Tag Archives: SLIC

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.

WEBINAR – Understanding Your Pension Benefits for State Employees

The Division of Pension and Benefits has released a variety of informational webinars regarding retirement and pensions for state employees.  Whether you are a new hire or have been a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) for a while, this class will give you a basic understanding of your pension benefits. Topics covered are enrollment criteria, membership tiers, the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS), beneficiary designation, group life insurance coverage, purchasing service credit, pension loans, retirement formulas and types, and withdrawing. This webinar is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes long and includes a Q&A period.

If you would like to register for this webinar, please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/1751260725396571137.

This webinar is designed specifically for PERS and TPAF members employed by a N.J. State department, State agency, State Institution, or a N.J. State College/University.

Using Online Polish Archives for Genealogical Research Program Recap

Researching Polish ancestry can be a difficult endeavor that requires patience and knowing where to look.  Dr. Elana Broch, Assistant Population Research Librarian and amateur genealogist, has done years of research on her Polish lineage, even visiting Poland to try and find primary documents to answer her family history.

One of the most important things to recognize about Polish ancestry is Polish history.  Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Poland as a country often did not exist.  Parts were under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ukraine, Germany, and Russia.  Therefore, depending on the time period, document languages and location names may have changed depending on who was in power.  Additionally, if you are looking for Jewish ancestry, family and town names may be Jewish or Yiddish, adding yet another layer to deciphering someone’s lineage.  JewishGen has a wonderful Communities Database that is worth looking at even if you did not have Jewish Ancestry.  The database maps the location names over time so you can better understand where records may be and in what languages.  Additionally, Poland was a crossroads of conflict in World War 1 and 2 so many records were destroyed, leaving gaps in civil registration collections and vital records.

On the bright side, the Mormon Church, responsible for Ancestry.com (subscription) and FamilySearch (free) have digitized countless Polish related records during their mission trips so some (but not all) records are available through those sites.  It is highly recommended to check Ancestry and FamilySearch first to see what information and records you can find on your Polish ancestors before moving forward.  The best place to find information would be the United States and specific state censuses, which during the later half of the 19th century and forward, list places of birth and all of the names within a household, rather than just the head of household.  This information can be critical in tracing a relative back in Poland, but remember, that if the place of birth was listed as Russia or Germany, they may have actually been living within the borders of present-day Poland.

If you have exhausted these resources and are looking to find records in Poland, be aware that there are multiple archival institutions and locations, depending on what you are looking to find.  Also, you will need to write to the specific archive or employ a professional genealogist in Poland to obtain the records as a vast majority of their records (outside of those digitized on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch) are not digitized.  The Central Archives of Historical Records (AGAD), are the official repository for materials that are no longer under Polish privacy restrictions.  This includes birth records that are over 100 years old and marriage and death records over 80 years old.  Additionally, the AGAD contains information from Ukraine.  The Civil Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) contains vital records that are still protected under their privacy laws.  There are many regional archives where most records are currently housed, which is why it is critical to determine the location an ancestor lived to accurately determine which region or district archives to contact.  Lastly, there are local parish or archdiocesan archives that will contain important genealogical records such as baptism and marriage records.

The Polish Archives does have a searchable website that comprises of 4 different databases, however all of the information is in Polish, which means you will need to use a translation service such as Google Translate or a browser extension that can translate the page for you.  While some of the filters and headings are in English, all of the collection titles, descriptions, and notes are all in Polish.

It is highly recommended to check out the FamilySearch Wiki on Poland Genealogy to help determine what records to look for and where to find those records.  For more information on the presentation or help with Polish genealogy, please contact Elana Broch at ebroch@princeton.edu.  For a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/assets/PolishArchivesPresentation.pdf.

Using Online Polish Archives for Genealogical Research

Elana Broch is an amateur genealogist who has spent much of her research efforts trying to find out about her grandfather, Saul Lichtman, a 1941 Holocaust victim.  Although Lichtman’s birth town (Bilshivtsi) is now in Ukraine, the town (Bolszowce) was Polish until after World War II.  Many Polish records of that era defy the rules of archival provenance and are in the Polish Archives in Warsaw (AGAD).  Her genealogical quest took her to the Polish historical archives in Warsaw in 2018. It was a long way to go to find out that the archival records aren’t freely available.  Fortunately, many of them are available online. Her presentation will focus on Ancestry.com and the Polish archives online at https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/strona_glowna.

