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I DON’T GET IT!

February 18th, 2009

I spent about a year writing a lesson book designed to teach young people money skills. After completing the book, I managed to get it approved as a text book by the Newport-Mesa School District here in Orange County, CA.

Then reality hit. They don’t teach personal finance classes anywhere in the district. Why one might ask? To this probing question, as with so many questions, there are good answers and real answers.

First, the good answers. We’re teaching Math and Science – they are a national priority. Young people are getting all the financial lessons they need at home – studies indicate that 90% of money skills are learned at home. Blah, blah, blah.

Now, the real answers. We don’t have the money to teach money skills – they are paid to teach Math and Science. We don’t have the time to teach money skills – the unions are dictating how much teaching time is available in any one day and again Math and Science are priorities. Blah, blah blah.

Now here’s what I don’t get and perhaps you may understand and can inform me. I keep hearing all about Math and Science. Hey, they are a national priority. We’re falling behind the world in Math and Science. China is burying us in Math and Science. This all sounds so important and so immediate and so critical to the future of the universe.

Now let’s confuse the situation with logic and clear thinking. A very dangerous thing in most cases.

Question: For every one thousand high school students how many will be working in fields related to Math and Science 20 years form now?

Follow-up Question: How many will be handling money, balancing check books and working with personal and family budgets?

See what I mean? Thinking too much can make you crazy.

Another Question: Based upon what you see today, are money skills being learned at home?

Get this – only three states require high schools to teach money skills. What ever will the rest of us do?

Easy answer – buy my book.

Enough said.

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Locking Your Credit in California

February 3rd, 2009

My latest client letter subject is a set of instructions for individuals to protect themselves from identity theft. California is one of a few states that allow individuals to “freeze” their credit information. The freeze is accomplished by writing to each of the three credit bureaus, paying a $10 fee and requesting them to completely stop all checks of your credit and stop the issuance of any credit to you or anyone who pretends to be you.

If you want to apply for a loan or credit card, all you need to do is go on-line, use the password issued by the credit bureau and allow that specific credit check.

Complete instructions are included in the California Office of Privacy Protection. The following link will get you there:

http://www.privacy.ca.gov/

Once there find – Consumer Information Sheet 10 for a complete set of instructions on how to freeze your credit.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Harris
Certified Public Accountant

The following are sample letters for each of the three credit bureaus. Note that each bureau’s requirements are slightly different.

February 3, 2009

Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta GA 30348

Dear Eqifax:

I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file. My name is .

My current address is:

I have been at this address for over 10 years and do not have a former address.

My Social Security number is .

My date of birth is .

Enclosed is my check for $10 for placing the freeze by .

Sincerely yours,

February 3, 2009

Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen TX 75013

Dear Experian:

I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file. My name is .

My current address is:

My Social Security number is .

My date of birth is .

As proof of my address, I am enclosing the following two items:
*
*

Enclosed is my check for $10 for placing the freeze by .

Sincerely yours,

February 3, 2009

Trans Union Security Freeze
PO Box 6790
Fullerton CA 92834-6790

Dear Trans Union:

I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file. My name is .

My current address is:

My Social Security number is .

My date of birth is .

Enclosed is my check for $10 for placing the freeze by credit card.

Name of Credit Card:
Account number:
Expiration date:

Sincerely yours,

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