Friday, July 31, 2015

Empowering DIY: Making Your Own Luck

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We all can point to that one person in our lives for whom everything seems to come easily. He or she has a good income, great house, beautiful children and the checkout line they choose always moves the quickest.  You probably really wonder about that person.  Why are they so lucky?  Why not me?
Well, why not you?  Recent research has confirmed ancient teachings telling us that we have more power over our own luck than we think.  If we focus our energy and attention in the right ways, we can make ourselves into the type of successful, powerful, happy people that everyone else will wonder about.  Read on for three tips from emerging science that can change your life:

1.) Don’t covet your neighbor, just focus on your own life.

Ancient theory:  The Epideictic.   Scholars have known about the epideictic since Aristotle discussed it in the third century BCE, though the details have always been murky.  Basically, we’ve always understood the power of praise and blame to define our world, but only recently have we been able to support it with science.

Modern science:  In one recent study, researchers played a video of a man spilling a glass of milk to two groups of people.  One group spoke English and similar languages, the others spoke languages in which blame wasn’t built into their sentence structure.  They found that the people from the first group, whose sentences are built around, “He spilled the milk,” could identify details about the man in the video that the other group could not. Your language is leading you to blame people, including yourself, even when it doesn’t help you!

We tend to credit ourselves when we succeed, and assume other people got ahead because they were lucky.  If you think people are luckier than you are, then you might need to rethink how you give credit.

The takeaway:  If you want to be luckier, stop worrying about upon whom to place blame.  Don’t blame yourself for your failures and don’t let life events force you into a negative mindset.  Who cares who spilled the milk?

2.) Trust your gut

Ancient theory:  Extrasensory Perception (ESP).  Perhaps you’ve had an occasional premonition or foreboding about something and chalked it up to coincidence. That’s because people are likely scoff when you talk about it as anything but that.  However, you can sometimes look at a situation and just know something is right or wrong even if you can’t put your finger on it.

Modern science:  More and more, scientists are backing you up.  Thin-slicing is a term psychologists use to describe the hunches we get from looking at a person or situation and making instant judgements about them.  Studies have shown that people respond as accurately to five-second clips of conversations and situations as they do to five-minute clips.

In his New York Times Bestseller Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell covers this topic very well, discussing topics from fashion to art fraud.  The feeling of instant recognition is so powerful that people with specific brain injuries don’t recognize their loved ones because they don’t feel the instant recognition.

Takeaway:  Lucky people know when to trust their gut.  Most of the scenarios you deal with daily are scenarios you’ve been dealing with for decades.  You’ve done alright so far, so let your instincts take over. Try to use analogies to determine if the problem in front of you is like the ones you’ve seen, and if so, go with your first instinct.  After all, your cave-person ancestors didn’t call an all-staff meeting every time they fought a mastodon, or you wouldn’t be here today.

3.) Keep it simple

Ancient theory:  Simplicity is at the heart of Taoism, Buddhism, Asceticism, Feng Shui, and many more.

Modern science:  Dr. Barry Schwartz and his colleagues have run countless studies to show that modern choices and convenience actually make us less happy.  For example, if offered a chocolate from one of those heart-shaped assortments, you’d probably prefer to choose one from among a big box with dozens of choices rather than having to choose among a slim selection.  Unfortunately, in his experiment, the people who chose from the smaller selection were much happier with their decision.  They didn’t wonder “what if” or experience buyer’s remorse.  The same is true with all sorts of variations on the same experiments.

Takeaway:  Lucky people make choices and stick with them.  Next time you’re in a convenience store, look at how many kinds of M&Ms they have.  Regular, peanut, peanut butter, mint, almond, pretzel, crispy … the list goes on and on.  Now check the sizes: regular, sharing size, fun size, big hanging bags, even bigger bags, mixed packs … so many to choose from.  Ask yourself:  Will getting your M&M choice exactly right make you any happier than picking one at random?  If not, then don’t waste your energy trying to get it right.  Lucky people make the right choice in this situation because they realize any choice is the right choice if they make it quickly and stick with it.

Want to improve your luck? The best thing you can do is improve your thinking.  Dump your baggage by focusing on yourself, trusting your gut and sticking to your decisions.  If you want to be the person who has everything going great, start by realizing that you already do. Count your blessings.  Then, realize everybody is showing you their best face all the time.  If your friend’s Facebook feed is filled with nothing but amazing life events and exciting vacations that seem to happen to everyone but you, remember that you’re seeing a condensed version of everybody’s life, with only the best parts put online.

