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Find the Three C’s of Success at Great Meadow Federal Credit Union

Next time you drive around town, pay attention to the number of financial institutions you pass. Chances are you’ll see a variety of national, regional, and local banks along with several investment firms. You’ll probably see a credit union or two as well. With so many banking options, it’s natural to wonder what makes a quality credit union stand out from the crowd.

After more than 50 years of helping our members achieve financial success, we’ve identified three keys that make Great Meadow Federal Credit Union a beneficial part of any financial strategy. We call them the “Three C’s.”

The Three C’s of a Successful Credit Union

Convenience: Because of their focus on performance over time, most investment firms offer extremely limited cash management services. By combining investment options with the ability to wire funds, make ACH transfers, and access mobile banking services, a Great Meadow account offers more control than a traditional brokerage account. As an added benefit, members who open a share certificate at Great Meadow can withdraw at any time without penalty.

Comfort: Traditional bank accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and credit union accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), both up to $250,000. For members who have more than $250,000 in an insured account, diversifying is a strategic way to maximize financial protection and secure additional peace of mind.

Community: As an organization, we are committed to giving back to the communities we serve. When you trust our credit union with your money, it allows us to leverage those funds for loans that benefit the community. You can feel good knowing that as you invest with us, we are investing it back into our community.

As we offer the “Three C’s” of convenience, comfort, and community, the Great Meadow team also works hard to give our members one more “C”—confidence. To find out how we can help you secure your financial future, contact us today.

Plan a Blockbuster Valentine Date on a Budget 

Plan a Blockbuster Valentine Date on a Budget 

From picking the right card to choosing the perfect flowers to selecting the best chocolates, planning for Valentine’s Day can be daunting. When you get it right, the smile on your Valentine’s face is priceless. If you miss the mark, well, so does Cupid’s arrow. The risk/reward scenario is the stuff romantic comedies are made of. But there’s a big difference between Hollywood hijinks and real life. The difference? Budgets. 

Movie Magic vs. Real Life

While cinematic screenplays portray extravagant splurges that make audiences swoon, most of us don’t have the unlimited finances required to take a hot air balloon ride over Central Park while a string symphony serenades us from below. So, is it possible to plan a successful Valentine’s date without breaking the bank? Absolutely. 

Creating a budget-friendly Valentine’s Day that’s memorable for all the right reasons requires purposeful thought and advanced planning—just like your budget itself. This is not the time to keep up with the proverbial Joneses; don’t waste energy comparing your ideas with anyone else’s. When it comes to making February 14th something special, individuality wins. If you’re looking for a few tips to spark your frugal creativity, we’ve got you covered.

4 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day on a Budget 

1. Cook at home. Go out for dessert.

Whether you decide to cook dinner for your date or prepare a meal together, staying in lets you plan the menu around your budget and enjoy the experience of crafting your own culinary adventure. After leisurely dining at home, you can venture out for a delicious dessert knowing you’ve missed the overcrowded restaurants and overpriced entrees.

2. Coupons can be your friend.

Can we get real for a minute? Free food tastes better. It just does. And if you’re looking to counter the unfair stigma attached to coupons, consider the following scenario: If you have $50 to spend on dinner, that means you can get two meals that cost $25 each. If you have $50 and a Buy-One-Get-One coupon from sites like Restaurant.com or Living Social, you can each enjoy a $50 meal. Doesn’t sound like a difficult decision, does it?

3.Pick a plant instead of flowers.

With many florists inflating prices by as much as 100% for Valentine’s Day, buying traditional flower arrangements can an expensive proposition. Instead of giving your date a bundle of flowers that will be gone in a couple weeks, plan a date that includes selecting a plant that will provide beauty for years to come. The shared experience provides an excellent chance to learn each other’s tastes and preferences, which may prove helpful for future Valentine’s Days.

4. Visit museums and art galleries.
If you live in an area that has a museum or art gallery, many of these venues offer free or low-cost admission. In addition to giving your date a touch of culture, the subjective nature of art and exhibits offers endless opportunities for conversation, lessening the chances of awkward silence throughout the evening. 

