Claudia

Going paperless: Is it the right fit for you?

PaperlessAs I began taking notes for this article with a pen, on a legal pad, I savored the delicious irony of my actions – since the topic is “going paperless.”

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about going paperless. Many companies, driven by a desire to save money and be more environmentally responsible, have attempted the transition to a paperless workplace. Perhaps you’ve considered doing the same thing at home. You’ve signed up for paperless statements with your bank and credit card companies and are pleased with the reduction in physical mail you have to sort through and the accessibility of the information. But, is a truly paperless home right for you? Continue reading »

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Don

File and suspend: A technique for married couples to potentially get the most out of their retirement

Piggy Bank with retirement savings chartThis is the second of our two-part series on income retirement planning.

In my last blog on Social Security I mentioned a technique for married couples that is somewhat “have your cake and eat it too”.  The technique is called file and suspend.  One spouse collects the highest possible amount by waiting until age 70 while the other spouse starts collecting at a younger age.

This is one of the strategies for potentially increasing the amount you get from Social Security.  In a nutshell, the higher earning spouse files for Social Security but immediately suspends the benefit.  This establishes the benefit amount.  With that being done, the lower earning spouse can now file for benefits based on the benefit amount established by the higher earner.  Continue reading »

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Claudia

Break your New Year’s resolution yet? Here are tips to get you back on track

resolutionsLast summer my boyfriend moved in with me.  He’s a great cook.  And I love to bake when I’m happy.  So, as they say, I got fat and happy once we started sharing a home.

I have been hemming and hawing about this for a while, halfheartedly making a New Year’s Resolution to address the issue.  Then I got invited to a wedding, in May, in Florida.  And I discovered that nothing lights a fire under me to get in shape like an invitation to a wedding, in May, in Florida.

With three months to make a change, I knew I needed some accountability, stat.  So I turned to a tracking website my friends have used, with success.  Called myfitnesspal.com, it’s free of charge and easy to use. I entered my current weight and target weight, and the site calculated how many pounds I need to lose per week to achieve that goal in a reasonable amount of time.  Even that first step felt like an accomplishment, because it gave specificity to an otherwise amorphous goal. Continue reading »

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Susquehanna

Girls on the Run: Inspiring girls to pursue their dreams.

GOTRSusquehanna’s Spring Into Action campaign is all about making sure children in our communities have access to a healthy and active lifestyle. As part of the campaign, we’re partnering with nonprofit organizations across our footprint that help carry out this mission.

For each like, share, and comment on our Spring Into Action posts on Facebook, we’re making a donation to one of 10 nonprofits that support the campaign’s goal.

Today’s spotlight is on Girls on the Run, an organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential.   Continue reading »

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Susquehanna

Spring Into Action Spotlight On: Aaron’s Acres, Embracing Possibilities Beyond Disabilities

AAblogphoto4Susquehanna’s Spring Into Action campaign is all about making sure children in our communities have access to a healthy and active lifestyle. As part of the campaign, we’re partnering with nonprofit organizations across our footprint that help carry out this mission.

For each like, share, and comment on our Spring Into Action posts on Facebook, we’re making a donation to one of 10 nonprofits that support the campaign’s goal.

Today’s spotlight is on Aaron’s Acres, an organization that provides year round recreational activities for children and young adults, ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities. Programs exist in three counties in Central PA: Berks, Dauphin and Lancaster.

The team at Aaron’s Acres believes that telling a story of a family they’ve helped is the best way for others to understand who they are and what they do. Continue reading »

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Claudia

Elaborate collections often elicit fascinating stories

kitchen-utensilsDo you know someone who has a beloved collection?  Perhaps it started with a gift from a loved one and blossomed from there.  Or maybe a hobby led to more and more of a particular item taking up residence in the home, like baseball cards or rock band posters.

Collectors are a fascinating bunch of people, and their stories vary greatly.
I asked some co-workers of mine about their collections, and got such a variety of answers!

Sports memorabilia, ceramic turtles, as well as teddy bears, antique sewing implements and kitchen utensils, and even metal flashlights from the early 20th century.  Alicia added her own twist, claiming her genealogy hobby is an ancestor collection!  Continue reading »

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Lauren

Celebrating Youth Art Month: Where art thou art museums?

art museum“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall in love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.” – Maya Angelou

Maya’s sentiment is a beautiful reminder of two things – We are all full of infinite potential and the opportunity to fall in love with a piece of art is a gift.

What an inspiring message for the young artists and art admirers in our lives. March is Youth Art Month – the perfect time of year to share the gift of art and appreciate the emotions and inspiration it stirs.

I’d argue that that the gift of art is no more fantastically wrapped and delivered than in a museum – so we are so fortunate to have access to a myriad of art museums throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia that feature the talents of our local treasures and beyond. Continue reading »

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Matthew

How a bank loan helped a Pennsylvania woman grow her dream business

Aftershave was Melissa's first creation, followed by moisturizers, powders and other preparations.

Aftershave was Melissa’s first creation, followed by moisturizers, powders and other preparations.

The year was 1995 and Melissa Buckley was working from home, trying to build a business from something she loved.

She needed help. She needed a large sum of money to fund a project, and decided to meet with a banker from one of Susquehanna’s predecessors banks, Blue Ball National Bank in Morgantown, Pa.

“I thought I would be turned down for a loan, but he made me feel like I was just as important as the large corporations he serviced,” Melissa recalled. “He believed in me. And I knew he would be there for me.”

Melissa was granted the loan, which she paid back ahead of time, and started Honeybee Gardens, Inc., a line of herbal cosmetics that can now be found in health food stores, pharmacies, on-line stores, herb shops, specialty and gift stores worldwide. Continue reading »

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Don

Unsure when to claim Social Security benefits? Here is some information that may help in your decision

Close up of social security applicationDeciding when to claim Social Security benefits is an important factor in income retirement planning.

You can qualify to begin taking Social Security as early as age 62 or wait as late as age 70. You may start at any time between those ages; increases are applied for each month you delay claiming. For those retiring now, the full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration is 66 (for those born between 1943 and 1954). The age goes up in two month intervals for the next five years and full retirement age is 67 for those born in 1960 and after.

With all that has been written lately in newspapers and magazines about the potential value of delaying the start of payments, people continue to start taking Social Security before the full retirement age. According to data recently released by the Social Security Administration roughly 35 percent of applicants start at age 62. Continue reading »

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Lori R

From facing asteroids to hunting vampires, fictional presidents on the big and small screens keep us entertained.

presidents day picDid you do anything fun Presidents Day weekend?  Whether you shopped, went skiing, cleaned the house, or just took a break and put your feet up in front of the TV, you’ll want to keep in mind the real star of the show: Why, the POTUS of course.  The President of the United States.

Dozens of men have played the President in movies and on television.  Some of them portrayed the real deal, like Abraham Lincoln, whose persona has appeared more than any other President’s on the silver screen.

In 2012, Daniel Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Academy Award for playing the 16th Commander-in-Chief in Lincoln, but most recently, Honest Abe appeared as a Master Builder in The Lego Movie (2014).  Continue reading »

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