Oxford Consulting Services

Monday, June 19, 2017

Money Making Opportunities for Young Kids

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An important aspect of helping kids develop into responsible adults is teaching them the value and rewards of hard work and earning their own money. Through this they gain self-esteem, come to understand the real value of a dollar, and become more thoughtful in the way they spend money. Here are some ideas you can explore with your preteen or teen for ways they can cash in this summer.
Mow those lawns – What better way to soak up the sun, get fit, and make spare cash all at once, than mowing lawns? Create fliers mentioning that you live in the neighborhood and include your phone number and your fees. (Base this on yard size and keep them below the cost of professional services.) Deliver the fliers to the homes in your neighborhood, lodged between doorknobs or tucked under mats. Never place anything in mailboxes.
Young entrepreneur – Make the most of neighbors’ garage sales by setting up a refreshment stand in your own front yard. All you need is a small table and a handmade sign. Set out a pitcher of lemonade, disposable cups, and wrapped cookies.
Too old for toys and games? – Clean out those you’ve outgrown and hold a sale. Make a sign to attract neighborhood kids and passersby, and lay out blankets in your front yard, and spread out your goods. Keep your prices reasonable, and don’t forget a bargain box filled with odds and ends.
Kiddie care –If you are old enough to stay home alone, you may be ready to care for other children. Spread the word through family, friends, and neighbors. When babysitting, play games and do activities with the kids, and avoid talking on the phone or watching TV. Parents love sitters that keep their children busy. Also, don’t forget to clean up and wash dirty dishes.
Window washing – Offering your services for this dreaded task is sure to be a success. If you get the job, make sure your parents know the homeowner and approve of you going inside. Clean the interior of all windows, including doors, and don’t forget to open the windows and clean the ledges and tracks. If you are tall enough to reach exterior windows without a ladder, ask permission to hose them down to loosen dirt before washing and drying them.
Life’s a zoo –Pet owners who don’t like to kennel are often in a dilemma at vacation time. Pass out fliers in your neighborhood, and offer to pet sit. Do the sitting in your home or fenced yard, if your parents agree. Otherwise, make regular visits to the pet’s home. Be responsible, and do exactly as the pet owner instructs, for both your safety and the pet’s.
Weeds away – Are weeds taking over your neighbors’ flowerbeds? Then offer to get them back into shape. Before you get started, find out which are plants, or flowers that have not yet bloomed. When in doubt, ask before you pull them. Wear gloves to protect your hands, and hose the ground lightly to loosen roots. Pull weeds from rock beds, shrubbery, and cement cracks. Then dispose of them properly.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Protecting your child from Identity theft

Have you ever received a piece of seemingly junk mail addressed to your underage child that you simply discarded? Next time, dig a little deeper into the content. Why? Because a credit card or loan offer can be a warning sign that your child may be a victim of identity theft. Left undetected, your child could be connected to massive fraudulent debt and bad credit before they can even vote.
One in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised, according to a recent survey by the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research group.
All it takes is a Social Security number – often applied for at birth – which can be paired with a different name, birth date and address to apply for credit. This is called a synthetic identity. And, for nearly 18 years, there is typically little risk of detection.
“The primary use of stolen personally identifiable information is for financial purposes,” said Trevor Buxton, fraud awareness and communications manager at PNC Bank. “Using the stolen Social Security number, identity thieves can open credit cards, rent apartments, buy cars, secure jobs, and apply for welfare or other government programs.”

Other warning signs your child may be a victim include:
  • Notification by the IRS of unpaid taxes in your child’s name.
  • Notification that a child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return.
  • Receiving collection calls for a minor child
  • Receiving bills in a child’s name for products or services not ordered or delivered.
  • Declined for government benefits because benefits already are being paid to another account using the child’s Social Security number.
Parents can be proactive in protecting their child from identity theft:
  • Never carry your child’s (or your) Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, where it is not at risk of being stolen.
  • Pay attention to forms from schools, doctor offices and others asking for personally identifiable information about your child. Opt out if you can or use the last four digits only.
  • Shred all documents that show your child’s personally identifiable information before throwing them away, just as you do for your own documents.
  • Most importantly: Request a credit report for your child annually, using the child’s Social Security number for reference. Every individual is entitled to one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. If there is no credit history on record, then typically the child has not fallen prey to identity thieves.  If there is a credit history for a minor child, he/she has mostly likely become a victim.
If you suspect your child may be a victim:
  • Place a 90-day credit alert on your child’s file. There is no charge, but it must be renewed every 90 days. Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies who will then contact the other two:
  • Place a security freeze on the child’s credit to block all unauthorized credit inquiries. There is a cost involved, typically a one-time cost ranging from $2-$15 depending on the state. You also may be charged a similar fee to temporarily or permanently lift the freeze.
  • File a police report.
  • Contact businesses identified in your child’s credit report. Request that any account associated with your child’s Social Security number be closed as a fraudulent account.
  • Contact all three credit reporting companies. Request the removal of all accounts, inquiries and collection notices associated with your child’s name and Social Security number.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Choosing the right Daycare for you and your child

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One of the toughest decisions you will make as a parent returning back to the work force is finding the right daycare setting for your newborn.  The search process itself isn't easy.  Many daycares are full and have waiting lists while others may be too expensive to consider.  There are many factors to consider when researching daycare.  Some of the factors are as follows:
Begin Early
Begin your quest for a daycare as soon as you realize that you will need it.  Many daycares require a deposit to hold a place for your child.
Ask Those who know
Ask seasoned daycare parents about they daycare they've used and tap into the research they have already done.  Their input can be extremely helpful.
Look for a Nurturing Environment
Children require nurturing to grow healthy minds and bodies.  Observe the environment as you tour the facility.  See how the children interact with other children and the workers.
Be Comfortable with the Method Of Discipline
Ask how a daycare disciplines a child.  If you are not comfortable with their methods walk way.
Pay Attention to Safety and Cleanliness
What are the security procedures?  Does the daycare follow a safety protocol?  How clean are the bathrooms? Are play areas messy or orderly?
Assess the Communication
How proactive is the daycare with communication?  Will you get a summary of your child's day or week?  Will you be called immediately if there is a concern?  Are they approachable? 
Understand the sick policy
Most daycares are specific about what constitutes a sick child or an ear infection.  Make sure you know the rules before you drop your child off for the day or risk being called to pick up.