Sticking to a budget can be tough, especially when you’re trying to impress your date. But if our favorite rom-coms have taught us anything, it’s the fact that over-the-top spending may seem fun, but it rarely leads to happily ever after. Whether you use these tips or come up with creative ideas of your own, being smart with your Valentine’s Day spending is a great way to craft a feel-good story that will leave you cheering when the credits roll. And who knows, if all goes well, there might even be a sequel!

                                     

 

Should You Pay for Credit Repair Services? Probably Not.

Call it a coincidence. Call it savvy marketing. Whatever you call it, there always seems to be a spike in credit repair advertisements around the time the first Christmas shopping bills arrive. Maybe you’re staring wide-eyed at a balance that’s higher than you expected, wondering how you’re even going to keep up with the minimum payments. This kind of uncertainty can set the stage for bad decisions. So, before you scramble and sign-up for credit repair services, take a deep breath and realize you have more control than you think.

Risk vs. Reward: Is credit repair worth the cost?

It’s important to remember that some credit repair services are legitimate businesses, able to follow through on their claims. Unfortunately, the reputable companies reside in a corporate landscape littered with scam artists and opportunists. If you’re willing to devote enough time and research, it’s possible to separate the upstanding services from the scams, but as NerdWallet columnist Liz Weston points out, “If you’re able to do that kind of research, then you can certainly figure out credit repair and do it yourself.”

While the trustworthy credit repair companies aren’t necessarily too good to be true, there’s a good chance they’re too costly to be worth it. When you consider that many of these services charge monthly fees ranging from $30-$100, the boost in your credit rating may not justify the ongoing expense.

Facing credit challenges? Your credit union can help.

Good credit isn’t the result of tricks and trade secrets. It’s established by applying solid financial habits over time. The same holds true for credit repair. While it there may be some additional steps required to clean up your credit report, rebuilding good credit requires a consistent commitment to responsible money management.

Credit unions exist to ensure the financial success of their members. Educating people on proper credit management is part of that mission. If you’re drowning in debt and struggling to regain your financial footing, your credit union could be the lifeline you’re looking for. While they may not advertise it, many credit unions offer free credit counseling for their members. Discussing your current challenges with one of the credit union’s representatives can be the first step towards putting those struggles behind you.

Repairing damaged credit is no walk in the park. But with a little hard work and dedication and the guidance of your credit union’s financial professionals, you can be on the way to reclaiming the good credit you deserve.

Is This the Year You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution?

Now that 2018 is officially here, many of us are coming to grips with a familiar, frustrating truth: there’s a big difference between making a new year’s resolution and keeping one. The good news is that we’re not alone. It’s estimated that approximately 40% of Americans make resolutions when the new year rolls around, but only 8% of them are successful in keeping them. Making a resolution only takes a moment of inspiration, keeping it calls for consistent dedication.

With the abundance of self-help books, podcasts, and seminars at our disposal, it’s easy to get tossed around on the latest and greatest informational waves. Too often, we jump from one fad to the next, spending substantial energy without moving closer to our end goal. It’s tempting to confuse activity with productivity. That makes it even more important to know the difference between the two. If you want to join the 8% of people who successfully stick to their resolution, you have to work smarter – not harder.

Simplify for Success

By limiting the variables in your resolution’s success equation, you can employ principles similar to those that make life hacks so popular. And while mental tricks and efficiency shortcuts aren’t substitutes for perseverance, they can help you avoid overthinking a problem or wasting time on unproductive practices.

As you work towards your 2018 resolutions, focusing on the following three aspects of each goal can help simplify your planning and streamline your pursuit.

Psychological

When the American Psychological Association weighs in on new year’s resolutions, it’s a good idea to hear them out. In an article on their website, the APA recommends a sensible approach that involves breaking large goals into smaller, attainable action steps. Following this recommendation increases the opportunities to tally some quick wins, and the psychological benefits of early success are invaluable to long-term achievement. 

Example: If you want to build up an emergency fund of $1000, aim for saving $20 a week. It’s not as overwhelming, and over the course of the year, you get 52 chances to celebrate! 

Physical 

Even if your resolution isn’t physical in nature (i.e. – lose weight, get in shape, run a marathon, etc.), it may be a good idea to incorporate some physical activity anyway. On the Harvard Health Blog, Heidi Goldman shares that exercise can help wire the brain in a way that protects memory and critical thinking skills. Considering the fact that “I forgot” and “I just can’t figure it out” are common excuses for breaking a resolution, improved clarity and brain function sounds pretty helpful.

