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Budget Better

Welcome to the modern-day version of the envelope system.

Courtesy of USAA

What’s the gotta-do-it first step on the pathway toward financial freedom? Creating a budget. That may sound intimidating, but forget about poring over piles of statements and receipts. USAA® Money Manager makes the process painless. Just log on to usaa.com and visit My Accounts. The work is already done for you, with a prefilled budget based on your spending habits that you can customize easily to fit your needs.

»    Get the big picture. “You can’t change what you don’t understand or see,” says Jeff Easley, executive director of Deposits at USAA Bank. With USAA Money Manager, you can view your checking, savings, credit card, 401(k), loan and investment accounts in one place. So it only takes a glance to understand what you have, where it’s going and whether you need to make changes.

»   Stick to a plan. Set spending targets for categories like groceries, entertainment, shopping and housing. USAA Money Manager makes it simple to track how you’re doing in each category. You can review your budget in seconds, with color-coding that helps prevent overspending. Green means you’re good. Yellow means slow down; you’re at or near budget. Red means stop; you’re over budget. Your personal money management has never been easier.

Plan ahead for holiday savings.

Instead of splurging this year, give something unexpected and meaningful. • An author-autographed book is often no more expensive than a regular copy. • Frame a picture of a fun get-together for a friend, or a child’s colorful art for grandparents. • Plant paperwhite bulbs in a pretty pot and adorn with a handmade tag.

1.5 million

the number of checks deposited via USAA Deposit@Mobile® since the app launched in August 2009. The deposits total nearly $1 billion. The USAA Mobile App is available for qualified members* via iPhone® and Android™ mobile devices. Download the free app for your phone at the Apple® App StoreSM or Android Market.

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Don’t Get Scammed

You don’t have to be online to be a victim of identity theft — but it helps. As Internet use has grown, so have opportunities for identity thieves.

USAA processes tens of millions of transactions per day, from credit card charges to ATM withdrawals to logins at usaa.com. Protecting your money from the bad guys is a top priority. (See “How USAA Protects You Online,” below.) But fighting identity theft requires both consumers and financial institutions to be vigilant. “It is a shared responsibility with our members to effectively protect them against fraud,” says USAA’s Tom Shaw, vice president of Fraud & Anti-Money Laundering Management. Identity theft can take over your life, but it’s not inevitable. Scammers prey on people who let private information slip, so don’t give them an opening.

To minimize your chances of becoming a victim of online fraud, follow these tips:

»          Build complex passwords with combinations of upper- and
lowercase letters, special characters and numbers.

»          Enter credit card information only on sites that display
an “https://” in the address bar and a lock icon.

»          Don’t click unfamiliar links or provide personal
information in an e-mail.

»          Use well-known security programs, such as those
from Symantec or McAfee.

»          Keep your operating system and applications
updated to improve security.

»          Carefully monitor your credit card and bank
statements, as well as your credit report.

»          Shred, shred, shred.

»          Remember, USAA will never ask you for personal
information, such as your password, PIN or credit
card numbers, in an e-mail.

How USAA protects you Online.

When you’re on usaa.com, we require a password and PIN for all USAA transactions and periodically ask security questions. We also can detect when someone accesses your USAA accounts online. We take steps to verify your identity when you call, and by offering online documents, we help reduce your exposure to fraud. Forgot your password or PIN? We offer three secure ways you can receive the information again — via e-mail, via text or by answering online security questions. To choose, go to usaa.com and search Security Preferences. USAA is committed to protecting your information, and we don’t give other companies access to your information for their own marketing.

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posted 9.28.10

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