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PresidentsCornerPresident's Corner
During an early episode of the TV sitcom classic Seinfeld, George Costanza developed his alter ego Art Vandelay. Among Mr. Vandelay' s professions was that of an importer/exporter. While researching the importer/exporter profession, I found the website Glassdoor that is utilized by primarily former employees to find jobs and review and evaluate their previous companies. While scrolling through importer/exporter, I found one familiar company - "Vandalay Industries." The site had a picture of Vandalay's office lobby, coffee cup with the company logo, and even a staff picture. Apparently, the Glassdoor staff does not get the joke.

The latest economic fear is a possible trade war between the United States and the rest of the world. Foreign trade is a pretty simple equation. The difference between American imports and exports is a trade imbalance. Trade almost never balances. Either imports exceed exports, or exports exceed imports. According to CNN Money, the U.S. trade deficit, in other words imports exceeding exports, is $566 billion.

While the trade equation appears simple, the economics of trade is anything but straightforward. While the deficit sounds high, the U.S. economy has never been healthier based on the numbers. Obviously, not everything is rosy, but unemployment is at a 40-year low, and the Gross Domestic Product, which measures the market value of all final goods and services, is steady, if not spectacular.
  On the other hand, a net export position does not necessarily imply economic success. The last time exports exceeded imports was during President Ford's administration. The 1973-75 recession was marked by high inflation, gas shortages, and economic stagnation and which led to Ford's loss to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election.

The recent tariffs announced by President Trump throws a monkey wrench into the trade equation. Basically, a tariff is a tax added to particular classes of imports or exports. The first announced tariff was to be placed on steel and aluminum exports to protect our national security as well as steel and aluminum workers. Clearly, based on the stock market's volatility, investors do not like it. It is also bad for consumers and hence bad for the nation's economy.

Many of the countries that could be affected by tariffs buy U.S. Treasury securities. If those countries stop buying our Treasuries to retaliate against the tariffs, who then will buy our debt? The U.S. government would then be forced to raise interest rates faster to sell those securities which, based on history, will result in inflation. The combination of tariffs, huge federal debt, currently estimated at $21 trillion, and high interest rates could put us in another serious recession that could be worse than the so-called Great Recession ten years ago.
It is difficult to broadcast bad news that has not yet happened. The proverbial rubber band has been stretched to its limit and is about ready to break. We can only hope someone in charge sees this scenario and makes the appropriate adjustments, the most obvious one being getting rid of the tariffs. Otherwise, our government balance sheet will be as fanciful as Vandalay Industries.

David M. Green
(925) 335-3802
statofthemonthStat of the Month

Source: Tom Slefinger, Balance Sheet Solutions, "Weekly Relative Value,", Week of March 26, 2018
In 2000, the federal debt was approximately $5.6 trillion, and real U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about $12.5 trillion. Today, the federal debt exceeds $21 trillion, and real U.S. GDP hovers around $17 trillion. In 18 years, the federal debt has increased 265%, while GDP has increased only 36%. A company whose debt exceeds assets is bankrupt but can reorganize the organization and renegotiate its debt. The question is, can a country merely wipe away its debt and start over?

newbranchNew Branch Coming Soon!
We are pleased to announce that we will be opening a new Pittsburg/Antioch branch in the near future. Please be informed that we will be closing the branch at 160 East 10th Street in Pittsburg effective April 16, 2018. In the interim, please feel free to visit our branch at 1870 A Street in Antioch, or any of our other branch locations.

These necessary changes will help us in fulfilling our commitment to providing the best member service experience. We thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please contact us at 925-293-1785.
firstalerts1st Alerts
  • We upgraded @ccessOnline Home Banking! Learn more:
  • Click here for information regarding the Equifax Breach.
  • If you have @ccessOnline Home Banking with us, simply transfer a payment to your Visa card. Setting up a regular payment using Bill Pay in @ccessOnline Home Banking will generate a check and that will delay your payment. Instead, you can set up a single or recurring transfer. A transfer is immediate.
community1st in the Community
Mini Motorland

We had a great time last weekend at the Martinez Mini Motorland event on March 24th watching the kids ride their bikes, tricycles and motorized cars. Thanks to all who stopped by our booth! Congratulations to Sofia for being the winner of our Tricycle and helmet and to Madden for winning the Radio Flyer!

2018 NorCal Career Fair

We had a great time attending the 2018 NorCal Career Fair April 5th at Solano Community College. If you are looking for a great career check us out at We're hiring!

timeandmoneyWe all love saving time and money.