If that doesn’t help, then think about it this way: Somebody, somewhere is looking at your life and envying your “luck.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Google And Cybersecurity

Google had a good day last Friday. It’s safe to say it had a better day than you did, even if your day was fantastic. The company set a record for the largest single-day increase in value in the history of American investing at nearly $67 billion, breaking the previous record held by Apple.  Google did well enough that if it wanted to relax with a weekend of video games, movies, and pulp novels, it could simply buy Nintendo, Loews, and Barnes and Noble with the money it made just in that one day.

Last week was less enjoyable for Google’s customers, though. As investors were thrilled by YouTube’s growth, Gmail users were beset by faulty spam filters which hid so many legitimate emails that Linux founder Linus Torvald took to an online op-ed calling out the tech giant. The misstep was a rare occurrence from Google, but considering it followed a much-ballyhooed revision to its Gmail platform, it was worrisome for many. When considered in the context of major hacks of the U.S. government and infidelity website Ashley Madison this summer, the Gmail problems had people wondering what security Google has in place for the largest privately-held collection of American’s data.

Don’t leave your cyber security in doubt. We’re here to answer your questions about your online safety.

Question: Everyone is always going on and on about online security, but nothing has ever happened to me. Should I even care? What’s the worst that could happen?

Answer: If you’ve never paid attention to your Internet security and never had a security problem, you’re probably fine. You clearly have a rabbit’s foot offering you magical protection from scammers, spammers, spoofers, and identity thieves. Or maybe you have been compromised and just don’t know it yet.

If black hats get their hands on your machine, there’s no telling what they could do. In some cases, you’re looking at spyware and malware that’s merely annoying. In others, your personal and financial information could be compromised. You might even have had your identity stolen. Online security is crucial, and you really can’t be too careful.


Question: I don’t have Gmail. I use Outlook. I don’t use Android. I have an iPhone. I’m good, right?

Answer: Internet security is like a 1980s slasher flick: The instant you let down your guard, something bad is going to happen. No, you’re not safe and Google isn’t bad at security. They’re actually pretty good at it.  Their cyber security task force is responding to the perception of a problem, not an actual problem.

Conversely, consider the products offered by Apple: Apple is slow to offer security updates for OS-X and sometimes bizarrely laconic when it comes to iOS apps.  While Google and Microsoft update their iOS apps every two weeks or so, Apple often waits months. Apple also doesn’t support security updates for older versions of OS-X, so if you’re still running Snow Leopard or anything older, Apple stopped updating security on your machine last year, leaving about 1 in 5 users behind.  When El Capitan comes out this fall, it will likely mean that security updates will end for machines still using Mountain Lion.

Question: How do I know if my security is up to date?

Answer:  Every reputable piece of software you use, on your computer or on the Web, should allow you to view your security settings.  If you can’t find your security settings, Google it or look for help on the site.  If you still can’t find your security settings, consider using different software.

Question: What do I do if I think something fishy is going on with my account information?

Answer:  Let CORE Credit Union know right away.  The sooner we know, the sooner we can protect your important financial information.  You may have your credit or debit card information stored at your favorite shops and you don’t want anyone to mess with your cards.  After you’ve gotten in touch with us, get in contact with whomever is in charge of the site where you have suspicions.  See what they recommend.  It may be a good idea to notify the police.  Anyone who has access to your online profile is likely to have your home address, too.

Now is a really good time to protect yourself.  Update your password for all of your main accounts and any others you can think of.  Don’t write your password down, try not to make it obvious, and try to keep your passwords separate.  It may be a lot of work, but it will pay off in peace of mind.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is It Time To Upsize Your Home?

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Life rarely turns out the way we plan, and when a surprise comes along, it’s usually not an opportunity to simplify our lives.  If you’re one of the many parents blessed with one more angel than you had planned for, you understand just how such surprises can make the simplest things much more complicated.  Or maybe the innocent angel you’ve been raising has entered adolescence and wants some space alone.  Or maybe it’s gone the other way for you:  You bought a house when prices were low and wages were tight, and now that you have some equity and a higher income you’d like to bump up your standard of living.
If any of those scenarios sound familiar, it might be time to upsize your home. But is expanding right for you?

