Latest Financial News

Would-be giant in online house hunting has brokers scared

Friday, July 25, 2014 6:31 pm

The two biggest names in online house hunting -- Zillow and Trulia -- may be teaming up, a pairing that is making some real estate brokers nervous.

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  • Announcing a new App!

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Do you have a smartphone? According to this blog I stumbled upon, there are 91.4 million smartphones in the United States.

    Advantages of a smartphone include:

    1. Accessing whatever you want
    2. Whenever you want
    3. And in a readable format

    Mobile apps are the key to accomplishing those three things. There is a mobile app for everything from banking to calorie counters. There are apps for helping you identify the constellations and even for finding the cheapest gas near you.

    So if there is an app for nearly everything, wouldn't you want an app for your favorite reward program?

    We are excited to share with you an app that will help you manage your
    UChoose Loyalty Rewards! With the UChoose Rewards app, you can:

    • View your point totals
    • Redeem points for items UChoose
    • Scan items to see if they're available through UChoose Rewards
      (And even find the closest place and lowest price!)
    • Redeem eCertificates on your phone and in the store!
      The cashier can scan your phone!

    Not only do you get UChoose Loyalty Rewards, but now you can choose when and where you manage your points all through the UChoose Rewards app!

    Need a last minute gift, but want to use your UChoose points? Go to the app, redeem your points for an eCertificate, then redeem the eCertificate in the store!
    In a matter of minutes, you can manage it all!

    Download the app today! It's free! The app is available for iPhones and Android models. Simply go to iTunes or Google Play and download the
    UChoose Rewards app today! 

  • I'm a Baby Boomer & Change is Hard.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    I asked several friends, both FaceBook and non-FaceBookers, if they use electronic banking, bill pay, &/or electronic bank statements.  Many of the FaceBookers do – not surprising.  Some of my other friends don’t, and a few suggested they worry about having identity stolen or a lack of ‘trust’ for the internet. 

    Is the security of hard copy checks, in-store credit or debit purchases, and mail better?  I wonder if my friends use their debit/credit cards in stores, where others have access to them.   The only times I have had anything manipulated or stolen, was in a restaurant where a shady waitress evidently swiped my credit card twice, and had a nice meal.  The credit card company took that charge off when I called them – they were accommodating.   The second time, someone may have looked over my shoulder while I was shopping in Chicago.  The bank evidently electronically noticed that my card number was trying to be used in a fraudulent manner, called me (I had just walked in the door from the Chicago trip), and together we blocked the charge, and the bank closed down that credit card, and reissued me a new number.  That was a really proactive, positive example of my community bank in action. 

    So my ‘bad’ experiences toward fraud or identity theft have been out there in retail establishments, rather than via the internet.  Do I use my credit card electronically for internet purchases?  Just ask my poor husband.  You bet I do - for everything from airline tickets to concert tickets, shoes, purses and crafting supplies.  We use one credit card for online purchases, and I reconcile that bill every month, just before I pay it through my bank’s electronic bill pay feature. 

    One of my best friends from college, Nancy, says she likes her bank statements mailed ‘just in case.’  Just in case of what?  What if your mail is stolen from your mailbox?  What if your mailman is Newman (from the Seinfeld show) and chucks his bag full of mail out a window, along with your bank statement?  Some identity theft comes from ‘dumpster diving’ criminals who access  paper records from the trash as well as stealing mail from mailboxes, looking over shoulders at the ATM or in a retail establishment.

    Nancy told me that she has those “annoying to-be-filed piles” of paper in her home.  She also wrote that one of her children’s schools is ‘paperless’ and she loves it – “I can always find what I need on my Blackberry.”  Her other children’s school is not paperless, and she “constantly has papers coming home and I’m going through their binder to find what I need.”  Nancy’s last sentence sums it up, “Hmmmm.”

    The dilemma Baby Boomers are experiencing is being born on the tail end of a paper-filled society and the infancy of the internet.  Change.  It’s hard.

  • What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Memorial Day is one of those holidays that mean different things to different people.  To some it is the time to remember those that have given their lives to serve our country. To others, it’s a time to remember those we love who have passed on.  To most of us, though, Memorial Day weekend is a long weekend and one that indicates the beginning of summer.  Whatever reason you celebrate this holiday, it’s a good time of year to think of your financial health and future plans.

    As you water-ski, you might not be thinking about your 401K or the bank CD in which you have invested.  But half way through the calendar year is a good time to make an appointment with someone that can give you a “check-up” on your money and how it is working for you. 

    Here is a short checklist of things to take with you as you discuss your financial future:

    • Bank Statements- Your financial advisor will need to see your total financial picture to give you advice that is best for you.
    • Other investment statements- Again, a total picture will help your trusted advisor give you the best advice.
    • Detailed plans on your future. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years? Is your money helping you reach those checkpoints?

    What does that last one mean? Have you ever tried to reach a destination without directions? It’s not easy. Similarly, your financial goals need a compass and the compass is you.   It’s important to think about and discuss your future.  Most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their retirement.  So, if you want to retire in 10 years or in 30, your advisor will need to know that so they can design a plan that works for you. 

    Memorial Day weekend is certainly a fun weekend, but can also be a profitable one if you use it as a milestone towards your financial future!  

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