Americans are infatuated with technology. E-mail and texting has made communication faster and more efficient, even if some of our kids fail to reply to the text, “Where are you, and when are you coming home?” Technology has made shopping easier; buying tickets to the opera, sporting events, and theme parks effortless; and even most recently put the Kardashians’ clothing store out of business. The Yelp app can help find the perfect restaurant, and the flashlight app is great to read the menu in that poorly-lit but otherwise perfect restaurant.
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.
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.
We are pleased to announce that we will be opening a new branch in the Pittsburg Century Plaza Summer 2018. 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.
Back in November, I received a newsletter in my email inbox. I probably signed up to receive these emails back when I thought 0.05% off $500 dollars was a good deal, so I read and deleted it, thinking that would be it for a while. Later that same week, another newsletter from the same store came in for a different set of deals. This time, I deleted it again but was both a little annoyed and a little surprised that they had sent two emails in the same week after a six month hiatus. That next weekend, I received a third email for a different set of deals! At this point, I was fairly annoyed for two reasons: one, I remember signing up the year before for that measly discount but only for the once a month frequency and two, it made me realize just how many unopened emails I had in my inbox. On top of the junk mail, there was last week’s actual news still to be read, some satire news still needing to be laughed at, a couple of order confirmations and tracking numbers for items that I already received, and many more.
After Ebby Calvin (“Nuke”) LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) pitched a perfect inning for the minor league Durham Bulls baseball team in 1988’s Bull Durham, he sat next to his catcher, Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner), and they had the following conversation:
Nuke : That was great, huh?
Crash : Your fastball’s up, your curveball’s hanging. In the Show, they would’ve ripped you.
Nuke : Can’t you even let me enjoy the moment?
Crash : The moment’s over.
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.
College. It’s like handing over an ounce of gold at the bookstore for a years’ worth of supplies. Seriously though, according to the College Board, the “yearly books-and-supplies in-state estimate for the average full-time undergraduate student at a four-year public college is about $1,298″* and gold is currently trading at about $1,300 per oz. Thankfully, there are some ways to minimize the impact to the point where FASFA might actually be enough!
Don’t forget to check the public library!
Let’s face it, it’s probably been a long time since you last set foot in a public library. They’re still there and they often have the books you need to check out for free! For example, suppose the books your professor asks for are George Orwell’s 1984, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. One option would be to cough up $25 dollars for three books that realistically will never be read again and just take up room on your bookshelf. Option two is to check to see if these books are old enough to be in the public domain. Books in the public domain are free and are usually uploaded in a PDF format by a reputable source, like a .edu, .org, or 3rd party eBook distributor like the Google Play Bookstore or the Amazon Kindle store. Unlike PDFs that you find on Google after searching for The Great Gatsby Free PDF, these PDFs and legal to use, redistribute, and print since their copyright expired. The former PDFs are infringing on the books’ copyright and you might run into legal trouble if caught using one. However, the third and fail safe route is to use the public library. Just go back in, renew or apply for a library card, then go to the website to place holds on the books that are needed that semester. Just remember to return them after you’re done using them to avoid late fees.
Jake Blues (played by John Belushi in the 1980 classic movie “The Blues Brothers”) was covered in mud after a burst of gunfire from his former fiancée (played by the late Carrie Fisher) while he was trying to explain to her why he left her at the altar.
“I ran out of gas. I got a flat tire. I didn’t have change for cab fare. I lost my tux at the cleaners. I locked my keys in the car. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT!…”
Tax identity theft is still on the rise. Last year, the IRS identified 14,000 fraudulent tax returns with $900 million claimed in fraudulent refunds, according to an audit report from the U.S. Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration. The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete, and that you get any refund you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN. The IRS does not start contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to .