Upsizing is great …

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood would be fantastic.  If you could get the kids out from under your feet, you could go back to reading that book you never finished or start that workout regimen you’ve been putting off, or whatever it is that makes you want to plunk down your hard-earned money for a new home.

But there are really strong arguments to be made for upsizing that might not be as obvious.  For example, you may not actually want more square footage.  One way to upsize without getting a giant house full of rooms you might not need is to look into adding outdoors space.  Some homes have gorgeous patios, outdoor kitchens and even wood-burning outdoor pizza ovens!

Another alternative to upsizing your space is to move into the home of the future.  That Cape Cod or Queen Anne you’re in right now might be beautiful, but is it built for the 21st century?  Are the speakers built into the walls?  Is it set up for home automation?  Or does it have that one bizarre room with no outlets, like some mid-century houses in the Midwest?  For some people, particularly those with a home business, it can even be worth paying more every month if doing so moves you to a neighborhood with faster Internet.

Baby Boomers have been upsizing their homes at a surprising rate, often moving into larger homes for retirement.  Usually, people move into larger homes because they want the space and retirees presumably have an empty nest.  Moreover, as we get older, it can be harder to lug a vacuum up the stairs or commit to mowing an enormous lawn every weekend.  But Boomers have learned the value of luring others over, often choosing houses on artificial lakes or in gated communities with kid-friendly amenities.  Suddenly, the big house is a blessing, because there’s room for everyone at Thanksgiving!  If you’re wanting to cut down on your travel time or increase your hosting duties at social events, a bigger house might be just the ticket.

… But maybe not?

You’ve been through this before, when you bought your current place. Buying a home is a little tedious and a lot expensive.  As you’re looking back on it, you might wonder why you’d ever go through that process again when it might be easier just to ask one of the kids to sleep in a tent out back or put up guests in a nearby hotel.

 The good news is that it’s not going to be that difficult this time.  You know what you’re doing and you should have fewer surprises.  You’ve got the down payment set up through the equity in your current home.  And if you’re already financing through [credit union], a new loan approval will be fairly quick and easy.

 What about right now?

 If you’re considering the idea of upsizing your home, now’s the time for action.  The dollar is gaining steam and plenty of economists are predicting we’re likely to see interest rates go up at some point this fall.  If you can get in before then, you’ll save some real cash in the long run.

 It’s also a good idea to act now because you can catch both sides of the housing recovery.  If your home has regained its value, but you know a neighborhood that hasn’t gotten back to full value yet, you can make a shrewd investment to get a bigger, nicer house in the other neighborhood and wait until that new home gets to the value it should have been selling at all along.  Right now, you’ve got a great buy low, sell high opportunity.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A New Kind of Grandparent Scam

For years, con artists have preyed on the elderly, claiming to be their grandchildren and in trouble with desperate need for  money.  This is the traditional grandparent scam and it dates back to as long as grandparents have had home phones.  Scammers know that grandma will do anything to help out, and they also know members of “the greatest generation” are excellent marks for phone scams.  In the traditional version of this scam, someone calls and tells the grandparent their grandchild has been jailed for a minor offense in a foreign country or has had a medical emergency befall them. Of course, other situations that would present an immediate need but be very hard to quickly verify are also used, so there is no one sure tell based upon circumstance.

In reality, the grandchild is not under arrest, in the hospital or in trouble at all. At the very moment the scammer says the grandchild is in the middle of an emergency, he or she is probably just staring at a cellphone screen, possibly while they’re in class, oblivious to the whole situation.

A new version of the scam has been making the rounds this summer and it has a 21st century hook. The FTC, the BBB and various news organizations are reporting that scammers are now claiming to be debt collectors and getting older Americans to fork over credit card information or wire money to the scammers.  Sometimes the collectors claim to be after young people, threatening that if grandma doesn’t come through with the cash, the grandchild will be arrested, have their license revoked or lose their job. Other times, the scammers claim the grandparents are on the hook for the debt and use their fear of losing their credit rating to finagle some easy money out of a frightened victim.

The debt collection angle is new to the grandmother scam, but hardly a new scam in itself.  Con artists have been calling with fraudulent debts and fabricated threats for years, often claiming a long-forgotten payday loan or other non-traditional debt has been turned over to the police. But as people have gotten wise to phony debt collection scams, they’ve combined the routine with grandparent scams to make a new scenario that feels very real.