 

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Lifelong Financial Education Program Recap

Our financial situations are constantly changing, whether we get a new job or raise, pay off a debt, or adjust how much we are putting away in savings.  Additionally, the financial environment, such as interest rates or stock values are constantly in flux.  As a result, it is important to continually evaluate and manage our finances.  Dayana Moya from Lifelong Investments LLC shared information and tips related to 3 important areas of personal finances: cash flow management, investment strategies, and life insurance.

Cash flow management takes a look at your entire financial picture to help you better understand where your money is coming from and invested so you can make sound financial decisions, such as monthly payments for a car or mortgage or how to save your money, such as a savings account, bonds, or stocks.  The Financial Formula provides a visual guide to different places money can be stored or taken from in terms of risk vs. potential returns.  Cash alternatives like CDs or savings accounts are at the bottom because they have very little risk but also very little potential return.  Determining where you are comfortable putting your money will determine what type of future incomes you can expect, helping you better understand your current and future financial situation.

Additionally, everyone should have some amount of money put away in savings, which can be as simple as putting away $20 a paycheck into a separate account.  It is recommended you have enough in your savings to replace 3-6 months of income, a portion for emergency situations such as unexpected medical bills, and any planned expenses such as a vacation or a down payment on a car.  By continuously evaluating your finances, you can better estimate how much money you should have saved and use any extra to contribute to a retirement account or life insurance premiums.

Investing can be very complicated and it is going to be different for every person based on their financial goals as well as their risk tolerance.  Below are 5 smart investment strategies to consider:

  1. Don’t time the market – In an ideal world, everyone would buy stocks when the price is low and sell when it is high,  but more often than not, people do the opposite as they try to figure out where the market is going.  It is very difficult to predict what will happen in the market so do not rush into decisions to try and make a quick buck.
  2. Asset Allocation – 91.5% of financial performance rests with asset allocation.  By strategically placing your money in different assets, you can better ensure profitable investments and insulate yourself from financial losses during financial crises.
  3. Investment Selection – It is important when selecting investments to look at the long-term performance for all options you are considering.  Depending on the year, some investments (stocks, bonds, cash alternatives) may perform better, but not as well as others over the long term.  By focusing on long-term performance and calculations, you can better determine which investments will bring you the best returns with the right amount of risk.
  4. Dollar-Cost Averaging – It is important to track your investments over time to determine if you are making money, especially in relation to stocks.  If you buy a stock over a certain period and the price rises, you will own less shares, but the average price per share will be greater than the average cost you spent on each share.  The opposite is true if the price falls, even slightly so averaging the dollar-cost will help you better understand when to sell in order to ensure you do not loose any money.
  5. Rebalance Your Portfolio – Essentially, you are repeating strategies 2 – 4 at regular intervals to ensure that your money is being allocated effectively with the maximum amount of return.  Whether it is your investments or your personal budget, it is important to reevaluate your financial situation to make sure you are in a comfortable place and are able to achieve your goals.

Life insurance is often thought of as an obligation, but in reality, it can be an opportunity to provide your loved ones with financial security, at a financial advantage.  First and foremost, you should conduct a Detailed Needs Analysis to determine the benefit payout of a policy.  By assessing and quantifying your short and long term financial needs and obligations and deducting any liquid assets, you can figure out how much money would be needed for financial security after your passing.  This will help you determine what type of life insurance would be best for your unique situation.

Term life insurance has a designated time-frame, 10 years for example, in which any benefit will be paid out.  Generally, the premiums are lower and the benefit payout is less than permanent life insurance.  There are different types of permanent life insurance, all remain in effect until your deaths as long as the premiums are paid:

  • Whole – The policy has a cash value from which you can withdraw that is tax-deferred
  • Universal – Allows for flexible premiums which creates adjustable benefits based off those premiums.  This still has a cash value that is tax-deferred
  • Variable – Allows for flexible premiums and additionally premiums above a set minimum can be designated into investment subaccounts.  The benefits, however, are variable.

