Newsletter: November, 2009

Newsletter: November, 2009



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The Vault, November 2009: Beyond the Piggy Bank
Putting your money in a financial institution can be a smart step, and the earlier you do it, the better. But where should you put your hard-earned cash? Choosing the right financial institution can make a big difference for you and your business.
Biz Kid$ won an Environmental Media Award for our episode called, “The Green Economy.” Get the scoop on our blog.
Fast fact
Americans spell it “check.” In England and Canada, it’s “cheque.” However you spell it, the name comes from a popular game. Do you know what it is? Read down to find out!

The Pink Polka Dots Guild receiving the Golden Tennis Shoe Awared from Senator Patty Murray
Biz Kid of the Month: Pink Polka Dots Guild
We spoke with Kelsey Josund, one of the founders of the Pink Polka Dots Guildwhich raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. In the photo, Kelsey (right) and her fellow Guild members receive Senator Patty Murray’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award for their work.
Kelsey, why did you start your organization?
We lost our friend Sidney to a brain tumor in 2006 when she was only eleven. We didn’t want anyone else to go through what we did. We named it the Pink Polka Dots Guild because pink polka dots were Sidney’s favorite.
What was your first fundraiser?
While Sydney was ill, she had been planning to hold a community garage sale for the hospital to give back, but she didn’t survive to see this happen. We decided to finish her project, and raised more than $9,000 in one day to buy a voice machine for the hospital and to introduce our guild to the neighborhood.
What are some of your other activities?
We sell crafted and printed cards online and at farmers’ markets. Every September we hold a golf tournament. This year we also held a masquerade ball and a concert for kids.
How are the card orders and donations processed?
We process card orders and donations using PayPal on our website. At events, we have multiple cash boxes to keep different sales separate such as card sales, donations, and ticket sales. We process credit cards using a machine we borrow from the Guild Association. They take care of credit cards for us, and then send us a report which we consolidate with the bank statement to get our event total.
What’s up next for the Pink Polka Dots Guild?
As always, we’ll have our big golf tournament next fall, and we’re planning to have two dances next year, one for high school students and one for younger kids. If you’re in the Seattle area, check our website to see what’s going on!

A field guide to financial institutions
Quick—what kind of business specializes in keeping people’s money? Did you say “a bank”? That’s right—but a bank is only one kind of financial institution. And knowing the difference can be important. Let’s take a look.
Know your options
Just because a financial institution can afford to do a lot of advertising doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Where you put your money is an important decision, so do your research.
  • Read online reviews. A good place to start is www.yelp.com.
  • Talk to friends and relatives about where they put their money.
  • Ask the institution to show you all of your options so you can choose the account that’s right for you.
  • Make sure you fully understand the terms of any special offers the organization is providing. How long do special rates or services last? Are you paying more in fees to get them?
Places to save and spend
bank is a business that keeps money for people. The bank may invest, loan, or exchange the money, usually trying to make profits for the bank’s owners. In the case of a publicly traded bank, that means the bank’s shareholders.
credit union is made up of members who share a common bond like working at a particular company or living in the same state. Credit unions take deposits from members and pay back interest (called a dividend). They also provide loans. Credit unions often provide higher yields and lower loan rates than commercial banks.
Whether you choose a bank or a credit union, you can typically choose a savings account or a checking account. A savings account usually pays you interest, but you’re not allowed to move the money around as much. A checking account is best for making purchases and paying bills.
Places to invest
If you’re willing to accept a higher risk for the chance of greater rewards, you might consider investing. You’ll need a custodian to be responsible for your investment account if you are under 18. The important thing when choosing where to invest is to fully understand the fees and loads you’re being charged–and that most investments are not guaranteed.
brokerage firm executes orders to buy and sell specific stocks on behalf of its customers. They make their money from fees that they charge.
mutual fund company maintains a portfolio of investments using the pooled money of investors. They make their money by taking a percentage of what customers invest, called a “load.”
Both mutual fund companies and brokerages can offer banking services such as checking accounts and credit cards. They can also offer you advice, although a mutual fund company has an interest in getting you to invest in their funds.
Places to be careful about
Payday lenders provide quick loans against a future paycheck. They charge high fees and interest rates. Sometimes people go in for a small loan and find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt. If you want to use credit more wisely, build your credit score so you can get a low-interest credit card. Or, better yet, don’t spend more than you earn!

Fast fact answer
The term “check” or “cheque” is derived from the game of chess. Putting the king in check means his choices are limited. In the same way, a check limits or “checks” forgery and fraud.
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