|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
THE OGDEN VALLEY NEWS Page 8 Volume II, Issue XVII 1 September 2000 What Are Some of Your Key Resources For Retirement? The income that will sustain you during your retirement usually comes from three different places: your employer-sponsored retirement plan, Social Security, and your personal savings. The more you learn about the account options that are available to you when you retire, the better prepared you’ll be to make the transition from paycheck to payout. Here are a few good resources you can tap: A summary of the retirement plan your employer sponsors, called a Summary Plan Description (SPD), is available to you. If you don’t have a SPD just ask your employer for a copy. The SPD describes how the retirement plan works, and what benefits you’ll receive from the plan. A statement that shows the benefits you have earned to date in your employer-sponsored plan is available to you at least once a year. If you are paying taxes into Social Security, and most of us are, you should find out what benefits those taxes are providing for you. The Social Security Administration has a toll-free line for you to call: 1-800-772-1213. One excellent piece of information to ask for is a Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement, which provides a detailed estimate of your Social Security retirement, disability and survivor benefits. While determining where the money will come from during retirement is a significant aspect of your retirement planning, you may also need to plan, among other things, how you will spend your additional leisure time and where you will live. There are many resources to help you plan for a successful retirement. You’ll find a variety of commercially available financial tools at bookstores or through your financial professional that get you started with retirement planning guides, software programs, videos, etc. You may also want to contact your local library to find retirement planning resources. One resource is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). To find out what they have to offer, write to: AARP Consumer Affairs 1909 K Street NW Washington, DC 20049 Avoid Long Distance Service Slamming What is long distance slamming? Slamming is the practice of switching your long distance carrier without your knowledge or consent. It is illegal, thanks to Section 258 of the Telecommunications Act. The FCC has instituted some protection for consumers if they are victims of slamming. The FCC rules entitle the slamming victim to relief without having to file a formal complaint. If a consumer notifies a carrier to report having been slammed, the carrier is required by law to inform the consumer that s/he is not required to pay any charges during the first 30 days of the unauthorized switch. Slamming victims are only responsible for what the calls would have cost them on the service they were originally using after the first 30 days. For example, if your normal interstate rate is 5 cents a minute and you are slammed onto a service that charges 25 cents a minute you are entitled to a 20 cents a minute refund for all the calls carried on the slamming carrier’s network after the first 30 days - but all calls for the first 30 days are entirely free. How can I prevent getting my service slammed? You can avoid many of these problems by planning ahead and being informed of the tactics used by some carriers to switch your service without your consent: a. Request a “PIC Freeze”by calling your local telephone company. A PIC Freeze prevents the switching of your long distance carrier without your direct consent. This creates a little bit of a hassle if and when you actually do want to switch carriers, but prevents unauthorized switches. If you do decide to switch to a new carrier at a later date you will have to remove the PIC Freeze, or get a “PIC Code” from your new carrier to give your local telephone company. b. Beware of checks sent in the mail that contain any text on the back near the signature. Many promotional checks contain the legal language that authorizes the switch of your long distance service. If you are wondering why a long distance company is being so nice as to send you a $25 check, be c. If you receive a telemarketing call about telephone service tell the telemarketer you are not interested in switching and that you would like to be placed on their “Do Not Call List.” The carrier then has 30 days to remove your name and number from their database. If you receive a call from the same company after 30 days they are in violation of the law, and you should tell them so. d. Review your bills carefully each month. Make sure that all of the names of the companies that are bundling their bill onto your local phone service are authorized by you. If you see anything that does not seem familiar, call your local phone company and ask for an explanation. e. If you receive any written communication welcoming you to a new long distance service that you did not request to be switched to, notify the sender that the request was not authorized. You should also notify your local phone company that you have not authorized any switch and to make sure they still have you on the service you want. are not required to pay such charges, and make sure to let the local phone company know that. 2. Call your intended long distance carrier and let them know that you have been the victim of slamming. Ask them to re-establish your account and to make sure that everything is in order. There should be no charge for this. 3. Call the slamming carrier and notify them that you do not appreciate their practice and are aware of your rights. They are required by law to remove all charges for the first 30 days of their slammed service. Make sure you insist on this. For any charges after the first 30 days they are required to refund the difference between their prices and your authorized carrier’s prices. If the carrier will not fix the charges, you should file a complaint with the FCC. 4. If you have difficulty resolving the slamming situation at any stage, you can file a complaint with the FCC by filling out the form located on the FCC Website or by calling the FCC complaint line at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1888-225-5322). What should I do if I have been slammed? If you found this article a bit too late, and you are the victim of slamming, here are the steps to take to fix the situation: 1. Call your local telephone company immediately and notify them you did not authorize the switching of your service. They should switch you back to your intended choice. Be sure to tell them you also want all “switching charges” removed. If you do not ask them to remove the switching charges you may be charged both for “switching” to the slamming carrier, and “switching” back to your original choice. You firstname.lastname@example.org WE r e b m SepteINGS! SAV IMPORT CARS 175/70R-13 185/70R-13 195/70R-14 205/70R-14 4 FOR $99 4 FOR $99 4 FOR $99 4 FOR $99 Planning for retirement requires pulling a wealth of information together to develop your strategy. Make sure you don’t overlook these valuable resources during your own retirement planning process. Calvin D. Welling, CLU ChFC, CFP, CFS, LUTCF, President Heritage Financial Group, Inc. CDWeilling@aol.com 801-399-5409 ext. 23 98-0227-85002R careful—nothing is free! 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