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Success Online Financial Education Newsletter
Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCCESS NewsletterJuly 25 2013 newsletter
How to budget for a baby

Budgeting for baby

By Jessica Horton, Community Manager

Is the buzz about the royal baby giving you some serious baby fever?

Not so fast.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child until the age of 18 is $234,900 — a number large enough to make anyone feel as though they would have to be royalty in order to raise a child! And when you include the cost to send that same child to college, the figures can be downright scary!

However, if there’s one truism I've heard time-and-time again, it’s: if you’re waiting to have a baby until you can afford one, you’ll be waiting forever. Luckily there are steps you can take to ensure you are as prepared as possible for an upcoming bundle of joy.

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Six scams that work more than you'd think

man in mask creating online scam

By Jesse Campbell, Copywriter

By this point in your life, if a recently deposed Nigerian prince hasn’t hit you up for a little assistance getting a hold of his absurdly enormous inheritance then you must be doing something wrong.

Scams, unfortunately, are a way of life. And they’ve been a way of life pretty much since humans first had anything worth stealing from each other. Every great leap forward in communication technology is usually accompanied by an equivalent leap forward in scam technology.

The trouble with scams is that we tend to think that we’re impervious to them, because only “suckers” fall for scams and we’re no suckers. The truth is that the scams we scoff at are far more effective than we’d like to give them credit for. Or think of it this way – scams take time and money to set-up and pull off. Scammers wouldn’t make the effort if it wasn’t incredibly fruitful.

So set aside your pride for a moment and take a look at these six online scams that work more often than you’d think. You could be saving yourself a huge headache down the road...

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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Three steps to dealing with healthcare bills

If you or someone in your family has had a medical emergency or long-term healthcare situation, you may be dealing with physical recovery and significant hospital bills. Many Americans who find themselves owing thousands of dollars to healthcare facilities and doctors struggle to balance physical and fiscal recovery.

Here are three tips to help you sort through the bills and create a plan to get your healthcare debt paid down in a reasonable amount of time.

1. Review bills for accuracy

If you are facing significant debt, the first thing you should do is to review all of the healthcare bills to make sure they are completely accurate. Check dates of service, as well as the services performed and the doctors performing them. If you find anything that’s incorrect, contact the billing company to make sure it’s investigated and taken care of promptly.

2. Double check your insurance policy to see what bills they will cover

Next, for all accurate charges, review everything to see if your health insurance should have covered it. There are some simple errors, such as incorrect billing codes, that can cause your insurance to reject the claim. This step can actually take quite a bit of time, but it’s worth it in the end, if you are able to reduce some of your debt. You may have to call the billing company as well as your insurance company, to find out how much the insurance covered and why they didn’t cover more.

3. Contact your healthcare providers to see if you are eligible for an assistance program

Once you know exactly what your true financial obligation is, contact the healthcare providers to see if there is any assistance available. Many hospitals have access to assistance programs, and you usually have to ask to find out if you are eligible. Also discuss payment options–you may be able to negotiate a payment plan that will work for your family.

While you may consider paying off your medical debt with a credit card, that’s usually not your best option. Not only will you just be switching the debt from one creditor to another, you’ll also no longer be eligible for financial assistance or payment options from your medical billing company.

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