Example: You resolve that 2018 is the year you finally learn to speak Italian. A 30-minute walk each day offers an excellent opportunity to practice your new vocabulary, and the cardiovascular exercise encourages the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, which can improve your brain’s ability to learn and retain new information.

Personal

In a previous post, we discussed the need for accountability. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Recruiting someone to hold you accountable makes the resolution a little more personal because it involves a risk of social capital. The key is finding someone who knows you well enough to challenge you but cares for you enough to encourage you as well.

Example: Let’s say you resolve to pay off credit card debt this year and you ask your best friend to hold you accountable. When you pull out a credit card to pay for dinner, your friend can offer a good-natured reminder that putting your meal on credit isn’t helping you reach your goal—the kind of reminder you’d easily brush off if it came from a stranger.

Just because the concept of keeping a new year’s resolution is simple doesn’t mean the process is easy. But if something mattered enough to inspire a resolution in the first place, it’s important enough work towards throughout the year. If you stick with it, you’ll probably find that the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a goal is often more rewarding than reaching the goal itself.

The New Year’s Here: Make Better Resolutions in 2018

From starting a workout plan to saving for retirement, roughly 80% of New Year’s resolution fail within the first month. Of the people who keep their commitments through February and beyond, only 8% ultimately reach their goal. Why is that? If you ask 100 people, you’re likely to get 100 different excuses reasons. Making a resolution is easy. Sticking to it? That’s a different story.

But instead of focusing on the failure, let’s look at some ways to increase your chances of success in 2018. Compiling an exhaustive list of what it takes to accomplish your goals would be…well, exhausting. So, to keep you from getting overwhelmed, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 simple suggestions that should help you start the new year strong.

5 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

Be real.

If you want to get in better shape but haven’t exercised in years, walking for 20 minutes a day makes far more sense than running a marathon in March. If you want to have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund but haven’t saved a penny over the last year, start with setting aside $20 per paycheck. Realistic goals pave the way for quick wins and consistent progress.

Be specific.

When it comes to setting goals, it’s tempting to speak in generalizations. “I want to feel better.” “I want to be smarter with my money.” The danger of statements like these is that they can’t be measured. Being smart with money is tough to quantify. Paying an extra $50 towards credit card debt is much easier to track. Instead of playing it safe with general statements, dig into the details.

Be consistent.

If you’ve ever run a 5K or 10K, you’ve seen THAT person—you know the one. They’re toeing the starting line, psyching themselves up, trembling with anticipation. As soon as the starting gun fires, they launch from the gate at top speed. You probably passed them after a mile or two, didn’t you? As you make your resolutions for the new year, don’t be THAT person. Understand that lasting success isn’t a sprint. Identify your goal, break it down into smaller action steps, and take clear, consistent action towards accomplishing those steps every single day.

Be accountable.

If nobody else knows about them, our best intentions can be our worst enemy. It’s easy to say you want to save $100 each month. It’s also easy to rationalize why you missed a month or two. To keep from fooling yourself, ask a trusted friend, family member, or co-worker to check in and keep you accountable. If there’s one thing worse than missing a goal, it’s having to admit it to someone else.

Be cool.

While January 1st seems like a logical time to make a fresh start, let’s not forget that technically it’s just another day. In reality, every day offers the chance to correct mistakes and build on successes. When making your resolutions, allow for some flexibility. Overly restrictive deadlines and constraints can lead to crippling discouragement. The end goal is improvement, not perfection. So yes, set your goals. But don’t forget to leave yourself some room to enjoy the process of achieving them.

Can Regional Floods Impact Car Owners Across the Country?

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey unleashed a wave of historic destruction on Houston, Texas and surrounding areas. Just weeks later in September, Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean island before zeroing in on the state of Florida, leaving a statewide path of destruction in its wake. All in all, the damage of these two storms is estimated at more than $290 billion, according to Money.com. 

After the flood waters receded and the magnitude of the loss became apparent—so did the shady tactics of opportunists. Across the country, a growing number of flood-damaged cars are being listed for sale, and all too often, signs of that damage can be difficult to spot with a quick visual inspection.

Flood damage should show up on the car title, right?

