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Financial and Lifestyle Resources for Vermont


In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.

By: Thomas White

June 10th, 2021

Is That a Charity Scam? How to Do Good and Avoid Losing Money

Identity and Fraud Protection

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.

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By: Oliver Ames

June 8th, 2021

Investment Apps and Meme Stocks: It's Wise to Be Wary

Youth and Finances | Investing in the Future

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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By: Laurie Fielder

June 3rd, 2021

Is Solar Worth the Investment?

Energy Savings

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.  

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By: Brian Bristow

June 1st, 2021

How Does an IRA Work and Why Isn't Mine Performing?

Investing in the Future

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.

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6 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Cultivate and Maintain an Excellent Credit Score

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By: Jake Marin

May 27th, 2021

Spring into Summer with a New Heat Pump System

Energy Savings

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.

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By: Joshua Dobrovich

May 25th, 2021

How Much Car Can You Afford?

Saving and Budgeting | Auto Buying

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.

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By: Oliver Ames

May 21st, 2021

Need a New Dryer? Save Money with an Energy Efficient Heat Pump Dryer

Energy Savings

Since buying a 1929 Dutch Colonial a few years ago, my wife and I have been trying to reduce our energy bill and improve the interior temperature and comfort of our home. We’ve invested in weatherization, cold climate heat pumps, a heat pump hot water heater, and other energy efficiency upgrades with support from a local lender. After we completed these upgrades last year, I’ve been curiously exploring what else we could modify for further efficiency. Enter the heat pump dryer!

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By: Talithia Bonner

May 18th, 2021

How to Start a Business: Some Initial Steps and Advice

Business Development

Marc Anthony once said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” When you choose something you love, you are willing to pull out all the stops to make sure it is successful and enjoy every moment of it.

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