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With interest rates at historic lows, income oriented investors who traditionally use investment grade bonds, CD’s or US Government bonds are faced with reduced levels of stable income. And, the rate environment is not changing anytime soon. In fact, the earliest hope of rates rising is the middle part of 2015.

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Last week, 14 Univest representatives participated in the American Bankers Association’s National Get Smart About Credit Day. Visiting seven schools for 32 presentations, our employee volunteers educated more than 1,350 students about managing credit and identity theft.

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Over the last several weeks, the stock market has been experiencing higher levels of volatility and this is naturally rising the fears of many investors who have enjoyed significant gains in the stock market since 2009. Should you be selling stocks? Going to cash? Investing in bonds? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as it depends on each investor’s goal, level of risk, and current asset allocation.

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In light of the recent stock market volatility, the following is a brief commentary that we hope will put the current situation into perspective and allay some of your fears. Let me begin by unequivocally stating that this is not 2008 all over again. Our economy is expanding, the banking system is strong and well capitalized, and liquidity is plentiful, with reduced debt burdens by individuals and corporations.

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Do you have $1,000 set aside for emergencies? If you already do, you could probably use another $1,000 in that account. Experts recommend keeping at least three months expenses in a reliable, liquid account – though even an extra $1,000 can be a life-saver. But finding $1,000 to save isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together this 4-step plan on how to save $1,000 in 10 months.

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Buying a home is a long-term investment that will have significant impact on your financial future, it is crucial to have an understanding of the home-buying process. To ensure the home buying process goes smoothly, here are 10 things you should avoid before closing on your home loan.

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We have been told by economists that the recession ended in 2009. Although that may be supported by econometric models, it has not been supported by consumer and business sentiment. Only recently have we begun to hear from businesses that the trends are more consistently positive and many industries are seeing the economy improving. How are you preparing for growth? There are many things you can do to ensure that your business has the capability to grow as the economy grows.

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Almost everyone insures their car, valuables and home. Who wouldn’t? You have a lot invested in your property – possibly hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. When you think of all the discipline it took to accumulate your assets, why worry about running out of money when you don’t have to?

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Recently, a client who is approaching retirement asked me if I knew anything about Medicare. He knew very little about the program and wanted to be sure he didn’t make any mistakes. Since I only knew the basics, I thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at Medicare and the choices retirees will need to make. Although I’ll be the first to admit I am still not an expert, I’ve complied a good deal of basic, important points anyone ready for Medicare should consider.

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The expression, “cash is king,” resonates with many investors who survived the dot-com bubble and sub-prime crisis, but how much cash is too much? A May 2014 study by State Street shows the average investor has a 36% allocation to cash, up from 26% in 2012. The percentage is even higher for baby boomers at 41%. While cash provides instantaneous liquidity and no market risk, it provides little in terms of long-term performance.

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Univest
You see disasters happen every day across the country. Revenue streams will quickly dry up when your business is shut down following a disaster. Many expenses will continue and some are even likely to increase. Business income insurance is an essential part of a company’s disaster plan. Have you talked to your insurance provider to determine how to properly cover your business in the case of a necessary closure?

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Should I save money or pay down debt? Should I pay for my child’s education or save for retirement? Should I pay down my student loans or build my savings? These are valid questions, as many of us have multiple savings and debt repayment goals to achieve at the same time. Figuring out how to prioritize them can be a struggle.

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