Tag Archives: NJSL Presents

Planning for Retirement Program Recap

One of the biggest financial considerations for anyone is retirement.  When do I retire? How much money will I need?  Where should I put my money?  These are some common questions as it relates to retirement, but you don’t need to be a financial expert to start planning.  Britany Enelow, Financial Advisor from the Credit Union of New Jersey shared the following information to help you on the pathway to retirement.

First and foremost, there are some broad considerations regarding retirement you should think about.  What does retirement look like for you?  When are you going to start retirement and how long will it last?  What sources of income do you need in order to live comfortably in retirement?  By having a clearer picture of what you want your retirement to be, including where you are going to live, you will have a better understanding of how you should start preparing financially for retirement.

Once you have a picture of our retirement, you need to start building a retirement strategy.  When determining how you are going to prepare for retirement, you should plan to have enough funds to last 20-30 years while in retirement.  The assets in your portfolio should be spread out between Growth, Access, and Predicable Income:

  • Growth – assets that continue to grow while in retirement, such as stocks.  Goal is ensure that your money outpaces inflation.
  • Access – liquid money that you can use immediately for emergencies or unexpected expenses, such as a savings account
  • Predictable Income – used to cover necessary expenses, regardless of how the market is doing, such as Social Security, Pension, Annuity, part-time employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual expenditures for persons aged 65 and older are:

  • Housing and utilities – 34%
  • Transportation – 15%
  • Health Care – 15%
  • Food – 13%
  • Entertainment – 5%
  • Other – 18%

By preparing a budget using the assets in your portfolio, as well as your current expenditures, you can more definitely determine how much money you would need in retirement to survive.  This includes determining the sources of income that you will rely on to meet those expenditures.  Possible sources of income include Social Security, 401k, IRA, investments, pensions, or deferred compensation.  Once you identify all of your income sources, organize them into Predictable and Variable incomes to better determine how much money you will have easily accessible to pay for your necessary expenses as well as plan for non-essential costs that add to your quality of life.  Use the 4-Box Strategy, shown below, to better visual your incomes and expenses and determine what works best for you.

Once you have done all the planning, its time to start building your Nest Egg.  As you approach retirement, your asset allocation should become more conservative, relying less on stocks and high-risk ventures and more one safer options, such as bonds.  In an ideal world, you want your Nest Egg to be 15x your annual income.  The reason for such a high number is to ensure that your annual growth from the investment, about 5%, will equal 75% of your pre-retirement salary, which should be enough to pay for your necessary expenses.  For example, for someone making $75,000 a year, their Nest Egg should be around $1.125 million.  5% of that Nest Egg equals $56,250, which is equal to 75% of their $75,000 annual income.  This will help insure that you will not run out of money in retirement and allow you to have some monetary legacy to pass on after your death.

Unfortunately, retirement planning and funding are not without risk.  With modern medicine, people are living longer which means that you might outlive your retirement funding.  Therefore, it is critical to plan for at least 20 years of retirement when determining how much money you will need.  Another risk is inflation, which means that the money you have today will not be worth the same amount in the future.  Therefore, it is important to have some of your money in growth-focused assets to ensure that your money keeps up or outpaces inflation.  Healthcare expenses are rising quickly and can easily consume a majority, if not all of your retirement spending.  For example, the median yearly cost for a home health aid is about $50,000; it is higher if you live in NJ.  Lastly, withdrawing money too soon or too often can have a devastating impact on your future finances, which you may never be able to recover from.

For more information on retirement planning or investing, please contact Britany Enelow at benelow@cunj.org or 609-538-4061 ext. 2056.  For a copy of the handout, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Planning-for-Retirement.pdf.

