent study by Learning Point Associates, students who participate not only develop essential financial habits, but they also perform better on math, economics and personal finance tests than their nonparticipating peers.

This year’s challenge will run to May 14, with more than 3,000 teams competing, and the top five teams will visit Washington, D.C. to meet their congressional representatives and learn about public policy.

Learn more at

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Fighting Foreign Lottery Fraud

(NAPSI)—Older Americans and the people who care for them can protect their family and finances by learning more about new ways to avoid old scams.

What Criminals Do

Often, the problem is a scam involving foreign lotteries. Americans have lost millions of dollars to these scams. These crimes can seriously affect the lives of their victims and their families.

The criminals tend to talk a good game and the elderly are often the target of foreign lottery scams. The scammers can “spoof” caller ID to make it look like they’re calling from the U.S. or even a government agency. The criminals may ask you to pay to play—by wire, check, money order or cash. They may try to get you to send money that’s just for “taxes and fees.” Scammers might even provide a check or money order as an advance on the winnings, with instructions to cash and return the proceeds in order to receive the winnings. That’s not a good idea; more than just the odds are against you.

Fortunately, The United States Postal Inspection Service is out to stop these criminals—and you can help.

What You Can Do

If you or a loved one receives an unsolicited offer, Postal Inspectors recommend that you:

• Hang up the phone or delete the e-mail;

• Don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone over the Internet or phone;

• Never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere who says you have won a foreign lottery;

• Don’t let anyone pressure you into making an immediate decision;

• Never purchase anything until you get all information in writing.

What The Law Says

Foreign lotteries aren’t just a risky proposition for American consumers; under many circumstances, they are also illegal. A federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery.

What’s Being Done

Combating foreign lottery fraud is a top priority for The U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Inspector Paul Krenn says if you suspect you’re a victim of a fraud or have received a suspected fraud through the U.S. mail, you should report it to

Learn More

You can find more information on fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim at that same site.






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Having Your Say On Medicare And Social Security

(NAPSI)—Medicare and Social Security are the foundation of retirement security for millions of American workers. But these vital programs face challenges in the coming years, and the next president and Congress could make decisions about them that might affect you.

Why are these programs so important? The typical retiree on Medicare and Social Security has an income of only $20,000 and must devote nearly 20 percent of that for out-of-pocket health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. Social Security is currently the principal source of income for nearly two-thirds of older American households, and Medicare provides health coverage for nearly all seniors.

Many who are not yet retired are struggling with lost pensions and savings, lower home values and higher health care costs. They may not be thinking about Medicare and Social Security today, but it is likely the guaranteed benefits of these programs will be critical to their health and retirement security.

Yet for the last year, politicians in Washington have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss changes to Medicare and Social Security, without the input of people who could be affected by their decisions.

AARP recently launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation to ensure that Americans’ voices are heard in the discussion through questionnaires, community conversations, town hall meetings, online forums and other events.

You’ve Earned a Say will provide information about the major proposals that Washington has put on the table, both the pros and cons, without all the political jargon and spin. Americans deserve to have the facts, so they can tell politicians what they think should be done to strengthen these programs.

Making sure your voice is heard in Washington may be the best way to protect Medicare and Social Security for generations to come. Most Americans pay into these programs throughout their working lives and have earned the right to be heard.

To make your voice heard and learn more about You’ve Earned a Say, go to Or you can call (888) OUR-AARP.

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