Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Toys for Tots - Drop off your new, unwrapped toys, books and educational toys at any GCF branch between November 7th and December 9th. Toys for Tots also welcomes checks, made payable to "Toys for Tots", to purchase toys. Questions? Contact Tracy O'Connell at (856) 589-6600, x308 or email@example.com.
Our Current Rates:
For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, click here.
One could surf safely without the worry of compromise in the Internet's early years. Tech minds embraced this new tool, envisioning how it would change the world. They were busily trying to master the technology and hadn't yet turned their efforts to distributing a virus or worm. Cybercrooks hadn't yet realized its potential bounty.
You wouldn't even consider going online today unless your antivirus, operating system and other key programs were updated. You don't click on links in unsolicited emails. And you don't download anything until you first confirm it's free of malware. It's just common sense and become second nature to us all.
Yet when we're on-the-go, we tend to be a bit more lax.
Smartphones are quickly becoming the favorite tool of the cyber bad guys. People still tend to think of them as phones and don't protect them as they would their computer. And that's what they really are - a computer that fits in the palm of your hand. They're ripe for compromise.
Unlike your home computer, your smartphone can fall victim several different ways. Its portability makes it easier to fall into the wrong hands. It can be stolen if someone breaks into your car or snatches your purse. You can leave it behind in a restaurant or when you're trying on new clothes in a department store fitting room.
You can download malware-bearing apps or follow a link in a smishing scheme to suffer the same consequences as if you performed those actions on a personal computer.
We offered some valuable smartphone safety tips in the August 2, 2011 edition of GCFlash.
Your mobile device is also prone to the same dangers that public wi-fi hotspots face. Unless your portable device is using a private Internet connection, you are using an unsecure public hotspot. That coffee shop, restaurant or airline terminal offer convenience but not safety.
A secure connection requires a password. Hotels often make these available to their guests.
Don't confuse a secure connection with a secure website. They're two entirely different functions. You won't see a lock icon in the address bar of a secure connection. You'll need to look at your network connection properties to know what level of security is enabled.
Most likely your wireless Internet at home is secure. At least, it should be if you read this newsletter as we often cover the risks of leaving it open. Any passerby can jump on your connection and capture whatever data you're transmitting.
The same thing can happen if you use your smartphone to do your online banking or login to your credit card account. While the websites themselves are secure, you are transmitting that information over a connection that isn't if you're on a public network.
Your login credentials and account information are ripe for the picking.
Using the Internet on our smartphone has become automatic. We don't even think twice before we grab it and key in whatever we need or want at any particular moment. But the time has come for us to start thinking twice. First to check the security of the connection, second the security of the website.
To Bulk or Not To Bulk
Warehouse clubs are everywhere. Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's and the like have gained popularity in these tight economic times. Their sales have increased an average 5.5 percent a year over the past five years. Everyone wants to score a deal on essentials.
But bigger isn't necessarily better. Buying in bulk is not a deal if you don't finish that giant box of cereal.
Know the price you ordinarily pay for any item before choosing the multi-pack or mega size at the warehouse club. You can sometimes find it cheaper on sale at your local grocery store. Other items may be priced the same as you'll find at other retailers. Just because you find it at the warehouse club doesn't necessarily make it a good deal.
Warehouse clubs typically offer the best bargains on high ticket items. Tires, TVs and the like can often be priced at half of what you would pay for them elsewhere.
Other items may not be so obvious. Dentists recommend changing toothbrushes every three months. Buying these in bulk would assure you always have a fresh one at hand, whether it be for you, an unexpected guest or to stash in your travel bag for an upcoming trip.
Paper towels and toilet paper are two things you never want to run out of, so it can make sense to buy them in bulk. But not if you don't have the space to store them. And toilet paper is often cheaper at a retailer like Target.
There's value in buying the larger bags of dog food. Your dog won't mind eating the same brand night after night.
Canned foods have a long shelf life. Stock up and save.
Dried spices can cost up to 96 percent less when you buy the large jar versus the tiny jars in a supermarket. But their shelf life is only about a year. Anything you don't use is money wasted.