 

Planning for Retirement

Join us for a COMPLIMENTARY seminar from the Credit Union of New Jersey to help you better understand how people prepare for retirement. Retirement planning is the basis of a person’s future financial well-being and all their long-term financial plans.  Britany Enelow, Financial Advisor, will outline strategies you can use to help create a secure retirement plan, including:

  • Envisioning your Retirement
  • Building your Retirement Strategy
  • Sources of Retirement Income
  • Building your Nest Egg
  • Retirement Risks to Consider
NOT A CREDIT UNION DEPOSIT; NOT NCUA INSURED; NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY; NOT GUARANTEED BY THE CREDIT UNION; MAY GO DOWN IN VALUE.
Securities, Investment Advisory and Financial Planning services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC: 222 Central Park Ave Suite 1100 Virginia Beach VA 23462 (757) 490-9041. Member Wealth Management and Credit Union of NJ are not subsidiaries or affiliates of MML Investors Services, LLC.  CRN202101-253093

 

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Webinar: Finding Your Women Ancestors in New Jersey Records

Thank you all for joining us yesterday to learn more about how to research your women ancestors in New Jersey genealogy collections.  Please see below for the link to the webinar recording.

Some things to remember when you’re strategizing how to locate your female ancestors:

1. Regardless of the time period in New Jersey, some form of marriage records have always been kept by civil authorities (not just churches). Women will always be listed by birth name (or previous married name if widowed) in these records.

Catherine Vulku Declaration of Intention, Burlington County

2.  Vital Records (birth, marriages, and deaths) were reported to the state of New Jersey beginning in May 1848.  Even if your woman ancestor was born pre-May 1848, check for any marriage or death records after May 1848, as these records will likely have authoritative biographical information.  Any New Jersey State vital records more than 100 years old are owned by the New Jersey State Archives.

3.  If your woman ancestor immigrated to the United States and applied for citizenship after 1920, regardless of her marital status, she will have her own naturalization application.  (In 1920, women in the United States were given the right to vote, thus becoming full citizens.  Prior to 1920, women naturalized under their husbands or fathers.)

4.  Always check land records!  These records can be genealogical gold mines that trace the purchase history of the property and spell out kinship between parties.

I hope you enjoyed the presentation!  Slides are available on the Guides and Handouts page of the Genealogy Research Guide.

WEBINAR – Finding Your Women Ancestors in New Jersey Records

Are you trying to research a female ancestor from New Jersey and don’t know where to start?  Regina Fitzpatrick, Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library will review how to find women in popular New Jersey genealogical collections.  Learn smart research strategies within individual collections and more about collections you may not have thought to check for your ancestor.

Click here to register!

Persist and Prevail: African American Family Achievements Program Recap

Thank you to Muriel Roberts and Barbara Polk Riley for sharing their family histories in honor of National Family History Month.  African American lineages can be difficult to trace further than a few generations and thanks to Muriel and Barbara, there are some tricks that may help people when searching for ancestors who were or came from former slaves.

A unique aspect to both of their families was the propensity to refer to people, especially males, by their middle names.  As a result, they ran into many roadblocks by searching for their ancestors, thinking that the name relatives called them was their first name when actually it was their middle name.  Oftentimes, names can be confirmed by checking vital records (birth, marriage, and death), which is why it is so important to obtain these documents when starting research on any ancestor.  They can confirm or reveal important information that can be used to identify other relatives, locations, and time periods with certainty.

Muriel Roberts was able to find a wealth of information through a little known source, the Works Progress Administration’s Slave Narratives, published between 1936-1938.  During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration commissioned writers to produce books and documents on a wide variety of topics, one of which was to record interviews of former slaves.  Comprising of roughly 3,500 interviews, the Slave Narratives can provide a wealth of first-hand knowledge that can greatly influence one’s research into their African American lineage.  While the interviews were only 1-2 pages long, they contain important information such as names, both family and owners, locations, including during and after slavery, and occupations.  These narratives can be a major breakthrough and a hidden treasure trove for anyone researching slave ancestry.

It is also important to consider DNA testing when dealing with African American ancestry.  In some cases, a person’s ancestors may have been the offspring of a white owner and African slave.  This may be revealed through matches in a person’s DNA which can lead to more avenues for one to look, including wills that may confirm the presence of a slave ancestor.

