"It's a lonely experience," Mark Zuckerberg says, writing about his wife Priscilla Chan's three miscarriages.
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When the New Year rolls around, we often focus our time and energy on resolutions relating to health and fitness. While these are worthy goals, taking a look at your financial habits is also something you should consider and could result in big payoffs.
Better yet, setting and reaching financial resolutions may be easier to stick with. According to a recent study, 42% find it easier to pay down debt and save more for retirement than, say, lose weight or give up smoking. Among those who made a financial resolution last year, 29% reached their goal and 73% got at least half way there. Only 12% of resolutions having to do with things like fitness and health do not end in failure, other research shows.
So make 2015 the year where you simplify your finances and develop healthier financial habits. Here’s 6 quick ways you can do so:
1. Enroll for direct deposit & remote deposit
If your employer offers direct deposit, be sure to take advantage of it. It eliminates unneeded trips to the bank and keeps your money working longer for you. Additionally, be sure to take advantage of a newer convenience, remote deposit, that allows you to deposit checks via simply taking a picture of it on your smartphone or tablet! Our mobile app offers that capability for you.
2. Establish an automatic savings plan
The odds are if you have money accessible and ready to spend, you will end up spending it. One way around this is to set up automatic saving from each paycheck. Regular, automatic transfers to a savings account will add up and will reduce the temptation to spend money on things you may not need.
3. Pay bills electronically
Eliminate the tedious task of writing checks and mailing them by utilizing electronic bill pay online! This is a great feature that financial institutions offer (including MutualBank) that allows you to designate payees, amounts to be paid, and dates payments need to be sent. With a few clicks, your bill payments will be sent in the mail, saving you the time of physically mailing a check yourself!
4. Consolidate your financial relationships
Dealing with one financial partner that has a complete view of your financial picture makes everything easier and comes with lots of benefits. And in our case, a unique benefit that we offer is loyalty pricing for current customers on select direct loans.
5. Build a savings safety cushion
Having savings for unexpected expenses or life transitions like career switches can reduce a lot of stress and uncertainty about the future. Start to develop a financial cushion in 2015 for your peace of mind!
6. Review your investments
If you’re considering investing or have been for some time, it’s a good idea to meet with a financial adviser to review your strategy and investigate ways to better meet your financial goals. Be sure to consider MutualFinancial if you haven't already!
Purchasing holiday gifts online curled up under a blanket and sipping hot chocolate sure beats braving the elements and shopping crowds sometimes.
But with the added convenience of online shopping comes some increased risk of valuable information being stolen, such as credit card numbers or your account log in information for online retailers.
With the holiday season and Cyber Monday upon us, here are 5 easy tips to keep in mind when making any online purchase:
1. Make sure the device you are using is secure.
Use an antivirus program that is set to automatically update. It is also a best practice to install all the latest updates of your operating system as well as updates to all programs you have installed. Apple, Microsoft, and other software providers regularly release updates to protect against all types of security risks.
2. Make sure the wireless network you’re on is secure.
Many public wireless networks offered by businesses, while convenient, are not always the most secure. When making a purchase online, make sure the network you are on is using some sort of security measure that requires you to enter a password to connect. The latest and most secure wireless network encryption is WPA2-CCMP. If the network is not secured, it’s best to purchase online from a secured network.
3. Make sure the retailer’s website is secure.
When shopping online, always look in the address bar for https:// at the beginning of a web address. The “s” used in “https” signifies an encrypted connection from your computer to the company’s webserver. This is used to pass sensitive data between the two devices and prevents criminals from snooping the contents of the information sent (credit card number, SSN, etc.).
4. Use strong and unique passwords.
If you’re like the majority of individuals, you probably have 2-3 passwords that you use for all of your online accounts. While these are easy to remember, this isn’t a best practice. If someone discovers your password(s), they now have access to many of your important accounts. We instead recommend using unique and strong passwords for all your online retailer accounts. Strong passwords generally contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (!, #, *, etc.).
5. Watch for phishing emails.
During the holiday season, the amount of phishing emails sent out increases as many criminals seek to falsely represent retailers. If an email looks suspicious or asks for your account information, do not open it or click on any links inside of it. Additionally, the majority of retailers will never include attachments in their emails but phishing emails sometimes do so don’t open any suspicious attachments.
Stay warm and stay safe this holiday season!
In light of the fun fact countdown we have been posting for our 125th Anniversary, our Information Security Department has put together a list of interesting facts about computer security. While they aren't "fun", they should give you an idea of how important it is to take proactive steps to protect you and your data!
- SQL Injection
- Cross-Site Scripting
- Use of Default Passwords
- Configuration Issues
- Weak Encryption Ciphers
- 78.92% are Trojans
- 10.78% are worms
- 7.44% are viruses
- 2.69% are adware
- 0.17% are other malware