With student loans and credit card debt through the roof, it’s easy to believe a loved one could have all sorts of debt we don’t know about. With the pressure on, it’s difficult to find out if it’s true.  But, if you didn’t co-sign a loan, you can’t be held responsible for paying it, no matter what someone tells you over the phone.  In fact, it’s illegal for a debt collector to tell you if someone else has a debt at all.  If you’ve ever called a credit card company on behalf of your spouse, you’ve probably
experienced the privacy laws in action, because the credit card company won’t even talk to you.
If you feel pressured to make a payment or provide personal information over the phone, try to get off the line as quickly as possible.  Offer to call them back, if necessary.  The more they try to keep you on the phone, the more likely it is that they’re fraudsters who are after a quick buck.  If you think you might be a potential victim of such a scam, let the FTC know immediately, at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

Then, let CORE Credit Union know so we can make sure your accounts are safe, issue new information if necessary, and prevent any fraudulent charges.  We can also show you how to go through your credit report and find out if you have any debts you don’t know about.

When someone pressures you on the phone, it’s always a good idea to take a break and figure out what’s really going on.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rebuilding An Emergency Fund

Q: I just had a pretty significant financial crisis. I underwithheld on my taxes all year and ended up cleaning out my savings to pay the bill. What do I do now?

A: All the best financial experts agree you need to keep an emergency fund. Keeping 3-5 months of living expenses in a savings account, certificate account, or investment account can be the difference between a temporary hardship and a life-long debt trap. Using that money instead of credit cards or short-term loans is a lot less expensive in the long run.

There are many reasons why you might need to use that money. It could be from an unexpected expense, like a medical bill or a car repair. It could also be job loss that forces you to tap out your savings. Whatever the cause, it’s a whole lot cheaper to pay for it out of savings than to have to borrow, and it’s much less embarrassing than having to beg friends or family to cover your bills.
In the midst of a stressful crisis, it can be hard to focus on the positive. It’s important to take a moment to congratulate yourself for having the foresight to manage your problem. Things could be much worse than they are now. In addition to all the stress you’re currently feeling, you could have a big ball of debt to add to it. It’s not because of luck, it’s because of good planning.

Despite that relief, you’re not out of the woods yet. Without savings, you’re in a position of significant insecurity. Another crisis right now, even a very minor one, can cause financial problems that will create a ripple effect on into the future. You could find yourself in a much worse position in three months’ time than you are now.

Getting back to a position of financial security should be your highest priority. That means rebuilding your emergency fund as quickly as possible. These three steps will have you back on track before you know it.

1.) Make an emergency budget – and stick to it!
Without an emergency fund, you’re one blown tire, one missed shift or one broken arm away from a financial catastrophe. That’s why an emergency fund is so important. Cut spending wherever you can. If you can do without cable for a few months, call and suspend service. Temporarily cutting back on media, clothes, and other discretionary spending is also a great idea.
Also, consolidate your savings. If you’ve been saving for a vacation, a new car or some other big ticket item, stop putting money into those “buckets” until you rebuild a few months’ living expenses. Once you return to having a decent cushion, you can get back to saving for your other priorities.
If these cuts aren’t enough, finding money in more extreme places might be helpful. If you can, spend a few months taking public transportation. If it works out well, you might find yourself thinking about selling your vehicle for another quick infusion of cash.

Remember, a budget is only as good as your commitment to it. If you make extreme cuts that you can’t keep, you’ll end up spending even more because you feel entitled to it. Make sure your budget is realistic and humane!

2.) Build income wherever you can
There’s no secret about building your savings. You can only save the difference between your income and your expenses. In your budget, you worked on the minimizing expenses part of that equation. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to the income side.
Raising your income at work could be as easy as asking for a raise. It could also mean taking additional hours or picking up extra shifts from co-workers. You don’t have to do so for the rest of your career, just for a few months until things get better.
You may also need to boost your income outside work. Selling old clothes and books can be a source of quick cash. Picking up freelance or contract work can also be a way to earn extra money. It’ll create a stressful few months, but it’ll be worth it to get back to security. You might also make connections that could help your career over the long term.

3.) Build a backup plan
The worst thing that could happen right now would be another crisis with no way to pay for it. You may not have the money to deal with it, but you’ve still got your financial smarts. It’s time to make a plan.

Think about what you’d do now if you lost your job, even without your emergency fund. Make a list of phone calls you can make to find temporary work. Who in your network do you know who could use your skills on a temporary or contract basis? Do you know anyone who, if you absolutely had to, you could call for a quick loan?