Anyone who can prove ancestry to a slave can join the lineage society of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.  As a lineage society, there are stringent requirements regarding what documents are needed to prove direct ancestry, but the society has many resources available to its members that can help further along genealogical research.

WEBINAR – Shining a Light on Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in all Levels of New Jersey Government CANCELLED

Our tax dollars fund the State of New Jersey so it is important to ensure that our money is being spent properly.  Fraud, waste, and abuse cause unnecessary burdens to be placed on not only the taxpayer, but different branches, departments, and agencies.  In 2007, the Office of the State Comptroller was created to battle fraud, waste, and abuse through accountability, audits, and investigations.  It also provides an avenue for citizens and groups to report suspected abuse, fraud, or waste to help the agency carry out it’s duties.  Please join us as Nicole Acchione and Rich O’Brien of the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller, Investigations Division, discuss the work of their office and what you can do if you suspect government fraud, waste or abuse.

 

Persist and Prevail: African American Family Achievements

Tracing African American lineage in the United States can be very difficult, especially if one’s ancestors were slaves.  While records were kept listing slaves as property, often times they did not include the name of the slave and if they did, it was only a first name.  Please join us as Muriel “Dee Dee” Roberts and Barbara Riley Polk discuss how a 1938 Works Progress Administration slave narrative helped answer their family questions and expanded their research.  They will also touch on how DNA testing was able to confirm their findings.

Dee Dee is currently serving her 4th year as Secretary and 9th year as Membership Chairperson for the New Jersey Chapter of the Afro–American Historical and Genealogical Society.   She is also a member of the Hudson County Genealogical Society and a charter member of SDUSMP, Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.

Barbara Riley was a professional librarian for over 40 years and is an amateur historian and a collector of books of the African American experience.  She also volunteers in the Local History Department at the Plainfield Public Library.

 

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Picturing Your Research: Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images

There is an old saying that pictures are worth a thousand words.  While this may be up for debate, what is true is that a photo is worth nothing if it is destroyed.  Many of us have family photos that we consider precious and want to pass down, but we must first preserve those images.  Michelle Novak, a professional genealogist, shared some of her secrets for not only preserving family photos, but also ways to find and procure photos that have genealogical relevance.

Photos bring life and reality to one’s genealogy.  They not only show us how an individual or location appeared at a given period of time, but also tell us more about the life they lived.  Most of the time, photos are passed down within the family, but there are other sources from which one can find personal or relevant photos to augment one’s collection or inform their research.  National repositories such as the Library of Congress, National Archives II, or Historic Aerials as great places to check, as well as local organizations such as the NJ State Archives or local historical societies.  While they may not have named individuals associated with a picture, they may have location-specific pictures that can include former properties, places of employment, or public gatherings in which a family member may appear.  Additionally, photo sharing sites such as FamilySearch or Facebook Groups are a great way to exchange photos that extended family or unknown familial connections may have.

Before we discuss how to preserve images, it is important to point out that all photos are copyrighted material.  The copyright holder of a photograph is the individual who took the picture, not the subject of the photograph.  According to U.S. copyright law, a photograph becomes public domain 70 years after the death of the copyright holder.  However, this only applies if you plan on using the images for any commercial or reproduction purposes, which includes sharing it on public sites such as Facebook.  Additionally, it is important to think about the wishes of the subject/subjects of the photograph before sharing it; is this something that they would want others to see?  One tool to help track down the origin of an image, such as one that was used as a feature image on a genealogy blog, is Google Reverse Image Search.  You can upload the file and Google will attempt to track down all of the sources where the image is found online.

So now that we have all of our photographs, how do we keep them safe?  First and foremost, all photographs will age and degrade, regardless of how we store them or try to preserve them.  However, limiting their exposure to light and storing them in archival sleeves will certainly help slow any degradation.  Sleeves that have a PAT Passed designation are certified to be of the highest archival quality.  Additionally, storing certain photos in a freezer will help slow down any degradation.

