2011 Financial Empowerment Podcasts

Financial Empowerment is a service of CalCPA Institute. Our podcasts help consumers make sense of today’s complex financial issues. Most podcasts are under 15 minutes in length.

E-mail your questions to FinancialEmpowerment@calcpa.org.

 

December 2011

Minimizing Remodeling Hassles

If you own a home, someday you'll likely want to refurbish a bathroom, add a room or upgrade your kitchen with new cabinets and countertops. Such remodeling projects take a lot of time and money and can be complicated undertakings. We asked Los Angeles CPA Gregg Wind, himself a veteran of a major remodeling project, for advice regarding how to minimize remodeling hassles and reduce the likelihood of unexpected costs.

The News You Can Use segment discusses income tax changes effective Jan. 1, 2012, that will increase the amount of certain exemptions and deductions.

Download the Podcast (Mp3, 5MB)

Links discussed in this podcast:

California Dept. of Consumer Affairs Internal Revenue Service

 

October 2011

Should Your Portfolio Include Mutual Funds?

Investing is risky business, especially nowadays when the stock market is undergoing major turbulence. Financial advisers recommend that people diversify their investments. If one portion of your portfolio plummets, another portion may rise to compensate. One way to diversify investments is by putting money into mutual funds, which are composed of several stocks or other investment instruments. But like any investment, mutual funds have their ups and downs, as we learn from David George, an Irvine, California, CPA and personal financial specialist.

The News You Can Use segment discusses options consumers can take if their bank starts charging fees for previously free services.

Download the Podcast (Mp3, 5Mb)

Links discussed in the podcast:

Publications USA

Investor.Gov

Credit Union National Association

 

July 2011

What to Do if Facing Unemployment

Although the recession was officially declared over two years ago, the jobless rate remains high at 9.2 percent unemployment as of the end of June 2011. And that figure doesn’t account for people who have given up looking for a job. The Los Angeles Times reports that almost 7 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer. While we all hope that there will be a turnaround soon, savvy workers know it’s best to be prepared just in case they should find themselves jobless. Michele Day, a CPA in Dublin, California, who has counseled out-of-work people, discusses how workers can prepare themselves financially just in case they are laid off.

The News You Can Use Segment features tips on how to save money while on vacation

Download the podcast (Mp3, 5Mb)

Link discussed in this podcast:

California Employment Development Dept.

 

March 2011

How to Safely Use Debit Cards

Most Americans probably have at least one debit card in their wallet. Retailers essentially treat the cards as cash. A quick swipe and you can buy coffee or a shirt. You can even get money with the card. But despite their convenience, debit cards have liabilities. Lynette Atchley, a Redlands, California, CPA, offers guidance on how to best use debit cards.

The News You Can Use segment notes that 1.1 million taxpayers have unclaimed refunds on their 2007 taxes and explains how they can obtain the refunds from the IRS.

Download the podcast (Mp3, 4.5Mb)

Links discussed in this podcast:

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Internal Revenue Service