There are a few other questions to ask. What stuff sitting around your house would you sell if you had to? What does your food budget look like with $50 taken out of it? It’s easier to make these decisions when you’ve got the time and space to reflect on it. Making these choices with a past due notice in hand is much harder to do.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these ideas, but you’ll feel better for having thought about them beforehand. It’s also something pro-active you can do instead of worrying. Taking action, any action, to remedy your situation can help fight the stress involved in insecurity and get you in a better head space. That alone is worth the effort.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Effects of China’s Market Crash On Typical Americans Like You

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Predicting the future of international finance can be a fool’s errand. Fluctuations in a small aspect of a small market can ripple in untold ways, changing the environment all the time, like the proverbial butterfly responsible for all of those hurricanes. Unfortunately, shrugging in the face of the unknown is really uncomfortable when it comes to finances. When we need to know how it will affect us, we go to financial advisors.
What about when we don’t have any specific investments in either area? How might it affect us then? Below are some of the people likely to be affected by the economic news of China’s struggles last week. Some it will hurt, some it will help and some we’ll have to wait and see.

You might be hurt if:

Your portfolio is heavy on retail brands. In the last decade or so, American demand for retail goods slowed at the same time Chinese demand grew, so many of our corporations recorded sales growth that was largely or exclusively based on Chinese consumers. Yum! Brands, Intel, McDonald’s and Starbucks all rely on Chinese consumers for between 15 and 20 percent of their revenue, and the Chinese middle class just got hit with back-to-back market crashes. We won’t really know which companies were hit the worst until sales figures and quarterly reports start coming out, but you should identify which stocks you own that are heavily invested in China and see what they plan to do to keep afloat.

Your income is directly related to manufacturing. Banks around the world are stockpiling dollars because American currency seems much safer than a Euro that’s dealing with a crisis in Greece or any Asian currency that is inextricably tied to China. As a result, the dollar has increased in value about 3% in the past month.
That sounds great, but a strong dollar makes exporting more difficult and makes imports cheaper, both of which make it harder for American manufacturing firms to compete with overseas factories. The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has repeatedly pushed China to strengthen its currency for this reason, but has little to show for it. Some financial analysts suggested the Asian free trade agreement signed last month was meant to prevent exactly this kind of situation: Chinese market insecurities resulting in problems for American manufacturing.

You might be helped if:

You own a business. Whether your company is big or small, a strong dollar gives you a leg up right now. Obviously, you can order stock from overseas, knowing it will cost less and pocket the profit. It might be time to think bigger, though. If your dollar is worth 3% more than it was a month ago, that means any loan you take out will come at a discount. If you wanted to buy a $10,000 piece of equipment from China but scoffed at the interest rate, you can cut it considerably right now.

You own a home. It may not be obvious at first, but everything in your home goes through China. Your car had parts manufactured or assembled there, your clothes, your furniture … everything. You’ll feel the effects of Chinese firms trying to get sales every time you go to the store and possibly until Black Friday.

But you could also get a great deal on home fixtures and appliances very soon. Chinese factories need the cash, and with their domestic housing bubble bursting, you’re the only one left to buy that amazing new washer/dryer. What if you moved up your remodel to this fall? You could be looking at glorious home goods at ridiculous prices.

Talk to CORE about our small business, automobile and personal loans. Let’s see if we can help you capitalize on this opportunity.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Teach Budgeting With A Cellphone

For teens and preteens, having a cellphone is all the rage. And according to a recent article in  USA Today, more than a third of U.S. homes don’t have a landline. Parents have gone wireless, and in the interest of their children’s safety, many have provided their children with cellphones to have as a point of contact when they are home alone or in case of emergency.

But cellphones and children don’t always mix. Not only is there a hefty price tag, but there’s also a learning curve that children must navigate to avoid exceeding calling and texting limits. One Phoenix-area family has found a way around this challenge.

Rick and Sue Cercone canceled their landline phone about a year ago and, at the time, purchased a prepaid flip-phone for their then-10-year-old daughter, Katie, to use when she was home alone. Now almost 12 and heading into middle school, Katie wanted a better way to communicate with her friends. And while Rick and Sue weren’t opposed to the idea, they wanted to make sure Katie understood the value of the cellphone minutes she would be using.