The easiest and best way to “preserve” a photograph is to make a digital scan.  Scanners are considerably cheaper than 10 years ago and have such high resolution capabilities that you can make very good copies of your photos.  Additionally, scanning photographs will allow you to enlarge small photographs to see in greater detail.  Standard flatbed scanners are the best when dealing with photographs and you should avoid All-in-One machines as their scanning software and capabilities are much worse when dealing with the details of a photograph.  Michelle’s mantra is “do it once and do it well”, which means scan your photographs using the highest resolution you can.  The minimum recommended resolution is 600 ppi (pixels per inch), with most modern scanners being able to capture images in 2,400 or 3,600 ppi.  Additionally, you can purchase flatbed scanners that will also create positive images of slides and negatives.

Once you have your photos scanned, it is important to come up with a file-naming convention that will allow you to easily identify any photograph.  Having a photo named grandma.jpg tells you very little about the photo; please see page 5 of the handout for examples of how to name your files in more detail.  Also, you can use photo-editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, to extend the canvas of the photo to include important information, including image location, date, subject of the photo, or whatever else you feel is important to know about the image.

For more information about finding and preserving your photos, please take a look at the handout, https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Picturing-Your-Research.pdf, or contact Michelle Novak at mnovakdesign@me.com.

Picturing Your Research – Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images

Did you realize that you have a UNIQUE, never shared before collection of archival materials in your house right now? Your family photos!  Your research can come alive with images, but finding, scanning, and preserving them can be a daunting prospect. In this talk, we’ll look at all three—from the perspective of a designer, photographer, researcher, and archivist (in training). Michelle D. Novak will give us an introduction on how to best scan the images you have, ways to find images in collections to supplement your research, new online resources to help identify those mystery people, and share some tips for protecting the photos and artifacts for future generations. (P.S., It’s her favorite talk and a hot-topic!)

Michelle D. Novak is a brand designer at [MND] (mnd.nyc) which serves finserv, education, and technology clients; genealogist; and teacher. She is a Master of Information student (formerly, MLIS) at Rutgers University in archives and digitization, holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and certificates from Boston University, Gen-Fed, and the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh, among others. Novak is Trustee and Webmaster for the Genealogical Society of Bergen County (GSBC), New Jersey, and a former Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ). She also serves as Project Administrator for the GSNJ-NJSA New Jersey Early Land Records Project (a joint project between the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Archives); Editor of the GSBC’s national award-winning newsletter, The Archivist; and is involved with numerous transcription, indexing, publicity, and digitization projects.

 

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Investment Basics Program Recap

Thank you to Britany Enelow, Financial Advisor from the Credit Union of New Jersey, for discussing the basics of investing from which anyone can start planning for their future.  While all investing carries some risk for the potential of some or all loss of money, being able to understand the different investment types, will help you to minimize your risks and work more effectively with a financial advisor.

So why should you invest?  Investing allows you to grow your money to meet your financial goals, such as retirement or college.  Money has purchasing power, both actual and potential.  Investing allows you to potentially increase the potential purchasing power by growing a set amount of money into more money that hopefully surprises the rate of inflation, netting you more actual purchasing power in the future.

Before investing, it is important to determine what your financial goals are and what your risk tolerance is.  All investing comes with some amount of risk so being able to determine how aggressive you want to be with your money will determine how you should invest it.  Generally, as we get older, we become more conservative in our risk tolerance because it becomes more difficult to replace any lost money.  This transition will affect your portfolio and the makeup of your investments.  It is also important to diversify your investments to help mitigate any potential losses.  By putting your money in a variety of investment types, you are better able to withstand market fluctuations and rebound quicker from downturns in the economy.

There are many different investments you can put your money into and each one will have a different level of risk as well as return.  Generally, the greater the return, the higher the risk so it is important to understand the different investment types on how they can best serve your financial goals.

