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Teaching Teens About Checking Accounts

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The Front Porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

High-school graduations are approaching and soon teens that are off to college will have to learn new things on their own, including handling money. While the student is still at home you can go over various points about finances, checking accounts, credit cards, and how to save money on unnecessary fees.
Perhaps the student worked a summer job and saved some money. Opening a checking account while the student is at home will allow parents time to review and coach their students on its use and how to handle it. Start shopping around for the best banking rates and charges for a new account. Many banks offer special discounts to students that may include no monthly or per check fees. Some banks will give clients with a savings account at their bank a better price for an attached checking feature. Other banks may waive fees, if the student writes a limited number of checks each month.
Compare bank prices to see what service works best for your student’s needs and potential check-writing expenses. Some banks will link a student’s checking account to a parent’s account to discount fees, yet maintain the privacy of the parents’ funds. For our family, we found it better to have one parent also on the student’s account, so we could make transactions if the student was not available to do so. Full access is allowed if both names are on the account. We linked our daughter to our savings account, because we did not need checking and had one in another bank. This bank offered free checks to her because of our other accounts at the same bank.
We take it for granted that our children are taking advanced math and calculus, so that handling a bank account with several hundred dollars should be easy. When the monthly statement comes in, be sure to impress upon your student the importance of inspecting each statement for accuracy. Show them how to balance the checkbook, read the statement and deduct fees for check printing or check writing, if there are any posted on the statement. Stress the importance of keeping all deposit slips, especially if a cash deposit was made.
ATM Machines
Students are fond of ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) for quick and easy cash withdrawals. Before making withdrawals they should find out what the fee is for this service. Some banks have higher rates and should be avoided or visited less frequently.
There is a whole new world of financial education that your student will have to embark on along with his or her studies at college. These are learning tools that will follow students for the rest of their lives. Give them a head start on these important skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 27, 2015 |

Teen Job Hunting

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

If you are a teen that will be looking for a job this summer, or have a teen in the family, this column is for you. Perhaps you see a help-wanted advertisement in the PennySaver and the job description, hours, and location are perfect for you. Make the call to ask if you can come in for an interview. Phone skills are important and this is the first contact you will have as a possible candidate. When making the telephone call, be sure there is no loud music in the background. Avoid eating or chewing gum while making the call. In a clear and polite tone, explain the reason for your call and ask to speak to the manager or person mentioned in the advertisement. If you are asked to come in for an interview, be ready to go on the day offered. Some employers might ask for working papers, or the names of places for which you have worked before. Make sure you arrive on time or at least 10 minutes earlier than the appointment. If for some reason you have to cancel the appointment, make sure you call the employer as soon as you find out that you cannot make the interview. This is common courtesy.
Most high-school students do not have a typical resume. This may be the first “real job” he or she is applying to work. Coming prepared with a typed list of places you have worked as a babysitter or doing yard work, with the names and telephone numbers of the persons, is helpful. Community service or volunteer work is impressive to employers, so be sure you include any organizations you are part of, including scouts, church groups or school sports teams. This shows that you are involved, get along with people and are motivated. If you have listed the names of any persons you worked for in the past, be sure to notify these people that you have used them as a reference.
Appearance
Remember you want to show you are the right person for the position, so dress as if you care about what your future employer may think about you. Leave home the torn or oversized jeans, sloppy tee shirt, or one with questionable sayings or provocative symbols on them. You are not going to gym class, so avoid sneakers and sweats. For males, a casual pair of slacks, button-down shirt and loafers are fine. Girls can wear nice slacks, a blouse and flats or sandals, but not flip-flops. You may want to remove excessive body piercings on your face, in case your employer may be someone not fond of this decorative statement. Hair should be washed, combed and out of your face. These may sound like simple instructions, but according to a friend that runs a summer camp, they are necessary reminders. Even though the potential employees would be in a camp setting, playing with small children, they should not come to the interview dressed as if they are working at the job already. On the day of the interview make sure you are on time, your cell phone is off and you have a note pad to write down information. If you need any time off during the summer, this interview is the time to tell the employer. This does not have to be a stressful process if you come prepared.
Good luck with the search!

