Financial Literacy Credit Series: Monitor Your Credit Reports Regularly

by Allacyn - Apr 07, 2011


It is important to monitor your credit reports regularly, because errors do happen and it is your responsibility to make sure that you are catching these errors and are having them taken care of. No one else cares what your credit score is, so you have to care and you have to contact the credit bureaus that have made the errors to have them fixed.  You will want to check to see if you have closed, paid off accounts that are still reporting. You will have to file a dispute with the credit bureau and it may take up to 30 days to get a response. It will be worth it to get the errors off of your report.

It is also important to make sure that companies you want to report are reporting. Some student loan lenders are not required to report and may not be. If you have mostly credit cards and student loans you will want the loans reported because this will create a more equal balance between your revolving accounts (credit cards) and your installment accounts (home, auto, or student loans). This will help improve your score as well.

For all of LearnKey’s Financial Literacy Month resources, visit learnkey.com/financiallitmonth


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Financial Literacy Credit Series: Know and Follow the Rules of Credit Cards

by Allacyn - Apr 06, 2011


When credit card offers start coming in the mail, make sure you know and follow the rules. This means that you need to read through the packet of information that came with the offer. Make sure you read the fine print. The likelihood is that they will highlight the best features like 0% APR on transfers and purchases, but they will not highlight that this is an introductory rate for the first year and the rate increases to 24% after that point. Search this kind of information out!

Once you are approved and sent the card you will get another larger packet of information in the mail and you should read this in depth as well. You need to educate and familiarize yourself about what you have gotten into and what your obligations are. If you can this is also a good time to set this card up through your online bill pay and enter it into your spending plan so that when the first bill comes you are all ready to pay it. To reiterate yesterday’s tip, I cannot stress enough how important it is to make your payments on time!

For all of LearnKey’s Financial Literacy Month resources, visit learnkey.com/financiallitmonth


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Financial Literacy Credit Series: Set Bills Up in Your Name

by Allacyn - Apr 05, 2011


If you do not have credit cards make sure you have other accounts in your name like your utility bills, cable, internet, and cell phone bill. Set these up so that you can start establishing positive patterns of behavior and a history. In order to do this it is essential that you make all of your payments and they are made on time. If you can do this it will show lenders and credit card companies that you are responsible and can be trusted to make good on your obligations of repayment to them.

Once you have done this and have established this history and patterns of behavior, you will have a better chance to be approved on an auto loan or approved for credit cards. Don’t get frustrated, it will probably be a slow process to improve your score, but you will see it improve and this will keep you moving in the right direction.

For all of LearnKey’s Financial Literacy Month resources, visit learnkey.com/financiallitmonth


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Financial Literacy Month – Building Credit

by Allacyn - Apr 04, 2011


Today starts our recognition of Financial Literacy month, and in honor we will be posting tips here in the blog each day of the workweek. Each of the next four weeks will have a theme, this week is credit, next week will be debt, then spending and savings, and the last week will cover spending plans . There will also be a free white paper available to you on our website for each of the themes.

Today’s tip: Building Credit

It is important to start building your credit, because a positive credit score is crucial to your finances. With a good credit score you can qualify for a home loan, get great interest rates on credit cards and loans, and you can save thousands of dollars throughout your lifetime in interest. 

Where do you start, if you do not have any credit cards or loans? The best place to start is by opening up a checking and savings account. This will help start building your credit history. It is also important to make sure that you keep accounts positive and do not overdraw your accounts or bounce checks. These can show up on you credit reports as negative marks. On the other side of this if you monitor your accounts and keep track of these accounts it can show positive behavior patterns.

For all of LearnKey’s Financial Literacy Month resources, visit learnkey.com/financiallitmonth


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CTE Programs Give Students a Reason to Stay in School

by Allacyn - Apr 01, 2011


Studies show that in California there was a dropout rate of about 30% in the 2004-2005 school year. In 2007 one study showed that 6.2 million students in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of high school; that is almost 17,000 a day.

It is no surprise that the rate is so high, this has been an ongoing issue and the big question is how do we stop this from happening? This is a problem we should all be taking notice of, because over time this will cost the United States a lot of money in lost revenue.

One thing to consider – the same studies and research in California showed that 84% of Career and Technical Education students enrolled in a sequence of courses graduated; that cuts the dropout rate almost in half!

Why do CTE programs work for high school students? One theory is that these programs are engaging and relevant to students lives. Other ideas are that it gives students with other interests a reason to make it to school. Another added benefit is that these programs help students with job readiness and achieving industry certifications. These programs are also key to producing individuals that are meeting the needs of businesses in technology.

Educators – has your school seen similar results? Does your school have an above-average CTE program, or do you know of a school that does?


