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PresidentsCornerPresident's Corner
My wife and I took a trip to Home Depot to buy light bulbs. As I was pulling out my credit card to pay, the clerk asked if I had a chip card. I said, "Yes. Our Credit Union is sending out the new chip cards to our members. I would use my debit card, but we're still testing the chip."

The clerk looked stunned and responded, "Credit unions have debit cards?"

My wife, who majored in fashion merchandising in college (I know, I know. Elle Woods majored in fashion merchandising in the movie "Legally Blonde"), went into full marketing mode. She rattled off a list of all our services to the clerk faster than logging onto the Internet.

"I didn't know credit unions had all these services. I hate my bank. Can I join one?" asked the clerk.

For those members who have had Credit Union accounts for many years, this may sound like an unusual conversation. However, the reach of credit unions hasn't changed much over the last 30 years. Even though credit unions manage over $1 trillion in assets, they only control 7% of the financial market, the same percentage as 1985.

The perception among non-members hasn't changed much in the last third of a century. I don't know if it's the term "credit union," or that people still think you must work at a certain company, government agency, or military base to join, or that credit unions have limited services in limited locations.

Most of the largest credit unions have many locations with full services and a community charter limited to only the geographic region they are approved to serve. As most of you are now aware, Contra Costa converted its public service employee charter to a community charter serving people living or working in Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano Counties. We still have a relatively limited branch network but have plans to expand as we continue to grow in members, loans, and shares.

Credit unions, large and small, have had to work together to provide affordable services over a wider area.  We are perceived as having a limited ATM network, even by our own members, but most credit unions are members of The CO-OP Network, a credit union-owned network which operates over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs in North America, more than Bank of America.

Hopefully, my wife and I gave something for that Home Depot clerk to think about. Credit unions may look small and unsophisticated to the untrained eye, but that clerk will discover credit unions will give her all she needs in financial services, plus superior service as a bonus. We're the best deal in town. Ask my wife.

David M. Green
(925) 335-3802
U.S. Real GDP Growth Rate Chart with Outlook
Year over Year Percent Change in Real GDP
The Financial Forecast Center is forecasting slowing of the U.S. GDP growth rate over the next 6 to 12 months. A primary cause is the slowing of both nonresidential and residential fixed investment.

Slowing fixed investment growth will be driven by falling investment in the oil and gas industry and a leveling of construction in the housing market.

11% cash back on all purchases when using a 1st Northern California Visa Credit Card. Excludes cash advances and balance transfers. Rebate applied monthly to Visa Credit Card account balance. Rebate cannot exceed $10 per month and/or $120 per year. Terms are subject to change without notice.
RetirementSolutionsThe Difference Between Good & Bad Debt
Some debts are worth assuming, but others exert a drag on retirement saving.

By Jason Vitucci, CFP & Gene A Schnabel
Who will retire with substantial debt? It seems many baby boomers will - too many. In a 2014 Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, 44% of boomers reported that they were concerned about the size of their household debt. While many are carrying mortgages, paying with plastic also exerts a drag on their finances. According to credit reporting agency Experian, boomers are the generation holding the most credit cards (an average of 2.66 per person) and the biggest average per-person credit card balance ($5,347).2,3

Indebtedness plagues all generations - and that is why the distinction between good debt and bad debt should be recognized.

What distinguishes a good debt from a bad one? A good debt is purposeful - the borrower assumes it in pursuit of an important life or financial objective, such as homeownership or a college degree. A good debt also gives a borrower long-term potential to make money exceeding the money borrowed. Good debts commonly have both of these characteristics.

In contrast, bad debts are taken on for comparatively trivial reasons, and are usually arranged through credit cards that may charge the borrower double-digit interest (not a small factor in the $5,347 average credit card balance cited above).

Some people break it down further. Oppressive debt is debt at 10% or greater interest, a payday loan being a classic example. Working debt comes with much less interest and may be tax-deductible (think mortgage payments), so it may be worth carrying.4

Mortgage debt is the largest debt for most new retirees. According to the American College, the average new retiree carries $100,000 in home loan debt. That certainly amounts to good debt for most people.4

Student loans usually amount to good debt, but not necessarily for the increasing numbers of retiring baby boomers who carry them. Education loans have become the second-largest debt for this demographic, and in some cases retirees are paying off loans taken out for their children or grandchildren.4

Credit card and auto loan debt also factor into the picture. Some contend that an auto loan is actually a good debt because borrower has purchased a durable good, but the interest rates and minimal odds of appreciation for cars and trucks suggest otherwise.