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2015 |

May is Stroke Awareness Month

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Would you be able to recognize a stroke if it was happening to you or someone around you? Unfortunately, too many people miss the signs, and go without medical attention for hours, sometimes days, after suffering a stroke. That’s why the American Heart Association (AMA) is urging everyone to learn the warning signs of stroke during May, American Stroke Awareness Month.
On average, every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke, and every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. Together To End Stroke, nationally sponsored by Covidien, is the American Stroke Association’s national initiative for creating awareness that stroke can be largely preventable, treatable and beatable. Stressing the importance of reducing risk while knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, the Association is determined to reach their goal of building healthier lives by reducing disability and death from stroke by 20 percent by 2020.
When it comes to knowing the stroke warning signs, only about two out of three Americans can correctly identify at least one sign. Together to End Stroke is helping Americans more easily recognize the stroke warning signs that come on suddenly through a quick and easy acronym called, F.A.S.T. It is a simple way to remember some of the warning signs of a stroke and the importance of getting medical help immediately. Here is the meaning of the acronym: F-Face Drooping, A-Arm Weakness, S-Speech Difficulty, and T-Time to call 9-1-1. “With a stroke, time matters,” notes Dr. Henry Woo, AMA Long Island Board Member and Director, Cerebrovascular Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, Stony Brook University Medical Center. “The quicker a stroke victim receives medical attention, the less likely there is the chance for long-term damage. It is important to call 911 as soon as humanly possible.”
Although stroke is our nation’s No. 4 leading cause of death and leading cause of long-term disability, research suggests that nearly 80% of strokes may be prevented if certain risk factors are controlled, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and physical inactivity. “The best thing you can do for yourself is to live a healthy lifestyle,” continues Dr. Woo. “Eating healthy, exercising, and getting regular check-ups with your doctors won’t only make you feel better in the here and now, but it could save your life in the future.”
The American Stroke Association offers free resources to help educate the public about stroke. Download information by visiting www.strokeassociation.org/resources or call 1-888-4STROKE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 13, 2015 |

Lyme Disease Season

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

For years we have feared the notorious “tick season,” but now it is even more dangerous with a host of diseases that are carried by different ticks. I know firsthand about this because last year I was very sick from being bitten by various ticks. It happened over the July 4th weekend when I found several ticks on my legs and arm. What is strange about this is that I am not a gardener, nor do I go hiking in the woods. It was from merely walking to the clothesline to hang up towels from the beach or walking across the lawn to our shed to take out an item.
About five days after the ticks were found I began to feel ill. (People can get sick from 1-2 weeks after being bitten by a tick.) It started with a low-grade fever and feeling so tired that I had to nap. Since I had Lyme disease about four years ago, I remembered the symptoms and went to the doctor. I was immediately put on an antibiotic, and the doctor took a blood test to confirm that I did, in fact, have Lyme disease. The first line of treatment for adults and children of all ages is doxycycline.
My blood test came back and the doctor said, “Something else is going on besides regular Lyme disease, which you do have, too.” My doctor told me my liver enzyme levels were not right, nor was my red blood cell count. She requested another blood test and named Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis or Anaplasmosis as the three possibilities I might have besides the “traditional” more common Lyme disease. I had never heard of any of these and the news was a bit frightening, hearing what they could cause if left untreated.
Both Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis are bacterial diseases. Sure enough, when the second blood test came back another tick-borne disease, Babesiosis, was discovered, and this is much worse than normal Lyme disease. Babesiosis is an infection caused by a malaria-like parasite, also called a “piroplasm” that infects red blood cells. To rid myself of the Babesiosis, I was put on two other medications and had to eat fatty foods, along with the medication, to return my liver function to normal. This was extremely hard to do since I had little appetite to eat even plain toast.
Fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and a rash are common symptoms of any of these diseases. Fortunately, this time around I did not have a rash or joint or muscle aches. Bed rest was needed for almost two weeks as I was too tired, lacked an appetite, and ran a fever on and off. It was an experience I never want to have happen again!
Precautions
The Center for Disease Control has websites with valuable information. Most doctors’ offices also have literature about ticks that offer full descriptions about tick removal and other aspects of the disease. Visit: the CDC sites http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/babesiosis/  http://www.cdc.gov/ehrlichiosis/ and http://www.cdc.gov/anaplasmosis/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 6, 2015 |

Mother’s Day Idea

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Many families like to take mom or grandma out to dinner on Mother’s Day, which is nice, but there is a way to go someplace entertaining and have dinner out! There is a wonderful dinner theatre close by that offers quality productions with both matinee and evening performances.  Right now the Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT) in Elmsford is featuring West Side Story that will run through July 5th. There have been a handful of musicals that have impacted our American culture, and none is more famous than West Side Story. Back in the ’60s the movie version hit the screen in a phenomenal fashion and the musical score became, and to this day remains, one of the most beloved soundtracks of our time. The story is based on a concept by Jerome Robbins and book by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. With these musical geniuses collaborating, it was bound to be an overwhelming hit and award winner!
West Side Story, possibly the greatest musical ever created, was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The musical is set on the mean streets of Manhattan, in the Upper West Side neighborhood of San Juan Hill, during the turbulent ’50s. West Side Story tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers from different worlds. When Tony, a Jet, falls for Maria, a Shark, all hell breaks loose. Caught between two warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, Tony and Maria, attempt to create a life together. Bernstein’s score for the musical includes Something’s Coming; Maria; America; Somewhere; Tonight; Jet Song; I Feel Pretty; A Boy Like That; One Hand, One Heart; Gee, Officer Krupke; and Cool. The 1961 film version picked up 10 Oscars, plus a special choreography award for Robbins. The soundtrack, by Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, spent 54 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. I remember seeing this movie as a teen, and at first sight of street gangs dancing to the music, thought this was an unusual concept for such a serious topic. The storyline was so absorbing, I was quickly transported to the mood of the conflict and the intensity of the dancing, which brought the audience to the passion of each scene. The same happens in this WBT fabulous production where the dance numbers are invigorating, the casting outstanding, and every member of the production gives a flawless performance.
With so many special events coming up in the next few months, Mother’s and Father’s Day, graduations and anniversaries, this production at the WBT is the perfect place to celebrate or give a gift certificate for any of the fine upcoming productions! Tickets range between $56.00 and $84.00 plus tax. Group discounts and Luxury Boxes are available for private parties. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. There is no charge for parking. Reservations: Call (914)-592-2222. Also at: www.BroadwayTheatre.com