In conventional situations, flood damage would be listed on an automobile’s state title, and the red flag would be waving. However, as a result of the staggering number of cars impacted by the hurricanes, many state offices are encountering a gridlock-inducing backlog of work. What does this mean to an average consumer? Unfortunately, it means some flood-damaged cars are being auctioned off and shipped all over the country before the title reflects the defects—leaving the new owner holding a “flood title” when the records are finally updated.

Short of becoming an expert in the mechanical and cosmetic indicators of flood damage, how can prospective buyers safeguard themselves? Obtaining a thorough vehicle history report is a solid start that offers a quick and easy way to spot trouble. 

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

To apply the old proverb to the car-buying process, spending a few dollars on a vehicle history report can save hours of headaches and thousands of dollars in the long run. With the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) providing free VIN checks and reputable companies like Carfax and AutoCheck offering reliable reports for reasonable prices, buying a car without gathering all the facts is an unnecessarily risky proposition. And with the recent catastrophes that swept across the South, it’s more important than ever for consumers to have all the facts possible before making a purchase decision. 

Whose Fault Is Fraud? The Complicated Reality Of Debit Card Transactions

When you use your debit card, you visibly see an actual interaction between three people.

1.) You tell a merchant you’d like to buy something.
2.) That merchant tells your credit union to pay out some of your money.
3.) Your credit union asks you to authorize the transaction.
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If something goes wrong in that process, it must be the fault of one of those people, right? The assumption is, either your credit union, the merchant or you gave out information that resulted in fraud.

Like most realities of the modern financial world, though, nothing is simple about your transaction. Let’s take a look at three other places a financial transaction could break down, and what you can do to protect yourself.

1.) The point-of-sale system

Ever notice how most of the boxes that process credit and debit transactions look pretty similar? It turns out there are only a few companies that manufacture those systems. They’re called Point of Sale (POS) terminals, and they’re the lifeblood of many of today’s small businesses.
The problem with anything made by so few manufacturers, though, is that anyone who learns how to defraud one of these terminals can do some serious damage. That was the weakness exploited in the Home Depot and Target hacks of 2014. These companies had one style of POS terminal for every store, so when a hacker group learned how to break into it, group members could steal data from a wide range of targets.
POS systems have a variety of other vulnerabilities, from PIN tracking keypads to miniature cameras. Always be on the lookout for small modifications in the keypads and other devices. If something looks suspicious, don’t be afraid to back out of a transaction, or ask if there’s another register you could use. Merchants are usually unaware of such rip-off efforts and will be grateful for alert customers.

2.) The merchant’s processor

TIny margins are critical to most businesses, especially places that do a lot of transactions, such as gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. To help keep costs low, these businesses turn to third-party payment processors. These companies take all the transactions a merchant has in a day, bill the appropriate entity (like a credit card issuer, such as a credit union), and pay the merchant. In exchange for this work, processors take a percentage of each transaction, usually less than 1 percent.
There’s a great deal of competition in this niche, as companies continually offer lower prices to try to attract merchant business. This price competition also means processing companies are cutting costs, trying to stay profitable. One of the unfortunate ways in which they do so is by cutting corners with security.
Payment processing companies also deal with hundreds of thousands or even millions of transactions daily. When not all of these companies use industry-standard data safeguards, they represent another point in the chain where data security can be compromised. These processors represent a real risk of fraud.
When shopping at unfamiliar places, you can be extra-safe by using a pre-paid debit card, cash or another form of non-electronic payment. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to visit an ATM and pay cash. ATMs are usually maintained by organizations with in-house processing, which limits the number of steps your data goes through. If you’re working with a merchant you trust, you might ask who does their payment processing. Most of the big credit card companies have preferred providers who follow the highest quality payment processing procedures. A little research can help you find out if you should continue to take the highest precautions with that merchant.

3.) Clearing houses

The last stage in the payment processing chain is the clearing house. Large credit organizations, like major credit card companies, have external organizations that make the transfer of funds for them. They’re the go-betweens for the merchant’s payment processor and the credit organization.
There’s a wide network of American Clearing House (ACH) payment centers. Most of them are entirely functional organizations that process millions of dollars worth of transactions every day without a hiccup. However, they are staffed by people. People occasionally make mistakes or have bad days, and some of those millions of transactions may be processed improperly. Fortunately, clearing houses are insured against losses, so they very quickly correct any mistakes they do make.
Every payment system has the possibility for fraud. A clerk could make change using phony bills. A check could be cashed multiple times. Goods can be counterfeit, or registers can overcharge. Electronic payment processing is among the most secure and convenient form of exchange possible, and its failures are public, but fixable. Use your debit card with confidence, knowing your liability is limited thanks to the strong paper trail protection offered by electronic payment processing.

