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If you have a brother or sister or multiple siblings, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to conflict with each other, regardless of how well in general you get along…
What the Heck?! Dealing with a Difficult Sibling What the Heck?! Dealing with a Difficult Sibling
If you have a brother or sister or multiple siblings, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to conflict with each other, regardless of how well in general you get along. You may find battling with a sibling annoying, stressful or even exhausting, but it’s a part of growing up.
 
You may already have experienced many of the most common reasons why siblings don’t get along. The most common, according to researchers, is competition for parental attention. Kids want attention from their parents – for food, information, funding, and much more. When kids find themselves competing with siblings for such resources, trouble can ensue.
 
Believe it or not, experiencing differences with a sibling can actually be beneficial in the long-term. By periodically conflicting, you learn vital life-skill concepts like problem-solving, conflict resolution and forgiveness.
 
What’s the best way to deal with a bothersome sibling? Consider the following six suggestions:
 
  1. Be a quality sibling yourself – It’s tough to expect a brother or sister to treat you well if you’re not behaving well yourself. Be the type of brother or sister you’d like your siblings to be by practicing honesty, loyalty, compassion and trustworthiness.
  2. Know the triggers for differences – If you know that a particular sibling is often grumpy first thing in the morning or when hungry, don’t “poke the bear” and spark a disagreement at that time. Save your desire to bring up a difficult subject for a better time of day.
  3. Set boundaries – Make clear to a sibling acceptable and unacceptable behavior toward you, including spoken words, and the consequences. If a sibling oversteps boundaries, follow through on your promised consequences, or expect the behavior to recur.
  4. Keep calm, and go elsewhere – Often, the easiest way to deal with a difficult sibling is to stay cool or leave. If a sibling is bugging you, don’t give them the satisfaction of getting upset. If possible, go to another area inside or outside your home. Or, ask your sibling to do so.
  5. Listen to adult advice – Your parent or other trusted adults might have already encouraged you to use calm words in a sibling conflict. For example, if a sibling has damaged your school project, calmly asking, “Why did you do that?” will go further than acting out in anger. Plus, you might even be able to convince this sibling to help repair your project!
  6. Call in a parent or other adult as a final resort – If possible, it’s better to work out issues directly with your sibling. However, if it seems that differences cannot be resolved yourselves, ask a parent or other trusted adult to assist. Just know that a parent’s conflict resolution may not be what you had hoped. For instance, a parent’s solution to a squabble over a TV show or video game might be turning off the device and instructing you both to go outside.
If you’re planning to attend college, choosing a major is important. Your choice of a major – your specific focus of study in college -- can affect the classes you choose now…
Making a “Major” Decision – Seven Factors to Consider When Choosing a College Major Making a “Major” Decision – Seven Factors to Consider When Choosing a College Major
If you’re planning to attend college, choosing a major is important. Your choice of a major – your specific focus of study in college -- can affect the classes you choose now, which college to attend, and even how to pay for college.
 
Before you commit to a particular major, here are seven “major” factors to consider.
 
  1. Your greatest interests, passions and abilities – You’ve been in school long enough to know that some subjects feel like a slog while others are a breeze. If you enjoy doing something in particular in school now, factor that into your major decision.
  2. Jobs that interest you – Perhaps you think a particular job sounds interesting, and would like to learn more. If so, find out more about that job, including the type and amount of college education needed for that job. Explore potential jobs by joining a student activity club, attending a career fair or working part-time in your field of interest.
  3. The earnings potential of particular jobs – Think how much a specific salary should weigh into your decision. If greater earnings are important, pick a major in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math), as these majors typically lead to higher-paying jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly updates a list of the highest-paying occupations.
  4. The possibilities of liberal arts majors – Majors in “liberal arts” like English, history and music often get downplayed due to the belief these majors lack earnings potential. That’s not always the case, as a recent study found that liberal arts majors who also learn a strong technical skill, like data analysis or computer programming, can nearly double their job prospects. A separate study noted that jobs requiring critical thinking, emphasized in liberal arts majors, have grown the most over the past three decades.
  5. Your major interests compared with a particular college’s offerings – Colleges cannot offer majors in every subject, and some colleges have more robust programs for specific majors. Talk to your school’s academic advisor to learn which colleges offer the best education in the major (or majors) you are considering. Check online to see what current students or alumni of a particular college have to say about that school.
  6. The cost of your major, and how you plan to pay for it – Not all colleges and majors cost the same. Some majors, like engineering, incur higher tuition due to the specialized technical equipment required. Other majors, like architecture, cost more because they take longer to complete. Before picking a particular major, know its completion cost and how you plan to pay for it. There are often many scholarships available for students who pick specific majors.
  7. Know your major choice is not permanent until it needs to be – As many as eight in ten college students change their majors at least once during college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Don’t sweat getting your major choice “right” the first time.
Great home repair professionals – those you can trust to complete work properly, charge a fair price and be available when needed -- are worth their weight in gold.
Repair professionals and customers shaking hands Finding the Best Home Repair Professionals
Great home repair professionals – those you can trust to complete work properly, charge a fair price and be available when needed -- are worth their weight in gold. That’s why it’s vital to compile and keep handy a list of quality home repair professionals. You never know when you might need help with a leaky water pipe, balky garage door, flickering lights or an array of other common home fix-it needs.
 
