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Do you know how to recognize the common signs of a scam? Familiarize yourself with these four scam signals to protect yourself against potential scammers.
Four P’s of Common Scam Signals The Four P’s of Common Scam Signals
Do you know how to recognize the common signs of a scam? Familiarize yourself with these four scam signals to protect yourself against potential scammers.

1. Pretend
Scammers frequently PRETEND to contact you on behalf of the government, your financial institution, a charity, or other companies you’re associated with through a technique called “spoofing.” The phone number or email may appear as though it’s coming from that particular institution, but if you’re unsure if it’s legitimate, hang up and call the official number on the entity’s website to confirm the legitimacy of the communication.

2. Play
Scammers often send links or attachments to manipulate you into giving up your personal information, such as your username and password, or your financial information. These can even appear to be related to loan applications with promises of quick or easy approvals. Never click on these links or attachments if you don’t recognize the sender, or if the communication seems fishy. If you want to apply for a loan with Advancial, visit our website!

3. Pressure
Scammers will PRESSURE you to act on something immediately before you have time to think. They will say anything and everything to keep you on the phone in order to make you feel that your only option is to give them what they want. They might say you’re being investigated by the police or government, or they may say your computer has been hacked or your accounts have been frozen. If this happens, hang up immediately. Think rationally before acting rash!

4. Pay
They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer application (i.e. Venmo, CashApp, Zelle®) or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check, tell you to deposit it, and then send them money through a postal money order or other means before the initial check can bounce or be frozen. By the time you realize it’s a scam, your money is gone. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!

As a reminder, Advancial will NEVER contact you and ask for your personal or account information. If you receive a call, email or text from someone claiming to be with Advancial asking for your information, don’t respond and contact our Member Service Center immediately at 800.322.2709. We will never be upset with you for being cautious. Trust your gut – it’s better to be safe than scammed!
 
It’s the 60th anniversary of National Grilling Month in July 2023! It’s easy to see why grilling is so widespread; who doesn’t like to occasionally dine outdoors…
National Grilling Month - time to get a new grill! July is National Grilling Month; Time to Get a New Grill!
July 2023 is the 60th anniversary of National Grilling Month! It’s easy to see why grilling is so widespread; who doesn’t like to occasionally dine outdoors on food that’s hot off the grill? It’s easy to see why grilling is so widespread; who doesn’t like to occasionally dine outdoors on food that’s hot off the grill?
 
If you’ve never owned a grill, need to replace one on its last legs, or simply wish to upgrade, now is a great time to buy a new grill. Here are seven key factors to keep in mind before purchasing.
 
  1. Know your grilling needs and style. Do you anticipate using a grill for steaks, chops and burgers? Or breakfast items like eggs, bacon and sausage? If the former, you’ll want a grill with open grates; if the latter, look for a grill with a solid cooktop. Some grills offer both types of cooking surfaces.
  2. Decide between gas, charcoal or wood (pellets) for fuel. Gas grills are the most popular type in America, due to their immediacy of use. Once lit, a gas grill is ready to cook in about 10 minutes, while a charcoal grill will typically take 20-30 minutes. Wood pellet grills heat up as fast as gas grills, but are generally more expensive, and regularly require wood pellets.
  3. Determine what grill size you need. A grill’s size is the greatest factor in its cost. A small grill, capable of holding up to 18 hamburger patties, will typically run $100 to $1,000. A medium grill (room for 18 to 30 patties) will be about $200 to $3,000. A large grill (30 or more patties) will cost $500 to $3,000. Use your family’s size, and the number of people you plan to entertain, as your chief determinant for grill size.
  4. Check out online reviews and ratings. Whether you buy your new grill from a big-box retailer, local hardware store, or a specialty grill store, you should be able to find reviews and ratings for the grills these stores sell. When buying a grill, you get what you pay for; higher-quality grills come at a higher cost.
  5. Check out a grill’s features before buying. All grill retailers should have floor models of their grills available. Pay attention to key grill features, like the ability to easily adjust grilling temperatures (gas and wood pellet grills), the availability of auxiliary burners, and ample non-cooking surfaces to hold food. Watch out for grills with sharp metal edges or corners, especially if you have young kids around.
  6. Get a preassembled grill, if possible. If you’ve never assembled a grill before, know that it could take you hours to do so. If your retailer offers free or low-cost grill assembly, take it. Even better if that same retailer also offers delivery of your newly assembled grill, and haul-away of your old one.
  7. Check the manufacturer’s warranty. Not all grill manufacturers’ warranties are the same. If you’ll be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new grill, be sure the grill’s warranty is reflected in the price. The more years in the warranty, the better. That’s especially important for gas and wood pellet grills, which have more parts prone to wear out.
 