SOURCES:

http://gizmodo.com/home-depot-was-hit-by-the-same-hack-as-target-1631865043

https://www.firstdata.com/downloads/thought-leadership/where_security_fits.pdf

https://www.nacha.org/ach-network

Savings Certificates: How To Keep Your Money Spinning

A share savings certificate is much like the familiar certificate of deposit (CD) offered by banks. It acts like a traditional savings account in that you deposit money to collect dividends over time. It differs from a traditional savings account, though, because you cannot withdraw or deposit money at will.

Instead, you agree to place your money on deposit for a preset period of time, called the “term length,” during which you may not make withdrawals without a penalty. Because you trust your money with the credit union for a longer period of time, longer term CDs are likely to have much better rates than a savings account.

You can deposit your money for as few as several months or as long as several years, but the longer you keep it on deposit, the better your rate will be (in most instances). For example, the average rate on a three-year deposit is, at the moment, 0.49%. Also, this rate is usually locked in, meaning it is not subject to change based upon how well the economy is doing at any given moment. In general, share savings certificates offer a much higher return than savings deposits, if you’re willing to wait the time it takes to get your money back.

What are the risks involved?

First, if you decide to withdraw your money earlier than the term you’ve chosen, a penalty typically applies. On average, these will cost you between three and six months of earned dividends. Depending on when you decide to withdraw, this can cost you more than you’ve made in dividends if you deposit in a certificate and then immediately withdraw it.

There’s also the risk of inflation. Should you choose to keep the money in the account for years at a time, you could actually end up losing money when taking inflation into account. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid that is to withdraw your money and take that penalty. Of course, inflation applies to all savings strategies, even the “tin can buried in the yard” approach. Other than inflation and penalties, your money is safe.

What insurance do I have against loss?

At for-profit banks, all certificates of deposits are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC insures them for up to $250,000. At a credit union, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) or a private insurance corporation (sometimes both) will insure your certificate for the same amount. The insurance works the same way, for the same amount, regardless of who provides it. This insurance for your money happens automatically and requires no action on your part.

If you’re unsure, look for stickers near the teller windows with the letters FDIC or NCUA. If you see these letters, your deposit is secured. If you don’t, be sure to ask the representative assisting you with your account about insurance for your deposit. They’ll be able to tell you the name of the institution that provides it. The FDIC and the NCUA will automatically back you and keep you covered through the worst of economic disasters.

What are some different options of certificates I can have?

Though people tend to stick with the traditional certificate option, there are many more to choose from.
A high-yield certificate is more or less an advertising gimmick for one institution competing with another one for higher rates. Sometimes, they do have the higher rates promised, but they usually come with loopholes or very high minimum deposit requirements to secure the higher rates. Rates also change frequently, so be sure to ask your representative what the current rates are.
A bump-up certificate allows your rate to rise. This means that, if the institution offers a higher rate after you’ve purchased your certificate of deposit, you can request to change your rate to the higher one. The downside is that they may offer lower initial rates.
A certificate sold through a brokerage is called (as one might guess) a brokerage certificate of deposit. These are less like traditional CDs or certificates and are more like stocks. These notes can be bought and sold on a secondary market.
A liquid certificate allows you to withdraw money at any time without penalty. Unfortunately, the rates are often much lower than the rate on a traditional certificate of the same value would be.
One to watch out for is the callable certificate. In this, the institution can “call” your deposit back. Typically these have much higher interest rates, which is a positive. On the flip side, your institution retains the ability to shorten the term and give you your money back without the interest you would’ve earned.
Is a certificate right for me?

There are many good reasons why a certificate would be the right choice. Certificates usually have minimum deposit amounts, so be sure you’ve got enough savings to spare that you can lock away a few hundred dollars, at least. If you’ve got trouble with impulse spending, certificates can be a great choice to lock your savings away from yourself. They also make an excellent vehicle for an emergency fund. Using a technique called “laddering,” you can take advantage of the higher rates offered by longer-term certificates while preserving the flexibility of shorter-term ones. If you’ve got the discipline to keep your money locked in a certificate for its term, you can seriously muscle up your savings. Stop by Great Meadow FCU to get the details on the account that’s right for you!

