Tuesday, May 18, 2010
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||RENT VS. OWN IN TODAY'S WORLD
WHERE WILL THEY HACK NEXT?
GCF has Mortgages Available! Low Rates! Call for details (856) 589-
6600. GCF Bank is an Equal Housing Lender.
Our Current Rates:
For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, visit
RENT VS. OWN IN TODAY'S WORLD
Once upon a time a boy met a girl. They fell in love. They got
married. They rented an apartment until they could save up enough
money to put a down payment on a home of their own. When they had
saved enough to put down 20 percent on a home in a nice neighborhood
with monthly payments that fit within their budget, they took that
giant leap into home ownership.
Okay, let's stop right here for a moment. This article began reading
like a fairy tale. And sadly, the housing bubble spurred by subprime
mortgage products turned this once accepted scenario into just that.
That bubble, as is their nature, inevitably burst. And with it the
fairy tale dreams of millions of Americans who got caught up in the
improbable notion of living beyond their means. Some knew the risk
and gambled anyway, others had no option but to take the plunge and
pray for the best.
But one man's disaster is another man's opportunity. The record-high
foreclosure rate, coupled with historically low mortgage rates, has
brought home ownership back to common ground. This time at a price
that's truly affordable for many who previously found it beyond their
Yet the big question will always remain: When is buying a home more
economical than renting? That answer differs, depending on what part
of the country you're sitting in while reading this article.
Some of the regions hit the hardest when the bubble burst have seen
home values drop so low that it's cheaper to buy than rent. That
makes now the perfect opportunity to own a home in South Florida,
Phoenix or Las Vegas.
Other areas find their values remaining very high, making it a
better value to rent instead. You might consider that option if
you're looking for housing in San Francisco, Seattle or Portland, Ore.
It's a coin toss in New York or Los Angeles along with their
suburbs. There are good deals to be found in this buyer's market, but
also a lot of areas where renting is your best bet.
So with all the variables, how do you know which choice is best for
You have to look past the income tax advantage to weigh this
properly. While your mortgage interest is deductible when you
itemize, the advantage may not outweigh the actual costs of home
Factor in the down payment, closing costs, property taxes, mortgage
interest, repairs and co-op fees when calculating true cost. Don't
forget homeowner's insurance. Is it wise to have a separate wind or
flood policy where you live?
Do you plan to live in the area for more than five years? Do you
have a family? The stability can be a major factor in your decision
to buy vs. rent.
How secure is your job? That's a hard one to answer these days. But
if there's a chance you could get laid off, you might want to stick
with renting until the situation works itself out.
No longer is it a given that real estate value will increase over
time, no longer can you depend on your home for investment purposes.
Is this an important factor for you?
Once you've answered all of these questions, it's time for the
calculations. While there's no magic formula to assure you against
future uncertainties, you can make a sound financial analysis by
using the Should I Buy or Rent My Home? calculator in the Home
Finance section on our Web site.
And when you've finally reached that big decision to buy, come check
out the great mortgage products GCF Bank has available to make your
dream a reality.
WHERE WILL THEY HACK NEXT?
Congratulations! You've just won (enter prize here)! Or so claims
the pop up window that magically appeared on your screen. Or the
email that just appeared in your inbox.
The good news is that people finally recognize these notices as a
hoax. Fewer and fewer are falling victim to this type of scam.
And the bad news... when one business model stops working, another
is developed to keep business flowing as usual. This is true no
matter if your business is manufacturing new automobiles or stealing
Cyber criminals are paying attention to consumer behavioral
patterns, and finding new ways to attack.
Facebook is the fastest growing social networking site online today.
It's also the site with the fastest growing number of malware
threats. This is not a coincidence.
Without stringent security options selected, your online information
is ripe for compromise. Hackers can easily do enough research to
impersonate you online, sending infected messages to those on your
friends list. They see your name and assume the link came from you.
Click - and their computer becomes infected with a password stealing
Dial into work remotely from your infected home computer, and the
villain has struck gold. The hacker can now infiltrate your
employer's network and access all information from within. They can
also bring the entire system crashing down.
Cyber crooks don't limit their activity to Facebook's internal
email. They'll use the popularity of the site and other social
networks to try to trick you. It's common to find email in your
private inbox reporting to come from the sites. One such message
claims that they had to reset your password. The recipient is asked
to click on an attachment to get their new login credentials. Those
that take the bait get snagged by malware.
Just yesterday, I got identical emails telling me the site
administrator had a message for me. One was from Facebook, the other
from Twitter. I was instructed to click a link to retrieve this
message. Obviously, the sites would not have sent identical messages.