Keeping in mind your home is likely the most important and expensive asset you own, it makes sense to employ a team of professionals to help you take care of it. You’ll enjoy greater use and benefit from a well-maintained home, plus down the road, you’ll more easily sell your home if it’s in good condition.
 
Assembling Your Home Repair Team
 
Who should be part of your home repair team? Start by thinking of repair or remodeling work you likely would not or should not attempt on your own, unless you have extensive specialized repair experience. This means your “core repair team” likely includes the following six members:
 
  • Plumber – for plumbing fixture repairs, water leaks, water flow issues, etc.
  • Electrician – for rewiring, installing switches, outlets, lamps or circuit breakers, etc.
  • Carpenter – for building or repairing framing, installing doors, repairing drywall, etc.
  • Roofer – for repairing loose shingles, fixing roof holes or replacing the entire roof
  • Gas repair professional – for repairing or replacing any gas appliances
  • HVAC professional – for maintaining, repairing or replacing any heating, ventilating or air conditioning (HVAC) appliance or component
 
In addition to the core repair professionals listed above, other contractors you might consider making part of your home repair team include:
 
  • Handyman – for simple home repairs or projects beyond your skillset or time
  • Professional painter – for quality, mess-free interior and exterior painting work
  • Flooring professional – for repairing, replacing or refinishing flooring and/or carpeting
  • Garage door professional – for repairing or replacing garage doors, springs, openers, etc.
  • Exterminator – for preventing and/or removing unwanted pests
  • Interior designer or architect – for work involving the functionality or structure of your home
 
Start Searching Now
 
Rather than assembling your home repair team suddenly based on an urgent repair need, it’s better to be deliberate about the process and compile a list of resources before they’re needed. That way, you’ll be better-assured that those you’re hiring to care for your most valuable asset are your best resources.
 
To start, ask friends, family members and neighbors for their recommendations on home repair professionals that they’ve used. This way, you can hear about – and potentially see firsthand – a contractor’s work.
 
Your most recent real estate agent may also be a great source of contractor referrals. Because agents are in the business of selling well-maintained homes, they likely know several quality home repair or remodeling professionals in your area. Plus, an agent can advise on what types of home repairs or remodeling will be most cost-effective for you.
 
You can also search for contractors and scan their reviews on several different online sites. Google, Yelp and Angi (formerly Angie’s List) offer consumer reviews of contractors. You can also check online with your state’s Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit organization connecting consumers with trustworthy businesses. The BBB assigns businesses a rating of A (highest) to F (lowest) based on multiple criteria, including consumer complaints (if any), transparency and proper licensing. The BBB will also list the business owner’s name and contact information, and the year the business was founded.
 
Depending on where you live, your local electric or gas utility may offer a subscription-based home appliance repair service. In exchange for a monthly fee, your utility’s repair service will send someone to address issues with any kitchen, laundry or HVAC appliances covered under your repair contract. Even if you have such a service, however, you’ll likely still need professionals beyond appliance repair.
 
Who to Hire?
 
If you live in a well-populated area, the good news is you’ll likely have several contractors in each specialty to choose from to be on your home repair team. The challenge is eliminating candidates who may not be a good fit.
 
After getting input from others on potential contractors, including reviewing information you’ve gathered online, it’s time to start asking your candidates some questions. The bigger and more costly the need – for example, rewiring an entire house versus replacing a wall outlet – the more questions you’ll want to ask. Your questions may include some or all of the following:
 
  • How long have you been in business? (Longer may be better, as it suggests prior customer satisfaction)
  • Can I see your license and proof of insurance? (This is especially important for larger projects)
  • Can you provide a list of references or reviews? (Again, especially important for big projects)
  • What’s your experience with a project like mine?
  • How long will this project take?
  • Who exactly will be working on my project, and if not you directly, what role will you play?
  • Is a building permit required for my project, and if so, will you take care of it?
  • What steps will you take to minimize disruption in my home and ensure safety?
  • What and how do you charge? (Many projects will require at least partial payment up-front)
 
Turn to Advancial for Financing
 
Before embarking on a major repair or remodeling project, it’s smart to get your finances in order. If you have built equity in your home, a home equity loan from Advancial may be just what you need to make your project a reality.
 
