Consumer Education


Tip: Check your credit report, children's academic file, hospital records, and employment records. View for accuracy and change/revise if necessary. Always have a current address on file at all organizations.

Flood Insurance
Source: FEMA
Flood loses are not covered under one's homeowner's insurance policies.
FEMA manages the  federally-backed National Flood Insurance Program.
You can purchase flood insurance with any local insurance agent. Your agent will find a provider that offer said insurance.
There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.
You do not have to live in a flood-prone area to purchase flood-insurance coverages.


Renting From A Valid Landlord Service
Read More now of how to avoid these common rental-fraud scams Sherlene NEWS LINK.


Playing in "Any State" Lotteries
Immediately after purchasing your lottery ticket, make certain to sign the back of it.


Credits Rights and Reporting

If you have great credit, you may want to apply for one of these charge cards.

•Medical bills are no longer highlighted on credit reports.

You must be told if information in your (credit) file has been used against you. Examples: for credit, another credit agency, insurance, or employment.
•You have the right to know what is in your credit file at a consumer reporting agency.
•You have the right to ask for a credit score. It is normally free information from a mortgage lender.
•You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
•Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information (usually within 30 days of notification).
•Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information: no more than seven years old, or bankruptcies no more than 10 years old.
•Access to your file is limited: creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business
•You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
•You may limit "prescreened" offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.
•You may seek damages for violators.
•Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.
Family Bond Paper, June 2013.

What are the names of the three major credit scoring companies?
Sherlene's answer:
1. Experian
2. Equifax
3. Transunion

And they normally report your credit history and scoring in one summary
or credit report. Businesses may prefer one scoring company over another.
Family businesses can receive their own credit, but it will need to be trusted
to one or two loan application signers.  Each year American citizens are
allowed a free summary of your personal credit activity behavior. Visit

Each unique household citizen has their own credit activity identity.
Yes, even if you co-signed with another person within your household for
something on credit. Make sure that any and all credit agencies report correct
information, and have favorable things to say about you--just like a personal
reference for a job.

Is it important to know your credit score?
Sherlene's answer: Yes, it is this overall score (of your entire credit activity summary)
that allows you to possibly get a cheaper percentage finance rate to purchase
major household items (ex., house, car, family business needs).

However, do not make this a significant factor of not trying to improve your
unique household if you must pay a higher payment rate for a loan instead
of not getting a loan at all. Just realize that eventually, after you pay your loan
payment in a time fashion, you can apply for a new loan that "will have" a
cheaper payment rate, by improving your credit activity behaviors.

Let's do a little math, shall we...
   Your Score
+ Your Salary and Length of Time in your Job Industry Field (more important than working at the same job place)
= Your creditworthiness or the percentage rate offered to you from a loan or charge card company

What is the minimum amount of charge cards that one should have?
Sherlene's answer: Two. Avoid getting two charge card accounts from
the same financial company.  It goes without saying, you should never
max out your charge cards. Maxed-out cards are defined as charge cards
where you have spent the majority (90% or above) of your available credit.
So sorry, a 90% score of your total charge card limit is not a good grade to
receive in regards to your credit activity. This would be a very good indicator
of dysfunctional buying habits of your unique household or family business.


Other Reporting Agencies

Medical Information
Banking Information ,

Employment History
Home and Auto Insurance Claims ,

Tenant History , ,


What Happens When You Participate in a Contract or an Agreement (Verbal or Written)

Several written articles on topic,


College Student, Federal Loan Repayment Options
Source: Department of Education Loan Services (2013); U.S. Department of Education.
Note: Most of these plans require that you qualify based on school activity or financial challenges
to participate or be approved.

Standard Payment Plan -  Offers fixed monthly payments for up to ten years.

Graduated Repayment Plan - Lowers your payments at first, then increases them over time for a period of up to 10 years.

Extended Repayment Plan - Offers standard or graduated payments for up to 25 years for loan program accounts over $30,000.

Income-Related Plans: Income-Based; Income-Contingent and Income-Sensitive, and Pay As You Earn -  Allows a monthly payments that can change annually as your income changes.

