Family on road trip to beach

Protect your home while on vacation

| July 22, 2014

Many families are looking forward to a late summer vacation. But, before you shut that front door and secure the garage for the last time in two weeks, make sure you take care of the following 10 steps to protect your home while you’re on vacation.

  1. Trim your trees. Don’t offer a potential burglar a place to hide. Make sure your home’s windows, porches and doors are visible to neighbors and passersby and not shrouded by vegetation.
  2. Don’t turn off the air conditioner. Turn the thermostat up to about 85, but don’t turn it completely off. Leaving it on at a higher temperature, will allow air to continue to circulate so that it won’t have time to condensate.
  3. Run the dishwasher. After running it, leave the door open to allow it to dry, which will help prevent a musty smell from forming while you’re away.
  4. Light your home like you’re home. Putting your lights on a timer is your best bet. A seemingly occupied house is a less appealing target for burglars.
  5. Don’t post your travel plans or whereabouts on social media sites. Sharing your vacation plans and checking in can be fun, but doing so is a public declaration of your whereabouts and a potential invitation to thieves.
  6. Turn off the main water supply. By doing this, you can protect your home from leaks while you’re away, and still water your yard as the sprinklers run off a separate supply.
  7. Lock your doors and windows, and close your blinds, shutters and shades. Burglary is often a crime of opportunity, so don’t offer any unwanted intruders the extra incentive to take a closer look at your home.
  8. Flush all your toilets. Leave the toilet lids up when you leave to avoid stagnant water.
  9. Arm your alarms. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people forget.
  10. Enlist the help of a friend or family member. Life is unpredictable, so it’s best to be prepared for any possibility. If a leak forms in your home, for instance, or a severe storm hits your area, you’ll be glad that there’s someone there to check on your property.

Whether you’re planning a summer vacation, or you’re planning a getaway during the coming holiday season, bookmark this link – or print this article out – and use it as a checklist before you go.

Are you overspending?

| July 21, 2014

Before financial crisis hits, there are normally several warning signs. Here are some indicators that you’re overspending:

Too many credit cards. You probably want to have at least one credit card for emergencies and for times when you’d rather not carry cash.

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Five financial guidelines for your college‐bound children

| July 18, 2014

Sending your children off to college can be very emotional. You want your children to be independent, while at the same time still protect them. Read through these five financial guidelines before your children leave for college so you can help protect them financially now and in the future.

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How to measure your net worth

| July 14, 2014

To succeed in anything, you need a baseline and a way to measure your progress. With personal financial planning, the best place to start may be to determine your “personal net worth.” This will help you get a big-picture view of the overall state of your financial life.

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Secure mobile banking for servicemembers

| July 9, 2014

As a member of the United States Armed Forces, you probably spend less time than most of us sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer screen, so the convenience of mobile banking can be a major selling point for you.

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Why renter’s insurance is important for military families

| June 30, 2014

If you’re a driver, you know that you must carry auto insurance for your vehicle. If you buy a home, you’re required by your mortgage lender to purchase homeowners insurance. But if you rent, there’s typically no requirement that you insure your property yourself.

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Understanding trusts

| June 26, 2014

If you’re transitioning to a civilian career or retiring, it’s important to prepare ahead of time for the changes to your benefits and overall financial picture. Additionally, depending on your age and situation, you may need to consider estate planning and asset protection. While the federal gift and estate tax exemption of $5.25 million became permanent earlier this year, there are still many valid situations in which trusts can be beneficial. Even with the seemingly large exemption, everyone, not just the wealthiest of people, should understand the important role that a well-drafted trust can play.

What is the right type of life insurance?

| June 16, 2014

There is a broad – and somewhat confusing – array of life insurance policies available in the marketplace. But there are really only two primary types of life insurance – temporary and permanent.

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What is the right amount of life insurance?

| June 11, 2014

People rely on rules of thumb and one-size-fits-all formulas to determine how much life insurance is appropriate. A frequently cited shortcut suggests purchasing coverage equal to 5 to 7 times one’s income.

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Job security concerns intensify in career military

| June 4, 2014

As the military downsizes, America’s career servicemembers and their families are feeling increasingly worried about their near-term job security.

The April results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 43 percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) are concerned about their job security in the coming months.

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