In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
Americans throw away about 40% of the food that we produce in this country. Don’t believe it? Start paying attention in your own home. Track your food waste for a week and you’ll be surprised—the cottage cheese that turned moldy, the half-bunch wilted cilantro that you didn’t need for a recipe, the leftovers that you never felt like eating again, and the kale you bought because you want to start eating healthier but never cooked. And it’s not just in our homes, but in restaurants, groceries, on farms, and in institutions, like hospitals and schools. It’s a big problem, not only because food is being wasted but for other environmental, social, and economic reasons as well.
Business planning for startups often happens well after startup. Despite how important planning is to the success of a growing business, entrepreneurs often put off the task because they believe it will take a long time to complete the plan. There is a good reason for this, of course—a fully-fleshed business plan is comprehensive and often requires some research and relatively detailed planning.
August 14 is National Financial Awareness Day—a good reminder to take personal stock of your financial awareness. What does it mean to be financially aware? Financial awareness is akin to financial literacy and both refer to the knowledge and skill sets that support solid financial decisions and overall financial health.
If you’re buying a house, you want to get the best deal possible, which means you want the lowest interest rates—the lower your interest rates are, the less you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Buying a house can take a while, though, and in the time it takes you to find the house and go through the buying process, interest rates could rise or fall significantly.
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If you’re a parent, you may find that as the school year gets closer, figuring out a game plan to pay for college gets more overwhelming by the day. For most, funding education from a savings alone is not an option.
If you have a financial advisor, it’s important to understand how he or she is charging you and how that affects your investments and the advice you receive. Not all advisors charge in the same way, and how they charge has an impact on the type of relationship you have with your advisor.
I love to exercise outdoors, especially in the summer. I’m not much of a runner or biker. I like to walk, but I get bored on my typical route. Hiking gives me the complete experience—lots of exercise, views, fresh air, sunshine, companionship, and a sense of challenge and accomplishment. I’ve hiked all my life, starting as a little girl on Mount Mansfield’s Sunset Ridge Trail, the Tetons in Wyoming in 1990, and the Hunger and Elmore Mountain trails in central Vermont in the last couple of decades.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI), mortgage insurance (MI), private MI—these are all different names for one insurance product, which I’ll refer to as PMI for the purposes of this article. PMI is required when you take out a home loan with a down payment that is less than 20% of the purchase price or appraisal value, whichever is lower.