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The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Content to Market Yourself Online
April 17, 2014
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160910502Our personal brand is becoming much more important. Today college students are leveraging their social media platforms in hopes of building brand that will entice future employers. Developing ones brand has become the center of many workshops and aids for universities in order to prevent students from misrepresenting themselves to employers.  Here are some guidelines students can use to produce content that will help differentiate their personal brand from others.   

Time: Creating a brand if it is not consistently shown or is irrelevant to current events is not worth creating.  Develop a pattern, e.g. release blogs or videos at the same time of the day or week.  Routines allow personal branding to be manageable. Develop a system where you have the time to produce materials that are worth reading or viewing. For example wake every other morning and while having your coffee read an article and write your reactions to it. Keeping to a schedule will prevent you from over producing or posting erratically.

Quality: This is a huge issue in our generation. We tend to push or publish content that adds no value.  Have you ever searched for information and found the same thing copied and pasted in different forums? If your content goal is to share your thoughts or opinions, why would you not create something that brings out your brand in your work?  Another huge issue when producing content is the tone of your work. The content you publish is a direct representation of you and keeping your content professional can be a huge task. You need to have a system that ensures you always position yourself in the best light by what you publish or say.  Keep yourself sharp; always edit and check your work before publishing. Remember every tweet is saved in congress!
  
Strategy:  The amount of social media and other avenues available on the web makes using every channel to voice our brand a daunting task. Being able to connect to professionals on all channels while maintaining the same brand message is even more difficult to manage.  To overcome this hurdle we must create content that can be used on multiple platforms. Instead of developing a home for all your work like a personal webpage, send snippets of your work through different channels to keep each unique.

Hopefully this input is able to shed some light on how to create content that will differentiate your personal brand.

Created by: Zachary Caputo/HOFSTRA; Major – Marketing; Minor – Psychology
Career Goal: To make a mark in the field of marketing and be surrounded by people who share my passion.

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How to Make the Most of What You’ve Got
April 10, 2014
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   177330844 You are in college, and you know there are lots of things you want to do, such as hang out with friends, go out, party, and you cannot wait for the opportunity to get started. There is only one problem…money. Activities are expensive and as a college student you cannot afford to do it all. Now is a good time to learn to make wise budgeting choices. If you are lucky enough to have parents who support you, they are most likely giving you a limited amount of money to spend. If you are not being financially supported by your parents it is even more of a struggle money-wise. Either way, you need to figure out how to pay for the day-to-day necessities and other expense for which you may be responsible, such as tuition, housing, a meal plan and books and stay away from the “extras” – the nice-to-haves vs. the need-to-haves.

    If you are paying your own way through college, think of it as an investment of your money and your time. So how do you manage everything else? From a budget standpoint, pay all the essentials first. Make the remaining money last as long as possible. That may mean eating on campus every meal of every day or not going to that party because of the extra cost. Even if you have money for those ‘extras’, it would benefit you to think twice and weigh your options before making a spending decision, because it works to your benefit to save as much as you possible – for when the money is really needed – like an unplanned emergency or a planned event, like a vacation get-away-from-it-all.

    Students who are lucky enough to have their parents supporting them need to know one thing – your parents are not your personal ATM. If you spend too much of their money they will most likely stop or slow down the cash flow. Therefore, try to make their money last and ask them for as little financial help as possible. Be cautious about what you spend and how much time you spend doing extra activities. After all, if you slack off and do not focus on your schoolwork your parents may cut you off as fast as if you were overspending their money. Make your time – and your money – count.

Created by Phillip Levy/HOFSTRA; Major: Marketing; Career Goal: Sports GM   

 

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Couponing – Mobile Apps That Make Your Wallet Smile
April 3, 2014
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178165799It always pays off to save money. In this economy, make every cent count. The past several years, with the development of the smartphone and the almost-simultaneous integration of mobile internet, several applications have surfaced in the iPhone and Android stores that can definitely help you save some of your hard earned dollars. Here are a couple apps that I’ve personally found useful in ensuring I take advantage of the best deals. Look for them on your smartphone and start saving!

