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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
January 2, 2013     Hays Free Press
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January 2, 2013

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Page 4D BUSINESS + Hays Free Press • January 2, 2013 + Resolve to save more money in 2013 STATEPOINT Two of the most commonly made and commonly broken NewYear's resolutions are saving money and paying off debt. These are promises we all seem to make to ourselves every year with every inten- tion of seeing through. But somehow, we wind up in the same spot we were before. So how can you make sure that 2013 is the year you take control of your finances and start making your money work for you? Figure out what your objec- tives are - be it paying off debt, buying a first home, or saving for vacation. Identify- ing your goals can help you stay motivated. Consider placing a visual reminder somewhere you'll see all the time, like the refrigerator. Many people have no idea how much money they spend monthly. Creating a spend- ing plan is vital if you want to make your money do for you what you want it to. If you share your finances with someone else, make sure he or she is part of this process as well. Many financial services com- panies offer free tools to help you .... easily see what .............. you've been spending and ways you can save. For example, the non-profit Fam- ily Credit Man- agement offers spending plans, savings guides and a comprehensive personal financial goals workbook that help you to lay out a strong plan in an easy way. Visit to see these and other financial tools. Make the small changes that add up to big savings. Most people have small expenses that they can live without. Maybe for you it's a coffee every morning on your way to work. If you do this every weekday, that adds up to $1,300 per year! If that's important to you, then fine. But if it's not worth the annual amount you're spending, cut the cost. The idea is not to strip the fun from your life, but to save money on things you really don't care about. For more areas to save in your daily life, visit www.Stop- Involve your whole family. Many parents feel the need to shelter kids from financial strain, but budgeting is an invaluable life lesson that you can teach them by including them in the process. Ask for help! If you feel you could use some guidance, reach out to a certified credit counselor who is licensed by your state's banking depart- ment and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Visit www.Family- to find a certified counselor. Finally, figure out what to do with your new found savings! If you're not sure where you'd like to keep or invest your money, you can visit bank- and investigate high interest, low balance require- ment savings accounts. Once you've completed these steps, you are on your way! Saving money is habit forming- when you get your monthly statement and you see money building up, you'll want to put more and more away. It's a great way to get started on a financially suc- cessful NewYear. Financial Focus: Five reasons to find a financial advisor Continued from pg. 1D A financial advisor can: Ask the right questions- If you try to invest on your own, you may find yourself asking the wrong questions, such as: "What's the 'hot- test' investment out there?" A financial professional can help frame better questions, such as: "Given my individual risk tolerance and long-term goals, which investments should I consider to help me build a balanced portfolio?" In other words, a financial professional can help you ask the questions that can lead to better results. Look at your situation objectively- No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to take all the emo- tion out of your investment choices. After all, your invest- ment success will play a large role in some key areas of your life, such as your ability to enjoy a comfortable retire- ment. Consequently, if you think you're not making the progress you should with your investments, you may be tempted to make a hasty decision to give your portfolio a "jolt." Frequently, though, such choices can backfire. When it comes to investing, it's better to invest with your head, not your heart. A finan- cial advisor can analyze your situation, assess your risk tol- erance and make appropriate recommendations. Show a deeper under- standing of investment research-You can look up many types of financial data on your own. But do you know how to put all these pieces together into a co- hesive picture? A financial professional, with years of experience and training, is generally more capable of finding the research sources and making the most sense out of the results. Put experience to work in making portfolio recommen- dations. Even if you've been investing for many years, you might be surprised at all the underlying influences that should go into making invest- ment decisions. But a finan- cial professional understands market patterns, the nature of diversification and other factors necessary in helping you make the right choices for your situation. Spend time looking for op- portunities - Even if you en- joy the process of investing, the chances are quite good that you can't spend as much time on it as a financial pro- fessional. That means, among other things, you aren't con- stantly on the lookout for new investment opportunities. Nor are you always looking within your own portfolio for opportunities to rebalance or make other adjustments that can help you move forward toward your goals. But when you work closely with a finan- cial advisor, he or she is ex- ploring the financial markets for new investment prospects while regularly reviewing your portfolio for possibilities of upgrading quality, increas- ing diversification or making adjustments in response to changes in your life. The "do-it-yourself" route may be fine for home repairs. But when it comes to manag- ing your investment situa- tion, there are benefits to working with a professional. Payday Lending: Fast cash can cost consumers Continued from pg. 1D visible location in the store. However, a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that those lenders are still allowed to charge high fees and inter- est rates. The study also found that approximately 8 percent of adults in Texas have taken out a payday loan in the last five years, compared to 5.5 percent nationwide. The fees and interest rates did prompt the federal government to take action. In 2006 Congress banned lenders from offering payday or car title loans to members of the military. In 2008, the Federal Trade Commission warned that some of the fees on short- term loans can add up to 650 percent interest. Austin resident Scott Tin- tera said he will never deal with a short-term lender again after his experience with a car title