In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
As the summer weather warms and everything greens up, many people turn their attention to the soil and start (or in many cases re-start) a garden. For some gardeners, flowers are their passions. For others, like me, it’s growing their own food.
One of the many messages of 2020 was that our country is still far from the equality our foundational documents aspire to. Access to freedoms, protection, safety, and opportunity in the United States is unequal and falls along lines of gender, race, class, and more. After the killing of George Floyd, as the country reeled in protests and examined the historical and systemic nature of racism, the holiday of Juneteenth became one way to focus learning and actions. For many, especially those of us in New England where the holiday is celebrated by few, it was new and unfamiliar.
For the past ten years, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has been publishing an annual report on giving behavior around the world, with the goal of helping donors and charities make a greater impact. They have surveyed 1.3 million people in 125 countries over the past decade to quantify people’s generosity of both time and money towards people and causes, with the United States topping the list each year. This is no small feat and should remind us of the kindness in the world. We all choose different ways to give: helping strangers, volunteering, and donating money, to name a few. When you’re ready and looking to give, keep in mind that all this financial generosity translates into hundreds of billions of dollars in philanthropy every year. Unfortunately, with so much money involved, some less-than-honorable people look to exploit this good will for personal financial gain.
In June of 2020, the daily number of people trading with the popular Robinhood investing app reached record levels, exceeding 4.3 million daily average revenue trades (CNBC). Robinhood is a new breed of commission-free investment apps that allows anyone to trade stocks and funds through a simple mobile app that rewards investments with confetti and other fun graphics. The company recently came under increased scrutiny, for creating a user experience that encourages risky behavior, when a twenty-year-old user committed suicide because he thought he had lost $730,000 dollars (CBS News). While apps like Robinhood provide an innovative and exciting new way for anyone to become an active investor, they are also causing significant harm to unseasoned investors who are unaware of the dangers of risky investment tactics. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you dip your toe into the market and risk gambling away your money.
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Most people who are considering a solar purchase ask this question: “If I invest in a solar project for my home, can I expect to break even?” Unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as yes or no because it depends on several factors, relating to both the homeowner and the project.
To understand why your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or 457 isn’t performing, you need a little background on how these retirement products work. They are essentially just tax-deferred containers for your retirement portfolio, so they function differently than many other investment products.
Spring is the perfect time in Vermont to think about how you keep the temperature of your home comfortable, and to consider whether there may be a more efficient heating and/or cooling option out there. This “in between” season highlights the virtues of heat pumps, because with just the flick of a switch, a heat pump can go from heating your home to air conditioning it. And in most cases, it can save money while improving comfort and indoor air quality.
You need a car but when you look at your budget, you’re not sure what kind of down payment you should make or how much you can afford to pay each month. Maybe you haven’t made a car payment in a while. Or maybe you have been making a payment all along and it’s been putting a damper on your budget. Before you strap yourself into a new car, take a minute to figure out how much car you can afford and still live comfortably within your means.