Posts Tagged ‘finance’

Copyright Haven Life

I am reminded of the challenges families face as we pay our monthly costs for living today. During the first week of every month, I go through the process of paying for regular fixed monthly expenses. Fixed expenses have a specific due date with an amount set by signing a contractual agreement such as rent/mortgage, a student loan, internet, cellphone, or car payment.  Other types of regular expenses may have a variable amount due each month based on monthly purchases or usage rate such a credit cards and utilities.  We receive paper or electronic statements monthly to advise us of payments due. Other spending categories that are fixed with variable costs are food, gasoline, clothing, personal care, and health expenses.  Paying bills today seems to take more time and energy than before the pandemic. Director Chopra at the April 2023 Financial Literacy and Education Commission meeting stated the pandemic turbocharged a transition to banking and digital payments. These changes include:

  • An uptick in trading individual stocks and crypto assets
  • A marked increase in the number of banked individuals, as illustrated through a recent FDIC Ohio survey
  • A jump in consumer reliance on digital payments platforms.
  • The pandemic, Economic Impact Payments and social changes propel banks to increase Junk Fees
  • Further adoption and increased use of apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Cash App.

These banking transitions have increased risk and added additional time and effort to paying our bills.  We are constantly challenged to navigate the sea of emergent digital products and services being marketed to us. 

Revisit Ohio State University Extension’s Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” as families work to achieve financial wellness during this time of rapid social and economic change. Managing and controlling our spending and saving is needed to build hope and manage emergent financial stress.

The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –

•          Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants

•          Identify realistic/SMARTER goals

•          Gather current financial saving and spending information

•          Locate emergency resources

•          Analyze their current budget

•          Develop a “sustainable” Accounting for Your Money calendar

•          Take control of spending resulting in increased saving for family goals.

Work through the steps of the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest with your family members and/or co-spenders as you and your family adjust to changing basic needs and wants. Determine how to best spend your money during this period of rapid social and economic change. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the change, reducing financial emergencies, and easing future financial stress.

Written by: Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Mahoning County


1. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/prepared-remarks-director-rohit-chopra-april-2023-financial-literacy-education-commission/

2. 2021 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

3. COVID-19 Drives Global Surge in use of Digital Payments (worldbank.org)

4. How did the pandemic change the way we bank? (clevelandfed.org) and Trends in the Noninterest Income of Banks (clevelandfed.org)

5. Comparing Overdraft Fees and Policies across Banks (CFPB Blog)

Read Full Post »

Not Today Scammer

As more of life and daily task moves online it feels like scams and phishing are increasing. . . because they are! According to the U.S. Chief Information Officers Council scams and phishing attacks have been on the rise for decades by cyber criminals. As consumers, our first line of self-defense is awareness.

 As we are looking to increase our awareness online it may be helpful to start with an understanding of what a scam and phishing are.

A scam is an attempt to trick someone, usually to steal money or private information.

Thieves may use this information to cyber bully someone, create false documents such as a driver’s license, buy things with others’ money, or get a loan or a job.

Scammers online don’t have to get money from people directly. Instead, these scammers use a variety of strategies to trick people into giving out their private information. This information can be used to access their bank and credit card accounts or other personal accounts. Scammers can even recreate someone’s identity, producing false documents, such as social security cards or driver’s licenses.

An important step in preventing a scam is to avoid giving out personal information.

What kind of personal information might thieves look for?

  • Full Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Passport Number
  • Account Numbers
  • Institutions where accounts are held.  
  • Passwords
  • Banking Personal Identification Number
  • Social Security Number

Thieves try and get this information from you by phishing. Phishing is when people send you phony emails, pop-up messages, social media messages, texts, calls, or links to fake websites to hook you into giving out your personal and financial information.  

The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to question any online request for personal information. It’s also good to be skeptical about posts or messages from friends online that seem out of character. That can be a warning sign that their accounts have been hacked. There are clues in these phishing messages to look for. For example, they may include:

  • Require you to verify account information.
  • Contain a Sense of Urgency, saying an account will be closed or something drastic happens if you don’t act quickly.
  • Spelling errors
  • A link in the email or attachment encourages you to use that link or attachment to verify the account.
  • Promises or messages that sound Too Good to be true.
  • A Generic Greeting, such as a friend, account holder, or customer.

You can protect yourself from scams and phishing by:

  1. Avoid opening the message in the first place.
  2. Don’t click on any links or download any attachments; they might contain viruses or spyware.
  3. Set your social media accounts to private.
  4. Don’t reply to a message or email. Instead, delete and block.
  5. Mark it as “junk” or “spam” or report it on your social network site.
  6. Take the time to know what a credible website looks like.

If you are concerned about an account you have with a company, contact their customer service directly by phone.


Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Washington County.


4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source. UTEP. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html#:~:text=Check%20the%20domain%20name,in%20an%20attempt%20to%20mislead.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing attacks. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing Attacks | CIO.GOV. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.cio.gov/2021-10-12-National-Cybersecurity-Awareness-Month-Phishing-Attacks/

What are some common types of scams? Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-are-some-common-types-of-scams-en-2092/

Read Full Post »