One of the most popular investment choices are stocks.  When you buy stocks, you are buying into some ownership of that company.  When the company does well, you do well, but the reverse is true.  Stocks tend to have higher returns, thus more risk.  However, over the long-term, stocks tend to provide a positive return on your investment.  There are different types of stocks:

  • Income stocks – these stocks pay dividends to their shareholders and tend to be in less volatile industries, such as energy, finance, and natural resources.
  • Growth stocks – these stocks tend to invest all of their profits back into the business so you are relying on the success of the company to deliver a higher stock price which you can then sell to make money.  These stocks tend to have a higher risk than income stocks.
  • Value stocks – these stocks tend to be undervalued by the market even though the company’s performance may indicate otherwise.  These are bought low and then sold when the market positively adjusts to the success of the company.

Another type of investment are bonds.  Bonds are issued by a company or government entity to raise money for a project or activity.  When you buy a bond, you are essentially becoming a creditor to the bond issuer and they promise to may you interest on your bond for the life of the loan.  Generally, there is a minimum amount you must commit in order to purchase a bond.  These are generally safer than stocks because the borrowing entity agrees to pay back the amount with interest, but also have lower rates of return.  There are different types of bonds:

  • Corporate bond – issued by private and public corporations and generally issued in blocks of $1,000.  You are paid interest as the bond matures.  If the company declares bankruptcy, bondholder claims may be given preference over other creditors.
  • Municipal bond – issued by state, city, or other local governmental entity, but you do not receive any interest payments until the bond has matured.  However, oftentimes the interest earned is exempt from federal, state, and local taxes.
  • Treasury bond – issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury on behalf of the federal government.  These are generally seen as risk-free, but often have the lowest yield of any bonds.

Mutual funds are a great way to diversify your money within a single investment.  When you invest in a mutual fund, your money is pooled with other investors that is managed by a professional money manager who will charge of fee for managing that fund, generally 1%.  Each mutual fund has a stated purpose and goal, which the money manager is required to follow.  These funds can be spread out across one or more investment types, essentially trying to hedge as many bets as possible to maximize returns while mitigating risk.  However, depending on the fees, they may lower or eliminate your rate of return and if other investors in the fund decide to sell and pull their money out, the entire fund will suffer, including yourself.

When investing, please remember DAD:

  • D – Determine your financial goals and risk tolerance
  • A – Allocate your money to best meet those goals and in your risk comfort zone
  • D – Diversify your assets to help mitigate the risks inherent is all forms of investments

If you have any questions, please reach out to Britany Eneloy at 609-538-4061 ext. 2056 or benelow@cunj.org  For a copy of the handout, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Investment-Basics.pdf.

Investment Basics

Join us for a COMPLIMENTARY seminar from the Credit Union of New Jersey to help you better understand investments.  Investments are a key part of a person’s financial well-being and long term financial plans.  Britany Enelow, Financial Advisor, will outline different types of investment vehicles and their associated risks, including:

  • Benefits and Risks of Investing
  • Types of Common Investments
  • Understanding Your Risk Tolerance
NOT A CREDIT UNION DEPOSIT; NOT NCUA INSURED; NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY; NOT GUARANTEED BY THE CREDIT UNION; MAY GO DOWN IN VALUE.
Securities, Investment Advisory and Financial Planning services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC: 222 Central Park Ave Suite 1100 Virginia Beach VA 23462 (757) 490-9041. Member Wealth Management and Credit Union of NJ are not subsidiaries or affiliates of MML Investors Services, LLC.  CRN202004-253092

 

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WEBINAR – Retirement Planning for PERS and TPAF Members

The Division of Pension and Benefits has released a variety of informational webinars regarding retirement and pensions for state employees.  This is a live, interactive web presentation designed for members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System or Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund who are planning to retire. This webinar takes a step-by-step approach to the retirement process and explains what happens after you submit your application. We explain your benefits, survivor options, group life insurance, loan repayment provisions, and the taxability of your pension. There is also a brief discussion of State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program coverage in retirement. Attendees will have the opportunity to email questions during the presentation. The webinar is 1 1/2 – 2 hours in duration including a question and answer period at the end of the session.

If you would like register for this webinar please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/8361577409228739586.