Our home equity loans offer several potential benefits. For starters, the interest paid on your loan may be tax deductible (consult your tax advisor for details). Plus, Advancial’s competitive loan rates and fees can help lower your financing costs. For more information, contact Advancial.
A savings certificate is similar to a certificate of deposit (CD) that you might receive from a traditional bank. It’s just offered by a credit union instead. If you’re seeking a…
Money growing like a plant Is a Jumbo Savings Certificate Right for You?
A savings certificate is similar to a certificate of deposit (CD) that you might receive from a traditional bank. It’s just offered by a credit union instead. If you’re seeking a safe, guaranteed-return on investment for a sizeable sum of cash, a jumbo savings certificate might be just what you’re looking for.
 
Jumbo savings certificates work much like regular savings certificates but have higher minimum deposit requirements and typically deliver a higher dividend rate. Unlike funds in a traditional savings or checking account, which can be typically withdrawn at any time, funds in a jumbo savings certificate, as with a regular savings certificate, should stay put for a set period of time. This is called the “term,” which typically ranges from three months to five years.
 
Once your jumbo savings certificate reaches the end of its term, called the “maturity date,” you may redeem it for the amount you originally invested, plus its guaranteed dividend rate. Or, you can use the funds from a mature savings certificate to open an entirely new one with a new fixed term. Note that withdrawing funds from any savings certificate before its maturity date may incur an early-withdrawal penalty.  
 
While most jumbo savings certificates start at a minimum investment of $100,000, some financial institutions (including Advancial) make them available for a much lower dollar amount to make them available to a wide array of people. Despite their large investment size, jumbo savings certificates are considered a risk-free investment, as they’re federally insured up to $250,000 per person, per institution, per ownership category.
 
When to Consider a Jumbo Savings Certificate? 
 
Because they offer a guaranteed return when held to maturity, jumbo savings certificates are most appropriate for those preferring a low-risk and/or fixed-term investment. For example, if you’re retired or soon will be, you may wish to put some if not most of your funds in low-risk investments. Or, if you’re trying to save for a future major expense by a certain date, such as for the down payment on a new home in two years, a jumbo savings certificate might be a good fit if you can afford to keep your down payment funds untouched until maturity.  
 
Funding for a jumbo savings certificate can come from a variety of sources, such as:
 
  • Proceeds or profit from a large sale, such as property or a vehicle
  • A workplace bonus
  • A sizeable investment return you wish to “lock in”
  • A large balance in a savings or checking account
  • Insurance claim proceeds
  • An unexpected inheritance
  • Lottery, sweepstakes or gambling proceeds
 
Choosing a Jumbo Savings Certificate
 
When trying to choose a jumbo savings certificate that is most appropriate for you and your goals, you’ll want to consider both the rate of return and its term. Dividend rates are typically higher on jumbo savings certificates that have a longer term. While it may be appealing to invest in a savings certificate with a higher dividend rate in order to maximize your return, you’ll want to ensure that the maturity date is within your desired time frame. Your financial institution should be able to help you with your selection.
 
Before investing in any jumbo savings certificate, review all of the documentation to ensure that you fully understand the dividend rate you’ll earn, how it is compounded and credited to your account and any early-withdrawal penalties for removing funds before maturity. Know both the fixed dividend rate and annual percentage yield (APY). An APY is an annualized rate that reflects the estimated earnings based on the fixed rate of return and frequency of compounding.
 
Jumbo Savings Certificates from Advancial
 
When compared with the jumbo CDs offered by banks, Advancial is among the nation’s leading providers of jumbo savings certificates. This is based on Advancial’s industry-leading rates of return and favorable investment minimums across an array of terms, ranging from three months to five years.
 
Advancial offers both jumbo savings certificates, with a minimum investment of $50,000, and junior jumbo savings certificates, with a minimum investment of $25,000. Regardless of size, all of Advancial’s jumbo savings certificates are available within regular accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and business accounts.
 