Check out how simple it can be!
With a $400,000.00 Mortgage

30 year, fixed rate mortgage at 4.25% APR 1  
has a principal and interest payment of
with finance charges estimated at
20 year, fixed rate mortgage at 3.875% APR 1
has a principal and interest payment of
and finance charges estimated at
So for about $430.00 more per month, you can 
Save 10 Years and around $133,000.00 
in finance charges!

Call us today to save some 
serious time and money! 
(925) 335-3870

1: APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Mortgage amount, rates and terms are only examples and estimations. Call our Mortgage Department at 925 335-3870 for actual costs. Example Quotes: 4.302% APR for 30 years and 3.946% APR for 20 years. Taxes and insurance are not included in these calculations. Rates cannot be guaranteed and are subject to change without notice. Loans subject to all policies and procedures. Quoted conforming rates are based on a loan amount of $400,000 with loan-to-value (LTV) not to exceed 75% of appraised value. There are no pre-payment penalties on these quotes. 
1st Northern California Credit Union does not charge points. 
1st Northern California Credit Union - NMLS ID # 580488
scamofthemonthScam of the Month
Tax Identity Theft (Part 2) 
This month's scam comes directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The IRS has identified an existing scam in which cybercriminals have stolen client data from tax professionals and have filed fraudulent refunds using real taxpayer information, including bank account and routing information for direct deposit.

What is new is that the fraudster then contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS. They ask the taxpayer to take certain steps to return the refund, which actually goes to the criminals.

The IRS is advising taxpayers to contact their financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS. Taxpayers can contact the agency at their main number (800) 829-1040 for individual returns and (800) 829-4933 for business returns.

The IRS will never contact taxpayers by phone or by e-mail. Any such contact should be considered a scam and immediately purged.
Learn More >>
tipsforteensTips for Teens
Rainy Day Funds  

It's that time of year when Spring is supposed to be here and at the same time, the Midwest and East Coast keep getting hit with snowstorms. Hopefully the Pineapple Express will have left the West Coast by now, dawning an official Spring. Every year, right around this time, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with my grandpa about the importance of rainy day funds. Granted, at the time, I thought he was being slightly dramatic and reminded myself that he is a product of the Great Depression. Of course he would have different views on saving, being that he was born and raised in Kansas right at the very beginning of the economic crash. Yet the more I think about it, the more it makes sense and the easier it becomes to save.
The thing with rainy day funds is that they really are only meant to be used in emergencies. What's considered an emergency, you ask? It's simple: Bey and Jay-Z announcing a 2018 tour is not an emergency, but unexpected slashed car tires is. Rainy day funds are meant to essentially bail you out of an unexpected situation with little to no inconvenience. They are also meant to be there for more serious situations where you'd need a few months' expenses available instead of just enough to cover one small emergency. However, having an emergency fund (even if it's a small amount) instead of not having one at all is always the better option.
Rainy day funds sound fine and dandy, but there is one small issue: self-control. Having an account with large funds on deposit may make it more tempting to go ahead and purchase the tour tickets since it won't feel like it will be eating at your savings. A good solution would be to budget both a set amount to go into a traditional savings account and another set amount into a rainy day fund. This can be done a number of different ways (remember the envelope method?) but the easiest would be to open a second savings account specifically for rainy day deposits and have an amount automatically transferred from your checking account each month. You can even opt out of being issued an ATM card, forcing you to visit a branch to withdraw cash, making you really think if it is an emergency or not.
At this point in your life, rainy day funds may seem a little unnecessary and overkill, but it's something to start thinking about. Life is unpredictable, and you might experience an emergency next year or even tomorrow. Having those funds available makes all the difference.

Enjoy the April Showers! 
Luis Dominguez
Student Social Media Intern
1st Nor Cal Credit Union

Stop by any of our credit union branches with your kids on 
Friday, April 20th during normal business hours 
to pick up a FREE Piggy Bank in celebration of

Teach Children to Save Day!

insuranceInsurance Tips 
Avoiding Distractions While Driving Could Save Your Life

You've seen them on the roads; you might even know a few of them. And you could be one yourself.

Distracted drivers in come in all shapes, sizes, ages and experience levels. Even if you're not one today, you could become one at any moment - in the time it takes you to answer your cell phone or check the kids in the back seat when you're driving through a neighborhood.
If you or someone else you know thinks you can drive just fine while talking on your phone, think about this: More than 450,000 people were injured in crashes that reportedly involved distracted driving in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 5,000 of those people died.