Deferment - Temporarily postpones your payments while enrolled in college or school at least half time (6 credits).; You can also defer your interest; Interests will still accumulate (adds up) and your actual loan total amount will increase.

Forbearance - Temporarily postpones your payments or can reduce the amount of payments on your  loan(s) due to financial hardship; You can also defer your interest; Interests will still accumulate and your actual loan total amount will increase.

Consolidation - Combines all your given loans into one payment that is due each month. It may also extend the period of time that you have to repay your loan(s) which means that your actual loan amount will increase. See

Contact your lender immediately when you encounter financial difficulties that inhibit your ability to pay.
Make on-time payments even when you are waiting for notification regarding your request for deferment, forbearance or loan consolidation. Or work with your lender to establish a payment schedule you can afford. Source: (2014)

*A list of current college closures or in the process of closing can be found in the "Bulletin Board"  tab.


Ways to Invest

Save: Save a little each week. Cut back on the extra household perks.

Mutual Funds: Seek a retirement or financial adviser to confirm that the fund
is the proper investment for your portfolio.  Mutual funds collect a big pool of
money from many investors and then invest that money collectively, giving
you share that correspond to the amount you invested.

Stocks: You can buy a very small portion of a new or existing company.
The company can be a for-profit or a non-profit. As you acquire more stock,
your ownership stake in the company increases. It is challenging, but not
impossible to make large sums of money from buying stock.
Do your research on available companies that offer such an option.

Bonds: Bonds typically offer lower returns than stocks, but they are less risky.
If a company goes bankrupt, bondholders are the first to get a payout or
reimbursement. The U.S. Treasury offers bonds directly.

Become an Entrepreneur: Working for yourself and doing what you love can be
rewarding (taking the good with the bad). For more information on becoming an
entrepreneur visit my page or

Useful links
Source: (Finance section, 2013, July)


Credit Report Dispute Letter
Source: (November, 2012)

You have the right to dispute anything in the trade section, such as information regarding credit cards, student loans, auto and personal loans, and items in the sections for collections and public records. You may also challenge fraudulent credit inquiries and "everything that's not correct or that's outdated and only allowed to stay on your credit report for a certain period of time, such as bankruptcy."

You can't dispute negative information if it is correct or true, and if it is still within the statute of limitations for reporting. For example, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your report for 10 years; a foreclosure, for seven.
Consolidate all disputes in one letter. DO NOT send a letter for each issue. Mail the letter by certified mail, with a return receipt requested.

It doesn't have to be a long letter of request. Keep is short, simple, and factual.  Include your name, address, last four digits of your Social Security number. A credit report reference number is also helpful.

Identify the product or service that you disagree with, why you disagree, and what you would like to have happen. Include supporting documents, but not originals!!! Make a copy of the letter after you've signed it.



Question: What is does it mean to have assets?
Sherlene's Answer: Assets are valuables that you own/have (cash, savings, materialistic things).

Question: What does it mean to have liabilities?
Sherlene's Answer: The opposite of assets is...debt or monthly bills :) [loans, "on-going" expenses, mortgages]
Assets and liabilities = Capital or the final amount a company is worth
on a yearly basis. If at any time your capital (worth) decreases and you
expect it to remain consistent, inform your lenders/landlord/suppliers who
may be able to arrange a decrease in monthly payments of the debt that
you owe. Never avoid or disregard your debt bill communications
(ex. the original bill, on-going letters by the company).

Question: I use a cell phone most of the time, should I include a long distance
plan on my home phone (land line) line?
Sherlene's Answer: In my opinion, I believe that "every" unique household
should have a home phone with a long distance plan ...  No house phone if you can
not afford a long distance calling plan, okay.


Roth and Traditional IRAs

  • Five Key Differences


Retirement Challenges

  • Unexpected Layoff;
  • Review your finances;
  • Consider health coverage options;
  • Contribute to your new retirement plan immediately;
  • Consider entrepreneurship;
  • ​Divorce or Separation;

To-Do List

  1. Assemble a financial team;
  2. Budget for new living arrangements;
  3. Protect your assets long before the event;
  4. Get a handle on expenses and all accounts held;
  5. Don't let feelings put you in the poorhouse.


