By LINDA COMINS, For The Times Leader
Probably everyone has heard the old joke: "With my luck, when my ship comes in, I'll be waiting at the airport."
However, planning for one's financial future is no joke, and the process certainly requires more effort than relying on mere "luck."
Family Service Upper Ohio Valley staff members Mary Harriman, seated at left, and Peggy Baller Everly, seated at right, are ready to answer questions as a visitor examines material available from the Family Service booth at the Senior Fair held in WesBanco Arena, Wheeling.
But where to begin? There are a plethora of resources and a variety of methods for handling this all-important life task.
Even if you have an account executive assigned to you from a particular fund, it pays to have an independent financial adviser who can look at your overall package of investments and guide you to make appropriate decisions.
For instance, programs and services represented at the recent Senior Fair included the National Council on Aging Resource Center, located in the Hazel Atlas Building, 87 15th St., Wheeling; Family Service Upper Ohio Valley, 51 11th St., Wheeling; the Seeing Hand Association's vision rehabilitation services, 750 Main St., Wheeling; and the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities' work incentives, planning and assistance project and the WorkForce West Virginia Career Center, Warwood Plaza, Wheeling.
Also at the Senior Fair, a representative of the Wheeling Police Department distributed comprehensive booklets from the USAA Educational Foundation on a variety of subjects, including safety, family, investing, financial planning, insurance and transitions. The free pamphlets can be obtained at the City-County Building in downtown Wheeling or ordered online from the USAA Educational Foundation's website at www.usaaedfoundation.org.
Topics addressed in the booklets include "Protecting the Elderly From Fraud and Abuse," "Planning Ahead for Your Senior Years," "Individual Retirement Accounts," "Estate Planning," "Managing Assets and Expenses in Retirement," "Life Insurance" and "When a Loved One Dies: Legal and Financial Concerns."
For example, officials of Family Service Credit Counseling said they can offer special benefits from creditors, which individuals may not get on their own. Some of these benefits may include: reducing payments into a single, more affordable monthly payment; eliminating or reducing interest rates; eliminating late charges and over-the-limit fees; stopping creditor calls and talking to creditors regarding clients' accounts on their behalf.
Family Service Credit Counseling representatives can provide a personalized credit counseling session and customized financial solution. To make a face-to-face appointment, call 800-220-3252. "Credit counseling is not the same as debt consolidation nor is it for everybody. It's about education, making informed decisions and planning your financial future," officials of Family Service Credit Counseling stated.
Meanwhile, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern WV and of the Panhandles, founded in 1964, is West Virginia's statewide and longest serving nonprofit credit counseling organization. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to delivering professional consumer credit education, confidential counseling and debt reduction programs to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay. For free local confidential advice, call Consumer Credit Counseling Service's Wheeling office at 304-230-1162; call 800-281-5969 or visit the website at www.cccswv.com.