Punxsutawney Phil has called for an early spring. That’s good news for warm weather fans, especially boat owners dreaming of bright sunshine and open waters.14895-new_york_boat_show

But boaters don’t have to wait until Phil comes out of hibernation to get a taste of life on the water again. Two local boat shows are being held this month where folks can see the latest in water craft and accessories.

The Providence Boat Show runs through Sunday, February 4 at the Rhode Island Convention Center (for more information go to http://providenceboatshow.com/). And the New England Boat Show at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center kicks off February 13 and continues until February 21 (check out http://www.newenglandboatshow.com/ to learn more).

Both shows offer a variety of things to see and do, including seminars and new product demonstrations. But, of course, the big draw are boats in all shapes, sizes and price ranges.

If you’re in the market for a new or used boat, BankFive has financing options to meet your needs. *Loan amounts are available up to $500,000, with a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

To learn more about how we can help you become the proud owner of a new or used boat, go to http://www.bankfive.com/home/personal-banking/personal-loans/boat-loans. That’s where you’ll find our most current boat loan rates.

Happy sailing!

 *Please note that loans are subject to credit approval and fees may apply. Rates are subject to change without notice. Also, commercial boats not applicable for loans, and boat loans are only available to residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

 

 

You’re sloshing through the slush and snow on your way to work, teeth chattering all the way. And that’s when it hits you — the mellow, soothing sounds of “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett. beach-chairs-3

As the song bounces around in your head, you break into a big smile and hum along to the tune, knowing that this summer that’s exactly where you’ll be, thanks to the savings account you recently opened just for this vacation.

Or maybe you have your sights set on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, where you can soak up the warmth and beauty of pastel-colored fishing villages and cozy, intimate beaches.

If you haven’t started saving already for that summer vacation, it’s not too late. By putting aside money each week, you can accumulate a decent sum to make your vacation destination a reality.

One of the best ways to do that is to open a savings account and have direct deposit. It’s an easy way to start saving automatically and not having to be bothered with running to the bank each week to make the deposit. And let’s face it, it’s better not to have that cash in your hand, tempting you to spend it elsewhere.

Think about it – stashing away $50 a week for the next 6 months is doable. That’s $1,200 you’ll have ready for a great getaway in July! And you may be able to earn some interest on that money, too, depending on what kind of savings account you open.

Here’s another benefit — if you keep that weekly direct deposit going throughout the year, you’ll have that much more for your summer vacation in 2017!

And if Italy or any other place abroad is on your vacation radar, don’t forget that BankFive can simplify your life with our Foreign Currency Exchange services. We provide a safe, local, and cost-effective way to obtain foreign currency.

We have exchange rates with more than 80 foreign currencies to buy and sell. Plus, we’ll buy back currency after your trip.

Say bon voyage to the winter doldrums by saving for your summer vacation today!

 

Life-stagesAs you go through stages in life, so do your financial needs. Knowing where to turn and who to trust for financial help is key to making a smooth transition from one stage to another.

The most obvious place to turn for sound advice and direction is your banker. She or he has a wealth of knowledge and depth of experience to guide you through every phase. They also have the resources to support you every step of the way.

At BankFive, our financial specialists are focused on providing solutions to simplify your life. From investments to loans to a broad array of business banking solutions, our specialists are trained to provide the expert guidance and personal service you’re looking for.

And just when do you need this help? It’s likely to be beneficial during some of these major life shifts:

Transitioning from high school to college. There’s no question that college has its share of expenses. There’s tuition, room and board, books, school supplies…the list goes on and on. Adding up all the costs can be overwhelming. It’s the perfect time to seek out financial guidance from experts in the field. Most high schools have programs designed specifically to answer questions about financing college. And the colleges themselves are excellent resources for this information. Of course, your financial institution is well-equipped to help out, too.