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Silicon Valley Adds Haircuts to Benefits Packages

by Allacyn - Mar 29, 2011


Yes, you read that right. Recruiting competition in the Silicon Valley has become intense, and this is making companies and start-ups across the valley begin to add unique things to their benefits packages. There is a shortage of engineers, programmers and developers that lack the skills the companies are looking for, and this has created a cutthroat environment for getting quality recruits. Giants like Google have stuck with tried and true incentives like hiking the wages for these positions by $20,000 in recent months, where others have resorted to the strange like one company offering free haircuts as an added benefit.

Another approach that is different is offering recruits information and future funds to start their own businesses one day. Many start-ups have realized that most of the qualified candidates for these positions are entrepreneurial and have hopes to start their own companies. To stay competitive many companies are even letting employees view product plans and financials to learn what it takes to build a business.

So, if the money isn’t enough to convince you to study up for those industry certifications, are extra benefits and incentives the tipping point? It all comes down to the fact that these companies need qualified people to fill open positions, and a good certification might just earn you competitive pay, and maybe some free haircuts too!

Do you currently have a job that offers some not-so-traditional benefits? Let us know in the comments!


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Netiquette

by Allacyn - Mar 28, 2011


Netiquette is defined as the rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over computer networks, especially the internet; or in the World English Dictionary, as the informal code of behavior on the internet.

Whatever definition you use, it is an important part of life in the digital age we live in. In the computing dictionary it defines the most important rule as “Think before you post”. This is kind of an all encompassing rule, but the computing Dictionary goes on to define it further;

  • If it does not make a positive contribution or will not be of interest to several people, do not post it.
  • Personal messages should not be posted to newsgroups.
  • Re-read and edit your posting.
  • Don’t post test messages.
  • Don’t overuse smileys.
  • Don’t post a message until you have read through information on the website including FAQ page.

Read more »


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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by Allacyn - Mar 24, 2011


Is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T all it takes to maintain an engaged workforce? In a recent blog, Engaging employees with RESPECT, the author Paul Marciano suggests that Aretha Franklin had it right all along. Marciano maintains that traditional rewards and recognition programs may work for a little while, but to keep employees engaged all you have to do is show a little respect. He goes on to list off some of the critical ways to do this and a lot of them are absolutely free to you.

Recognition: Thanking and recognizing employees and their accomplishments on a regular basis. Sometimes just being recognized can make an employee feel confident in their position and what they have to offer. This validation can be priceless!

Empowerment: Give employees training, tools, resources, and information that they need. Set them up for success! Giving your employees these tools will empower them and lead to innovation and success for your organization.

Supportive Feedback: Give feedback, positive or corrective. It is a good thing for employees to know where they are and where they can go. Not having this information can leave them floundering and decreased productivity.

Partnering: Create a collaborative work environment for employees. Collaboration can impact your organizations; profitability, sales growth, profit growth, customer satisfaction, productivity, product quality, product development, and innovation.

Expectation setting: Set goals for employees and hold them accountable for reaching those goals. This can provide direction to employees and provides motivation for them. Employees will know where they need to focus their attention and will be better equipped to spot distractions.

Consideration: Demonstrate thoughtfulness, empathy, and kindness. Employees are people and need to be treated that way, as individuals with unique capabilities. We all want to be treated as individuals.

Trust: Show employees that you trust their skills, abilities and decisions. When you give employees your trust they will feel more accountable and will want to rise up above your expectations so they avoid letting you down.


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Graduates’ Career Interests Miss The Mark For Job Projections

by Allacyn - Mar 17, 2011


National and State specific data was released in a report from ACT showing that students are not pursuing careers in fields with the highest projected growth. The report showed that there is a gap between what students are interested in and job projections, and also that students are not prepared for coursework required in these fields.

Five highest-growth career fields:
– Education: such as secondary school teachers, secondary school administrators
– Computer/Information Specialties: such as computer programmers, database administrators
– Management: such as hotel/restaurant managers, convention planners
– Community Services: such as social workers, school counselors
– Marketing/Sales: such as insurance agents, buyers

Computer/ Information specialties account for the biggest gap with a 9% difference between job availability and the interest of students.

The question to ask now is, what is causing the gap? Are today’s students getting bored with these subjects? Are they not offered enough options to prepare for these job roles, and merely take a “safer” route?


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Changing Views of Education

by Allacyn - Mar 12, 2011


I’ve seen a few animations in the past from the folks at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts (RSA), and they were all quite interesting. They take key speeches from their events and create an intricate marker board illustration, animated to follow along with the speech. Reading some of their YouTube comments, you’ll see people saying things like “I wish my teachers did this in school, it would have helped me learn a lot easier!”

We recently came across this video, where Sir Ken Robinson talks about traditional public education, and ways to reform it to do a better job of accommodating all students.

Read more »


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