Frozen foods can be a bargain if you can repackage into serving-size portions before stocking the freezer.
Anything that has a long shelf life is better bought in bulk. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, cereal, batteries and vitamins can be much cheaper. And they're items you always want to have on hand.
Shampoo, deodorant, laundry soap, toothpaste and anything you replace on a regular basis might be good to have in ample supply.
Things your family goes through often can be a bargain. Pasta, rice, peanut butter, cooking oil or anything else you consider a staple. But unless you use a lot of brown rice, avoid buying much of it. Its high oil content gives it a short life span.
Avoid items that often go on sale at your local grocery store. Brand name chips, sodas or other beverages are often cheaper at your supermarket.
So now you're in the paper goods aisle at BJs. How do you know if a particular item is a good bargain or if you can find a better deal somewhere else?
Before you grab the car keys, spend a couple of minutes at your computer. Shopping list in hand, point your browser to a comparison site like Pricegrabber.com. Search for those items whose regular price you don't already know and jot it down on your list. Those extra couple minutes to compare prices will spare you the angst of having a year's supply of paper towels you later find cheaper somewhere else.
Is the United States Headed for a "Greek Tragedy?"
The markets continued their wild gyrations over the last few trading days as investors fretted about the European debt crisis. Initially, the markets surged on news that European leaders had reached a deal to prop up the most vulnerable EU nations, such as Greece. The markets then retreated when Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou unexpectedly put passage of the measure out to a public referendum. It is widely believed that more than half of the Greek population is against the austerity measures required by the deal. The deal itself can only be described as pathetic, as it requires private holders of Greek debt to receive only 50 percent on the dollar for their investments. This is cause for cheering? And by the way, the Greeks have taken to the streets at various times during the crisis, many believing in essence that NONE of the borrowed money should be paid back. This equates to modern day economic thuggery.
The European crisis is rippling across the globe. Former NJ Governor Jon Corzine, who took over as CEO of MH Global Holdings, LTD, after being dethroned as NJ Governor, has just taken that company into bankruptcy after bad bets were made on the debt of sovereign EU nations. Corzine bet the ranch that the EU nations' debt would, in the end, ultimately be backed by the other member nations - never dreaming of the required haircuts. It should be noted that Greece's debt is a whopping one and a half times the country's GDP. The annual budget deficit is about 11 percent of GDP and growing. Such debt loads are not sustainable, a harsh lesson Greece is being forced to learn.
And the United States is not in much better shape. U.S. public debt reached a whopping 100 percent of GDP in 2011, a level last seen when Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office and country was fighting the Second World War. The deficit, or the rate at which the total debt accumulates, is currently at about 10 percent of GDP, similar to Greece. Such fiscal imprudence caused the rating agency Standard and Poor's to downgrade our credit rating from AAA - for the first time in history. Such a monumental event necessitates the rewriting of virtually every finance textbook ever written, as U.S. Treasuries were universally referred to as R sub f - or "risk free return." Seems many believe this to no longer be true.
The answer? Pay for what you spend. To be clear: It is acceptable, even necessary, for the U.S. Government to borrow, and if needed heavily, in a time of national crisis such as a major war. This is precisely what occurred during World War II, which could not have been won on the pay-as-you-go plan. Private capital understands that, in order to have a U.S. economy, the country's sovereignty must be protected at all costs, and warships and fighter jets are expensive. Private capital never left the scene during WWII.
However, in times of peace, the country should have a balanced budget, and in extreme boom times - run a surplus (to be used later when times aren't so great).
The problem in Europe and the U.S. is that the spending is out of control, and the private capital has moved to the sidelines. In the meantime, the media seems to conjure up any number of "national crises" that require yet more spending. And when the legal limit is reached, such as occurred in August, an increase in the debt ceiling.
So to the U.S. Government: Keep it up and you may need a bailout in Greek Tragedy fashion, except there won't be any fellow economies on the continent strong enough to pull off the feat. Are you willing to place your bailout faith in Canada? Or Mexico? Didn't think so.....
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 http://www.gcfbank.com.
For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)GCFLASH PRIVACY STATEMENT
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 memberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Banking With Us