Transitioning from college to the working world. That can also read “the real world.” It’s a major leap to take, and one that many college students aren’t totally prepared for. Let’s see – there are apartment rental payments, new/used car payments, utility bills, car and apartment insurance…you get the picture. Unfortunately, they all seem to converge at the same time. The pain can be eased somewhat if students can live with their parents until they have enough financially stability to “leave the nest.” This is a great time to establish a working relationship with a banker who can help with setting up a budget and providing other financial advice.

Making that first big purchase. It could be that first house. It could be that first new car. Whatever it is, it usually involves sticker shock. A great way to get past that is to save up a sizeable sum of money to put towards a down payment. Of course, comparison shopping is important, too, as is setting realistic expectations. Is an in-ground pool a top priority? Are heated seats and a top-of-the-line stereo system necessities for the car? Since large purchases usually require a loan, it pays to do your research to find out who offers the best interest rates and other terms.

Transitioning from one job/employer to another. This is one of those gut-check shifts in life, especially if there are numerous variables involved. Does the new job involve moving across the country? Is travel a major part of the new position? Will the business wardrobe need to be upgraded? That’s in addition to being caught up in second-guessing whether you’re making the right move and if you’re adequately prepared to make the switch. From a financial standpoint, if the new job involves a big boost in income, it’s a good time to seek the assistance of a financial adviser.

Preparing for retirement. Depending on your perspective, this could be something you do as soon as you land your first job. But it’s definitely something you don’t want to put off until you’re only a few years away from putting the daily work routine behind you. Getting a quick jump on retirement savings will pay off when those “golden years” roll around. Even setting aside $25 to $50 a month in a 401(k) or other retirement account when you’re in your 20s can reap significant rewards once you reach retirement age. Again, a financial adviser can provide guidance with regard to investments and other methods for setting up an adequate “nest egg.”

It’s a no-brainer that college students go to school to get an education. But before they even step into a classroom, there are real-world lessons to be learned as far as managing money.

Here’s a quick checklist for those of you looking to stretch your dollars while on or off campus:

  • Create a budget – and stick to it! Know what your income is (money from student grants and loans, savings, parental allowances, etc.) and then figure out what you’re expenses are going to be outside of tuition, such as room and board/rent and food, school supplies, personal care items, and money for laundry needs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekly or monthly budget, just so you have one to provide guidance.
  • If you have a credit card, pay off the entire balance each month. Don’t let the charges accumulate and get out of hand. Remember that if you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll usually need to pay interest. A good approach is to have a low maximum threshold, say in the area of $500, so you don’t dig yourself a debt ditch that’s hard to climb out of. The last thing you want is to establish a bad credit record right off the bat.
  • If you can help it, never buy new text books! There are plenty of resources that can save you money, from used book stores to downloading books on an electronic tablet. Why buy a new book that costs hundreds of dollars if you can get a used one instead for $20? (Just make sure that you have the correct edition.)
  • Never shop for groceries while you’re hungry. Why? You’re more likely to buy stuff that you don’t really need. It’s called impulse buying. If you’re stomach’s growling, you might have the urge to purchase junk food like a big box of Twinkies and three bags of barbecue chips, but they aren’t going to do much good when preparing a meal.
  • Speaking of impulse buying, it’s easy to get sucked into purchasing a new college sweatshirt or the latest, greatest headphones that your roommate has. But do you really need it? If the answer is no, don’t buy it.
  • When buying items, pick out the less expensive generic versions if they’re available.
  • Pay bills on time to avoid late fees. This includes utility bills such as cable, electric and heat. Late payments can reflect poorly on your credit record.
  • Leave the car at home. Many college campuses have dependable public transportation services. Or take a bike to get around. And don’t forget to invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Walking is still a great, inexpensive way to get from Point A to Point B.
  • If you’re buying a college meal plan, figure out in advance just how much you’ll really be eating every day. For instance, if you’re not a breakfast person, go with just the lunch/dinner plan.
  • Don’t get lured into expensive cable or satellite TV packages. Remember, you’re at school to learn, not go on a viewing binge of every episode of your favorite TV show.
  • Go to your classes. You paid for them, so get the most out of them.
  • Take advantage of student discounts. You’ll find them all over the place – the campus bookstore, restaurants, cafes, movie theaters.
  • Don’t take out a loan for anything but educational expenses.
  • Keep track of your savings and checking account balances. But don’t do it on a public computer or on public Wi-Fi. That just makes you easy prey for online thieves.