SOURCES:

What Is a CD (Certificate of Deposit)?
Certificates Of Deposit Aren’t Risk-Free
What type of CD account is best?

The Sky Isn’t Falling: Financial Repercussions Of The Brexit Vote

Listening to financial pundits, it’s easy to think that the end of the world occurred Thursday, June 23rd. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a contentious referendum. While the implications of this decision are many and wide-ranging, there’s no need to panic.
What the Brexit does

The referendum in the United Kingdom was to leave the European Common Market. The Market is a network of countries (called the Eurozone) that don’t charge each other import or export taxes and simplify the process for citizens of any Eurozone member to get permission to work in any other country. The Brexit vote means that the United Kingdom is leaving that network.

For citizens of the United Kingdom, this decision could have very serious implications. On one hand, the country will get more control over its immigration policy. It is no longer obligated to follow European Union rules on migration or refugee handling. The desire to secure their borders was, in large part, the motivator for those who voted in favor of leaving the European Union.

What most financial experts are concerned about, though, are the trade implications. The United Kingdom will have to negotiate its own trade policies with every other member of the Eurozone. Over the short term, this will be incredibly complicated. For the past 20 years, British trade policy with the rest of Europe has been determined by the Common Market rules. It will take time to reestablish trade policies with the many nations of the Union.

No need to panic

The one thing that drives markets down more than anything else is uncertainty. If no one has reason to believe that trade will occur and profits will be made, there’s no motivation to invest. That’s the current circumstance. There are no clear trade rules governing Britain’s participation in the Common Market, which is driving investors in both European and British markets away. This same fear is also impacting other markets of countries that do business with the United Kingdom. This behavior is driving concerns about a short-term recession.

Ultimately, trade agreements will be mended. The United Kingdom and the rest of Europe are too close, both politically and economically, to remain at odds for long. Business as usual will return sooner rather than later, and short-term losses will rebound.

This is small consolation to those who will lose their jobs due to the economic slowdown, though the most pronounced effects of this loss will be in the United Kingdom. U.S. companies that conduct a great deal of business with Europe and the United Kingdom may have some staff reductions, but job loss should be minimal in the U.S., at least over the long term.

Normalcy will return

Many doom and gloom economists and pundits predicting mass economic ruin rely on a number of things happening, each of which is unlikely. First, investors must abandon the Pound Sterling, the British currency, en masse. This is unlikely. The British government’s ability to pay its bills is still sound, and the currency holds enough value to resist the impulses of speculation.

Second, those who predict financial catastrophe assume a trade war will spark between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Such analysis ignores the likely galvanizing effect that the Brexit vote will have on British moderate voters. As Prime Minister David Cameron has recently resigned, and with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn likely to do the same, new elections will install a new British government shortly after the British leave the European Union. Those who were opposed to the Brexit referendum, but stayed home because they considered it impossible that the referendum would pass, will heavily influence this new government. These voters will elect moderate leaders capable of returning a degree of normalcy to trade relations, and thus preventing a trade war.

What this means for your portfolio

Over the short term, stocks and foreign currency funds will likely take a significant beating. Resisting the urge to cut and run from these positions will take discipline, but it will reward investors with the courage to ride out the storm. When normalcy returns to international trade, these positions will rebound. This sudden downswing may mean postponing retirement for a few years in order to take advantage of bargain-priced securities in the interim, but investors who sell now may end up regretting the decision.

For those still saving for retirement, it may be prudent to find another place to stash gain-seeking money in the interim. Instead of investing in the typical instruments, consider long-term share accounts. As governments in Europe cut interest rates in an effort to stimulate their economies, traditional safe instruments – such as government bonds – will lose some of their luster. Long-term share accounts will keep current interest rates through the economic trouble and provide a better 3- to 5-year return than many other traditionally safe investments.

The bottom line

The Brexit vote will likely cause some damage to the global economy, but the damage will probably be minimal. After an interruption of trade, everyone will get back to business as usual across Europe. Some companies may cut their staff down for a short time, but they will re-expand once the economic situation returns to normal. Keep calm, and keep saving.

