Volume 2 Number 1
January 3, 2005










TEXT VERSION


The cataclysm from the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia is still unfolding. The number of deaths is climbing and, frightfully, now mirrors the population of the city of Tallahassee. The suffering is incomprehensible.

What does this mean to us in Florida? Recovering from the impact of four hurricanes in one season, we know the financial and emotional devastation and the toll it takes. We also know how important it is to give help in this time of need.

Many of us are donating to charity to help with direct relief aid. Make sure that the organization to which you give is reputable and recognized as a legitimate aid group. Be sure to ask questions – a legitimate group will be glad to answer your inquiries. 

Florida can also be proud that Governor Jeb Bush is calling on his Florida disaster relief experience as one of a distinguished group representing the United States overseas and now visiting the hardest hit areas. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in this tragedy. Through the partnership of governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world,  we hope victims of the tsunami take comfort in knowing that help is on the way. 

My best,

Our masthead for January is a view of the County Courthouse located downtown in beautiful Madison County, Florida.


 

 

GALLAGHER TO MORTGAGE HOLDERS: KNOW YOUR BANK’S PROCEDURE FOR PROCESSING INSURANCE CLAIM CHECKS

To assist Floridians who recently received claims settlement checks or who are expecting payments from insurance companies, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is advising storm victims with mortgages to be aware of bank procedures for receiving insurance funds to make repairs. 

“If you have a mortgage, you will need to work closely with your lender to complete the repairs process.”  Gallagher said.  “Your bank may choose to release funds only as repairs are complete but should also remain focused on assisting you in restoring your home as quickly as possible.”  CONTINUED
 


 

 

START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT AND SAVE MORE

With the new year here, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is urging Floridians to resolve to save more money.

“We all intend to save, but many of us just don’t follow through on our good intentions,” Gallagher said.  “I encourage Floridians to make 2005 the year that they resolve to thoroughly review their finances and find ways to save more money."

Gallagher offers the following tips:

Lower the cost of your outstanding liabilities. 
Review interest rates on all of your credit cards and loans.  Do research to see if you are paying a higher rate than the current average.  If you are, contact your creditors and negotiate a new rate.  If they won’t budge, consider moving your accounts.  This same rule applies to outstanding mortgage loans.  However, you must also consider fees connected with refinancing and calculate how long it will take to recoup the closing costs.  If you don’t know how to do the cost-benefit calculations, ask a loan officer to do the calculations for you.   CONTINUED


 

SENIORS, YOUNG ADULTS ARE FOCUS OF NEW FIRE SAFETY PROGRAMS CREATED BY STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE

Each year, fire claims the lives of Florida’s elderly more than any other age group.  At the same time, statistics show increasing fire incidents on college campuses.

To combat these sobering trends, State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher has launched new education programs targeting the state's seniors and college students.

“Fire prevention is one of the keys to independent living for Florida’s seniors, and for college students fire can pose a big risk as they take their first steps toward independent living” said Gallagher said. “The more information they have, the more our citizens can do to minimize their risk of being injured by fire.”  CONTINUED


 

 

 

TEENS: CASH IN ON YOUR MONEY SMARTS!

Having money smarts means knowing how to do things like stash your cash, watch your spending and shop for good deals.

It also means that teenagers know it is time to get going on submissions to our essay contest which is open to 14-18 year olds who want to win some money.  “Cash in on Your Money Smarts'' offers a top award of $750 for one student in each of five regions.

Friday, February 11, 2005, is the day that essays must be in to the Department of Financial Services to be eligible for up to $7,500 in cash prizes. The essay of at least 750 words, in English or Spanish, responds to the essay question “Why do you consider yourself money smart?”  Essays may be submitted electronically or by mail. 

"This is a chance for our teens to be rewarded for their knowledge of smart financial decisions,'' said Tom Gallagher, Florida's Chief Financial Officer.  CONTINUED