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What’s not to love about shopping online? After browsing and a couple of clicks, merchandise is delivered to your door.
shopping online Safeguard Your Finances when You Shop Online

What’s not to love about shopping online? After browsing and a couple of clicks, merchandise is delivered to your door. But along with ease and convenience, online shopping can offer plenty of opportunity for thieves and scammers to steal your financial information.

Follow these tips to stay safe while shopping online:

Shop sites you know. Make sure you’ve typed in the URL correctly or use a link you’ve used safely in the past and have saved. Watch for misspellings that can take you to a fake look-alike site. When shopping at a new vendor, look for the physical address and phone numbers on the site in case you need to contact them. You can also do a quick online search to see if the site is legitimate.

Check for encryption. Before you enter your credit card information, make sure the site is encrypted. The URL should begin with “https” – not just “http” – indicating secure sockets layer encryption. There should also be a closed padlock icon in front of the URL or on the lower section of your browser. secure-encryption.png 

Use a credit card. Credit cards generally limit liability for fraudulent charges. Debit cards may provide some protection, but while you’re waiting for a dispute to be settled, your checking account may already be drained by thieves. Consider using a dedicated credit card for online shopping and another card for other uses. If your online card is hacked, you still have access to another card while your complaint is being investigated.

Use strong passwords. And don’t reuse the same password at different sites. Make sure your mobile phone is password-protected in case it’s lost or stolen. If available, use biometrics such as face recognition or fingerprint access as an added layer of protection.

Don’t overshare. Online shopping sites need your payment information, billing and shipping addresses, as well as email addresses and phone numbers. However, they should never ask for personal identification numbers (PINs), bank account information or Social Security numbers. Be cautious of any email that requests personal information and provides a link. If you have questions, contact the vendor directly from their website or by phone.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi. It’s best to do your shopping where you have secure access. Hackers may be able to intercept your information over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Plus, in public places, low-tech scammers may simply look over your shoulder while you enter your credit card information.  

Reconsider storing your credit card info on a site. Although it does make future transactions quicker, it is safer to re-enter your credit card information each time you shop online.

Use official apps. If you’re shopping from your mobile phone, connect from the official retailer app you’ve downloaded, rather than from an email or social media link.

Keep antivirus software up to date. This will help protect your devices from viruses or other malware designed to gain access to your personal financial information.

Monitor transactions regularly. Don’t wait for your monthly credit card statement to review charges. cuAnywhere® Online Banking from Advancial makes it convenient to check your transactions at any time, so you can spot suspicious purchases and alert us right away. If you need to dispute a transaction made with your Advancial credit or debit card, it’s easy to do online or via the mobile app.


We take security seriously

 

Advancial uses robust security protocols and continuously monitors our members’ accounts for suspicious activity. By working together, we can keep your online shopping experience safe and enjoyable.

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.

people in different life stages 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 and student loan payments. Although saving may seem out of reach, getting started now can reap big rewards later.

Create a budget. Compare your income to fixed and discretionary expenses to help identify where you can cut costs and save money. There are plenty of free and low-cost budgeting apps to help you manage your monthly spending and savings plan.

Pay yourself first. Treat your savings like a bill that must be paid each month. Open an emergency savings account. Strive to accumulate at least enough money to cover several months of costs in case of job loss or unexpected expenses. Consider a separate savings account to save toward a personal goal, such as new car, dream vacation or down payment on a home.

Make it automatic. If offered, sign up for your employer’s 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan - especially if it includes a matching contribution. Your contributions come out of your paycheck automatically, so you probably won’t even notice. You can also take advantage of Advancial’s Save Up℠ program through Ultimate Checking. It automatically rounds up your transactions and deposits the difference into your Advancial savings account. They’ll match 100% of your transfers for the first 30 days and 5% of every transfer after that.


Thirties and forties


Although the above tips still apply, you may also have the added responsibilities of caring for family, managing your career and perhaps tending to your aging parents. The following tips will help you save more despite competing demands.

Open a tax-advantaged college savings plan. If you have kids, start saving for higher education as early as possible (when they’re still in diapers ideally). Talk to your credit union about Coverdell Education IRAs and state 529 plans. Advancial’s Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) lets you help your child or family member prepare for college or further their education. The money saved will grow tax-free and can be used for a variety of educational expenses.

Save “found” money. If you’re about to pay off a loan, consider redirecting the same amount you’ve been paying into your savings account. If you receive a bonus at work, allow yourself a small splurge and put the rest into savings. Getting an income tax refund? It’s a great way to bump up your nest egg!

