Financial Awareness for Older Adults

As adults over 55 with low income and disabilities strive to stay in their homes, the threat of theft, fraud, and other forms of financial exploitation increase. To become more educated about this, they, their caregivers and service agencies who assist them, Michigan Ability Partners (MAP) is offering training to increase financial management skills. This is made possible by a grant from The Anna Botsford Bach Fund for Seniors at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. MAP will promote this service through the organizations in the Washtenaw Elder Justice Coalition. For more information call Misty Hendershot, MAP Payee Supervisor at 734-975-6880.

Small Business Administration Lending Roundtable

Are you trying to expand, purchase, or start a business and need financing? Do you want to learn how a lender analyzes your loan request and what they look for in a credit application? Would you like to ask all of your financing-related questions at one time, in one place?

If so, the SBA Lending Roundtable session is for you! The roundtable is comprised of a banker, an SBA loan officer, a business consultant, and you. Here you will have the opportunity to meet business counselors who can help you prepare your loan request for the bank. This session for those with good credit, some money to invest in their business and who know how much they need to borrow.

The session will take place on Thursday, February 23, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Washtenaw Community College Morris Lawrence Building. Please preregister as space is limited for this free informative seminar. To register, follow the link on the event page or contact the MI-SBTDC, 734-547-9170.

Wall Street Demystified with Morningstar


If you've ever wanted to get a clear picture of your investments with qualified, unbiased advice take this class! Get independent and trusted stock and mutual fund analysis, research and ratings from Morningstar, the research database with a reputation for tough, independent-minded research that has led to invitations to testify before Congress on various financial issues. Just another of the great services provided to you by the Ann Arbor District Library.

No need to register, just join us Tuesday, February 7, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Downtown Library: Training Center.

Morningstar experts will give easy instructions on how to use their database. Then, practice what you've learned on our training center computers!

In addition, Morningstar's director of personal finance, Christine Benz has created a 30 Days to Financial Fitness guide. In this user-friendly booklet, she breaks down large financial goals into smaller, more manageable steps, one day at a time.

Sign in to your online Ann Arbor District Library account to access an electronic copy of the Morningstar 30 Days to Financial Fitness at Morningstar Investment Research.

See you next Tuesday!

Year End Tax and Financial Planning

The Congressional Super Committee’s inability to act marks the third year in a row that U.S. taxpayers face major uncertainties about the U.S. tax code. The best bet is to not dwell on that unfortunate circumstance and focus on what one can do in year-end planning. Here are some of the important issues with helpful resources available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

This is the time of the year to think about gains and losses and the fact that losses can be carried over to offset gains in future years. You can deduct up to $3,000 of long term losses against ordinary income and this can bring happiness to a dreary world! Maybe it is time to sell the one that stings every time you review your portfolio. Learn all about it with J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2012.

Rates on capital gains, interest and dividends are at historic lows and will be changing in 2013. We don’t know what the changes will be but we do know that a new 3.8% tax on net investment income for people with certain adjusted gross income levels is due to take effect in 2013. It might make sense to talk with your financial advisor about long term gains with these changes looming. The Ernst & Young Tax Guide 2011 and J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2012 are both excellent sources for more on this important issue.

One really important rule that has changed for this year is cost-basis reporting on equities in taxable accounts. As of 1/1/2011 brokerage firms are required to share purchase price information on stocks that were sold with the IRS. Your broker should have been in contact with you (if not, shame) about selecting a method for selling—there are at least four reporting methods. The one you choose determines how much money you keep when you sell stock. If you don’t select a method the IRS rules specify first-in, first out, which can make a big difference if you bought the same stock at various times for different prices. You are allowed to switch methods before selling, not after.

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) “patch” enacted late last year expires at the end of this year. A good place to get up to date about it is J.K. Lasser's New Tax Law Simplified 2011.

Estate and gift taxes are expected to remain unchanged through 2012. Two great sources are Estate Planning Basics and Your Michigan Wills, Trusts, & Estates Explained Simply.

And lastly, the soundest advice Wall Street has to offer: “Buy low, sell high.”

Budgeting 101

The Michigan State University Extension is holding a Budgeting 101 workshop on September 19 from 6:30pm and 8:00pm in the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center. Participants will learn about money management, financial planning, and family budgeting. Anyone can register for free by calling 734-222-3943.

Morningstar: How Are Your Investments Performing?

Thursday April 28, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Computer Training Center

Take some time now that tax season is out of the way to learn how to use the Morningstar investment research database. It will help you track, analyze and make intelligent decisions about your investments.

One of the most trusted names in the investment industry, Barron's and Forbes
rank Morningstar among the top investing sites.

Take advantage of this premier database that the Library offers because now, more than ever, it pays to have solid, unbiased information to make investment decisions.

Living on Less


Trying to save money? Michigan State University Extension is offering a free workshop titled "Living On Less" on Wednesday January 19 from 6 to 9 pm at the Washtenaw County LRC building. This workshop will explain how to develop a spending plan, reduce flexible expenses and reduce debt. You will need to register by January 18 by calling 734-222-3943.

Your Money Bus


On September 24, the "Your Money Bus" tour is coming to Ann Arbor. The tour is sponsored by the NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) Education Foundation. It will be an opportunity for anyone to get free financial advice. The bus will be at the Ann Arbor YMCA from 10am to 2pm. To schedule an appointment at this stop, please email Krista Allnutt at:

To ensure your appointment is scheduled, be sure to put: Appointment - DETROIT in the subject line of your email. In the body of the email you should include your name and your desired appointment time.

Budgeting 101


The Michigan State University Extension is holding a Budgeting 101 workshop on September 22 from 6:30pm and 8:00pm in the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center. Participants will learn about money management, financial planning, and family budgeting. Anyone can register by September 20 by calling 734-222-3943.

Keep Your Home!


Hope America, Inc. is holding a free seminar on Saturday, Sept. 11 from 10:00am to 12:00pm called Help Me Keep My Home. This seminar will help teach you the process of working to obtain a solution to stop foreclosure on your home. You'll learn how to negotiate with your lender, create a successful household budget, lower your mortgage payments, and more! To register, call (734) 483-5362.

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