loan. "It's a rip off," he said. "I'll never do it again. You might as well just give your car to them after you get the money." Tintera said he had fallen behind on his payments, but called the company to work out a payment arrangement. He added that he called on a Wednesday to tell the com- pany he would bring his pay- ment in on Friday. "They said it was no prob- lem," he said. However, that Friday morn- ing, a tow-truck driver showed up at his office to repossess his truck. He called his lender, and he said the woman who answered the phone acknowl- edged that she had agreed to the payment arrangement. However, Tintera added, her supervisor told the tow truck driver to proceed anyway. "I'm sitting there, I've got the cash in my hand," he said. "If I've violated my agreement, don't tell me it's OK. I would have made arrangements to pay sooner." Tintera said that his pay- ment would have been $700. When he went to get his truck back, the company told him he would have to first pay off the entirety of the loan then pay several fees. The total amounted to thousands of dollars. He did not have the money, so he said the company sold his truck. "They pretty much just stole my truck, is how I see it, because the payment was in my pocket," he said. The FTC advises consum- ers to consider alternatives to payday lending if they need money fast, includingsmall bank loans, credit counseling and credit cards. For those with no other op- tion, the BBB offers the follow- ing tips: • Start with trust. Check out the company's BBB business review to see its rating, his- tory of complaints and other information. • Never pay an up-front fee. Some short-term loan provid- ers will ask for a post-dated check to cover the amount borrowed, plus interest and fees. However, if any lender asks for those fees in cash before giving you any money, walk away- especially if it's an online lender asking for mon- ey via wire transfer. Charging up-front fees is illegal, and cash sent by wire cannot be traced. • Limit the amount you borrow. Only borrow what you know you can pay off with your first paycheck. Most companies will allow you to "rollover" the balance for several weeks or months, but tack on fees the whole time. This can result in a consumer owing several times what he borrowed in the first place. • Stay informed. In Texas, payday lenders are required to disclose certain informa- tion before initiating a loan. That information includes the costs, how it compares to other loans and the interest rate if not paid in fltll. Mem- bers of the military enjoy even more protections, thanks to federal law. • Read the fine print. Pay close attention to fees and consequences of non-pay- ment. Will the company allow borrowers to make arrange- ments if they cannot pay? How quickly will the company repossess a borrower's car? • Keep all documentation. Many consumers said they started receiving calls from collections agencies years after they paid offa payday loan. Some of these calls were simple errors; others were at- tempts by scammers to collect a debt that is not owed. Stay protected by having docu- mentation that all loans were paid in full. • Know where to turn. If it appears a lender has commit- ted fraud or taken advantage, file a complaint with the BBB, the FTC and the Texas Attor- ney General. To check the reliability of a company and find trustwor- thy businesses, visit ' :, !ii:: :TheAreas Only Full. "Time 'Ear, Noseand T "'t , ! !SpeW:’i MARK DAMMERT, FELLOWSHIP-TRAINED IN FACIAL PLASTIC SURGERY • Allergy & Sinus Management • Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment • Hearing Loss & Ear Disorders • IMiness & Balance Disorders • Thyroid Disorders • Vocal Cord Disorders • Head & Neck Cancer Surgery • Skin Cancer • Functional & Cosmetic Facial Surgery • Offering Adult & Pediatric Care Kyle Chamber News Continued from pg. 1 D ness, a 57 percent increase in its local reputation, and a 63 percent increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the furore. Read the full report and learn more about the value of becoming a Kyle Area Cham- ber member at K₯1_e: or email me at RayKyieC.amber.og Please join us and support the work of the Kyle Area Chamber as we move into 2013. Reserve your spot online today to the following events, which are open to the public: Jan. 22, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: 'A Moment of Clarity - Maneuvering through The Aftermath of the Fiscal Cliff, "at the monthly luncheon at Plum Creek Golf Course Jan. 26, 6 p.m. Annual Awards Gala at Texas Old Town- Stone Hall As of January 1, 2013, Live Oak Health Partners (LOHP) along with Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) will begin providing healthcare services currently available to clients at the Hays County Personal Health Department clinics, 401-A Broadway Street in San Marcos and 150 Lockhart Street in Kyle. Hays County citizens who have received health care at these locations are encouraged to continue using these services. However all patients have the right to seek medical care from another rovider. Patient records are confidential. Copies of records can be transferred to another facility, released to the individual or released to another designated person only with the patient's permission through a signed authorization form. If the Hays County Personal Health Department does not have a signed authorization on file within 30 days of this notice, patient records will become property of LOHP. Until then, all records will remain on file with Hays County. On January 1 LOHP will begin providing welt-child, women's health, family clinic, immunizations, and social services. Hays County will maintain responsibilities for screening clients for indigent health care eligibility, health-related emergency pre- paredness, tuberculosis screening and treatment programs, and support for state and federally funded immunization pro- grams and information systems. LOHP is a multi-specialty group of physicians and health- care providers committed to compassionate healthcare for the communities of Hays County. Though the transfer of op- erations will occur on January 1,2013, clinic locations and the commitment to quality care will stay the same. Hays County greatly values our relationship with the community and staff members are available to answer questions at 401-A Broad- way Street in San Marcos or by phone at 512.393.5520. Treecycling. t SATURDAY, DEC. 29 - SUNDAY, JAN. 6. After you take down the Christmas tree, take it down to Industrial Asphalt in Hays County. As a certified wildlife conservation site, we'll put it to good use. Old Christmas trees make excellent habitats for fish, turtles, rabbits, armadillos and other creatures. Think of it as a chance for your old tree to do something green again. And speaking of green, it won't cost you a cent. • . : ,. . • Conservation Land & Quarry +