When you’re ready to buy a grill, your Visa® Rewards Plus from Advancial is the perfect tool to help you manage your expenses. You’ll earn 1.5%1 rewards on all purchases when you make 25+ purchases or spend more than $2,500 in a billing cycle. Plus, there’s never an annual fee.


1 Earn unlimited 1% rewards on all purchases up to $2,500 and unlimited 1.5% rewards on all purchases when you spend $2,500+ or make 25+ purchases in one statement cycle.
Now is a great time of year to update and enrich your lawn and ensure it looks good throughout your growing season.
article preview image It’s a Great Time to Nurture Your Lawn
Now is a great time of year to update and enrich your lawn and ensure it looks good throughout your growing season. Having a healthy lawn is an excellent way to enhance the value of your home, improve the attractiveness of your neighborhood and benefit the environment. Here are some key factors about lawns to remember.
 
Basics of Lawn Care
 
To make the most of your lawn, be sure it has the four central ingredients to thrive: lots of regular sunlight, the right amount of water, adequate fertilizer and healthy soil. Insufficiencies in any of these will impair your lawn’s growth. Adjusting any of these elements will require varying degrees of effort.
 
For example, if an overgrown tree is blocking sunlight from your lawn, hire a professional tree trimmer. Or if your lawn is overgrown with weeds like dandelions and crabgrass, apply a lawn fertilizer with weed killer appropriate for your climate and season.
 
Throughout your lawn’s growing season, be sure your grass is kept at a proper length. Many people cut their grass too short, leaving their lawns vulnerable to drought and insects. If you live in a cooler climate, the ideal lawn length is 2.5-4 inches; in warmer climates, the optimal length is 1-3 inches.
 
Even if you hire someone to cut your grass, it’s still useful to have your own lawn mower available. Be sure your mower is in good operating condition. In particular, sharpen the mower blade at least once annually. A dull blade hacks at grass, leaving a lawn looking yellow or brown and raggedy.
 
Also, if you don’t have one already, consider investing in a string grass trimmer. Available in gas or battery-operated versions, a trimmer is a great tool for getting to hard-to-reach spots for a mower, such as along fences and around trees. Plus, a trimmer can usually double as an edging tool for keeping the grass along your driveway or street looking neat.
 
If you have any bare spots in your lawn, apply grass seed. Get the right seed for your climate and amount of sun exposure (bright sun versus full shade). Once grass seed is applied, gently rake it into the soil, and cover it with a light layer of straw, mulch or grass clippings, and water daily.
 
Enhance Your Home and Neighborhood
 
Regularly maintaining and enhancing your lawn can provide a great benefit to you, friends and family and neighbors. Consider the appeal of a well-kept lawn as a readily available recreational area for those in your home, not to mention an aesthetically appealing social gathering space for your visitors.
 
Think too how your home, through your lawn, complements your neighbors’ well-maintained lawns and makes for a great-looking neighborhood. If you’re living in a particularly lovely and well-kept neighborhood, you owe it to yourself – and your neighbors – to maintain your lawn properly.
 
When it comes time to sell your home, a great lawn will be a distinct asset. “Curb appeal,” the widely used term to describe a home’s appeal to potential buyers, starts with the yard. That’s why “standard lawn care service” is listed as the most important outdoor home feature to potential buyers, yielding a 267% return on investment, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors. A well-maintained lawn can add as much as 15% to a typical home’s value, according to the Lawn Institute.
 
Provide Environmental Benefits
 
Besides offering a lush, natural “carpet” of grass underfoot, a healthy lawn also provides multiple environmental benefits. Check out the following environmentally beneficial statistics on lawns from the research experts at the Lawn Institute:
 
  • Oxygen production – A lawn 50 x 50 feet (2,500 square feet) releases enough oxygen for a family of four.
  • Pollution, dust and airborne particulate control – Lawns absorb carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate (a chemical in smog).
  • Runoff prevention – Lawns help protect natural waterways and reduce runoff pollution. A dense, healthy lawn prevents runoff and soil loss from erosion 6 to 18 times greater than bare soil.
  • Air conditioning – Just the front lawns of eight average-size houses have the equivalent cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home-size central air has only a 3 to 4-ton capacity
 
Count on Advancial to Help
 
For your lawn-related purchases, count on the benefits of your Visa® Rewards Plus from Advancial to help manage your expenses. You’ll earn 1.5% rewards on all purchases when you make 25+ purchases or spend more than $2,500 in a billing cycle. Plus, there’s never an annual fee.
Whether you’ve learned basic money management from your parents, at school, or through your own initiative, gaining and applying new and beneficial financial habits will help you…
Teens high fiving about their finances How to Build Great Financial Habits Now
Think you’d benefit from improving how you manage your money? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, 93% of teens said they need financial knowledge and skills to achieve their life goals.
 
