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Money Smarts for the Real World

April 14, 2011

Greetings from Real$martica, Inc.

Welcome to the first edition of $mart Talk, where families have access to tips and strategies to strengthen their financial health and to guide children to become financially savvy and responsible adults.  In a world that emphasizes grades and scores, there is a type of intelligence that is actually more important to long-term success:  we call it real smarts.  Handling money responsibly and making the most of this resource is a survival skill that is not taught, and yet everyone must master this in order to be truly successful.  Whether you are concerned about saving for college, planning for retirement, teaching kids about personal finance, elder care issues, or planning your estate, $mart Talk is a resource you'll turn to again and again. Please feel free to forward this on to friends and families who need access to this information.  We hope you find these articles and links useful and we welcome any questions or suggestions you may have. 
dicecardsKnow the Game, Before You Play
You would never jump into a game and wager thousands of dollars without first knowing the rules.  And yet, every year many parents do just that as they embark on the process of seeking financial aid for college costs.  The truth is, if more parents understood how the information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is analyzed, they would take steps to place themselves in the most favorable light.  Strategic positioning can really pay off if you know how the game is played. Here's what you need to know. Click here to read more.

Finding Financial Strength 


With the day-to-day pressures you face, it's easy to let your financial life go unattended - especially if there's money left over at the end of the month.  Yet, if you pay just a little more attention to your savings and spending habits, and get clear and specific about your goals, you will find yourself in a position of financial strength.  Here are ten ways to quickly improve your situation:  Click here to read more. 

Math That All Kids Will Love

Do you want to get your child's attention and encourage them to save money?  A little basic math will show them how they might become millionaires with a small investment - if they start investing early.

Click here to read more.


Having "The Talk" with Your Parents

Having a talk with your parents (or grandparents) about estate issues can save a lot of headache and heartache in a time of crisis.  If you're not sure how to broach this delicate subject, you may get some ideas from a very personal  post on our sister site at www.atiinvestment.com
In This Issue
Know the Game Before You Play
Finding Financial Strength
Math All Kids Will Love
Having "The Talk"
$mart Move
$mart Move:
Don't Leave Money on the Table

To FAFSA or not to FAFSA?  Regardless of your financial situation, filling out the form is the smart move. Even if you think your income is too high to qualify for aid, failing to submit the form could be a very costly mistake.   Eligibility for federal Pell Grants and Stafford Student loans require that a FAFSA form be submitted.  All forms are due by June 30, 2011.

Quick Links
Smart Question

My Mother is in her 70s, and she is healthy.   I am her Power of Attorney, though I haven't had to use it yet.  What exactly am I able to do for her as her POA?


Answer:  A POA simply allows you to act on your Mother's instructions. For example, let's say your Mother has knee replacement surgery and is unable to get to the bank: As POA, you are able to handle whatever banking needs she instructs you to.  But, let's say she has a rough time recovering and is in the hospital and on pain medication that leaves her unable to make a decision for herself:  The POA would be useless, because she would have to be well enough to give you instructions.  What you really need is a Durable Power of Attorney ("DP"), which enables you to make and execute decisions on her behalf.  Everyone should have a DP in place, since an accident or illness can quickly render one incapacitated, even if it is temporary.  Note that a POA or DP needs to be on file with every institution where it will be used.  (E.G., if your Mother has two bank accounts and one investment account at three separate institutions, the POA or DP would need to be on file at each institution, for each account.)  

Every issue we will answer a question from one of our readers. Submit your question here.


Have an Event?
Real$martica, Inc. is available to hold workshops for PTAs, local organizations, schools, and other groups and associations.  Topics include basic personal finance (handling money, using a budget, credit issues, and saving) to more complex issues such as buying versus renting; investing for retirement; managing the college selection, funding and finanial aid processes; and estate issues.  Real$martica is also available for one-on-one consultations.   Contact us for more information.
Contact Us

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.  We hope you found it informative.  Our mission is to provide you with timely information that you can put to use.  We want to address your needs and hope you will provide us with your questions, comments, and feedback so we can make this publication and our website a meaningful resource for you and your family.   

Dina Isola, President

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