 

 

 

 

 

April 29, 2015 |

Memorabilia We Treasure

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

I once saw an ad in a magazine with the catch phrase “Here’s to the things in life you can count on.” The photo showed an attractive, smiling woman sitting comfortably on a sofa, while talking on the telephone. Near her pant leg were the words, “old jeans,” near her wrist, “Grandpa’s watch,” and next to her hand holding the phone, “best friend.” This advertisement captivated me, especially the words, Grandpa’s watch. Seeing the words Grandpa’s watch made me remember some of the lovely things I have from my own grandparent. They are simple treasures that mean the world to me now. Among the items I have in my possession today are things from my grandmother that I adored as a child and still do.
As a child I used to go over to my grandmother’s quite regularly because she lived nearby. Often I would stay overnight, and that meant breakfast and lunch with Grandma the next day.  Grandma was a wonderful cook. My favorite parts of these meals were the dishes and utensils that were set out just for me. My hot cocoa was served in a Little Orphan Annie mug that had Annie’s face chiseled on the front. My scrambled eggs were made in Grandma’s glass frying pan that made the best tasting eggs in the world. If I had cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, or soup for lunch, I used a Charlie McCarthy silver spoon.
For those too young to know who Charlie McCarthy was, here is a mini description. He was a puppet that was the comedy part of a ventriloquist act performed by Edgar Bergen. Charlie was dressed in a tuxedo, top hat and wore a monocle. American actor and radio performer, Bergen had his successful act from 1937 through 1956 on the radio, for some of the biggest sponsors on the air. (Bergen was the father of actress Candice Bergen. He was often on television variety shows like The Ed Sullivan Show.) When I slept over Grandma’s we would listen to the radio together since in the early ’50s Grandma did not yet have a TV. That was how I learned who Charlie McCarthy was and to recognize his likeness on this spoon.
There were so many little trinkets and knick-knacks at Grandma’s house that it was like a little museum of her life. Grandma also spoke of the World’s Fair she went to in 1939 and how wonderful it was. She had two tiny “pickle pins” that were given out free to guests that visited the Heinz pavilion. Two little pins sat in her desk drawer and later on were given to me when our World’s Fair came to New York in 1964 and we talked about the sites I saw there. That reminded Grandma of her “pickle pins” and she knew how I got a kick out of them when I was smaller, so she gave them to me.
Treasured items are part of our past and are a way to stay close to the ones we loved. For the life of me, I am perplexed at the advertisements that offer to “change that old jewelry you have into a new, modern design.” The commercials urge viewers to bring in “Grandma’s jewelry and update it into something you are proud to wear.” What about the memories the item evokes and the feelings we have when we remember the person that gave it to us? If you enjoy these items, don’t let anyone tell you “it is time to clear out this old stuff!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 22, 2015 |

Children Consume Excess Salt

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

When we think about salt consumption, most of us worry about an adult’s diet and give less thought to what our children are eating. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that more than 90 percent of American children consume too much sodium. Foods such as chicken nuggets, pizza and pasta account for almost half of their sodium intake, according to the study. The researchers interviewed and examined more than 2,000 children ages 6-18 for this ongoing study.
Some of the foods that are frequently marketed to kids at restaurants and grocery stores include pizza, breads, cheese, soups, pasta, cold cuts, savory snacks, and Mexican mixed dishes. Fast-food restaurants and some school cafeterias also serve foods that are high in sodium. At home, dinner appears to be the saltiest meal of the day, with 39 percent of sodium consumed at dinner compared with 29 percent at lunch, 16 percent during snack time, and 15 percent at breakfast. One in six kids has elevated blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In our hectic daily life, we often look for easy-to-prepare foods or stop at fast-food chains on occasion when time is short in between school and sports events. Unfortunately, there are health consequences if too much high-sodium food is eaten.
Solutions
How can parents reduce sodium in what our kids eat? We can model healthy eating by offering our kids plenty of fruits and vegetables without added salt. Look at product labels and choose those foods with the lowest sodium levels. Restaurants can replace sodium with alternatives like spices, herbs, and citrus juices. If you ask for a low sodium meal, most establishments will fulfill your request. Avoid sauces such as soy, teriyaki, ketchup, barbeque, and salad dressings that can be high in sodium. A small squeeze instead of a large amount can make a huge difference! The American Heart Association is working to help kids and families live heart-healthy lives. To find information to keep your family healthy and active, go to heart.org/kids
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke, America’s leading killers. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of their offices around the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 15, 2015 |
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