The Cercones decided to use Katie’s cellphone as a means to teach her how to budget.

“We know that if Katie doesn’t have a tangible way to track her money, she blows it,” says Sue. So they purchased a cellphone with a preloaded card that Katie must budget to ensure she doesn’t run out of minutes.

Early on, Katie learned that one text equated to 30 seconds of talk time and a text with a photo was more. Once the card runs out, it’s up to Katie to purchase a new card.

“My parents are pretty hard to cough up money,” says Katie. “I have to save my money when I earn it now.”

Katie recently took a babysitting class and hopes to find jobs watching neighborhood kids and doing extra chores. She already saves a portion of her earnings, and now, rather than spend the remaining funds, she will set some aside to help fund her next cellphone card.

“Katie is learning that we’re not going to support her cellphone,” says Sue. “When she can tangibly see the minutes on her card go down, she knows those minutes have been spent.”

Though Katie wishes her parents would have simply added her to her family’s cellphone plan, Rick and Sue hope that, by budgeting her time more wisely, Katie will learn the value of a dollar and budget her money in other areas as well.

 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The New Homeowner Diet

Saving money is a lot like losing weight. It’s no fun, requires sacrifices and no one at a dinner party wants to hear about your plan.  For many first-time home-buyers, trying to save enough money for the down payment on a house can seem like a diet that won’t end. It might even be tempting to click one of those email links that promise magical results, even though you know there’s no magic pill for weight loss and no magic plan for saving money.

Fortunately, if you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you already know how to save money. While most weight loss results are temporary, buying a home is something that won’t disappear if you skip the gym for a week: You’ll be living in a home you own, building equity and moving closer to financial independence.  So, here are some tips to get you moving toward that down payment, based on what you already know about trimming your waist:

Don’t bite off more than you can chew
One of the biggest mistakes new homeowners make is buying more house than they can realistically afford. At CORE, we want to get the right loan for you so that you can move into the home that’s comfortable and fits your lifestyle.  That doesn’t mean you have to use every dollar you qualify for. Let’s talk it through to figure out exactly how much you can spend every month and make sure you don’t get in over your head.

A good rule of thumb when planning is that you want to put down around 20 percent of the sale price. Before the financial crisis, a lot of people were putting down 10 percent or considerably less – as much as 0%. It didn’t turn out well for many of those folks, nor did it for their lenders.

Even if you feel comfortable with the risk that comes with a low down payment, putting down more money now can lower your interest rate, so you’ll pay less money in the long term and have a lower monthly payment.  It’s easy to see the down payment as your goal and forget about the rest of the mortgage, but this won’t be the last purchase you make.  You’re going to want to save for college, retirement or your dream vacation.  If you don’t put the money in now, you’ll have to do so later, and you’re essentially taking a loan from yourself against those future purchases.

No matter how long you run, you can’t burn off that midnight cheesecake
You may be making sacrifices and saving as much as you can, but still not feel like you’re getting any closer to your dream home.  You’re not alone.  Unlike their parents or grandparents, today’s typical middle class family has more than one job, and a surprising number of those families has three or more sources of income. Even with the popularity and necessity of taking on a second job, some people are embarrassed to do so, as if having a working spouse or taking on extra work on the side is a sign of failure.  Don’t be that person who’s too embarrassed to go to the gym because they don’t want anyone to see them get healthy.  There’s no shame in working.

You can’t lose weight without a scale
Most people keep track of their weight every day while dieting.  Some keep a food log.  Some count calories, points, or carbs.  The bottom line: You need to be able to see how you’re doing so you know when you can splurge and when you need to cut back.  The same is true when saving for a home.  Make a budget and stick with it.  If you have a bad month, don’t get frustrated. Instead, commit to doing better next month.

Everyone needs a spotter
When you save money every month, where does it go?  Do you have a series of Mason jars filled with crumpled singles?  Is it sitting in your share draft account, looking pretty when you check your balance but not doing anything else?  Even if you keep your money in one of our savings accounts, there’s a lot more we can do to help make your money work for you.  We have a variety of great savings plans, from low-risk savings certificates to interest bearing checking account for your deposits.

If you want to own a home, you need to save money, but you don’t have to do it alone.  Think of us as your personal trainer for your financial health.  Drop us a line at 912-764-9846 and we’ll help you figure out what you can afford and how you can get there.  Our plans are always easier to swallow than a kale smoothie. But then again, what isn’t?