Whether you’ve learned basic money management from your parents, at school, or through your own initiative, gaining and applying new and beneficial financial habits will help you throughout life.
 
Here are six great financial habits to weave into your world, if you’re not doing these already:
 
  • Regularly save your money – If you regularly receive money through a job, allowance or gifts, that’s great! Rather than spending all of that cash, make a habit of saving a set percentage, say 50%, of what you earn or receive. Do this regularly, and in practically no time; you’ll have a nice sum for yourself. A Dinero savings account is an excellent spot for your savings.
  • Set a regular budget for yourself  Plan to spend no more than a set amount each week (or month) and stay within that limit. Money management tools like a Dinero checking account or a Dinero Visa can help you keep track of your expenses and stick with your budget.
  • Limit recurring “small” purchases – Buying a $5 premium cup of coffee for yourself every now and then is fine. Doing so every weekday (5 x $5 = $25) adds up – $100 in just four weeks! Be sure that any “small” purchases you regularly make don’t become a habit.
  • Consider “needs” versus “wants” – Not all purchases you’ll make are equal. A new school backpack to replace a broken older one is more of a “need.” A new pair of tennis shoes to keep up with the other kids at school might be more of a “want.” The more you can limit your bigger purchases to “needs” versus “wants,” the more of your money you’ll be able to save.
  • Have long-term financial goals – It’s good to set goals for major financial purchases later in life, such as for a car or college education. Having goals will help motivate you to regularly set money aside to achieve them. 
  • Have an “accountability partner” – Even with the best of intentions, it can be tough at times to stick with your goal of achieving positive financial habits. That’s why it helps to have an “accountability partner” – such as a parent or sibling to regularly remind you of your commitment to, say, save your money, or to hold off on making an impulse purchase.
Visit the Dinero Teens page to learn more about what financial benefits Advancial offers for teens.
 
 
At certain times in life, you’ll need or want to write a formal letter to someone. Applying for college or a job, or sharing in-depth personal information, typically requires a written letter.
Letter-Writing 101: Write Letters for College, Jobs and More that Get Noticed! Letter-Writing 101: Write Letters for College, Jobs and More that Get Noticed!
At certain times in life, you’ll need or want to write a formal letter to someone. Applying for college or a job, or sharing in-depth personal information, typically requires a written letter.
 
Letters can convey far more information, sentiment and personality than within a text or instant message. You can reveal much more about yourself in a letter, including useful context and nuance. Well-written letters also reduce the likelihood of being misunderstood, because you’ve taken the time and attention to ensure your messages accurately reflect your sentiments.
 
Here are the 10 key steps of effective letter-writing:
 
  1. Gather your letter-recipient’s information – If you’re writing a formal letter of application for a college or scholarship, collect all of the recipient’s contact information up-front. Having a specific recipient in mind will also help you frame your letter.
  2. Know your proper letter format – Letters of application for college or a job should be formatted the right way to be well-received. Doing so shows you pay attention to essential details.
  3. Typed or hand-written? – A formal letter, such as for a college or job, should be typed and printed out. An informal letter, like a thank-you note for a gift or a meeting, or a message to a loved one, can be hand-written.
  4. Convey a proper tone and style – A formal letter must sound professional but not so much you no longer sound like yourself. If you’re trying to write a college application letter, search online to see how others have phrased such letters.
  5. Use an “honorific” to start – If you’re writing a formal letter, always start your letter by stating “Dear” followed by an honorific (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Professor, etc.) followed by that person’s last name, followed by a colon.
  6. Think of the recipient’s interests – If you’re writing a formal letter for college or a job, the recipient will want to know why you’re interested and your qualifications. If you’re writing an informal letter, like to a friend, ask how they’re doing – especially if you’d like a return letter.
  7. Keep it brief – Unless you’re writing a personal letter, make your typed, formal letter no more than three to four paragraphs long and no more than one page long.
  8. Close your letter appropriately – “Sincerely,” followed by your full name, works perfectly to close formal letters.
  9. Proofread your work – Review your letter afterward to ensure no writing errors. It can help to set your letter aside for a few hours and come back to it to give you “fresh eyes” to review it. Consider also asking someone to review your letter.
  10. Address and mail your letter correctly – If you have questions about how to address and mail a letter, look up instructions online.

Apply for the Carl R. Young Memorial Scholarship
 
If you are seeking funds for college, and you are a Dinero Teens member, put your letter-writing skills to good use by applying for the Carl R. Young Memorial Scholarship from Advancial. High school graduating juniors and seniors can apply to win one of four $2,500 scholarships. For more details, visit our Carl R. Young Memorial Scholarship page.
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Five Tips for Raising a Financial Whiz Kid
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