Monday, April 22, 2013

Money Smart Week is here!

I hope that the posts from the past month or so have been helpful as you think more about the future of your finances. With Money Smart Week upon us, I want to give another reminder that tomorrow, April 23 @ 6:45 PM here in the Grand Blanc branch, we will join a national simulcast of "Be a Money Smarty." 

This event will include fantastic money advice from leading experts from across the county. Please take advantage of this opportunity to gain from their experience. To make a reservation click over to the GDL's calendar of events HERE and choose "join." In addition to the seminar, there will be a wide selection of print material available compliments of various financial institutions.

The GDL Business Center exists in part to increase the financial literacy of our patrons of all ages. Have questions? Don't hesitate to call or email the business librarian.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Looking for work? Read on...

Resume Workshop coming to Genesee District Library
Attend. Get Hired. Succeed.

Looking for a job is stressful and it doesn't take much to feel lost among the many career websites and multitude of opinions regarding your resume. The Genesee District Library has partnered with  the local office of Michigan Works! to host a set of three seminars focused on getting you prepared for your next job. Our next FREE event, "Resume's that Work" is THIS MONDAY, April 22nd from 10:00 AM - Noon here at the Grand Blanc branch.

Michigan Works! has close relationships with many local businesses who are hiring, and has access to job postings found nowhere else. Coming to this workshop might well connect you to your next employer. I have here a list of local, open positions from last week's seminar. Michigan Works can help you take the next step. 

Take advantage of this incredible opportunity. 
Bring Your Resume. 
Make a Reservation Below.

Date: Monday, April 22
Time: 10:00 AM -Noon
Location: McFarlen Library 515 Perry Road, Grand Blanc
Click HERE to make a reservation

Monday, April 15, 2013

ValueLine & Morningstar: Money Smart 2013

Using ValueLine and Morningstar to Monitor Your Investments

Whether you hire a investment professional or manage your portfolio on your own, monitoring the status of your stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments is certainly necessary. The more you know about your current financial status, the better financial decisions you will make going forward. Watching the market can be time-consuming, and at times (many times) unnerving as you watch IRAs and stock prices fluctuate, and getting some perspective on the broader situation will help as you make decisions. The GDL Business Center has many such resources, including the Wall Street Journal, business magazines such as Bloomberg, Inc., and Forbes. Located in the business center you will also find several investment newsletters, including the Fidelity Monitor, Kipplinger Letter, and Dick Davis' Investment Digest.

In addition to these print sources, the library subscribes to both ValueLine and Morningstar, investment resources that offer advice and perspective on stocks and mutual funds.

Previously delivered in print format, the library now has online access to ValueLine, which means that with a valid library card and PIN number, you are able to access this resource anywhere an internet connection is available from the Personal Finance page of our website. If you access the resource from outside any of our branches, the site will prompt you to enter your barcode and PIN after clicking "View this Resource."

Updated every Monday at 8:00 AM ET, ValueLine has several different informational reports available:

1. Ratings & Reports: Here you will find detailed reports on 134 companies, especially important if you are looking to invest in their stock. These reports contain historical and current stock data and ValueLine's commentary on the company's performance.

2. Selection & Opinion: This resource contains ValueLine's view on the market overall, and contains additional economic commentary for the week. 

3. Last listed is the Summary and Index, which is helpful for an at-a-glance view of a stock's performance; companies are listed alphabetically. Near the end of this report ValueLine has listed industries by their timeliness, and then corresponding stocks in those industries, also listed by timeliness. Listed last in this Summary section is a group of stocks ranked 1 (the highest) for performance over the next 12 months. See a snapshot of today's report below:

The other online resource you will find helpful as you review your investments is Morningstar, the organization known for its ratings of stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds (ETFs). 

 Morningstar offers comprehensive stock and fund information, with analysis, and suggestions for the types of funds you might consider depending on your particular situation. You can search morningstar several ways. If you know the ticker symbol for a company or fund simply type that in the header search box on the right side of the screen. For other searches by name, or fund type, use one of the "screens." Think of Morningstar's screens as just that, the ways you sift out exactly what you need and nothing that you don't need. Take a look at the stock screen below:

On the initial Morningstar screen I chose screen for funds, then "Fund Name" (viewable behind the screen function above, from a long list of searching options. You can then begin by typing a firm (MorganStanley, Fidelity, Vanguard, Merrill Lynch) and search for the fund you're looking for. After you've entered the name, be sure to click the button on the bottom right to view results. 