If you have any questions on the information covered in the presentation, please contact Dayana Moya at 973-317-2831 or dayana@lifelonginvestments.com.  For a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/assets/LifelongFinacialEducation.pdf.  For a copy of the handouts, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Lifelong-Financial-Education-Handout.pdf.

Lifelong Financial Education

Finances play an important role in our everyday lives and often determine what we can and cannot do, such as buy/lease a new card, rent or buy a home, and even how often we can treat ourselves to meals at a restaurant.   As we grow and make more financial obligations, especially planning for retirement, it is important to be educated in financial literacy to make sure we make the appropriate decisions based on our goals and means.  Dayana Moya and Brad Katz, from Lifelong Investments LLC, will discuss 4 important parts of financial literacy:

1. How to make a financial plan
2. Income, benefits and spending
3. Saving and Investing
4. Risk Management

Dayana Moya is the Client Relationship Manager at Lifelong Investments LLC.  She is also a licensed Insurance Agent.  In her role, she is responsible for assessing, researching and advising clients regarding their insurance needs; in addition to building and maintaining relationships with Lifelong’s clients which includes everyday client services and administration of the office on a daily basis.  Dayana received her Bachelor of Science in International Business Management from Bloomfield College.

Brad Katz, CWS®, AIF® is the founder of Lifelong Investments LLC and is a Registered Principal with First Allied Securities with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Specializing in comprehensive wealth management services, Brad works with each client to determine their specific goals and objectives before crafting a customized strategy designed to not only grow their wealth, but to also protect, distribute, and transfer their wealth.

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Financial Aid Information Session

Paying for college can be a complex and confusing process, from finding scholarships, to applying for financial aid, to determining which student loans are the best fit.  Sharon Austin from The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority will help to clear the confusion through their Financial Aid Information Session.  This session will provide useful information on all of the Federal and State grants, scholarships and loan programs available through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Key information and requirements on filing the FAFSA are covered.  In addition,  college cost of attendance, the expected family contribution and their combined role in determining aid will also be covered.

 

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Research Library Spotlight: Information for New Jersey Voters

 

The State Library is here to help you find information you need to vote in New Jersey!  A great place to start is the Voter Resources: New Jersey Research Guide available on the State Library’s website.  This resource includes information about upcoming elections in New Jersey, how to find your elected officials, links to absentee ballots for non-permanent residents of New Jersey, and additional voter resources for U.S. Citizens.  For more information on voting in New Jersey, please keep reading!

Who Can Register to vote?

To register in New Jersey, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • At least 17 years old, though you may not vote until you have reached the age of 18
  • A resident of the county for 30 days before the election
  • A person NOT currently serving a sentence, probation, or parole because of a felony conviction

The registrant must complete a Voter Registration Application and/or Party Affiliation Form.  Paper forms are available at the Law Library Reference Desk, or online.  Mail or deliver the Voter Registration Application and/or Party Affiliation Form to the County Commissioner of Registration or Superintendent of Elections for your county.

The registration deadline to vote is 21 days prior to Election Day (October 15, 2019 this year, general election date is November 5). 

If you are in college, you have the option to register from your college address or your home address. There are good reasons for registering and voting at either residence, but keep in mind, the final choice is yours.

You may check to see if you are already registered to vote or for your polling place.  You may also find your election officials by county or volunteer as a poll worker.

What about Returning Citizens?

If you are no longer serving a sentence, or no longer on parole or probation…, you CAN vote in NJ by completing a new voter registration form. If you have any questions, contact your County Commissioner of Registration.

What about if you are in the military?

There is an entire webpage of information for military voters in New Jersey or from New Jersey.

You will receive a sample ballot about 1 week before the election that will indicate where your polling place is or you can use our polling place locator.

Is vote by mail available?

Yes, you can vote by mail.  The link provides complete information, including where to contact your county specifically.

