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CFO Sink Offers Helpful Money Management Tips to Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions

12/30/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate (850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE — With a new year around the corner, many Floridians will be making resolutions to improve their lives.  Florida CFO Alex Sink recommends including resolutions to take control of your family’s finances and better manage your money.
 
"The key to sticking with a New Year’s resolution is to have a plan and to follow through,” said CFO Sink. “By thoroughly reviewing your finances and following some easy tips, you can better manage your family’s budget and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.”
 
CFO Sink offered the following advice to help Floridians keep those money management resolutions, especially when it comes to your insurance coverage:
 
Develop a personal financial plan – When putting together your personal financial plan you want to be sure to include a savings plan.  First, take a look at your daily spending habits.  Once you determine how much money you can save each week or month, change your habits and plan on setting up your own Individual Retirement Account or other personal retirement account, like a 401(k), that will not be taxed until you choose to begin drawing the money out.  Remember the best rule of saving: Pay yourself first!
 
Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage –You may not realize this, but it is your responsibility to make sure your insurance coverage is adequate. Contact your insurance agent and make an appointment to discuss each coverage and provision of your policy.  You may need to add or change a vehicle on your auto policy or you may have added an addition on your home.  If so, your policy must be adequate to cover such changes or additions.  Please keep in mind that the coverage must be in place BEFORE any loss occurs, giving even more credence to an insurance evaluation as a New Year’s resolution.  Another plus is that you may lower your premium payments by increasing deductibles and/or reducing coverage!
 
Shop Around – To get the most out of your money, shop around for the best price and coverage.  Every insurance company has different rates based on their experience and other factors.  By shopping around for the best deal, you may save hundreds or even thousands of premium dollars.  However, always work with a Florida-licensed company, and be sure to compare apples-to-apples when shopping for coverage. 
 
Verify Before You Buy – You’ve worked hard for the money you are going to invest, or put into an insurance policy, so take a few extra moments to make sure the people investing your money or seeking to sell you insurance are licensed by logging on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com or calling our Consumer Helpline.  Also, make sure you understand all of the risks involved before making any investment: ask questions, take notes, and get a prospectus.  For an insurance policy, check the financial status of the company issuing the policy. Remember, verify every time!
 
Protect Your Identity – Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country affecting an estimated 10 million consumers in the last year.  If your identity is stolen, restoring it can be a tedious process, often taking months or even years to restore.  Identity theft insurance is an option, but your resolution should include breaking old habits that may lead to you being affected by this crime. 
When making a purchase, try to keep your credit/debit card in sight at all times.
Review your monthly credit card statements and question anything that does not appear quite “right.”
Shred receipts once you have matched them to your monthly statement.
Be aware of anything suspicious if you are using an ATM machine.
Never give personal information over the phone.
Do not write your social security number on your checks.
Use a post office box rather than a mail box to receive/send mail.
 
Ask for Help ­– If you don’t understand a policy, a term you are hearing, or what kind of coverage you need, ask for help.  The Department offers an array of services online including Consumer Help Online, an Insurance Library, and numerous consumer brochures.  If your family is struggling to keep up with the mortgage, or is facing foreclosure, you can find help at one of CFO Sink’s Florida Housing Help workshops. Consumers can also sign up for CFO Sink’s weekly electronic newsletter to keep informed on the latest news and financial tips.  Information and assistance are available to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
 
CFO Sink urged consumers to visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com or attend one of her community outreach programs to learn more money management tips.  For more information, Floridians can also call CFO Sink’s insurance consumer helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (877-693-5236) or (850) 413-3089.
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.