• iSlick (free) – This application is great for the typical consumer. Whether you are in the mood for shoes, clothing, electronics, accessories, or more, iSlick has it all. Even better, this extremely intuitively designed page searches for all the deals on the World Wide Web and posts the best ones on the “Front Page,” or the home screen. I’ve personally gotten many a deal from this application and it’s a necessity on my smartphone/tablet.

• Grocery Smarts Coupon Shopper (free) – Do you shop at the supermarket frequently? This app is your new best friend. How it works is the application customizes a grocery list for you including all the current sales at the local grocery chain stores in your area. This way, you don’t have to drive around the city to different stores just to save a couple cents. Instead, take advantage of the sales, deals, and coupons at the stores that you prefer.

• The Coupons App (free) – This app is a bit less organized. It shows you a list of all the coupons and deals available, with no way to sort them. However, in my personal experience, the savings on this application are definitely a plus in my book!

• Groupon  (free) – Groupon works through the power of numbers. Businesses and retailers will post deals, which can be activated once a certain amount of individuals have “bought” into them. Groupon has a lot of vacation, social, and restaurant discounts, so if you are thinking of going on a vacation anytime soon, this is the place to look!

A tip to save you time – it’s always easier for you (and your wallet) if you browse though these apps on a regular basis. If you are in a hurry or rush to purchase a specific item, the chances are, the deal won’t be there. However, if you have a running list of items that you need in advance, by habitually checking the apps, you may run into a good deal when you need it. Preparation always pays off.

Happy searching and saving!

Created by: Leland Chen/HOFSTRA; Major – Marketing; Career Goal – To create an advertisement that makes millions of people smile.

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13 Things Mentally Strong People Tend Not To Do
March 27, 2014
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140090129Shared by Michael Haltman

Mentally strong people tend not to do the following thirteen things! For those of us who own our own businesses or who are working their way up the corporate ladder, there are some lessons to be learned here.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair.

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.  Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.
8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well).

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They have “staying power” and understand that genuine changes take time.
NEFCU’s experienced business team is here to provide solutions on how to grow and manage your business. Contact us at 516-714-2960 or email us at BusinessServices@mynefcu.org today.
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Choosing the Right Mortgage – Fixed or Adjustable Rate
March 20, 2014
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178142023Congratulations! You’re ready to own a home, or maybe you’re in the market for an upgrade. Whatever the reason, taking that next step towards homeownership is a big deal. But before you’re able to move forward, you must first decide what type of mortgage option is best for your financial situation.

A mortgage is a long-term financial commitment that should not be taken lightly. Selecting the right mortgage can make a lasting difference when it comes to your monthly payments and the overall cost of the loan.

There are two main types of mortgages offered – fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. Both have their own unique set of features. It’s wise to consider the pros and cons of each in order to understand which one best meets your needs.

Fixed-rate Mortgages. Fixed-rate mortgages are the most commonly selected option because they lock in a set interest rate. Month to month, the mortgage payments remain fixed throughout the loan term.

Pro -  The primary benefit of a fixed-rate mortgage is protection from increased rates/payments. Should mortgage rates increase over the term of the loan, you will not be affected. It is easy to plan and build a monthly budget around a fixed loan amount.

Note - Mortgage payments are comprised of principal, interest, taxes and   insurance. Although the monthly principal and interest amount remain constant throughout the mortgage term, your taxes and insurance may fluctuate, causing your monthly payment to increase.

Con – Since your rate is locked in for the term of your mortgage, you will not be able to take advantage of lower interest rates and lower monthly payments unless you refinance.

Adjustable-rate Mortgages. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are loans where the initial interest rate is fixed for a specific number of years (typically 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 years) followed by a periodic adjustment which is based on an “index” for the remaining term. (The index reflects the costs to the lender of borrowing on the credit market.) An ARM usually provides an initial rate that is lower than that of a fixed-rate mortgage.
 
Pro - Initial rates are usually lower than those of a fixed-rate mortgage.  The adjustment amount is “capped”, which helps to prevent mortgage payments from rising significantly when adjustments are made.  As a general rule, ARM’s can be a good choice if you plan to move within a few years, refinance the property in future or believe your income will increase substantially over the next several years.

