Online Calculator for Credit Card Purchases

Paying with a credit card may cost you more than you think.  Depending on how fast you pay off your credit card bill, the interest could exceed the sale or coupon you used in the purchase.  Find out exactly how much that credit card annual percentage rate (APR) will cost you with this easy online calculator. This free online calculator is provided by Jeff Atwater, State of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, on his website http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/Calculators/CostOfCredit.aspx.  Enter the purchase price, APR, and amount you plan to pay each month, then the calculator will show you how much total interest you will owe, and how many months it will take to pay off the purchase with interest. You may want to adjust how much you are willing to spend on the initial purchase (get a less expensive item), or be more aggressive at paying your credit card bill (pay more each month).  Knowing how much (and for how long) you will be paying can help you make better budgetary decisions for your financial fitness and overall purchasing power.   Read More

Holiday Budget

Holidays can be hard on your good spending habits.   Generally, you do not want to max out your credit cards or open new lines of credit when you are trying to build credit (as for a home, auto, or student loan in the near future).  Minimize the holiday hangover on your credit card bills by building a budget. A budget can help you stay on track for your spending and saving goals.  If you can talk, text, and wrap presents, you can make a budget.  The Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has a free online holiday budget calculator at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/Calculators/Holiday.aspx. …And remember to pay your bills on time every time.   Read More

Attention Veterans: Pension Poaching Scam

Yes, sadly even our Veterans get scammed.  Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater warns on his website (http://www.myfloridacfo.com/SAFE/stories.asp) against scammers who try to convince Veterans to purchase unnecessary products or transfer pension funds to an annuity or trust that supposedly “will enable” the veteran to qualify for additional pension assistance or enhancement, but which may do just the opposite. Consider carefully any changes to your pension.  You can research veteran’s benefits on your own for free or at no cost from any party accredited through the US Department of Veterans Affairs.  Also, you can check the valid license status of anyone assisting you in financial services through an online search with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp.  Again, Florida’s CFO gives the reminder:  “No one accredited through the VA is allowed to charge you for their services.” Thanks to those who have served in the US military.     Read More

Workshop for Savvy Seniors

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is putting on a free workshop for older residents and their families and/or caregivers to help raise awareness and avoidance of financial exploitation that is targeted towards Florida’s seniors.  As part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative, this workshop is on tour throughout the State, making its stop in St. Augustine on October 8 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at River House (179 Marine Street, St. Augustine).  Topics covered will include the following: The Psychology of a Scam How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior Common Scams that Target Seniors How to Fight Identity Theft Resources to Keep You Safe To learn more and to register for this workshop, go to http://www.myfloridacfo.com/SAFE/   Read More

Where to Find Spare Change

In January, Kevin Lipton paid $2,585,000 for a rare penny.  On the other hand, Roger Pasquier has been collecting coins off the streets of New York since the 1980’s.  He averaged $58 a year until the advent of the iPhone; then his annual collection jumped to nearly $100.  If you are looking to scrape up spare change (or possibly more), check out Florida’s Treasure Hunt. Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of Florida has over a billion dollars’ worth in dormant accounts and things people have left in safe deposit boxes.  There is no cost to claim it, and no statute of limitations to make a claim.  A free online search could put dollars in your pocket.  For more information and to search what may be available to you, go to the State’s Division of Accounting and Auditing Bureau of Unclaimed Property website at https://www.fltreasurehunt.org/.   Read More

The Problem with Payday Loans…And a Possible Solution for Cash

The problem with payday loans is that they are habit-forming and tend to lead to greater poverty.  Payday loans are not fraud, but they can cost consumers a lot. A payday loan is a cash advance secured by personal check or paid by electronic transfer.  You write a check for the amount you want to borrow plus the fee for borrowing the money.  The lender gives you the amount borrowed and agrees to hold your check until your next payday.  However, if you come up short on payday, you have to pay new fees to roll over the loan, thus making the borrowed money more expensive each time the loan is extended. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 90% of the payday lending business is from borrowers with five or more loans per year, and the typical interest rate on a two-week payday loan has an annual interest rate from 391 to 521.  The average borrower has nine transactions per year. Alternatively, you could shake down the coach for coins…or look into Florida Treasure Hunt with the State’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property.  Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of Florida has over a billion dollars’ worth in dormant accounts and […] Read More

Treasure Hunt Online with the State of Florida

You do not need a metal detector or shovel.  From the comfort of your air conditioning and an Internet connection you can dig up treasure from unclaimed property held by the State of Florida. Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of Florida has over a billion dollars’ worth in dormant accounts and things people have left in safe deposit boxes.  There is no cost to claim it, and no statute of limitations to make a claim.  A free online search could put dollars in your pocket.  For more information and to search what may be available to you, go to the State’s Division of Accounting and Auditing Bureau of Unclaimed Property website at https://www.fltreasurehunt.org/.   Read More