The Dow Jones Reached 22,000. What Does That Mean?

Date August 16, 2017

Q: Everyone is talking about the stock market hitting an all-time high of 22,000. What does this mean?

A: The stock market can be confusing. Before answering the 22,000 question, let’s start with a brief explanation on how it works.

1.) What is the stock market?

The stock market is where stocks and bonds are bought and sold. When you purchase stock, you become a shareholder and now own a “share” of the company. If the company’s profits go up or down, the value of your shares follows suit. When a company needs to raise money, it issues shares and keeps all of the money raised in the initial sale of shares. 

2.) Why are stocks traded after they’re purchased?

Traders and investors continue to trade their purchased company stocks because the perceived value of the company changes over time. The investors may make or lose money depending on whether or not their predictions on the value of the stock are correct. The ultimate goal is to make money by buying stock in companies you expect to increase in value.

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Financial Tips For Single Parents

Date August 14, 2017

Single parenting brings unique budgeting challenges.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that it costs an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child to age 18 – and many single parents shoulder that responsibility alone. Even with adequate child support, it’s smart to be proactive about financial matters as a single mom or dad.

Estate planning should be your first priority. It’s essential to make arrangements for your children should you become incapacitated. Draw up a will, designating a guardian for your children, and a “power of attorney,” giving someone the legal right to make decisions on your behalf.

Consider setting up a trust – a legal structure that is overseen by a trustee, in which your assets can be held for your children. Also, ask your employer about disability benefits. Generally, you will receive a smaller income when you claim disability, however, ensuring even partial income is crucial for single parents who don’t have another source of income to cover a gap.Taking out a life insurance policy is equally important. The policy you purchase will depend on your finances; a term policy is most economical because it offers a straightforward death benefit.

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The Pros And Cons Of Bridge Loans

Date August 9, 2017

If you’re looking to buy a new home, you may be counting on the proceeds from the sale of your existing home to help cover the down payment and closing costs.

What happens if selling that home takes longer than you’d anticipated? What if you need to move quickly? How will you be able to come up with the necessary funds if your home doesn’t sell quickly?

This is where bridge loans come in. A bridge loan provides temporary financing until more permanent financing can be obtained. It is granted with the understanding that, once permanent financing is in place, some of those funds will be used to repay the loan.  Bridge loans have shorter terms and are more expensive than conventional loans.

Terms of bridge loans vary tremendously. Some completely pay up the outstanding mortgage on the old home, while others only pay off a portion of it, leaving the borrower with two mortgages, or lumping the loans together.

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Money Hack: How to Save on Your Mortgage

Date August 7, 2017

 

College Jobs: On Or Off Campus?

Date August 4, 2017

 alt=Face it: You need a job. Maybe it’s just for spending money, or maybe something else is pushing you toward employment. You could need an excuse to leave campus to escape the college bubble for a short time. You could be working on your networking skills to help climb the ladder toward a “real job” in your chosen field. You might also be needing to pass the time until the next adventure comes along. There are even study benefits! A 2009 Boston University study revealed that a work schedule forces students to create a study schedule and stick to it. Without a job, many students struggle with time management. The question for today’s students, then, is: Do you work your job on campus or off?

There are many advantages to working a job on campus. For starters, depending upon the size of your college, you may be able to walk to work. Save the commute and the gas bill for your out-of-school job! The schedule may be more flexible when it comes to working around classes and big projects. After all, your employer works for the school and understands that learning is a priority. These factors can make it much easier to juggle a job with school. You can also meet many of the “behind-the-scenes” people at your school, which can get you the inside scoop on many school policies.

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Creative Ways To Save On Energy Costs

Date August 2, 2017

Are your summertime electricity bills astronomical? Check out our list of 10 creative ways to trim your bill in the summer and all year ’round!

1.) Plant trees

If your home has lots of west-facing windows, you’re likely getting loads of sunlight each afternoon, and that’s making your AC unit work harder. Lower your energy consumption by planting trees or large shrubs in front of some of those windows.

2.) Go solar

If your electricity bills are through the roof, consider going solar! MCCU offers very affordable solar financing that can save you money on your electricity bills! And, you can take advantage of the federal tax credit.

3.) Rethink your roof

Is your roof dressed in black for 90-degree weather? By installing a sunlight-reflecting “cool roof,” you can reduce your roof’s temperature by up to 60 degrees. This will trim your AC use by as much as 20%.

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Beware The Make-A-Wish Charity Scam!

Date August 1, 2017

Sadly, hundreds of crooks hide behind the veil of charities. They’ll impersonate known charities or create a bogus one, then solicit funds and pocket the cash.

Most recently, scammers have abused the name of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization dedicated to granting the most longed-for wishes of terminally ill children.

Here’s how it works:

The scammer calls the victim and announces they’ve won hundreds of thousands of dollars in an alleged sweepstakes conducted by Make-A-Wish. The caller claims to be representing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or another federal institution. The “government official” then explains that the “winner” must pay thousands of dollars for taxes and insurance to claim their winnings.

Of course, there is no sweepstakes and the caller is no government official. In fact, on its website, Make-A-Wish asserts that it never conducts sweepstakes. If you wire your money over, you’ll never hear from the caller again.

There are several red flags here.

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Are Your Investments Safe?

Date July 27, 2017

 alt= What’s your first thought when you consider the question, “Are your investments safe?”

You might think about federally insured deposit accounts through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The NCUA is the independent agency that administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). That’s a logical and comforting first thought for most credit union members, because your deposit accounts are covered up to a total of $250,000, and not one depositor has ever lost money in a deposit account that is covered by NCUSIF.

But deposit accounts are not usually considered investments. Investments generally involve market risk, such as money invested in the stock market or mutual funds.

So, your first thought might be about your investments that are at risk in the stock market.

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Video: The Secret to Financial Success

Date July 25, 2017

 

A Different Breed Of Diversification: What Multiple Certificates Can Do For You

Date July 20, 2017

 alt= Share certificates allow you to earn a good return on your money while keeping it accessible for use for major expenses. If you’re planning on buying a house or a car, keeping your down payment money in a certificate can hasten its growth toward your goal.However, If you’re saving for two large purchases, it can be difficult to make partial withdrawals from a certificate, and doing so can hurt your earnings.Here are three ways to solve this problem:

1.) Lump it all together
Place all your savings – your down payment, car funds, vacation savings and rainy-day money – in a single certificate.

The good

Simplicity. One statement to review and only one document with dividends listed to unearth during tax time. Additionally, larger sums of money often earn better rates, improving your long-term returns. When you’ve achieved a savings goal, you can withdraw what you need and create a new certificate with remaining funds.

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