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Bellwether's Blog on life and money

Renter's Insurance - Do You Need It?

Posted in Main Blog
October 07, 2014 by BCCU
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It's a very simple answer—yes. If you're renting your living space, whether it's a dorm room, apartment, or house, you should have renter's insurance.

It may be tempting to think you don't need it—because you don't have many personal possessions, or because your rental situation is temporary—but here are some points that may change your mind.

people moving into house
Renter's insurance protects your personal items
in the event of theft, fire, or other damage.

Solid reasons to purchase renter's insurance

1) Protection - Your landlord's insurance policy will cover structural damage, but a rental insurance policy will cover you for personal items that are lost due to theft, fire, lightning, smoke damage, windstorms, hail or vandalism.

2) Save money - Many renters don't think they have enough possessions to merit insuring them. Surprisingly, the average renter owns a lot of stuff—clothing, toiletries, music collection (the kind that doesn't fit on your phone), small kitchen appliances, entertainment devices, and keepsakes. The cost to replace a water-damaged phone, for example, could be more than your entire rental insurance policy for a year!

3) Save even more money - What if you have a very valuable items, such as a rare antique or an expensive family heirloom? You can get specific coverage for that item under what is termed a rider. This is a special part of your policy that insures a specific item for its true value.

4) Protect your friends - If a guest in your home is unintentionally injured, or say your dog bites him or her, the personal liability portion of your rental insurance will protect you against financial loss for that incident up to your policy limit.

5) Peace of mind - Knowing you're covered in the event of a break-in or a fire while you're away gives you enormous peace of mind. Now you can enjoy a weekend visiting friends without worry.

Getting rental insurance is easy—and more affordable than you think

Rental insurance policies start at just a few dollars per month. A few simple questions help you find the best insurance coverage for you. Click here to get a quote on renter's insurance today. 

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Work Life Balance After College

Posted in Main Blog
October 03, 2014 by Amanda N.
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Finding ways to maintain your health and social life.

Maintaining a work/life-balance is important. The Miami Herald reports that 2014 graduates are looking for full-time jobs that make this a priority. The transition from your college schedule to full-time work schedule can be a difficult one. It's important to find ways to have a healthy, balanced life that makes time for work and time with friends and family.

Healthy Habits

friends or colleagues having coffee

Once you begin working full-time it can be easy to get so busy you no longer have time to go to the gym. Or if you do have time you are too exhausted to get off of the couch. A Harvard Business Review study proves that exercise is vital to maintaining work/life balance. Make time to exercise with the following tips:

  • Take a walk on your lunch break.
  • Try a new fitness class
  • Bring your gym clothes to work with you. Head straight to the gym after work.
  • Use your employer's fitness room
  • Find an exercise partner to motivate you.

A healthy diet and exercise is crucial for your success. Make the time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Search Pinterest for healthy new recipe ideas to try. When your days get busy eating properly becomes even more important.

Keeping In Touch With Friends

When you were in college it was easy to make time for friends because you were all on campus together. Now you have different work schedules and may possibly live in different cities, and it's more important than ever to stay in touch, even if it's not as often as you like. If you still live close to your friends consider the following as simple ways to stay in touch:

  • Schedule coffee and a catch up
  • Plan a movie night
  • Have a group dinner or potluck

Your finances and schedules will determine what activities you can do together, but do your best to avoid losing touch. Friends support a healthy balance between work and social life and an important support network when you need someone to talk to. If you’re lucky you may even meet some new friends at work.

Make Time for Your Hobbies

Once you accept a full-time job, your days can seem consumed by work. Make time for hobbies and interests to avoid becoming a workaholic. Regardless of your interests, it’s important to take a little down time to do the things that make you happy.

Looking to find a job that promotes a healthy work life balance? US News provides “The Top 9 Jobs for Work Life Balance.

It is easy to get caught up in work, especially at a brand new job. Remember not to overload yourself. For more tips & tricks on Health & Fitness, Hobbies to try, and Survival Tips for Life after College, check out Bellwether’s Pinterest boards!

Sources
Harvard Business Review
Miami Herald
US News & World Reports
PR News

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Corporate and Personal Volunteering

Posted in Main Blog
September 23, 2014 by BCCU
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How helping others make a difference for businesses & individuals.

Making Time to Volunteer

Do you feel like you don’t have time to volunteer because of your work schedule? What if you and your co-workers could volunteer together?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing in popularity with many businesses today. Having a healthy culture involving CSR helps to retain employees already working at a company, and also attracts new employees. Forbes.com shared NetImpact's survey which shows that 35% of people would take a 15% pay cut to work for companies where CSR is a focus. Today it is increasingly important to people of all ages to make volunteering part of their normal work week.

Volunteering requires no special skills. Even standard career skills are helpful to nonprofit and charitable organizations and events.

 

BCCU In The Community

 

At Bellwether Community Credit Union, we support the credit union motto of “People helping people.” We are involved with numerous charities and non-profits including:

  • Bellwether Community Champions (3 years)
  • Spirit of New Hampshire Awards (Multi-Year Legacy Sponsor)
  • Make-A-Wish
  • Animal Rescue League of NH
  • American Heart Association of NH

And many more.

Unique Ways Bellwether Has Helped

BCCU Team at New Horizons

American Red Cross – Bellwether has supported the American Red Cross by having the first team of trained volunteers, as part of the “Ready When the Time Comes” program.

New Horizons Soup Kitchen - The credit union supports New Horizons Soup Kitchen by providing a team of 30+ volunteers to serve dinner once a month. We also sponsor and serve a special holiday dinner for homeless veterans on an annual basis.