As you can see from the screen clipping from my search for funds that include the word "Fidelity," the resulting list contains the dates of the last report, the type of fund, the star rating, and total assets. Clicking on the link to any of the funds listed will direct you to the full Morningstar report.  

GDL wants you to win with your money, so check out these trusted sources for financial information today. Don't forget that Money Smart Week is next week, April 21-27th; please join for a special presentation on Tuesday, April 23rd, 6:45 PM, at our Grand Blanc branch. Click on our calendar of events to make your reservation today!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Upcoming April Events!

April is a busy month filled with activities here in Grand Blanc. Not only is Money Smart Week April 21-27, but the library is welcoming both Genesee/Shiawassee Michigan Works! and GreenPath Debt Solutions. The details for each event are below.

Set of 3 FREE Seminars
Monday, April 15, 22, and 29th
10:00 AM - Noon
Grand Blanc - McFarlen Library

 April 15: Forces Impacting Your Job Search

April 22: Resumes' that Work

April 29: Breaking the Hidden Job Market

Please pass this information along to anyone who is struggling to find work, and wants more information on the current status of the job market. These are local hiring experts who know this area well. 

After being cancelled back in March due to weather conditions, the debt professionals from the Flint office of GreenPath Debt Solutions will return to present "How to Understand Your Credit Report." This is another FREE event. Please register online by clicking HERE

Date: Thursday, April 18th
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Grand Blanc - McFarlen Library

Bring your questions for a post seminar Q & A session!

Money Smart Week is fast approaching and I hope the previous posts regarding some of the free resources available have been helpful. Keep checking back for posts, there is so much more to share! The highlight of Money Smart Week will be Tuesday, April 23 at 6:45 PM here at the Grand Blanc branch, as we will join a live webcast which includes more tips and information from finance experts from across the country. The library has also received a great deal of excellent resources from FINRA that will be available at this time.

Please register for this event through the GDL's event calendar, available on our website,, very soon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Investing for Beginners: Money Smart 2013

Unbiased Investor Information Freely Available

This week I want to focus on fundamental investment information that everyone should know, whether or not they are currently investing. Because many people go beyond a traditional savings account for their long-term financial planning, educating yourself on some basics will be an asset if you decide to speak with someone who invests for a living, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), for example. These investment professionals can be verified through BrokerCheck, which will be discussed below. Whether you decide to employ a professional to offer investment advice, or opt to self-manage your money, the unbiased financial information found through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a great place to start. Again, this organization regulates financial institutions and is it not an investment firm. The advice they publish can be trusted!

Before looking further into investment information, be sure to read through the FINRA's page discussing Bank Products. It explains how savings and checking accounts operate, how your money is secure with federally-backed insurance, and other savings tips. This is great information at any age, and would be particularly useful if you're looking to speak with children or teens about money. 

Before you decide what and where to invest I highly recommend the Getting Ready to Invest page through FINRA. It takes a step-by-step approach and highlights aspects to consider. What are your goals? What are your monthly expenses? What impact does your credit score have on your finances? Why do I need an emergency fund? FINRA recommends that if your net worth is positive (you own more that you owe) it is safer to invest than if your net worth is negative. Figuring your net worth is step two of "Getting Ready to Invest" and a sample worksheet is available. The Securities and Exchange Commission also has a useful page entitled Beginners' Guide to Investing where they list numerous SEC publications available online, including questions every investor should ask.

 Both the SEC and FINRA suggest checking the background of a financial professional before you invest with that person. BrokerCheck, a FINRA tool, can be used to locate individuals and firms in your area and ensure they are licensed and in good legal standing. 

Clicking the "BrokerCheck" link above will take you directly to this resource. As you can see from the screenshot, you can locate an individual or firm and limit the search by a given radius to your location. Once the search is completed you can view a profile of the individual, where they are permitted to do business and possibly see a background report. If you're in a position where you're not sure the credibility of an individual or a company that offers investment advice, this is a way to put your mind at ease before you hand over any money.

In addition to these free online resources, the Business Center has a wide range of print resources focused on helping you get your finances in order, including "Finding a Financial Advisor," 332.024 J. Looking to create a budget or find ways to save money around the house? We have books which will help with that, too. With the vast amount of information available to you involving your finances, please take advantage of it and pass the information along to those who might benefit from it.

Be sure to mark April 23rd on your calendar, as we will join a live webcast of "Be a Money Smarty" at 6:45 PM here at the Grand Blanc branch. It will include financial tips from a range of professionals. All are welcome1