Con - Your monthly payments will most likely increase following the initial term and you will need to be financially prepared to meet the higher payment amount.

It is important to consult with a qualified mortgage lender to help you determine the right product to meet your needs. NEFCU offers a variety of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages with various rates and terms to meet your unique needs. For additional information, or to obtain a free pre-approval, call our Mortgage Team at 516-561-0300 or visit http://www.myNEFCU.org.

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20 Practical Tips for a Great Business Plan
March 13, 2014
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176889969Scooped by Ryan Clements/IN Work

     Have you started a new business, or are you contemplating finally launching that venture that has been on your mind for a long time?  If you want to succeed you’ll need a plan.
     You don’t need a fancy business degree to be successful, but you do need vision, determination, organization and hard work.  A functional business plan is a good place to start.  This article will give you 20 “practical tips” that will start your business off on the right path.
     1. A business plan isn’t a school assignment. Some people approach a business plan like a school assignment: i.e. there are 20+ “sections” that I need to do in order to complete it.  This is a mistake.  Your business plan is not a school assignment.  There is much more at stake than just “filling in the blanks.”  You have to be thinking survival from day one.  How are you going to realistically get this business off the ground?  How are you going to realistically make money?
     2. Think substance over form. Don’t worry as much about the form.  The substance is what really matters.  If you spend more than about half an hour looking for templates on the Internet then you’ve wasted time.  Form isn’t what is important.  You don’t need a fancy program or template.  A simple word document will suffice.  What is most important is that your plan has substance–it defines a marketable product, a logical and effective plan for growing revenue, and a sound understanding of the potential expenses, competitive pressures and risks involved in getting this venture off the ground.
     3. Don’t overcomplicate it. Think of the “pitch.”  If you had to explain what you do, and whom you do it for, in one minute, what would you say?  If you had to condense your business plan to one page, what would be the most important things to include on that page?  These are very important questions to ask yourself from the outset.  Pages and pages of market analysis sometimes doesn’t do anything to clarify your strategy, and it only serves as a distraction to the most important issue:  how are you going to create a cash flow before you run out of money?
     4. What do you sell, how much do you sell it for, and who buys it? This is a critical piece that is fundamental to a good business plan.  What is your menu of products or services?  What do you sell?  How much do you sell it for?  Who buys it?  Are there any other people, or companies that may want to buy it?  How do you make money now, and how will you make money in the future?  If you can’t answer these questions, then you shouldn’t be in business at all.
     5. Be realistic. I don’t doubt your ability to change the world.  I don’t doubt your ability to be the next tech billionaire, as long as you can answer this question:  specifically, how are you going to do it?  What idea gets you there?  How does it get you there?  There is nothing wrong with audacious goals (in fact you should set them) but you need a realistic plan to achieve them.  If you set a wild goal in your business plan then you need a very technical action plan that gets you there.  Wild, unrealistic financial projections without a reasonable action plan are a waste of time.  If you can’t produce a specific, and logical, action plan then you’ve set an unrealistic goal.
     6. Cover the important stuff, and only the important stuff. Cut the fluff.  Keep it simple.  Keep it crystal clear.  What is the important stuff?  The stuff that makes you money and keeps your business alive: understanding what you sell, how you produce it, who you sell it to and for how much, what your process is for making it all come together (including who is going to do what), what your expenses are (and whether you have undershot them), who or what your competition is, and what the material risks are in starting this venture.
     7. Do the research and digest it. Find out what you’re dealing with.  Take some time to research the market that you are entering. Find out who the major players are.  Find out what the international competition is like.  You don’t want to get bogged down in a research abyss, but you also don’t want to shoot from the hip either.
     8. Who is your competition? Understanding who your competition is shows savvy and maturity.   Sometimes your competition isn’t another business; it’s a completely new technology that may render what you do obsolete.  Also, with the Internet, you have to look internationally these days.  There is no other choice.  You are playing in a global world now, whether you like it or not.