But to err on the side of safety, I visited each site individually
using the same URL I do daily rather than the one embedded in the
email I received. Neither site contained a message from the
I have several different email addresses, each reserved for a
specific purpose. You may do the same. The one I use to fill out
online forms, my junk mail catcher, gets several Facebook friend
requests daily. This email address is not registered with Facebook,
so I know right off these are not legitimate requests. Be watchful
for any messages that seem apart from the norm.
Risk is not isolated to email messages. Earlier this year, Facebook
users were greeted with an app request that appeared typical. "One of
Your Friends May Have a Crush On You," the teaser read. Along with it
were buttons labeled "Find Out Who" and "Ignore." Those who opted to
learn the identity of their Secret Crush were rewarded with a malware
download bearing the same name. The site quickly learned of the scam
and removed it promptly.
And when we're not being social online, we're busy texting. Maybe
we're using our smartphone to check our bank account, pay bills,
trade stocks or download apps. Once again the crooks have taken
Smartphone attacks can be launched through app stores, the web and
email. Worms can access your email or SMS messages, calendar
appointments, contact list or photos. They can use that information
to steal personal data.
A 2009 Trend Micro survey revealed that one in five smartphone
owners has already encountered at least one phishing scam where
hackers posed as a bank or other institution to try to collect
Protect your smartphone as if it were your home computer. If it's
hacked into, or even misplaced, your personal information is at risk.
The common adage once warned "Danger lurks around every corner." But
these days, no corner is necessary. It can be lurking right in the
palm of your hand.
New claims for unemployment benefits dropped again for the fourth
week in a row, reflecting a slow but sure improvement to the job
market. Employers are hiring again as the economy shows signs of
improvement, but not fast enough to reduce the jobless rate. The
Labor Department reported the four-week average falling by 9,000 to
450,500 - close to the average's lowest level this year reached in
late March. After dropping steadily last year from a peak of 651,000,
first-time claims have fluctuated at around 450,000 since January.
Employers added 290,000 jobs in April, the most in four years. But
much more hiring is needed to make up for the loss of more than 8
million jobs during the recession. The unemployment rate rose last
month to 9.9 percent, as the new jobs weren't enough to offset the
more than 800,000 people that started or resumed job searches.
The economy expanded at a 3.2 percent pace in the January-to-March
quarter, the third straight quarter of growth. That followed four
quarters of decline as the economy sunk in the worst downturn since
the Great Depression. Growth is expected to continue. However, the
recovery is uneven. Large companies and wealthy households have done
well, while small companies and those less well off have struggled.
Various economists are predicting that the uneven recovery may force
the Federal Reserve to keep the benchmark federal funds rate on
overnight loans among banks near zero until the second quarter of
2011 to help reduce unemployment.
Today’s Market Rates
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 82.90 or 0.79% since 12/31/09)
(Up 5.70 or 0.51% since 12/31/09)
(Up 48.11 or 2.12% since 12/31/09)
|10 Year Treasury Bond Yield
On The World Wide Web
Trying to save a buck? Find that treasure at a thrift store. Visit
the Shopping Guide supplied by the National Association of Resale and
Thrift Shops on their Web site to
search for a store based on location and other consumer resources.
With winter behind, it's perfect weather for garage sales! Here's one (link no longer active) you can even browse on
a rainy day. You can even negotiate with sellers via instant
Do you like the idea of eBay but prefer to deal with someone local?
Tip of the Week
It's hard to hide anywhere. There are more people search Web sites
than one can imagine, all offering your personal information anyone
willing to spend whatever fee they request. One site brought to my
attention offers demographic information as well. And while it
appears fact-based, the data displayed for both myself and my husband
were far from accurate. Others have reported the same.
But they do offer an option for removal, and will take you off their
site upon request. Visit www.spokeo.com. Search for yourself. Follow
the Privacy link at the bottom of the page to request removal for
those that would rather not appear.
"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your
approach." - Tony Robbins
Today in History
1980 - Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 60 people.
There was no grass during the time of the dinosaurs. Grass evolved
from bamboo-like plants only 24 million years ago.
GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed
customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of
special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest
rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and
other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more
comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at
For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at
http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P.
GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure
database along with much of your other account information, such as
mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-
mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases,
this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash
to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records
are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of
the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other
transmission at the same e-mail address - resulting in multiple
copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with
GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but
listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in
which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle
this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of
GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future
promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to
specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the
capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted
from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific
household member’s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic
database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the
accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed.
Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-
mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any
questions about this process or need additional information, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list,
please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line.
Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list
means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.
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