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Common Cents departments
Jul/Aug 2013 Issue

Mobile device use is up among older adults

According to a report published by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” in Washington, D.C., more older adults than ever are online and using communication technologies.

For the first time, half of adults 65 years and older are online. Accessing e-mail seems to be the main online activity (86 percent), although social network site usage for this age group jumped 150 percent. Staying in touch with family is the main reason for visiting these sites.

Regarding gadget ownership, seven in 10 older adults own a cell phone, an increase of 57 percent from May 2012. However, smartphone ownership for this age group remains low, with just one in 10 saying they own one of these feature-rich devices.

Affinity Cellular, a AAA Show Your Card and Save® partner, offers economical plans and phones that appeal to older adults.

Choose the Freedom 500 plan and receive 500 cellular minutes per month for $20 when using auto pay plan. Text and data plans start at $5 per month. For more information, visit AAA.com.

Learn about AAA discounts for back-to-school savings

Remember Show Your Card & Save® partners–including Dell, LensCrafters, and Payless Shoes–when it’s time to shop for your family’s back-to-school needs.

AAA members receive 10 percent off regularly priced shoes and accessories whenever they show their membership card. However, this standing discount cannot be combined with other offers.

For eye exams, glasses and more, LensCrafters offers discounts to AAA members up to 30 percent.

Need a new PC or laptop for school? Get up to 30 percent off list prices at Dell online.

And check with your state’s department of revenue for this year’s sales tax holidays, which usually fall in early August, for additional savings.

Discount details and restrictions are available online at AAA.com/discounts or visit your local AAA full-service branch for details.

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Good credit tips for grads

Help your college graduate begin building a solid credit history by encouraging good financial habits now. How to bank responsibly is one of those good habits.

While checking account activity is not reported to credit bureaus, being an established customer could give your child a leg up when it’s time to apply for a bank loan. Make sure your grad understands the importance of regularly reconciling his or her account and how to report a lost or stolen bank card.

Stress to your graduate the importance of promptly paying all bills. Credit bureaus are collecting plenty of alternative data on consumers these days. Experian, for example lists rental payments on its credit reports. Likewise, many utility companies submit payment information to credit bureaus. A history of prompt rent and utility payments in your child’s name can help jumpstart a credit history.

Share with your student your own system for scheduling and paying bills, as well as the repercussions of making late payments. For today’s wired student, online bill payment might be an attractive option.

It will help to open some accounts. For example, having your student take out a mobile phone contract in his or her name and paying it off promptly each month can help build credit.

The same goes for store credit plans. Instead of giving your student the money for a new washer and dryer, consider having him or her apply for a store’s payment plan. These are typically short-term loans that will show up on your child’s credit report along with the payment history.

Depending on the plan, you may need to co-sign as a responsible party. Of course, once your child has been approved, encourage him or her to pay the bills on time.

Start out slow. Consider adding your child as an authorized user to your credit card – and limit spending with a modest credit line. You retain full control, and the card’s payment history is reported to the credit bureaus in your child’s name, allowing him or her to begin building a credit record.

Help your child understand the impact of late payments and over-the-limit spending on credit history. Likewise, be sure to share the “math” of credit cards with them – for instance, how fast compound interest can double a credit card balance.

For additional information about AAA’s financial service products visit AAA.com/creditcard or stop in any branch office.

cap and diploma

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