Distractions on the road come in many forms, according to, a U.S. Department of Transportation website. There are three main kinds of distractions: 
  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual -taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing
To help you avoid all three kinds of distractions the next time you're behind the wheel of your car, here are a few tips:
  • Put your phone in silent mode and store it away from the front seat or in a purse or bag. This helps reduce temptation.
  • Have a passenger answer your phone or return text messages for you.
  • If a call or a text can't wait, pull over in a safe spot before using your phone.
  • This one seems obvious, but finish shaving or applying makeup before you get in the car!
  • If you're emotional, wait until you've calmed down before hitting the road.
  • Avoid road rage. You'll be happier and safer.
Whenever you're on the road, it's not a time to multi-task. Focus on driving safely.
As an added benefit of your 1st Nor Cal membership, we at Lou Aggetta Insurance will help you review the things that are important to you and provide you with options for reducing risk in your life. We are an independent insurance agent and can provide you with home, auto, umbrella, earthquake, flood, business and many other types of insurance coverage.

Contact us today to schedule your free review.

Denia Aggetta Shields
Lou Aggetta Insurance, Inc.
2637 Pleasant Hill Road
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 945-6161
License #OK22281

Like us on Facebook at Lou Aggetta Insurance
Follow us on Twitter @LouAggetta

retirementsolutionsRetirement Solutions 
Retirees - Pay Taxes on Social Security Benefits 
By Jason Vitucci, CFP® & Gene A. Schnabel

Despite adjustments to income tax brackets and rates under the recently enacted tax reform legislation, an increasing number of retirees find 50% of more of their Social Security benefits subject to federal taxes. That's because the income thresholds governing the taxability of Social Security benefits have remained static for decades and have not been adjusted for inflation.
The taxation of Social Security benefits was first introduced in the Social Security Amendments of 1983 as part of a broader package designed to raise revenue and cut long-term costs for the Social Security program. In 1993, a second tier was added through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), allowing up to 85% of a beneficiary's Social Security income to be exposed to federal income tax.3 While this only represented 3.4% of the $957.5 billion in Social Security revenue collected in 2016,4 more than 50% of retirees are now subject to these taxes, up from 1 in 10 households when the tax was first established.5
How Social Security Benefits are Taxed 
  • Individuals with a combined income of $25,000-$34,000 are subject to income taxes on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Those with more than $34,000, can expect to pay taxes on up to 85% of their Social Security benefits.
  • Married couples filing jointly with a combined income of $32,000-$44,000 are subject to income taxes on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Those with more than $44,000 in combined income can expect to pay taxes on up to 85% of their Social Security benefits.
In this context, the IRS defines "combined income" (also known as "provisional income") as:

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) + Nontaxable Interest + 1/2 of your Social Security benefits 

Currently, no one pays taxes on more than 85% of their Social Security benefits.6

In addition to federal taxes,13 states tax Social Security benefits. While Vermont treats Social Security benefits the same as the federal government, certain other states tax Social Security benefits only if income exceeds a state-specified threshold. For example, Connecticut taxes Social Security benefits if your income tops $50,000, or $60,000 if you're married filing jointly.7
For many retirees, a comprehensive approach to planning that encompasses tax, investment and Social Security planning may help limit or reduce the burden of Social Security taxes. Contact the office today to schedule time to talk about ways to help reduce your tax exposure in retirement.

We help our clients navigate through the confusing maze of financial issues as it relates to financial planning. If you feel that we may be a good fit to work together, please don't hesitate to contact our office.   As a valued 1st Nor Cal member, we invite you to contact us for a complimentary financial analysis. We also invite you to attend any of our Retirement Planning workshops that we hold. For more information about our practice, or to make an appointment, please call us at (925) 370-3750 or visit our website at

Vitucci Integrated Planning  
2890 N. Main Street, Suite 201
Walnut Creek, CA 94597 
Securities through First Allied Securities, a registered broker dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through First Allied Advisory Services, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Investments not FDIC or NCUA/NCUSIF insured, not insured by Credit Union, may lose value. Products offered are not guarantees or obligations of the Credit Union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal.  1st Nor Cal CU, Bay Area Retirement Solutions and First Allied are all separate entities. Jason Vitucci CA
Insurance Lic.: 0F59894, Gene A. Schnabel CA Insurance Lic.: 0663016

FinancialCounselingFREE Financial Counseling
Are you in need of financial counseling?
1st Nor Cal is here to help. Timely and honest debt advice is available to our members at no cost or obligation. Learn how to manage your finances.

Make your appointment TODAY!

Just a reminder, you can annually request FREE Credit Reports from all 3 credit reporting agencies online by going to:
For FREE Financial Counseling, don't hesitate to contact:

Shelley Murphy
Senior Vice President of Lending & Collections
(925) 228-7550 Ext.824

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