Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

How to be a Millionaire Millennial!

Ian Herrera, UCONN Senior, First County Bank Credit Analyst Intern
On Money Saving Tips: A Millennial’s Perspective

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Ever dream of being a millionaire, driving a Lamborghini, owning a yacht, and having the mansion the size of a football stadium? I sure know I have. I can tell you from experience that the first thing you shouldn’t do is go out and spend $500 in 4 days. That will only lead to trouble, especially when that $500 was from your mom.

Instead here are 5 tips on how to reach this millionaire goal and not have to worry about money anymore.

First you must…

Plan for the future

I set up a budget based on what I have planned in any given week. Anything from ordering take-out, hanging out with friends, or a random item I want to buy (because it was on sale) is subject to my weekly budget. I also take into account bills such as cell phone, car payment, and credit card debt. Extra money that is left over from the week, I split between my savings and checking account.

 Next you need to…

Allocate the needed funds, with savings in mind

Personally, I begin by distributing 40% of my paycheck into my savings account and the remaining 60% into my checking account. Depending on your personal expenses, the percentages may be different. You should always try to save as much as possible. These savings should be only used in emergencies. The checking account is used to pay for necessities, bills, and other items that you have budgeted for. Lastly, don’t forget to have an emergency reserve; an amount of $1,000 would be good, in case you ever need it.

Always be aware when…

Socializing with your crew

Going out with friends is great but be careful; you’d be amazed at how much you can spend going to the movies, out to eat, or shopping. Instead, I try to find other inexpensive activities, such as hiking or going to the park when hanging out with friends. It saves money and at the same time you get to exercise. However, there are times when you do need to relax and have a nice time out. Before doing so I advise that you set up a budget to determine how much you plan to spend. Keep to that amount!

Build your future by…

Building Credit

Credit cards can be scary if you don’t know how to properly use one. You can get into serious debt, which can hurt you in the future. Otherwise, they can be a great tool to help you increase your credit score and establish a credit history. For example, I like to use my credit card minimally to buy gas. When the bill comes, I pay the amount in full and have nothing to worry about.

They say…

A penny saved is a penny earned

I wasn’t used to saving money in the past. Once I had it, I spent it and I noticed that I never had any money for emergencies or other activities that I wanted to do because I splurged and spent it all. I decided to begin saving little by little. If I found a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter I would pick it up and put it into my crayon bank. Whenever I drank a water bottle I would keep it to recycle it later and get a nickel. You’ll be amazed at how the little things add up. Within one month I had saved over $200. Projecting this out to a year that figure would be $2,400, which could be a down payment for a car or a trip to Europe! Never underestimate the value of little things, they may seem pointless at first, but in the long run they’re the most helpful.

 Following these tips will ensure that you are financially secure and on your way to being a Millionaire Millennial. Remember not to spend unwisely because the goal is a mansion, yacht, and Lamborghini! Who knows what other luxuries the millions of dollars you’ll have can bring in.

Bank News, Lifestyle Trends & Tips

First County Bank Team’s New Years Resolutions!

Resolutions are a great way to get the New Year started, by helping you set goals and get organized.

Here are some of the resolutions from members of the First County Bank team.

 

Ray, Chairman & CEO:

Do one new thing every single week
Have tea instead of coffee
Take the stairs
Read for pleasure

 

FCB_K_Kelly_final

Karen Kelly, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer

To make time to travel to all the places in the United States that I have dreamt about visiting.

 

 

 

Sara L. Tucker, SVP, Director of Business Banking

Continue to increase my knowledge of Fairfield County and increase my visibility here as a leader, since I am a relative “new-comer”.
Buy a kayak! And use it! I’ve been wanting to do this for a number of years, and this is the year.

 

 

Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

‘Tis the Day to Give – #GivingTuesday

GiveThe holiday season is the time to give. So it’s not at all surprising that the National Day of Giving, a global day dedicated to giving back, would take place this coming December 1. This annual tradition, also known as #GivingTuesday, takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to inspire individuals, families, students, businesses, and other organizations to celebrate generosity and help others.

How can you experience the joy of #GivingTuesday? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make a donation to a local community organization or charity. Before you send any money, it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable organization.
  • If you own a business, encourage your employees and customers to give back. Utilize social media to spread the word about #GivingTuesday and consider providing links on your website to reputable charities.
  • Bring food and clothing donations to your local food pantry or shelter.
  • Donate toys to children.
  • Give your time. You could volunteer your time at a food pantry or work with elderly patients in a nursing home.