     9. List your assumptions. This will be most important when you get to the financial forecasting part of your business plan.  Those numbers (as fun as they are to put down on paper) are based on a set of assumptions.  List what the assumptions are and then incorporate them into your action plan as target goals.  That way, if the assumptions manifest, then your financial projections will as well.  By listing your assumptions you are brining reality to focus.
     10. Develop a laser focus. Yes you may have the confidence to succeed in any industry, however if your business doesn’t have a laser-like focus, it will likely fail.  What does your business do particularly well?  What is the product or service that you can be a market leader in?  What is it that people will talk about?  Narrow it down–before you launch.
     11. Set specific, time-based, goals for the business. Being a “millionaire” and “financially free” isn’t good enough.  You need to set very specific goals for the business–quarterly, annual and bi-annual goals, with specific action benchmarks that you can track.  Setting out defined goals crystalizes your focus and gives you a way of tracking your progress.
     12. Be specific in your action plan. What specific actions are you going to take place in the first month, the first quarter, the first year?  What are your priorities?  Where are you directing your focus initially?  Don’t leave it to chance. Have a specific action plan that you can track.  You’ve heard it over and over:  many businesses fail within the first year.  Time is against you; you need to be as strategic and organized as possible.  Set time-based “action targets.”
     13. Chunk it down. Break down your action plan into chunks.  For instance, you have a marketing objective of penetrating a particular segment, then chunk it down and define how that is going to be accomplished.  Chunking is powerful because it clarifies focus, sets definable targets that you can measure, and serves as a form of accountability (either you’ve accomplished the chunks or you haven’t).
     14. Highlight your progress. The business plan is not meant to be a project that sits in the file for the rest of your life.  It isn’t just a school assignment (see point #1).  It is the foundation of your business.  It is meant to be a living document.  Keep it with you.  Literally keep it in your briefcase (or whatever else you carry around). Refer to it often, possibly even daily.  If you’ve done a good job, your plan will serve as a compass.  It will direct what you are going to invest your time in every single day.
     15. Include all essential parts. Remember to include the important stuff (see point 6).  Just make sure that you don’t leave any of those important parts out.  If you can’t explain to me what you sell, how much you sell it for, how you are going sell it (and what is involved in that progress), how much it costs to produce, distribute and market your product or service, who your competition is, and what the risks are in your undertaking, then you’ve probably left some stuff out.  Also, if you don’t have definable goals, targets and a specific action plan then you probably have some work to do.
     16. Where are you weak? This is closely related to the principles of being realistic, knowing your competition, and stating your assumptions.  How well do you know your business?  How well do you know what is really involved in making this a success? If you are able to state where you are weak then you know your business well.  Also, when you know where you are weak you can make a plan to correct your weaknesses.
     17. Update the plan as you go. Things change. You’re not going to be able to predict everything on day one.  Some of the products you think are going to take off may fall flat, and from out of nowhere a new revenue opportunity may present itself.  Expenses are often higher than you anticipate, and your financial projections will probably come in lower than anticipated.  All of that is OK.  Remember, this is a living document.  Adjust as needed; make new goals, new plans.  The important thing is that you are moving forward in an organized and effective way.
     18. Learn from experience. Use what happens to your business to inform the ongoing drafting process.  There is only one way to get experience.  You can’t get real entrepreneurial experience in school.  You have to learn it the hard way.  So as things happen, treat it as education and adapt your ongoing business plan taking into consideration the lessons you learned through experience.
     19. The plan should reflect your thinking and personality. Don’t feel like you need to duplicate someone else’s methods.  If you aren’t comfortable using a certain style, then get rid of it.  There is no right method.  Your plan should reflect how you think, and how you work.  If it doesn’t, then it will just sit in a drawer.  It becomes just a school assignment, and is a waste of time.  It has to resonate with you.  Put your own personal touch on it.
     20. Gloss is nice, but results are better. Gloss and polish look nice, but a glossed up business plan full of fluff, without actionable steps, and a reasonable strategy to actually make money, are useless.  Remember substance always rules over form. The life cycle of a business involves evolution, maintenance, and dissolution or merger.