WEB LINKS  (National Council on Aging)  (National Association of Area Agencies) or call 1-800-677-1116. Hunger Hotline or call (866) 348-6479  Senior-friendly cellphone with large keypad and simplified features. Inquire if service will work in your specific community area. Source: Savvy Senior, Oklahoma

Safe At Home Checklist (PDF)
Advice for Home Remodeling
Just Call  (855) 464-6872 for Lyft Service for Senior Citizens no smartphone or app required.


Buy disability insurance.
Consider long-term care insurance.
Consider critical illness insurance.
Souce: Black Enterprise, July/August, 2013, Nance-Nash, S.


Health Care: Filing an Appeal for Unpaid Bills
Source: Zamosky, May, 2013. Reprinted with no further comments.

Know the Process - Insurers are required to provide information about the appeals process, so read any extra papers included in the letter of denial that you received. Keep all papers mailed to you. If you don't have such a document, search for the information on your insurer's website or call the company to request the form be mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to you. Note the day and time that you either called, chatted, e-mailed, or faxed.

Make Your Case in a Letter - Include all the usual things 1. Your policy number, 2. Date service was rendered, 3. Location of the service that's in dispute, and 4. the provider (doctor or health care office or hospital). Cite the portion of your policy that discusses the issue at stake.  Attach copies of those Explanation of benefits (EOBs), bills, and medical records. Never send originals!!! Never write or jot down notes on an original document! Cite what the policy says it will cover.

Gather Your Evidence - Explanation of benefits (EOBs), bills, medical records--all of it helps to make a case.  "Put everything together in one place--such as a home office space area," says Sherlene Stevens, and make copies to send along with your appeal letter.

Have a Doctor Vouch for You - A letter from a physician explaining why you received the care you did is essential. Ask for an operative report. This report provides an explanation of the services performed. "If there were issues during the procedure, if the procedure needed to happen in a certain period of time, or if they needed to do additional procedures once they'd begun, that information will all be on your report.' This can increase how much an insurer will pay."


Executor of Estate: What Do They Do?

Source: Forbes, Nov. 2022.


The executor of an estate is someone who wraps up a deceased individual’s financial affairs. If the deceased has a will, the will usually names a close relative, friend, accountant, attorney or financial institution to act as executor of the will. Read further comment

Protect Your Legacy
Source: CNN Money, Nov. 2013, Renzulli, K. A.
Don't let your will reading be the first time your loved ones hear about their inheritance. Let them know exactly what actions you expect of them. Advise them to seek a financial adviser or take a finance course if they've never earned large amounts of money.

Consider passing down some cash during your lifetime so that you can guide them while your'e still around. In 2013 a person can give up to $14,000 per person without having to report the gifts to the IRS, or count against your estate tax exemption.

Trust a trustee. Place the money in hands of someone you appoint--be it a friend, family member, or third party like a bank. You can leave instructions on when the money will be doled out. You can always attach additional hoops within a trust. Incentive trusts (a good suggestion) force an heir to meet certain requirements to receive funds, like earning a college or specialty degree or passing a drug test. Read further comment

Beware of making guidelines too strict.
Useful link,


Car Insurance Coverage Options
Note: Most coverages will not cover your medical costs or property damage in the case of an accident. Full coverage will included the following

Bodily Injury Coverage - pays toward your legal responsibility to others who are injured during an accident caused by you or someone using your vehicle with your permission.

Property Damage Coverage - pays toward the repair or replacement of the property of others that is damaged when you are at fault in an accident.  This includes damage to vehicles and to structures such as telephone poles, fences or buildings damaged by your vehicle.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Will help to decrease "your" financial burdens as noted or when you are at fault. This coverage must be requested by the customer.

Resources for Car Insurance and Accident  topic.

Source: Any reputable insurance coverage supplier.