 

Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

Holiday Shopping Safety

ICouple Shoppingt’s the most wonderful and busiest time of the year. And soon, shopping malls and department store parking lots will be filled with harried shoppers loaded with cash and credit cards to take advantage of the deals of the season. But while the holiday season is a great time to take advantage of bargains and other savings; it’s also a time to protect yourself from theft and other crimes.

Here are some tips to help make your holiday shopping season safe and joyous:

  • Shop during the day when possible. If you have to shop at night, bring along a friend and park in well-lighted areas.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trailers, and other vehicles with tinted windows.
  • Never leave valuable items in your car where they are visible to thieves.
  • If you carry a purse or backpack, guard it carefully. Never leave it on the roof of your car while you’re attempting to open or lock your car.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to get distracted by the bright lights and shopping specials, but it’s important to be vigilant about any hidden dangers.
  • Locate your keys before you get to your car.
  • Try not to carry large sums of cash on you.
  • Be suspicious of any strangers that may approach you, particularly in parking garages and parking lots.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers at home in case your cards get lost or stolen.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, proceed with caution.

Happy, safe shopping!

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

A Smart Lesson in Avoiding Back-to-School Scams

SchoolSuppliesIf you’ve been to a retail store during the past few weeks, you’re well aware that back-to-school shopping season is in full swing. In fact, next to the holiday season, the back-to-school season is one of the biggest shopping times of the year as retailers promote “Back-to-School” blowouts, savings, and specials.

Unfortunately, this time is also a big season for fraud, as scam artists take to social media, email, and telephones to defraud innocent students and parents.

Here are some ways to ensure you don’t become victim:

  • Only do business online with reputable retailers. If you see an enticing offer or promise, don’t click on banner ads and email links from retailers you don’t know or trust.
  • Don’t participate in online surveys that promise to give you cash or free gifts.
  • Trust your instincts. Scam artists like to lure you in with incredible offers, such as iPods or smartphones for $20. Chances are, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be vigilant when handling phone calls. One popular technique for scam artists involves callers posing as college personnel looking for additional tuition fees and asking for immediate payment. They may claim that a loan payment or scholarship didn’t go through and that your child will not be able to attend school without payment.
  • Watch for text messages offering you free giveaways when you click on a link.

Getting kids ready for school again is challenging enough. Follow these smart tips to ensure you don’t have to deal with a far greater challenge – being a fraud victim.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

Keys to Making the Right Home Buying Move

House KeyWith the high cost of housing prices today, it’s no wonder that purchasing a home may likely be the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to proceed with caution to ensure you’re making the right home choice for your situation. Here are some key steps to making that happen:

Build savings. It takes money to buy a home. In addition to down payment funds, you’ll want to have funds available to cover household expenses, including repairs, home maintenance, and emergency expenses.

Make a checklist of criteria. Before you set out on your home search, you’ll need to narrow your search criteria and decide where you would like to live, what features you need in a home, number of bedrooms, etc.

Get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. A pre-approval from a mortgage lender can help you determine how much you can afford and help you concentrate on houses in your price range. It can also give you a negotiating edge with sellers who will know you’re a serious buyer.

Hire a real estate professional. Ask your friends, family members, and colleagues to recommend someone with expertise in the area you are seeking to buy. An experienced real estate professional should know the area well.

Do your homework. With the Internet, you have access to helpful information and tools to help you better understand the market and home buying process. Be sure to visit credible real estate sites to learn more.

Get an inspection before you buy. Once you find your perfect home, hire a licensed building inspector to determine if there are any problems with the home before you purchase it.

Make a smart move; take these simple steps before you start shopping for a home.

Bank News, Lifestyle Trends & Tips

First County Bank Working on Wellness Team Challenge Winners Announced

First County Bank “Team Retail” won the Step Ahead Challenge where employees formed teams for a competition based on the number of steps they took within the month of June. The Step Ahead Challenge was sponsored by the First County Bank Working on Wellness “WOW” Committee, which encourages employee health through fitness, nutrition and stress reduction.

