Word Of The Month: HELOC

People painting house

Life at the Richards’ house had gotten really busy since the twins’ arrival-and really noisy. At first, Trish and Adam were delighted with the action. They loved their twin baby siblings and each day, they snapped dozens of pictures of the tiny infants to post on their Facebook and Instagram pages and show to their friends. They were the proudest older siblings ever.

But after a few weeks, the constant crying and the baby paraphernalia scattered all over the house began getting on their nerves.

One day, Adam stumbled down to the kitchen for breakfast, bleary-eyed and grumpy.

“Those twins,” he groaned. “They kept me up all night!”

Mrs. Richards looked at him while rocking one of the twins. “They kept you up?” she laughed. “I didn’t see you getting up for the four o’clock feeding!”

“Or the two o’clock feeding, for that matter,” a tired-looking Mr. Richards chimed in. “Come to think of it, I didn’t see you at the six o’clock feeding either.”

Adam fell into a seat and flung his head down on the table. “Well, they woke me up. Again and again and again. Why do they need to cry every time they eat? And so loudly!”

“You’re complaining? I didn’t sleep a wink!” Trish announced, shuffling into the kitchen. “I heard them crying all night long!”

“I don’t know how I’m going to stay awake in class today,” Adam grumbled.

“Me neither,” Trish said. “Can’t me and Adam move to the basement?”

Adam brightened. “Yeah. Then we won’t hear those annoying babies all night!”

Right on cue, the baby in Mrs. Richards’ arms started howling. Adam and Trish covered their ears and winced. Mrs. Richards stuck the baby’s pacifier into her mouth and rocked her.

“You know, we’d need to finish fixing up the basement if you guys want to sleep there,” Mr. Richards said thoughtfully.

“Oh, can we? Can we please?” Trish and Adam begged.

Mr. and Mrs. Richards shared a long look.

“We’ll see,” Mrs. Richards said after a while. “It isn’t fair for the two of you to be woken up by the twins night after night.And the basement may be the perfect solution. But it’s going to cost a lot of money to finish it, so we need to figure out if we can swing it.”

“It would be nice to have a little more living space around here.” Mr. Richards said thoughtfully. “You know what? Today’s my last day of paternity leave-maybe Mom and I can work something out while you two are at school,” Mr. Richards said. “We’ll talk about this later.”

***

When Adam and Trish came home that afternoon, their parents were waiting for them at the kitchen table with big smiles on their faces.

“Guess what?” Mrs. Richards said. “We’re going to be fixing up the basement soon and you guys can both move down there!”

Adam and Trish whooped and shared high-fives.

“When can we move?”

“Can I paint my new room with chalkboard paint?”

“Can I have a sleepover next weekend?”

Mr. Richards held up his hands. “Hey, slow down there! Nothing’s happening just yet! We’ll discuss all the details when they become relevant.”

“What happened today, Mom? Dad?” Trish asked curiously.

“Yeah, did you guys win the lottery?” Adam grinned.

“Not quite,” said Mr. Richards. “We actually took a trip to the credit union today.”

“That’s right,” said Mrs. Richards. “And we opened up a HELOC.”

“A what?” Adam and Trish chorused.

“A HELOC,” Mr. Richards said calmly. “Or a home equity line of credit. It’s an open line of credit we now have against our house’s equity.”

“Can you say that again in English?” Adam asked.

Mrs. Richards laughed. “Sure. That means the credit union allows us to borrow money we need for renovations. This is called a line of credit, meaning we can withdraw the money we need, when we need it. And then we pay it back, just a little bit at a time.”

“And it’s against-what was that you said?” Trish wrinkled her eyebrows.

“Our home’s equity,” Mr. Richards explained. “That means the credit is secured by the value of our home. It’s serving as collateral, or a guarantee, that we won’t default on the loan and neglect to pay it back.”

Adam and Trish were quiet as they processed this information.

“Cool,” Trish said after a while. “Now we can afford to finish the basement.”

“Yeah!” Adam cheered. “And we get to sleep without the twins screaming their heads off right near our rooms!”