The fifties are crucial years for debt management.
The years from 50-59 may represent the peak earning years for an individual, yet they may also bring peak indebtedness with money going out for everything from mortgage payments to eldercare to child support. As many baby boomers will retire with debt, the reality is that their retirement income will need to be large enough to cover those obligations.

How much debt are you carrying today? Whether you want to retire debt-free or live with some debt after you sell your business or end your career, you need to maintain the financial capacity to address it and/or eradicate it. 

At Bay Area Retirement Solutions, we are happy to take a look at your current financial plan. As a valued credit union member, we invite you to contact us for a complimentary financial plan review. We also invite you to attend any of our Retirement Planning workshops that we hold. For more information about our practice, our workshops, or to make an appointment, please call us at (925) 370-3750 or visit our website

Bay Area Retirement Solutions
1330 Arnold Drive, Suite 249
Martinez, CA 94553

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 Northern California Credit Union, Bay Area Retirement Solutions and First Allied are all separate entities. Gene A. Schnabel CA Insurance Lic.: 0663016, Jason Vitucci CA Insurance Lic.: 0F59894 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

2: [3/26/15]
3: [4/23/15]
4: [4/22/15]
5: [3/26/15]
tipsforteensTips for Teens
To buy or not to buy? That is the question.

Samsung and LG have both announced their latest flagship phones for 2016. Both of these phones are new, shiny, and have the latest technology. Other than that, they're almost like last year's phones, which they too were new, shiny, and had the latest technology. So the question is: To buy or not to buy?

Reasons to buy a new phone:
  • Latest Technology: Both of these phones are mind-blowingly awesome when it comes to their technology. The Samsung S7 is water-resistant and comes with Samsung Pay which allows you to make mobile payments anywhere a magstripe card is accepted. The LG G5 is basically the closest thing to a Lego phone since you can swap out certain pieces of the phone to make it fit your needs. Both of these phones are Virtual Reality (VR) ready. So, if mobile payments and/or VR sound like something you need to have, then you might want to consider upgrading.
  • New Phone: If you have a phone that is: two or more years old, has a broken screen, scuff marks, or broken buttons, then you might consider treating yourself to a new phone. If you broke your screen, it can be replaced, but sometimes it's not worth it, financially, to further invest in your ageing phone.
  • Bragging Rights: Duh.
Reasons Not to Buy a New Phone:
  • Wait for Greater Technology: Technology never stands still. It's always changing and improving with each passing year. So, if this year's phones don't meet your expectations, wait for next year's phones. It's almost a guarantee that they will be an improvement from this year.
  • Wait for Offers: Sometimes phone manufacturers or cellular companies offer lower prices or special promotional items with your purchase if you buy a new phone at a certain time. Typically, these are offered in the summer when school is over, in the fall when school starts, and Black Friday until the end of the year.
  • Your Phone is Amazing: If you didn't drop your phone or it's only a year old or so, it's still an amazing phone. It's probably VR compatible, so if that's something you're interested in, look for a VR headset. The bottom line is, as stated above, technology never stands still. Is it necessary to upgrade every year for minor-ish improvements? I argue no, upgrade every two years or more instead.
  • Your Phone Loves You: Your phone is an amazing friend. It's been there for countless selfies. It's there when you need someone to talk to. In fact, you're probably reading this on your phone.
This same concept applies to all brands of phones. No matter how tempting the upgrades are each year, make sure you stop and ask yourself, "To buy or not to buy?"

Luis Dominguez
Student Social Media Intern
1st Nor Cal Credit Union

aggettaDo You Need an Umbrella? 
If you own a home or car you protect it with Homeowners or Auto Insurance. However there are instances where the Liability limits provided are not enough. Would your current insurance be adequate to protect your assets if you are liable for a catastrophic loss? A lawsuit could wipe out all of your assets and your future earnings. Are you prepared for what comes after your Liability insurance runs out? You are if you have a Personal Umbrella.

The purpose of a Personal Umbrella is to provide Liability coverage over and above your Auto, Home, Boat, Rental Property and any other Personal Liability coverage you have already. It comes in increments of $1,000,000 and policies start at around $200/year. As a bonus, there is legal representation included for Liability Claims brought against you. This goes a long way to protect your personal net worth against judgments and claims related to accidental issues.
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, life, health, business and many other types of insurance coverage.
Contact me today to schedule your free review.
Denia Aggetta Shields
Lou Aggetta Insurance
2637 Pleasant Hill Road
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 945-6161
Like us on Facebook at Lou Aggetta Insurance  
Follow us on Twitter @LouAggetta
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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