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PresidentsCornerPresident's Corner
Growing up, John Houseman was one of my favorite actors. His most famous role in which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor was playing the gruff but fair law school professor in the 1973 film The Paper Chase and accompanying TV series by the same name.

What is not well-known about Mr. Houseman is that he amassed a fortune in the international grain market before losing it all after the 1929 stock market crash. It was then he turned to Broadway and a successful acting career. I don't know much about the grain market, except that according to M. M. Kostecki's 1982 book State Trading in International Markets - Theory and Practice of Industrialized and Developing Countries, only a few multinational companies handle 90% of domestic exports and 70% of world exports.

However, Mr. Houseman will forever be known as the pitchman for the now-defunct investment banking firm Smith Barney with his famous last line in every commercial, "We make money the old fashioned way. We earn it." That got me thinking about how the word earn is interpreted today. Workers earn a paycheck, retirees earn a pension check, and investors earn interest from their savings and investments.

What is disturbing is that homeowners brag about how much equity they've earned from their homes. Yes, as principal balances decline and property value increase, equity accumulates. And yes, when the home is sold, the owner receives the benefit of the equity in cash. But some homeowners today, as many did in 2006, are using their home's earnings as an ATM and are withdrawing the equity just because it's there. We routinely ask members who request unusually large amounts of their equity what they're planning on doing with the money. One member, who apparently was caught off guard by that question, verbally fumferred but finally replied, "I'm putting it in my savings account."

Economically, that makes no sense. Why cash out of a home appreciating at an average annual rate of 3% to put it in a savings account earning barely over zero? The most likely scenario was that this member wanted to spend the money which would have left much less when the home is subsequently sold.

I look at my house as a long-term investment. There's no way to know how much my house will be worth when we sell our house, but the cashed-out equity will be there as a supplement to my retirement. Not knowing what will happen to Social Security has added to the need to ensure as much money as possible has been accumulated prior to retiring. The key is to invest for the long-term and forget about the short-term gains which just encourage spending for stuff that yields only short-term pleasure.

I'd like to think that's the way to make money the old fashioned way - I earned it.

David M. Green
(925) 335-3802

For some perspective on long-term interest rates, this chart illustrates the 117-year trend of the 10-year Treasury bond yield (thick blue line). 30-year mortgage rates are most correlated with the 10-year Treasury bond yield   It is worth noting that the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond has been declining since the early 1980s. More recently, the 10-year yield has spiked to 2.4% and is now approaching support of its 20-year downtrend channel. One point of interest... Spikes in long-term yields tend to be a relative negative for the stock market as it tends to discourage investment while increasing the burden of existing debt. For example, the last two times the 10-year yield hit (early 2000 and 2007) support (green line), the stock market soon followed with a major decline.
*Annual Percentage Rates (APR) are subject to change. Rate, maximum term, maximum loan amount and advance amount are based on credit qualifications. Maximum terms vary based on loan amount. We reserve the right to determine collateral value based on industry recognized guidelines or full appraisal. Must be 18 years old or older to apply for a loan. Loans are subject to all Credit Union policies and procedures. Auto loan at 2.24% APR requires a minimum FICO® 680 Credit Score. 60 months term at 2.24% APR is $17.64 per $1,000.00 borrowed.
tipsforteensTips for Teens 
Five Simple New Year's Resolutions That Anyone Can Do

As we welcome the New Year and look around and question how we can better our lives, we often over-shoot our resolutions and forget to do them by February. The key to keeping your New Year's resolutions is to make them both achievable and realistic. So, here are five realistic New Year's resolutions that you will keep on doing way into 2017!