Do I need to show identification when I vote?

If you did not provide identification to the county commissioner of registration or if the identification information could not be verified (i.e., your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number), YOU MAY BE ASKED TO SHOW IDENTIFICATION AT THE POLLING PLACE WHEN YOU GO TO VOTE.

Identification may include, but is not limited to, any current and valid photo ID:

NJ driver’s license, military or other government ID, student or job ID, store membership card, United States passport, bank statement, car registration, government check or document, non-photo NJ driver’s license, rent receipt, sample ballot, utility bill, or any other official document. If you show identification, you will vote in the voting machine.

What are my rights as a voter in New Jersey?

New Jersey has a webpage dedicated to explaining your voter rights.    This information is in English, Spanish, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.

 

SLIC staff at the Reference Desk and Law Library are happy to answer any additional questions you may have about voting in New Jersey.  For more information please contact us.

Resume Tips and Tricks Program Recap

Your resume is your brand and it is important that your resume effectively communicates the most relevant information possible related to the position you are applying for.  Your resume is a living and breathing document and it should change for each position you apply for as well as every time you learn a new skill, take on additional responsibilities, or complete a major project.

There are three types of resumes:

  1. Chronological – This is the most common type of resume and focuses on your work history.  It is used to emphasize continuous employment as well as highlight the major duties and accomplishments for each job.  You should use this format if you are applying for a job in your current field or if your experiences and skills are intimately linked.
  2. Functional – The least common format, yet it does have its purpose, especially if you are transitioning careers or have long gaps in your employment history.  This format emphasizes the skills and knowledge you learned throughout our education/work/volunteering, including job/field specific skills (software) and soft/transferable skills (communication, problem solving).  Use this format if the profession or job cares more about your skill set rather than strictly work experience.
  3. Hybrid – A more popular format, it allows you to combine the best elements of your skill set and work history, allowing you to showcase how your skills were used in your job duties/responsibilities.  Additionally, you can include any professional experience such as coursework and volunteering within a Professional Experience section, focusing on relevant experience rather than just all of your past employment.  This format allows for much more flexibility and customization which can be useful when applying to multiple jobs, especially across different fields.

Once you have your general resume written, it is important to tailor it to each specific job you apply for.  It is recommended to go through the job description and highlight keywords, skills, and other important requirements, including numerical qualifiers – years of experience, number of people supervised, etc.  Once you have finished this, go back to your resume and see how much of your resume matches what is in the job description.  The more overlap you have, the more likely your resume will pass through the Application Tracking System many organizations use to filter out electronic applications.  You may need to rewrite major portions of your resume, especially your job duties and responsibilities, to better reflect what is stated in the job description, but the extra will pay off with a more professional and better targeted resume that will impress.

Some other general tips include:

  • Keep your resume to 1 page, 2 at most if everything is related to the requirements of the job
  • Use san serif fonts, such as Courier, Times New Roman, or Helvitica – these fonts are easier on the eyes and allow Applicant Tracking Systems to more accurately pull information from your resume
  • Keep font sizes between 10 – 12, except for major headings which can be up to 14
  • Adjust your margins as needed to fit all of your information on 1 page, but be aware that some programs will not print out anything beyond the standard .5 inch margins
  • While graphic resumes are eye-catching and allow you to express yourself in bold and impressive ways, there is a higher chance that they will be unreadable or significantly altered if opened in a different software program or uploaded to an Applicant Tracking System.

You can download a copy of the presentation at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Resume.pdf.  You can download a copy of the handouts at https://www.njstatelib.org/assets/ResumeHandouts.pdf.

Finding Funding for Your Education

Are you looking for undergraduate scholarships, seeking doctoral support or looking for funding to continue your education?

This class will provide an introduction to the New Jersey State Library Funding Information Center’s collection of resources for education. Learn about different sources of funding, ways to leverage existing connections to funders, and online resources that provide information on scholarships from foundations, including the Foundation Grants to Individuals Online database.  Time will be given at the end of the class to search the Foundation Grants to Individuals Online database for possible funding opportunities.

*Space is limited to 16 registrants*

 

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