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How to Plan for a Sound Financial Future
March 6, 2014
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154271153Shared by Dan Marshall

If you were not able to manage your financial state to your liking last year, then plan to correct it in the new year. Many people are not aware of some of the most common financial pitfalls that can prevent one from building wealth – such as overusing credit cards or not saving enough for unexpected expenses. Consider the following when planning your financial future:

• Have you prepared a budget plan? You can’t deny the fact that creating and sticking to a budget is considered to be one of the most important financial steps needed in order to secure your fiscal state. If you have yet to outline a personalized budget, then start now! Be sure to keep your key financial goals in mind and once you have a realistic plan in place, stick to it.

• Are you spending more than you make? If you’re spending more than you make, then you need to put a check on yourself. Avoid incurring insurmountable debt and set aside a portion of your income (e.g. 10%) with each pay check to start building your savings today!

• Did you default on any of your payments? If you spend more than you earn, then it’s quite obvious that you may not have enough money to pay your bills. Failing to pay your bills on time will hurt your credit score and if you’re late by 90 days, it could affect your credit rating for years to come. So be sure to make timely payments and secure your financial state.

• Are you avoiding paying high interest rate credit card balances? One of the grave mistakes that people make is to avoid paying off their credit card balances. If you only make partial payments – or if you are late making a payment – the added interest to your principal balance will see a huge increase. Try to pay off your balance as quickly as possible by making additional payments whenever possible. Get in the habit of only spending what you can pay back on a monthly basis. If you have a high interest rate, check into credit card balance transfer offers from your local credit union or bank in order to consolidate your debt into one lower-rate card, thus reducing your monthly payments. (Like NEFCU’s no fee, low-interest rate Visa® Platinum Credit Card! Check it out at www.myNEFCU.org.)

• Do you take advantage of discounts when you shop? Plan ahead. Check out daily deals on websites like Groupon to find available coupons/special offers before heading out on your shopping expeditions. Use the money you save to pay off your existing debt or add to your savings.

• Have you outlined your short, intermediate and long term financial goals?  If you haven’t done so already, it’s a wise idea to speak with your credit union or bank’s investment consultant to outline your savings goals and the best methods of achieving them. For example, prudent investors diversify their investments between stocks, bonds and other investment plans. Short-term goals include immediate or upcoming needs; intermediate may focus on the next 5 – 15 years (e.g. saving to buy a home); long-term plans include retirement savings. The sooner you begin to save, the faster your money will grow and work for you in future.

Dan Marshall is a financial writer and a blogger and contributes his posts to various financial communities, blogs and websites. Some topics covered by him are the US debt and the impact on the economic growth, ways in which debtors should rein in their finances, getting a commercial loan with poor credit, the pros and cons of consolidating debt and more.

 

 

 

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Planning Your School Breaks
February 27, 2014
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    186037923When in college, long breaks from school can be boring and uneventful. There are many ways to save yourself from boredom when you’re on break. It isn’t uncommon that your off time will not line up with those of your friends and finding ways to occupy yourself can be a task. The best way to combat this extreme boredom is to plan ahead. You can accomplish this by asking your friends when their breaks happen, reconnecting with some of your friends who are still in high school, making plans with someone who goes to a college that is close to home or maybe spending some time with family. You could also take this time for yourself to relax and catch up on your favorite shows or pick up a good book. Now that we have an idea of how to find people to spend time with, we need to think about what you want to do with them.

    Sometimes just spending time with your friends and family is fun, but you may need to change things up a little, for variety’s sake. If you need ideas for activities, check your local museums and nature areas or search the internet for things to do in your area. The suggested activities you find online may seem “touristy”, but sometimes it’s fun to act like a tourist when you aren’t far from home. You may learn things that you didn’t know before! Maybe taking that civil war tour or going to a new art gallery opening will be more interesting than you think. There is plenty to do, you just need to find the options that interest you most and don’t be afraid to try something out of your norm. Remember if you’re planning something outdoors to always have a backup plan in case of foul weather. Seasonal activities like fruit picking in the summer or skiing and snowboarding in the winter are something new and exciting that isn’t available all year round.