March of Dimes - During the renovation of our Hooksett Road branch, Bellwether donated furniture we no longer needed to March of Dimes for their new office in Manchester.

The support of these organizations comes in many forms. Through programs like these, we partner with the community and other organizations to make New Hampshire a great place to work and live.

Volunteering is a positive way you can affect the community. Research shows it positively impacts our health, and as mentioned previously, it's a great way to expand your network. Opportunities can be one-time events, or recurring events throughout the year. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities visit Volunteermatch.org and VolunteerNH.org.

Sources:
Forbes - Corporate Social Responsibility
Forbes - Benefits of CSR
United Health Group

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A Balancing Act: Working and attending school at the same time.

Posted in Main Blog
September 12, 2014 by Guest
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The reality for millions of college students is that there aren’t enough hours in a day or dollars in the bank. Trying to solve both of these problems at once, however, can be almost impossible. Some find support from their parents. Others pay for school using loans, grants, and scholarships alone.detail of photo of calendar

Then there are those among us (like me a few years back) who are forced to balance school life with work responsibilities.

Clock-punching backpack-schlepping student workers, take heart! There are ways to make your life slightly easier and keep your sanity somewhat intact while juggling work and school.

Managing your job A few things to keep in mind while you start the juggling act.

  • Prioritize your classes. Are there classes necessary for your degree that are only offered once a term or, worse, once a year? Make sure to know what those classes are and build your schedule around them ahead of time.
  • Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. If particular classes or particular shifts are inflexible, don’t expect that your instructors and managers will be forever stoked about your calling every week scrambling for coverage or asking for extensions.
  • Find ways to work outside of a set schedule. Do you have opportunities to freelance? Are you willing to be on call to work certain shifts? Are you able to work from home? Fattening your bankroll without being tied to a set schedule or a particular location allows you to focus more on the demands of your school schedule.

Once you get everything going School schedule? Check. Work schedule? Check. Keeping it all running flawlessly… well, it’s a process.

  • Don't be embarrassed. Being open about your responsibilities is much better than pretending they don't exist. Make sure you are communicating with your classmates, co-workers, instructors, and managers. Even and especially on days and weeks you think you may fall short, keeping everybody in the loop is not only the responsible thing to do, it also shows your superiors that you’re serious about your commitments.
  • Be creative. Are you able to take your work with you to school and pare it down between classes? Can you do the same with your homework and slog through it when you have a few minutes during a break? Layering time commitments will leave you with more sanity-restoring free time later.
  • Ask for help. Co-workers and instructors might be more willing to work with your schedule than you give them credit for. There's no harm in asking.

Crises You’ve planned. You’ve made tough decisions. You’ve communicated. And yet… something still manages to take you by surprise. What now?

  • Communicate. There’s a reason why this has been repeated twice before: it’s really, really important. It's one thing to take time off without much notice... it's another to do it with no forewarning at all.
  • Don't be too proud. It might be nice to say you didn’t use loans to go to college, but it's much better to get a lower-interest student loan than, say, paying for revolving credit on a credit card.


Some strategic planning goes a long way toward striking a healthy balance between your job and your education, and keeping these tips in mind will make maintaining that balance a little easier.

Photo by photosteve101 via cc
By Brandon Goldner Copyright 2014 brass Media, Inc.

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Kid-Free Vacation yes, it can happen!

Posted in Main Blog
September 11, 2014 by Trish R.
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Now that the kids are back in school and schedules are falling into place, why not plan an escape? A kid-free escape! Come on, you deserve a break. You’ve spent all summer with your kids, taking them here and there, and entertaining them for 2+ months. Now is the perfect time to start planning your adult-only vacation. With these tips you're half way there.

1. Paperwork: Once you’ve found a willing party (or parties) to care for your children or your furry kids while you're away, make sure they are completely, if not overly, prepared. Leave copious notes including, but certainly not limited to, your travel information (hotel, flights, etc), medical information (pediatrician, dentist, etc.), signed medical consent form, school/activities schedule, allergies and medical issues, and bedtime routine.

couple on motorbike

2. Communicate: Give your kids advance notice that you are going away. Let them know who will be caring for them and expectations while you're away. Don’t forget to include others; your children’s teachers and coaches in your plans, so if there are any emotional changes or an emergency, they'll understand. Consider letting your neighbors know you’ll be away as well, and provide contact information in case of emergency.

3. Supplies: Meal planning is huge. Whatever the age of your child, it's just easier for the caretaker. Provide meals, snacks or at least a list of what they can, can’t, should and shouldn’t eat. Be sure to stock up on the essentials as well: diapers, wipes, medications, and Band-Aids; because the world doesn’t stop when you're on vacation.

4. Fun: As mentioned above, it is important to let your kids know you'll be away, but why not do something special as a family before you go. Even if it’s mother-daughter manicures or father-son laser tag, doing things like this can take away the hurt feelings when Mom and Dad suddenly want alone time. In addition to this, leave some extra cash with the caretaker, and maybe a new movie or game to play while you're away. The money helps with last minute or unexpected expenses, and the game will be something special for the kids to look forward to.

Being prepared for any trip allows you to enjoy yourself more. Leaving your children behind, even if for only a night or two, can be stressful. Eliminate the worry (or at least part of it) by preparing the caregiver and your children. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy your well-deserved vacation.

More resources:
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/travel/adult-travel-ideas/
http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/travel_without_kids.html 

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