Smart Online Shopping

January 30, 2008

Using the internet can be a fast and easy way to shop for just about anything you need. But, shopping online can present potential problems.

Here are some tips on how to be a smart online shopper:
Smart Online Shopping

What Does It Take to Retire?

January 23, 2008

Think of those days when you can sleep in and spend the day doing whatever you want. To get there you need to plan how much money you’ll need to live on when you retire.

Your calculation will go like this (we’ve factored in a Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 3.04% per year, which has been the average rate of inflation in the 20 years from 1987 to 2006). Assume that:

1 (your estimated annual income at the time you retire) x 1.0304 (inflation factor) =
what you’ll need to maintain your current lifestyle

This shows how much you’ll need as you enter your first year of retirement. Multiply that result by the same formula to see how much you’ll need in your second year. Repeat this 15 or 20 times to see what inflation will do to your dollars over the years. The total of all those calculations–year one + year two + year three, and so on–is how much money you’ll need for retirement.

For example, if your income at retirement is $50,000 per year, you’ll need $51,520 to produce the same buying power in your first year of retirement. In year five, you’ll need $58,076; in year 10, you’ll need $64,457; in year 15, you’ll need $78,353; and in year 20 you’ll need $91,010. Over a 15-year retirement, you’ll need $961,000 in income. Over a 20-year retirement, you’ll need $1.4 million.

That’s a lot of money, but we can help you get there. Talk to one of First New York FCU’s IRA specialists for information about your retirement saving options.

Make the Most of College Campus Visits

January 17, 2008

College Student

High school juniors and seniors face many decisions as they near graduation.  Going to college?  What will you major in?  Where will you go?  

Don’t base your decision on which school colors look the best on you–choosing the right college takes time.  The best way is to make a campus visit to each prospective school.

Here are some tips to make the most of a campus visit:

Take a virtual tour first.  Many colleges offer free virtual tours.  Before you dole out the money to make the drive or flight, go online to get a sense of campus life.

Set up an appointment for your campus visit.  Often, an official campus visit involves an information session with admissions counselors, as well as a guided walking tour highlighting student life and the school’s history.

Go when classes are in session.  This is the best time to experience day-to-day student life.  If you can, sit in on a lecture or two and see how the professors interact with the students and whether that would fit your needs.

Bring another pair of eyes.  Touring a campus can be intimidating, so ask a parent, sibling, or friend to come with you.  You’ll have another point of view and be able to ask questions about things you otherwise might have overlooked.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions–and not just about academics.  This could be the place where you’ll be spending the next four or five years of your life.  There are plenty of things you’ll be curious about.

What school you’ll attend is just one decision in your life as a student.  Another decision might be how you’re going to finance your education.  First New York can help. Call or visit us today.

Check Fraud Scams

January 11, 2008

As long as checks have been around as a form of payment, crooks have been using them to swindle people.  Some fraud schemes have been around for years—and still are going strong—while others have evolved with technology, particularly with the advent of the Internet.
First New York Federal Credit Union, offers these tips for preventing check fraud:

* Store your checks, deposit slips, account statements and canceled checks in a secure, locked location. Unless needed for tax purposes, cross-cut shred canceled checks and statements.
* Don’t carry your checkbook with you unless you need it.
* Reconcile your bank statement promptly so you can detect any irregularities and report them within required time limits.  Otherwise, you may become liable for any losses due to check fraud.
* If you have online banking, monitor your account every few days to detect fraud sooner.
* Don’t mail bills from your unlocked mailbox. Take them to the post office.
* Don’t have your Social Security, driver’s license, or telephone numbers printed on your checks.
* When you write a check, don’t leave blank spaces on the payee and amount lines.
* Use gel pens which resist check washing.
* Never endorse a check until you’re ready to cash or deposit it.

Be smart – be safe!

New Year Financial Resolution Podcast

January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!  And, for the new year, we have added our latest podcast on financial resolutions.

Here is the MP3 version.  You can click to open and listen to the podcast using your computers audio software, or you can right click the link and save it to your hard drive to listen at a later date on your MP3 player.

Be sure to visit the Podcast section of this blog for all of our previous podcasts.

New Year Financial Resolution Podcast