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Can the S&P 500 top 2,000?

Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:51 am

The S&P 500 rose to another new high Thursday and is now within range of 2,000.

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  • Teaching Children about Money

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    I dread the beginning of school, because I know that means I start hearing the statement, “I need money for…………….” On a weekly basis there is something that my children need (or think they need) money to buy or do something at school. Usually I grumble a little bit and then one of them will say, “Just get the money at the bank.” Convenient that I work at a bank and they have all the money I need, or so my children think. 

    When do we decide to teach our children about money, hopefully before it is too late. When I started working at 16, I lived at home and had very few expenses. So every week I cashed my check and had my weekly spending money. Like most youngsters, cash in the pocket meant I must spend it as soon as possible. I know that if I would have saved ½ of my paycheck from ages 16 to 22, I would have had a pretty decent savings to either buy a car, down payment on a house, pay down school debt, etc. 

    There will always be a debate on whether to give children an allowance or pay for chores and while we do not currently do either at home, maybe we should. How will our children learn how to save, to be charitable, or make financial decisions if we do not train or equip them? One of the reasons we are in the economic crisis today is that we all were spending more than we made. Spending more than we have is definitely one trait that we must not pass down to our children.

    The reality is, waiting until our children get a job at 16, 18, 22 or at whatever age, may not be the right answer. By then, it might just be too late. We all must learn that we must budget and make decisions on each of our priorities. While we expect our children to learn a lot at school, we must also make the decision to teach our children along side with the schools to make our communities better.

  • Financial Confessions from an Old Geezer

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    It’s back-to-school time.  Early August, really?  Back in my day (aka “old geezer comment coming next”), we didn’t start school until after Labor Day!  What is it with the here and now – it’s changing faster than ever, and it is simply hard to keep up!   (Especially for us geezers, right?)

    I’ve shared with you that we have a teenager in the house.  She will be actively driving come next spring.  She is polishing up her defensive driving skills in the meantime.  I am asking my teen to put some money away to purchase a car at some point.  I will help, but I certainly won’t be buying that Porsche she has a photo of on her smart phone. 

    Chances are good, that if we become a three-car family, there are some options we will look at – saving money for an old clunker (after all, I drove a 1963 VW bug back in 1979), seeking out a car loan for a little newer vehicle (also possibly translated as a “safer” vehicle), and my lender recently even enlightened me that I could roll a vehicle loan into my mortgage loan – for convenience, of course.  I have a little time to consider the options, and see how well my teenager is saving money for her future transportation. 

    College expenses are going to be hefty, also, though we have a few more years.  Finding money to set aside to help our daughter – go get those scholarships, young lady! – is tough.  The 529 College Savings Plan is there to help us, help her.   She will also need to have some “skin in the game” for school – it’s no longer “like it was, back in the old days.” But we will do what we can, by taking advantage of setting aside some money, and planning – for her future.

    Also creeping up on me is my own retirement.  While it is off on the horizon just a bit, I need to be accountable to have set aside enough money so I can live a retirement lifestyle I’ve dreamed of – you know, traveling with spouse, family, and friends!  I want to live that dream, and so I have to prepare.  I do my best to set aside money and contribute to my employer’s 401(k) plan.   By putting some money there, my company matches me, in essence, giving me “free” money on top of my own contributions.  But is it enough?  That’s hard to say, so I, on occasion, I also talk to a financial adviser.

    I encourage my spouse, who works in a small family business, to set aside some money in an IRA.  We cannot rely on Social Security, if it will even be there, and so, it is important we spend time planning for our financial future.   The future.  It will be here before we know it.  My goal is to be a financially prepared, old geezer.

  • What Should You Do If Your Email Account is Hacked?

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    We have seen an increased number of customers who have had their email accounts hacked…in other words someone has gained unauthorized access to an email account and may attempt to commit fraud using your email account.

    Signs that your email account might be hacked:

    • You cannot get logged into your email account and/or not able to reset your password.
    • Your friends report to you that they are getting strange or large numbers of email from you.
    • Your inbox is full of message failure notices that you didn’t send.
    • There are messages in your Sent, Draft or Outbox folders that you don’t recognize.
    • Your email signature lines have changed…look for additional links and odd phone numbers listed.
    • Your contact list has been deleted and/or there are contacts you don’t recognize.
    • You’re not getting any email messages at all.

    What to do if you suspect your email account is hacked:

    • Change your password…if you are unable to do so call your email provider immediately…be prepared to supply additional verification to them on who you are.
    • Notify folks in your address book to be on the lookout for spam and phishing type emails from you.
    • Notify your bank immediately that your email account has been compromised so they can be on the lookout for fraudulent account transaction requests…do this even if you don’t bank via the Internet.
    • Consider closing the email account out and establishing a new email address.
    • Consider having a backup email account that you don’t publish to anyone in order to have a means to communicate via email and some providers offer password recovery services to backup primary email accounts.

    Steps to protecting your email account:

    • Frequently (at least every 90 days) change your email account password.
    • Do not store any passwords in email especially passwords to Internet banking.
    • Do not store account numbers or account statements in email folders.  Store them offline on your computer and back them up preferably to a separate disk drive.
    • Review your bank accounts activity online at least weekly looking for suspicious transactions.
    • Empty the trash folder when you close email.
    • Do not click on links inside of an email from an unknown source.
    • Make sure your computers have virus/malware detection/removal software that is updated frequently.
      (Many times your Internet Service Provider provides these tools free of charge.)
    • Remember that if something in an email sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
    • Only share your email with friends on social media sites making sure that it’s not visible to everyone on your public profile.

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concern for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

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