Imagine having the same key to unlock all the doors in your house, your office, and your car. Now imagine leaving that key in a very conspicuous place where anyone could find it, such as taped to the hood of your vehicle.th

Now imagine having the same password for all your online accounts, such as for banking, credit cards, and bill pay, and you make that password easy to guess – like abc123.

In either case, wouldn’t that be an invitation to trouble? Of course it would. But when it comes to passwords, it’s not uncommon for people to have the same one for all their online activity. And it’s often one that wouldn’t take an online crook too long to figure out.

It’s no wonder cyber security experts repeatedly stress the importance of having strong passwords, and different ones for different accounts. But trying to keep track of all those passwords would be mentally exhausting, right?

Fortunately, there are several ways to get around that problem and bolster your online security. And there are other password-related tips you can follow to protect yourself from cyber criminals. Here are some to consider:

  • Some of the strongest passwords are a combination of upper case and lower case letters, mixed in with numbers and symbols.
  • Avoid short passwords. At the minimum, a password should be at least 8-12 characters long. The longer the password, the better, because long ones are harder to crack.
  • Don’t use birth dates for passwords. And especially don’t use your Social Security number!
  • Never share your password(s) with anyone. Guard them like any of your valuables.
  • Use special characters or symbols, like # and @, when creating a password.
  • Avoid obvious word combinations, such as “darkhorse” or “frontrunner,” or number combinations like “123456.”
  • Don’t write your password down on a piece of paper and then stick it in your wallet or purse. If either get stolen, so does your password.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis.
  • Software programs called “password managers” are available. They store your login information for all the websites you use and help you access those sites automatically. They encrypt your password database with a master password, which is then the only password you have to remember. Some password managers are free; others charge a fee. Do an online search to see what’s out there and what fits your needs.
  • Remove the vowels from a phrase and create one word. For instance, “my country tis of thee” becomes “mycntrytsfth”. It looks like gibberish, but that’s the point!
  • Double a strong password (see suggestions above) but remove the space. That makes the password even stronger because it’s longer.
  • Try to avoid dictionary words. Instead, make up words and string them together. Or put together a series of random words, like a couple of song titles interspersed with numbers and symbols.
  • Connect the first letters of a sentence or phrase, such as a line from your favorite movie or book. Then throw in a few symbols and numbers.

The harder you make it for cyber thieves to access your online accounts, the less likely they’ll bother with you. So take steps now to strengthen the first line of defense — your passwords.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2016

Wishing Everyone a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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Ring in the New Year by Ringing Up Some Savings!

December 31, 2015

Let’s face it – New Year’s resolutions aren’t the easiest things to make, let alone achieve. But here’s one that almost everybody can attain – save $1,000 in 2016. Sounds great, right? But just how do you go about doing that? Here are some ways you can reach that goal (and maybe save even more!) […]

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Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2015
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Taking a Look Back at 2015

December 18, 2015

As 2015 fades into the distance, now’s a good time to take a look back and see how the year stacked up. So pour yourself a favorite beverage, sit back, sip slowly, and reflect a bit. Broadly speaking, did you find yourself in a happier state of mind compared to 2014? And if you did, […]

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‘Tis the Season to Slow It Down a Bit

December 11, 2015

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can take its toll. So why not treat yourself to an early gift of serenity? Step away from the shopping malls and traffic tie-ups, put down the decorations, and do something to soothe the soul. Try one of these on for size: Take a hike! Not figuratively, […]

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