Review insurance coverage. You may be surprised how much you are able to save on premiums. Check out insurance quotes available through Advancial with Mylo. Mylo is a fast, friendly and free solution that helps you easily compare your options. If you can lower costs for home, auto, life and other insurance while maintaining adequate coverage, direct that extra money to your savings account.


Fifties and sixties


Retirement is getting closer, so consider the following tips:

Increase retirement savings. Since you’re likely in your peak earning years, consider increasing the amount you’re putting into retirement accounts. If you’re 50 or older, you may be able to make additional catch-up contributions to employer-sponsored plans and IRAs. If you leave your job, be sure to switch your employer plan into a rollover IRA.

Meet with a financial advisor. You may need a reality check about when you can afford to retire. Review your asset allocation – the mix of stocks, bonds and other investments you have – to see if you need to adjust your portfolio based on your current risk tolerance.

Think about downsizing. If your kids are grown and the nest is empty, you may be able to buy a smaller, less expensive, and perhaps more accessible home with an eye toward the future. If your current home is your primary residence and you’ve lived there for at least two of the past five years, you may be eligible for a capital gains tax break when you sell. That could mean a sizeable chunk of change toward retirement. Talk to your tax advisor or attorney to learn more.
 
When it comes to Workplace Financial Wellness, one of the first questions asked by Benefits Administrators is, “How do I incorporate this type of benefit into my overall wellness plan…
article preview image How to incorporate financial education into your wellness program
When it comes to Workplace Financial Wellness, one of the first questions asked by Benefits Administrators is, “How do I incorporate this type of benefit into my overall wellness plan?”

Many HR and benefits practitioners struggle with this dilemma and rightfully so. If you ask even the most seasoned financial experts, they’ll agree - there isn’t just one strategy for incorporating financial education. However, there are best practices and crucial steps for setting yourself up for success. Here are 5 steps for integrating financial education into your benefits program:
 
  1. Identify providers who can help provide financial education resources
 There are most likely benefits providers you can work with or are already working with that can do the heavy lifting for you. Seek to identify who these professionals are in your arsenal of wellness benefits. Service providers such as Credit Unions, Retirement Plan Administrators and financial advisors can help with education, advice and coaching. There are even more specialized services such as debt counseling, financial coaching and loan assistance businesses that provide valuable resources for employees. Ensure that all companies have been properly vetted by your benefits consultant or internal management, and be sure to understand the difference between regulated and non-regulated service providers. Keep in mind that more than one provider may offer a similar service. This is not always a bad thing! It’s helpful to provide employees with more options so that they can self-select the provider that they feel is right for their needs.
 
  1. Identify financial wellness topics and how to deliver these topics
Once you’ve identified providers who can offer financial education and resources, create a list and categorize by specialty. Here is one use case: Company X would like to offer a financial wellness program. They already offer a retirement plan for their employees, but they see low participation and low retirement readiness scores. What can they do to create a more holistic financial wellness program to encourage healthier financial habits and improve overall financial wellness? Company X creates a game plan by first reaching out to their Retirement Plan Provider to ask that they provide employees with education on retirement and investment topics - not just retirement plan information. Company X then reaches out to their employees’ Credit Union. The Credit Union strategically fills in the gap with financial education around other topics like budgeting, debt reduction, behavioral finance and more. Finally, Company X remembers they have a debt counseling service and clinical professionals who specialize in money and finances in their EAP who they can add to this program. Company X decides to internally brand their program “Wellbeing with Money.” They begin to offer financial education seminars, live and on-demand webinars, self-paced curriculum, financial challenges and measurement tools.
 
  1. Identify platforms in which to add financial curriculum
Employees are more likely to use their financial wellness program if educational resources are accessible to them. Companies can incorporate content into their Learning Management Systems, intranets, benefits portals and more. The more platforms that showcase this benefit, the more likely employees will remember to use it. In our fictional case above, “Wellbeing with Money” can be found on Company X’s benefits webpage, their digital benefits brochure and their training platform. They promote “Wellbeing with Money” on their payroll website and their third-party employee perks webpage. Company X ensures that their Employee Resource Group promotes “Wellbeing with Money” along with other wellness campaigns throughout the year.
 
  1. Construct a communications strategy
Set up regular communications to employees about Financial Wellness. Create a communication calendar each month in which you focus on certain areas or topics of financial wellness. You may incorporate financial wellness topics into your overall wellness communications strategy. Don’t worry - most providers will provide you with an effective communications plan if you ask! You may also set up to receive regular communications from your service providers directly in order to pass on this information to your employees. Don’t forget to include your financial wellness providers in your annual enrollment events too!
 