  1. Clean up litter: When you're walking around and notice a wrapper on the ground, if it's safe enough, pick it up and dispose of it in the nearest waste reciprocal. The environment thanks you for your help!
  2. Sign up for eStatements: While we're on the subject of being eco-friendly, sign up for eStatements when possible and reduce your paper and carbon footprint. Paper statements require paper to be sourced, shipped to a store, shipped to the printing location, and then shipped to your mailbox all in mail trucks and airplanes, most likely running on gasoline. eStatements just require an email, which greatly reduces the amount of CO2 that is released. To learn how to sign up for 1st Nor Cal eStatements, click here.
  3. Help "pick up" motorized shopping carts: This one is probably my favorite. The easiest and safest way to get into my local Walmart is by taking the sidewalk that is behind the ADA parking area that is specifically designed for all shoppers to use and be out of the way from other cars. However, since it is behind the ADA parking area, people who use motorized shopping carts often leave them on the sidewalk. I understand that the people who use these carts often are unable to return them to the store for medical reasons, but it did get me thinking; what if the battery runs out and someone has to use one of these carts and the store has none left to loan out? I'm not trying to do someone else's job, I just want other people to be able to go into Walmart at any time and shop as a regular customer without having to worry how much battery life remains on the cart. Quick note though: My Walmart does not allow anyone under 13 to drive the carts without an adult present, so if you are under 13, have an adult present. Also, remember to use common sense when driving the carts and be cautious of cars and shoppers. It's not a toy! Don't do donuts on the sidewalk or you might get into trouble.
  4. Put your shopping cart in a shopping cart return area: This one is simple to do. When you are done shopping, don't put your cart off to the side or in a nearby bush, be courteous and return your cart to the return area. You'll make someone's job easier, make the parking lot safer to drive in, and allow for more shopping carts to be in the store, so no one will be without a cart when they need one. This has happened to me before and it was both inconvenient because I had to exit the store and play Hide and Seek: Shopping Cart Edition and shocking because I had never noticed that a store's shopping cart supply is not endless.
  5. Donate to a non-profit or charity: Go online and find a charity or non-profit with a cause that you believe in and set up a monthly donation contribution. It can be as much or as little you want and you can even donate to multiple organizations. You might want to consider donating specifically to local organizations to better your own community. Every dollar you donate is a step closer to success for your cause.
Most importantly, keep on reading the blog! �� 

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


By Jason Vitucci, CFP & Gene A. Schnabel
Pursuing your retirement dreams is challenging enough without making some common, and very avoidable, mistakes. Here are eight big mistakes to steer clear of, if possible.
  1. No Strategy: Yes, the biggest mistake is having no strategy at all. Without a strategy, you may have no goals, leaving you no way of knowing how you'll get there-and if you've even arrived. Creating a strategy may increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement.
  2. Frequent Trading: Chasing "hot" investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then make adjustments based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs.¹
  3. Not Maximizing Tax-Deferred Savings: Workers have tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. Not participating in your employer's 401(k) may be a mistake, especially when you're passing up free money in the form of employer-matching contributions.²
  4. Prioritizing College Funding over Retirement: Your kids' college education is important, but you may not want to sacrifice your retirement for it. Remember, you can get loans and grants for college, but you can't for your retirement.
  5. Overlooking Healthcare Costs: Extended care may be an expense that can undermine your financial strategy for retirement if you don't prepare for it.
  6. Not Adjusting Your Investment Approach Well Before Retirement: The last thing your retirement portfolio can afford is a sharp fall in stock prices and a sustained bear market at the moment you're ready to stop working. Consider adjusting your asset allocation in advance of tapping your savings so you're not selling stocks when prices are depressed.³
  7. Retiring with Too Much Debt: If too much debt is bad when you're making money, it can be deadly when you're living in retirement. Consider managing or reducing your debt level before you retire.
  8. It's Not Only About Money: Above all, a rewarding retirement requires good health, so maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, stay socially involved, and remain intellectually active.
At Vitucci Integrated Planning, we would love the opportunity to take a look at your current retirement plan. If you are yet to formulate a plan, we would love to help you do just that. As a valued credit union member, we invite you to contact us for a complimentary financial planning meeting. 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 at

Vitucci Integrated Planning  
1330 Arnold Drive, Suite 249
Martinez, CA 94553

1: The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation and diversification are approaches to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee against investment loss. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
2: Distributions from 401(k) plans and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.
3 : The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation is an approach to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation does not guarantee against investment loss. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with First Allied, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. 
insuranceFree Insurance Review 
When was the last time that you reviewed your insurance? As we launch into a New Year, it is a great time to evaluate your coverage, because auto, home, life and other insurance needs change over time.  Insurance professionals recommend that you review your policies at least once a year.  Without an annual review, it's difficult to determine if you are paying too much or are underinsured, which could be financially devastating.

Insurance is a very simple is there to protect you when something unplanned happens.  If you unexpectedly lose your house or belongings to a catastrophe or theft, insurance will help you get back to normal.  Same thing with your car, boat, vacation home, motorcycle or anything else that you would choose to insure.

As an added benefit of your 1st Nor Cal Credit Union 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, Inc.
2637 Pleasant Hill Road
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 945-6161
License #OK22281

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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.


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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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