Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Social Media Privacy Settings

Brenda Langdon, Family Resource Management Agent

The online community created by social media platforms can provide several rewards – new friends, entertainment, education but along with that can raise the concern for privacy risks. It is smart to have limits as to what is revealed and to whom.

Here are some Social Media Privacy Best Practices
1. Do your due diligence – Check the social media platforms privacy policy before opening an account. Find out how your personal information could be used, and how much control you have over your privacy.
2. Be Discreet – You don’t have to fill in every field when creating your profile. Also, don’t post information about your vacation plans, interior of your home etc., things that might make you more attractive to scam artists or thieves.
3. Think before you share – remember that things you share could very well be shared outside your intended audience. Ask yourself “what would my parents, teachers, colleges, current or future employer, lender, law enforcement etc. think about this?” Protect your “e-reputation”. 
4. Enlist your friends – Real friends will care about your reputation and respect your privacy. If someone has posted something in their own social media account that could affect you, ask them to remove it.
5. Smaller is often safer – Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know just to build your audience. You may not know them well enough to trust them which could increase risk that your privacy and security could be compromised.
6. Lock intruders out – Use every safety precaution to keep others out of your account. Set strong passwords, use a different password for each social media account, and lock your phone so a password is required.
7. Keep your whereabouts to your self – Telling your audience that you are out of town, at the airport, or on a two-week vacation could put you at risk for burglary, stalking etc.
8. Resist temptation – Don’t click on unknow links, which could be designed to infect your computer with a virus or data stealing spyware.

Planning for your Financial Future

It’s a good idea to think about your financial future, even during a pandemic. The median age that active workers say they expect to retire is age 65. Yet, the median age of current retirees in the United States today is 62 – indicating that many people may have fewer years to save for retirement than they might think.

There are some important steps that people of all ages can take to make sure retirement meets their expectations.

If you have an employer-provided retirement fund, put in enough of your money to get the maximum match. For example, if you put in 4% and they match 4%, then do that. If they’ll match more, put in more. Do what you can to get the maximum employer match.

Think about ways to cut your expenses now and in the future. If you are working less (due to the pandemic) or not working at all, you’re already looking at your expenses carefully. Coming out of the pandemic, think about whether you will continue with the changes that you were forced into. Make plans to continue to put money into your retirement account.

In 1983, the U.S. Congress raised the age at which many Americans can receive full social security benefits to 67 (Medicare benefits are available at age 65). The Social Security Administration publishes a chart online, to find your full retirement age by birth year. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/ageincrease.html

Beginning at age 62, your monthly benefit is reduced for each month you retire before your full retirement age, and for every month after your full retirement age – up to age 70 – your benefit is increased. If you can wait to retire, your monthly benefit will increase to the maximum amount. Everyone’s situation is unique. What might work for you might not work for your neighbor, sister, or brother. You have to think about what will work for you and your situation and put some thought into your decisions.

(References: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2020/06/tips-for-planning-your-financial-future.html)

Money Saving Summer Tips

Looking for a great sale? Let’s look at how to save money and plan your shopping in August. Here is a list of the best products to buy in plus holidays where you might find an extra sale and a bonus including the national days where you can score free items!

Close out summer by buying summer products — look for end-of-season clearance sales.

Back-to-school supplies - The start of school marks the need to buy small items such as pencils and expensive ones like laptops. Generally, the closer to the start of the school year you buy, the better your chances of getting a good price.

Outdoor products. Look for end of summer sales with a big deal on lawn mowers and other seasonal outdoor equipment.

Swimsuits. There may not be many swimming days left by the time August rolls around, but that’s exactly why stores will have swimsuit clearance sales. Buy swimsuits for your family now for next year.

Mark your calendar: The first day of school is usually in August. 
Freebie day: National Waffle Day is Aug. 24.