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Establishing Good Financial Habits

Establishing Good Financial Habits

We all tend to develop habits that provide a rhythm or structure to our daily lives.  Once these habits are developed, they can be hard to break.  Building good financial habits can provide a rhythm, or sense of control, for your financial life.  Here are ten good financial habits that can help you build a sound financial foundation and help you reach all your financial goals:

  1. Make sure your financial information and records are organized.  Knowing where important financial information is located and having a system will save time and aggravation.
  2. Use direct deposit for your paycheck.  This saves time and gets you money working for you faster.  It is also safer.
  3. Use automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term financial goals.  This involves having MutualBank or your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. 
  4. Prepare a household spending worksheet.  The process of preparing your first one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses.  Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
  5. Prepare a personal balance sheet periodically.  Having a current, or relatively current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering applying for a loan.  Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress toward your long term financial goals.
  6. Reconcile your checking account.  Using tools like online banking and MutualMobile help you to avoid bouncing checks.  It is much easier to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to deal with multiple statements.
  7. Review all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them.  Even if you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them, by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct any errors.
  8. Make credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum.  If possible, pay your balance in full each month. Avoid late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due date.  Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance.
  9. Be sensitive to fees.  Some fees can not be avoided, but choosing to walk an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort.  Also, be sure to understand any fees that may be associated with your checking or savings accounts based on minimum balances.  There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
  10. Learn more about handling your finances.  The more you know, the easier handling your finances will seem.  Try to read the personal finance columns in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.

Your habit of a morning coffee may be a good start to your day.  A few good financial habits can be the start of a good financial life. Go ahead...live a better life!

Contact a Representative Today

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Personal Social Media Account Security

For many of us, social media has become a part of our everyday lives and helps us conveniently keep tabs on the people and topics we care most about.

Recently however, there has been an increase of social media account take overs by cybercriminals. As stated in the media, one contributing factor in some of the social media account takeovers has been the use of weak passwords.


Tips for creating a stronger password:


  • Passwords should typically:
    • be at least 8 characters in length
    • contain at least 1 number
    • contain at least 1 special character (!@#$$%)
    • contain both upper and lower case characters.
  • Do not use your name, date of birth, maiden name, mother’s maiden name, address, or other easily guessable words for passwords. 
  • Another way to create a strong password is to use a series of words that do not relate to each other. For example, JumpingFastRelaxStop!#.

 


Social media additional security options:


Another way to help avoid social media account takeover is to use the additional security options available. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security that drastically decreases your chances of account takeover. Two-factor authentication is essentially the using of two separate components to verify your identity, the combination of something you HAVE with something you KNOW. A good example of two-factor authentication you most likely are already used to is withdrawing cash from an ATM, for example. Having both your debit card AND knowing a pin number is required to complete the withdrawal and protect your identity.

A popular and convenient two-factor authentication method is using a combination of both an online password and a text message verification sent to your phone. Enabling this type of authentication typically follows this process:

  1. Enter your password into Facebook or another website
  2. Immediately receive a text on your phone with a temporary pass key
  3. Enter the passkey received back on the site/app and you’re logged in

This may seem like overkill, but enabling this two-factor authentication will drastically decrease the chances of your social accounts being hacked. And actually, the process of setting up and using this authentication is pretty simple and convenient.

 


How to enable two-factor authentication:


Many popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, and others already support two-factor authentication. To learn more about how to do so on the most popular sites on the web, be sure to check out this article:

http://socialcustomer.com/2014/04/how-to-enable-two-factor-authentication-on-50-top-websites-including-facebook-twitter-and-others.html

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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Establishing Good Financial Habits

Establishing Good Financial Habits

We all tend to develop habits that provide a rhythm or structure to our daily lives.  Once these habits are developed, they can be hard to break.  Building good financial habits can provide a rhythm, or sense of control, for your financial life.  Here are ten good financial habits that can help you build a sound financial foundation and help you reach all your financial goals:

  1. Make sure your financial information and records are organized.  Knowing where important financial information is located and having a system will save time and aggravation.
  2. Use direct deposit for your paycheck.  This saves time and gets you money working for you faster.  It is also safer.
  3. Use automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term financial goals.  This involves having MutualBank or your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. 
  4. Prepare a household spending worksheet.  The process of preparing your first one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses.  Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
  5. Prepare a personal balance sheet periodically.  Having a current, or relatively current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering applying for a loan.  Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress toward your long term financial goals.
  6. Reconcile your checking account.  Using tools like online banking and MutualMobile help you to avoid bouncing checks.  It is much easier to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to deal with multiple statements.
  7. Review all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them.  Even if you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them, by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct any errors.
  8. Make credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum.  If possible, pay your balance in full each month. Avoid late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due date.  Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance.
  9. Be sensitive to fees.  Some fees can not be avoided, but choosing to walk an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort.  Also, be sure to understand any fees that may be associated with your checking or savings accounts based on minimum balances.  There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
  10. Learn more about handling your finances.  The more you know, the easier handling your finances will seem.  Try to read the personal finance columns in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.

Your habit of a morning coffee may be a good start to your day.  A few good financial habits can be the start of a good financial life. Go ahead...live a better life!

Contact a Representative Today

Back to Education Resources

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