To learn more about jumbo savings certificates from Advancial, click here or stop by your local Advancial branch.
If you’re in a position to help others in need through your donations of cash, goods or time, that’s great – for them and for you!
article preview image The Importance of Helping Others in Need
If you’re in a position to help others in need through your donations of cash, goods or time, that’s great – for them and for you! While it’s clear how others can benefit from your generosity, did you know that giving is proven to be just as good for you, as well?
 
Research shows that giving to others imparts a variety of physical and mental health benefits. For example, giving has been shown to reduce your blood pressure, similar to the way that a healthy diet and exercise can create positive health results. Adults who volunteer are 44 percent more likely to live longer, over a 5-year period, than those who do not. Volunteering can also reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can make you feel overwhelmed or anxious.  
 
On the mental health side, acts of giving contribute to the brain’s production of “feel good” neurochemicals such as oxytocin, which imparts a sense of connectedness, dopamine, which gives a sense of pleasure, and endorphins, which have a pain-relieving effect. Giving also provides us with a sense of meaning and purpose, which has been shown to be psychologically beneficial. No wonder a major study found a positive connection between giving and happiness in nearly 90 percent of 136 countries studied.
 
Crafting Your Personal “Giving Plan”
 
To enjoy the greatest personal benefits of giving to others and make it a habit, it pays to set up a specific giving plan in which you’re regularly engaged. After all, you’re more likely to find giving gratifying when you’re personally involved in the process versus, say, making a charitable contribution through an automatic monthly credit card charge that you hardly ever see.
 
How to begin crafting your giving plan? For starters, if you have a spouse, significant other or other family members in the house, consider including them in your planning. Having an open discussion with others in your household about your shared values and areas of charitable interest can be illuminating and ultimately bring you closer together. For younger members of your home, this activity can also provide an important lifelong lesson around the value of helping others.
 
Whether internally to yourself or in dialogue with others, ponder your potential reasons for giving. Sample questions to ask include:
 
  • What sort of charitable groups, events, needs or causes inspire you the most, and why?
  • How, where and when did you come to appreciate the value of giving? Did it come from a family member or trusted adult, such as a teacher or coach? Or were you yourself the recipient of someone’s giving at some point in your life?
  • Why give now, versus later? Are you thinking of a one-time gift or something recurring, and if so, why?
  • What do you hope to impart, accomplish, demonstrate or leave behind through your giving?
 
Based on your answers to these questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of those you’d like to benefit through your giving, and why. From here, consider how and how much to give. As you may already know, often the most difficult gift to give is time, through volunteering, due to the scarcity of time versus other commitments like work, family and personal activities.
 
Then again, a gift of time can be immensely personally pleasing, as it can directly engage you with your charitable designations of choice. Through donations of time and effort, you can typically directly see how your efforts are making a positive difference. Plus, depending on the organization, your gift of time may be far more valuable than any cash donation. For example, consider the immeasurable benefit of volunteering at your local senior care facility, community center or school library.
 
If you have sufficient means or materials to donate cash or goods to an organization or cause, that’s wonderful. If you’re considering donating money to an organization you’re unfamiliar with, such as in response to a phone call or mail solicitation, it’s a good idea to first check out that organization to ensure that it’s reputable and will use your contribution sensibly.
 
Nearly all charitable organizations of sufficient size maintain up-to-date web sites that detail their mission and goals, their principal areas of focus, and their outcomes. Many charities also publish online their most recent IRS Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax,” which details all of their financial information, including the salaries of their principal staff members. This is important to know, as charities that pay outlandish sums to staff members, at the expense of providing services, might not use your contributions as you intended.
 
Online charity evaluators such as GiveWell, GuideStar and Charity Navigator maintain current, comprehensive databases of charities from across the country, to help you find charities that meet your giving goals and help differentiate well-run charities versus those that are lesser so.
 
Advancial’s “Save Up for Good” Program
 
As an Advancial member, whenever you use your Visa® debit card for a signature-based transaction, our Save Up for Good program will round up the dollar amount of that transaction and transfer it to Advancial’s Save Up for Good donations account. Within that account, your contribution will be combined with other members’ contributions, then given to a worthy designated charity.
 
To help encourage member participation in Save Up for Good, Advancial will match every $1,000 donated by members, up to $30,000. This is Advancial’s way of helping its members more easily contribute to charity while also making a significant community impact.
 
Click here to learn more and enroll in Advancial’s Save Up for Good program.
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Savings Tips for Every Life Stage
Whether you’re just starting out in your career or nearing retirement, maximizing your savings may help you reach your goals and overcome any financial bumps in the road. In your twenties Young adults may be faced with rent, vehicle a…

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