    Don’t forget that break is as good as you make it and if you’re really excited to get some sleep, you shouldn’t feel obligated to hang out with people all day every day. Breaks are meant to be a time to recharge your battery so you can return to school refreshed and ready to get back to work. Appreciate all of the free time you have before you need to hit the books again!

Rory Doehring/ Hofstra – Major: International Business/ Career Goal: Sports Marketing/ Management

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Taxes for Students
February 20, 2014
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161760094Tax season is upon us so save a few bucks this year by filing your own taxes. Maximize your return by getting familiar with the forms and learning about a few special tax breaks designed specifically for college students.

Get Your Money: As a student you may not have enough income that you need to file, however chances are that if you’ve gotten even one pay check this year there’s a refund waiting for you. All you have to do is fill out some forms. So file and put that money into your pocket!

To Begin: Like with any project you don’t want to do, leave yourself plenty of time. There are a lot of calculations and you want to make sure you have time to double check your numbers. Also, plan to take breaks and complete the forms over several short, stress-free sessions versus going crazy at the last minute.

(in)Dependent: While you may be out of your parent’s house and make your own decisions, when it comes to taxes – if your parents still support you financially – they can take you as a dependent on their forms. Talk to them and see what makes the most sense. 

Keep track of your money: If you’re a student, the amount on your paychecks may not be the only type of income you have. Income comes in many shapes such as loans, scholarships and work-study arrangements. Make sure you keep all these sources in mind as you fill out the forms.   

Take a (tax) Break: School is expensive, so to help there are four tax credits designed specifically for students. When filling out your tax form don’t forget to pick the best one for you:
•American Opportunity Credit: Get up to a $2,500 deduction for eligible tuition and fees
• Lifetime Learning Credit: Claim up to $2,000 of your education expenses
• Tuition and Fees Deduction: Allows up to $4,000 of educational expenses
•Student Loan Interest Deduction: Already out of school? Deduct up to $2,500 of your loan interest this year

 Created by: Kalyn Gambord/HOFSTRA – Major: Accounting; Career Goal: Auditor

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6 Steps Needed When Starting Up a Business
February 13, 2014
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108681998Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started on a new business venture, keep in mind the following important steps to ensure your business is on the right footing for the new year.

1. Make Sure Your Business Name Is Legal:  Check to make sure your business name doesn’t conflict with an existing one. Many LLC/Corporation/DBA applications are rejected by the state or county processing office due to name conflicts. Perform a trademark search to check the availability of any name in the U.S.

2. Determine the Best Business Structure:  You will be operating as a sole proprietor by default if you’re a single owner and don’t create a formal business structure with the state. Remember that there’s no separation between the business and business owner if you’re a sole proprietorship – which means that if a business is sued or can’t pay its bills/debts, the business owner(s) are personally responsible. You separate yourself from the business when creating a formal business structure with the state, e.g. Limited Liability Company (LLC), or S or C Corporations. Research to find the best option for you.

3. Register Your Business Name: Your business name will be automatically registered when you form an LLC or Corporation. But if you remain a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to register your business name by filing a Doing Business As (DBA). This stops anyone else from using your business name in your state and lets the public know who’s behind a company.
Note: A DBA does not stop anyone from using the same name in another state. But you can file for trademark protection to protect your name and brand in all 50 states.

4. Apply For a Federal Tax ID Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN): The EIN is rather like a social security number for your business. The IRS tracks your company’s transactions this way. You will be required to have a Tax ID number when operating as an LLC or Corporation, in addition to when opening your business bank account. It’s a wise idea to get a Tax ID number even as a sole proprietor, since then you won’t have to provide your personal security number to clients or vendors you work with.
Note: The IRS website provides information on how to apply for an EIN.

5. Obtain Required Permits: Research which business licenses are required based on your location and type of business. Business licenses may be required from state, county, or town, e.g. zoning permit, general business operation license, etc.

6. Speak with an Employment Law Professional or Consultant: It’s important that you fully understand your legal obligations as an employer, including payroll and withholding taxes, unemployment insurance, wage/hour requirements, etc.

Feel free to contact NEFCU’s business team on how to finance and grow your business. Call us at 516-714-2960 or email us at BusinessServices@myNEFCU.org today.

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