  1. Incentivize
Lastly, you’ll want to provide incentives for employees to focus on their financial health. Providing a small token as an incentive to attend a webinar, participate in assessment surveys or schedule financial planning sessions is a great way to encourage participation. Company X decided to step up their game by offering a savings challenge for employees by encouraging regular savings into an emergency fund through payroll deduction. Their “Wellbeing with Money” savings challenge was offered to all employees and tracked through payroll deduction start and end date reporting into a designated account. Wellness points were awarded to all participants with bonus cash awards to those with the highest percentage of savings. Making activities like this more fun and interactive helps encourage healthier money habits in order to drive long-term behavior change.
 
Now that you have a beginner’s guide, start incorporating a variety of topical education into your financial wellness program. Employees who are continuously learning and working toward optimal financial health become more informed consumers leading to less financial stress and more financial success. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. The best way to help your employees is to make sure that you have the support you need from the financial experts who are on your team. Like our Company X, you can now take these simple steps in order to create a more holistic financial wellness benefit for all.
You’ve decided on a college and sent in your enrollment deposit - now it’s time to organize your finances and prepare for your move. Moving away to college may be the first time…
college prep Your college prep checklist
You’ve decided on a college and sent in your enrollment deposit - now it’s time to organize your finances and prepare for your move. Moving away to college may be the first time you’re living on your own and making your own financial decisions every day. Here’s how you can prepare:

Preparing financially
  • Discuss finances with your parents to develop a financial plan and better understand your own responsibilities. Do you have scholarships, grants, private loans or savings?
  • Accept your financial aid offer if you received one. Remember, you can appeal your offer to increase aid if necessary. Don’t forget that you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) every year.
  • Complete your student loan paperwork if you need a loan before the semester starts.
  • Call the college and ask about available on-campus jobs. There may be work-study opportunities or part-time jobs you can consider.
  • Create a budget to ensure your basic needs will be covered (books, food, events, fees, etc.).
  • Set up a checking and savings account if you don’t already have one. Some banks offer checking accounts with low fees and overdraft protection. Check out Advancial’s Ultimate Checking account for no monthly service fee and unlimited free ATMs.
 
Preparing for your move
  • Start shopping and packing. Think about what you’ll need to bring, where to purchase items and how you’ll pack it.
  • Get to know your roommate in advance and coordinate with them about who’s bringing what.
  • Make a shopping list. Most colleges have move-in must-have lists on their websites.
  • Consider stores that ship to dorms so you don’t have to pack items that take up a lot of space, like bedding and refrigerators.
Do you have questions about student loans, checking and savings accounts or any other financial matters? We’re here to help. Visit us online at advancial.org/dineroteens for helpful information.
 
Money management tips for college
  • Use a banking or budgeting app to keep track of your spending.
  • If you were offered financial aid in the form of loans, you don’t have to accept the entire package - you can take out a smaller loan.
  • Always ask for a college student discount!
  • Work to earn extra cash. If you can manage work and your studies, you can earn some money to put toward early loan payments.
 
 
All accounts subject to approval. Restrictions and limitations apply
Buying souvenirs on a family trip can be fun, but it's wise to use money for something meaningful. The next time you travel, don’t just buy what’s at the gift shop. Instead…
vacation memories Make the most of vacation memories

Buying souvenirs on a family trip can be fun, but it's wise to use money for something meaningful. The next time you travel, don’t just buy what’s at the gift shop. Instead, try to think of a creative way to remember your trip. Here are just a few ideas:

Create a memory book or keepsake box. Collect a few postcards, add ticket stubs, maps, menus and notes about new experiences and other little items from your trip. This is a great way to remember what was special, memorable or funny.

Make a playlist. Download your favorite and most-listened-to songs and local music from the areas you travel. Your playlist will bring you back to your vacation anytime.

Create your own magnets. Use your travel photos, maps or even business cards from the hotels or restaurants you visited.

Send a postcard to yourself. Classic postcards are a great way to preserve your travel memories. Try getting creative with apps like MyPostcard that allow you to use your own photos to create and send unique postcards right from directly your phone!

Create a memory video. With online video makers like Animoto, you can use your vacation photos to create personalized videos with text and music. You can also export and share them with friends and family!

Don’t forget to save your money throughout the year so that you have it to spend on your fun vacation! Make a deposit to your Dinero Teens savings account at Advancial today to get started.

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Make a Plan to Reach Your Financial Goals
Think about your financial goals for a moment. Do you picture yourself buying a home or taking a much-needed vacation? Are you focused on building a financial safety net or saving for retirement? Although challenges and setbacks may throw yo…
Shop safe, save and reap the rewards
Tips for online shopping This year, skip the malls and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping from home. Shopping online for holiday gifts can save you time and money – and help you earn rewards. Here are some tips to shopping safely, sav…

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