Photo caption: The First County Bank Step Ahead Challenge winner was “Team Retail” featured (L to R): Tammy Lindsay, Bertha Calhoun, Alexis Dipreta, Terry Coreau, Selma Conte.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

8 Tips for Cutting Heating Costs this Winter

Save on your home heating costsIt’s the most basic tenet of money management, but often the most difficult thing to do – lowering your costs. That’s especially important when it comes to the costs involved with maintaining a home. But how can you spend less on one of the biggest, but necessary expenses of owning a home in the winter – your heating bill?

Here are 8 easy ways:

  1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Putting on a heavy sweater or throwing an extra blanket on your bed is a lot less expensive than raising your thermostat.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat. Why heat your home when you’re not there or when you’re sleeping? Consider installing a programmable thermostat, which will ensure your heat is on when you need it. It’s a small investment that can make a big dent in your heating costs.
  3. Seal windows, doors, and pipes. Those openings in your home can be a significant source of energy loss and drafts. Seal windows, doors, and pipes by using caulking or weather stripping available at hardware stores.
  4. Insulate electrical outlets. You have the power to control your heating costs by checking and insulating electrical outlets and boxes.
  5. Cover and uncover windows. Curtains aren’t just nice to look at; they also provide a great way to keep in heat at night. During the day, open curtains to allow sunlight to warm your home.
  6. Clear vents and heating ducts. Your couch might look great against a wall, but if it’s blocking your heating vents, it’s probably making your heating bill look higher than it needs to be. Move furniture and other obstructions away from vents and ducts.
  7. Use your ceiling fans. Fans aren’t just for summer. By running your ceiling fan in the winter, you’ll help push heat down.
  8. Set up a free energy audit. Contact your fuel company to arrange for a free audit to assess your home and learn other ways to lower your heating costs now so you don’t “take the heat” with a big bill later.

 

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

Rent or Buy?

Rent or buy a home?Which brings more comforts for home?

Homeownership. It’s long been considered the American dream. But is owning a home always a better alternative than renting one? Before the housing crisis of a few years ago, the argument for buying may have been a lot stronger. Today, however, with economic uncertainties, it’s critical to understand and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of buying and renting a home to determine what’s best for your situation.

Homeownership offers some nice benefits, not the least of which is the ability to build equity, a valuable asset. Homeowners also have greater control of their housing situations with no landlord to tell them what color they can paint their walls or when they have to move.

But there are some drawbacks to owning a home that also make renting attractive. Homeowners are responsible for making home repairs and performing ongoing maintenance, which can be costly. They also don’t have the freedom to pick up and leave if they want to move.

So how do you determine which option is right for you? The answer of course will vary depending on your unique financial situation and needs, but here are some general guidelines:

Consider buying a home if you –

  • Like the stability of staying in one place for a long period of time.
  • Have savings for a down payment and for maintenance costs.
  • Have a steady income and good credit.
  • Would like to take advantage of potential tax savings (consult your tax advisor).

 

To learn more about the option that’s best for your financial and life situation, talk to us today.

Bank News, Lifestyle Trends & Tips

Hot Summer Savings Tip – Free Concerts

Free Concert TicketYou gotta love the sound of that.

Summer. It’s that brief, but wonderful time of year that brings your senses alive and your loved ones together. You can enjoy sizzling barbecues, plunge in cool ocean waters, and take in the electric atmosphere of a ballgame. There’s another summer activity that you’re sure to love the sound of – free concerts and movies!

Free Wednesday Night Concerts
First County Bank is honored to once again sponsor the summer concert series held at Calf Pasture Beach. This year’s series, which coincides with the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles, features some of the best tribute bands around celebrating the music of Jimmy Buffett, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Eagles, ABBA, and more. You can also enjoy entertaining performances by regional rock and roll bands, including Bill Genuario and Destiny, The Royal Kings, Keith Marron’s Whistleville Band, and much more.

Free Outdoor Movies
In addition to the free concerts, you can enjoy free outdoor activities at Shady Beach located at Calf Pasture Beach Road. These kid-focused events, feature free face painting, karate demonstrations, and outdoor movies, including Monsters University, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs #2, The Lego Movie, and more.

Not in the Norwalk area? Many towns offer free movie or concert series through their park or recreation departments. It’s a great way to save money while making the most of the summer. Plus, you can always take advantage of the many playgrounds, parks, walking and hiking trials throughout Fairfield County. Try a new sport or activity – in addition being active and enjoying the outdoors, it’s also a great way to spend some quality family time together.