In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
“In order to G-E-T you have to A-S-K.” This was the one-liner that stuck with me following Brooks Harper’s keynote address at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Workforce and Talent Summit. He has a fascinating life story which helped set him up for a career as an author and one of the most sought-after career speakers in the country. But he makes a point to emphasize that he never got anything along the way without asking. It’s a modern-day spin on the old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It applies to many facets of our lives and, in this blog, we’re going to focus on A-S-K-ing for a raise at work.
The energy efficiency community has something in common with many other industries, including medical, insurance, sports—lots of jargon that can cause confusion. Conservation and efficiency are often used interchangeably, but they are different. And then there's renewable energy, or “renewables” for short. I like to be intentional about these terms and bring clarity around them for others so they can apply real-world solutions to combat the existential challenge of climate change.
To help families get back on their feet after the ravaging effects of COVID-19, the federal government increased the child tax credit of up to $3,600 for eligible children as part of the March American Rescue Plan. Coverage of the much-needed rescue package focused on the increased stimulus payments, but the child tax credit had some significant changes as well. Namely, some families will begin to receive advanced payments starting July 15 (IRS). Here’s everything you need to know about the child tax credit in 2021!
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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“Stop! Back up!” I shout enthusiastically to my spouse Ryan every time we drive or bike past a pile of free stuff on the side of the road. Next comes a debate between us over whether the discarded items are worth taking home or not. Most often, I say “yes,” Ryan says “no,” we take it home anyway, and Ryan ends up thanking me later for grabbing it. I find a lot of satisfaction in giving objects a second life, but is this obsession truly saving me money?
Do you feel like your finances are a mess? What exactly qualifies your finances as a ‘mess,’ anyway? There are lots of rules of thumb and general advice out there—you should have two months’ worth of wages saved as an emergency fund, you should have three times your salary saved for retirement by age 40, and the like. What if you don’t; are your finances a mess? If you’re like most Americans, that may be the case. The truth is that about 63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 30% of Americans struggle to come up with $400 to pay for an emergency expense. Regardless of your personal circumstances, here are five steps to consider taking to improve your financial situation.
It is never too late to improve your financial situation, and it is never too early to start thinking about financial planning, retirement, or saving up for a large purchase like your first home. While I am not a financial advisor, there are some basic tips and strategies to begin moving in the right direction. Having taken these steps myself, though, I can help provide some firsthand advice to improving your financial health.
Prior to entering the adult world, personal finance was not a topic I had learned much about. More recently, it has become a topic of conversation among family and friends out of both necessity and curiosity. I get the sense that there are a lot of people out there, like me, who would love to learn more about how the world of finance works, and more specifically the implications for their own personal finances. There is a myriad of options for your listening pleasure out there, some that tackle the financial world in broad strokes and others focused on personal finance. Here are a few of my favorites.