SOURCES:

Some Possible Brexit Consequences

The 6 Biggest Consequences of the U.K.’s Brexit Vote, So Far

Beyond Brexit: The consequences of Britain’s great exit

We asked Mohamed El-Erian if there is a Brexit silver lining — he said there are two!

Trust Your Intuition To Shop Online (And Offline) Safely

In one way, shopping online is very similar to shopping at kiosks, in shops and in malls. Personal and financial safety is always of great importance, but it’s easy to forget about safety when we’re distracted or in a rush. Either way, online or offline, searching for the best item at the best price can be very distracting, and distraction can be a real problem.

Think about the actions of a pickpocket for a moment. Professional pickpockets are looking for victims who are distracted, making it much easier to lift wallets, phones, purses and bags from preoccupied shoppers. Victims in hectic airports and on busy sidewalks are often distracted by the crowd, and they might be talking or texting on their phones at the same time, too.

How many times have you passed through an airport and consciously thought about a pickpocket or a thief? And whenever you’re making your way through a downtown crowd or attending a special event, are you thinking about your personal and financial protection?

If you’re not inclined to think about your safety while in a crowd, you’re probably not thinking too much about your safety online either. Sadly, unscrupulous online vendors are well aware of that fact. They may set up a website, or a Craigslist or eBay listing, based upon the fact that most shoppers are too busy and too distracted to take a moment to consider their personal shopping safety.

Trusting your intuition is a very useful safety measure … assuming you pay attention to it.

If you just don’t feel right about a particular brick-and-mortar store, you probably avoid it, right? That’s natural. But do you avoid a website or auction listing just because something doesn’t look or feel right about it? If so, good for you. You are ahead of many folks in this area.

Most people who have used online dating sites become well-acquainted with profiles that don’t seem to make sense. It’s not always easy to identify the problem, but something just seems off, so they click away and check out other profiles as they shop for a possible date. Maybe it’s just a feeling, but they learn to trust it.

Online dating can teach you a lot about using your intuition when you shop online. Even if you haven’t explored online dating yourself, no doubt you’ve heard stories about fakers and scammers who compromised the personal and financial safety of someone they met online. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon experience.
That’s why internet shopping safety is primarily a matter of considering the real person or company behind every website and each listing you visit. Trust your intuition to guide you. To do this, you have to set aside distractions and you can’t be in a rush.

Look for:
• Product descriptions that are too short, clipped and inadequate. If a normal person needs more information to make an intelligent purchase, move on to another site to make your purchase. Something may not be right.
• Spelling and grammar errors that stick out and detract from your shopping experience. Reputable companies hire experienced copywriters and editors to eliminate basic spelling and grammar mistakes. Scammers, many of whom are not located in the United States, skip the expense and try to do it themselves.
• A physical address in the United States. If you can’t find a physical address at the bottom of a website, or on the About or Contact pages, there’s a problem. The CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial emails to include the physical address of the sender in the email and on the website to which any commercial email is linked. But, CAN-SPAM does not require websites to list a physical address, and it does not impose a fine as it does on commercial emails without physical addresses.
In other words, the law does not protect you by requiring a physical address on every website, but your own intuition can protect you by raising a red flag whenever you can’t locate a physical address. Reputable sellers are eager to provide the information buyers need to identify and verify them. Go elsewhere to shop if you don’t find a physical address you can verify online by making sure it matches the business you found on the web.
• A secure payment portal. Look carefully at the website address in the address bar at the top of your browser screen. It should begin with https:// because the “s” indicates a level of security you need whenever you’re going to enter credit card or other personal information.
However, you may visit a site with an address beginning with http:// (without an “s”) and it can also be safe because it will direct to a secure site for credit card or checking account information when you check out. Usually, you’ll need to begin a purchase transaction before you know how a merchant is set up to collect your data. So, it’s not a bad idea to select one item and simply begin the checkout process, stopping short of clicking, “confirm”. That way, you’ll know what to expect with your real purchase.

Your Turn: Do you trust your own intuition when you’re shopping online? Do you make sure to pay attention and take the time to protect your personal and financial safety wherever you shop? Share your experiences – good or bad – here.
SOURCES:
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/online-dating-scams

https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-complianAce-guide-business