The baby monitor chose that moment to start crackling-and soon the sound of an infant’s howling shattered the calm in the kitchen.

Mr. Richards stood up to go fetch the crying baby from upstairs, but before he went, Adam and Trish stopped him.

“Thank you, Mom and Dad,” they said together. “This is awesome news!”

“Don’t thank us,” Mrs. Richards smiled. “Thank the credit union!”

Talking points:

  • A HELOC is an open line of credit that allows the borrower to withdraw money as needed, and a HEL (home equity loan) is a loan that the borrower receives in one lump sum. Which do you think is the smarter choice when funding a home renovation?
  • How is taking out a HELOC different than using a credit card?
  • Why do you think some people make improvements on their home before they sell their house?

Why You Should Finance Your Next Car Loan At Your Credit Union

new car loan

When shopping for a new set of wheels, your first stop should be right here, at Mutual Credit Union. Though many people start their process on the dealer’s lot, you’ll enjoy a lower rate, a simpler loan application and other benefits by choosing to finance your car with your credit union.

This is why people are increasingly choosing to finance their cars directly through credit unions. In fact, auto loans comprise more than a third of all the active loans across the 5,600 credit unions in the U.S.

Let’s take a look at the differences in the auto loan process at a car dealership versus Mutual Credit Union.

Financing an auto purchase at a car dealership

When you visit a dealer’s lot with the intention of purchasing a car, the dealer will likely ask you how much you’re willing to spend on your vehicle of choice. You may have already worked out your numbers, or, you may just have a vague idea of how much you can realistically afford. Either way, the dealer will probably try persuading you to push your self-imposed limits to the max or even to go over your ceiling price.

But, if you’re financing your car through the dealer, that’s only the beginning. Once you’ve chosen the car you’d like to buy, you’ll need to submit a complicated auto loan application form, which the dealer will send to the finance companies it partners with. This can include lenders and financial institutions – even Mutual Credit Union! The dealer will then share the lenders’ offers with you and ask you to make your choice.

However, in most cases, the dealer is only the middleman. This means they are going to present your options in a way that most benefits them – and not you. Thanks to this practice, even a fantastic offer from Mutual Credit Union will be presented as higher than it actually is, or may not be presented at all.

For example, say your dealer contacts three lenders: Lender A, Lender B and Lender C. Lender A agrees to offer you a 5% Annual Percentage Rate (APR), Lender B offers a 6% APR, and Lender C offers a 7% APR. But the lender will not automatically present you with Lender A’s offer. Instead, they will first determine which lender would afford them the greatest profit.

The rates presented by the above lenders are known as the “buy rates,” or the lowest possible rate the lenders will grant the borrower.  Lender A might offer the dealer a flat fee for each new loan the dealer nets them at the buy rate, with more profit granted for each new tier of a car price, such as $10,000. Lender B, on the other hand, allows the dealer to increase the buy rate by 3% to a new “contract rate.” The dealer then pockets the difference as his own profit. Lender C allows the dealer to offer a contract rate at 2% higher than the buy rate.

In the above scenario, it isn’t hard to picture the dealer pushing you to accept an offer from Lender B or Lender C at the new contract rate of 9%. If you complain that this rate is too high, the dealer may then suddenly “remember” that Lender B is willing to finance the loan at a 7% APR. In either case, there’s very little chance you’ll end up being presented with the offer that is truly in your best interest. And you’ll never even know you’ve been duped!

Financing an auto purchase at a credit union

Getting an auto loan with your credit union is a completely different experience. Why? Because we exist to serve your best interest.

When you walk into Mutual Credit Union with the intention of taking out an auto loan, you’ll be dealing with people who know who you are and what your financial reality is like. No one will try to push you into a loan you can’t afford.

The process of applying for a Mutual Credit Union Auto Loan is simple, quick, and easy. You can even apply for a loan online. Also, as a member of Mutual Credit Union,you already have a headstart on getting that pre-approval.

One of the biggest advantages you’ll have when financing an auto loan through your credit union, though, is a lower APR. Because you’re working directly with the lender, you’ll only hear the actual rate we offer instead of a marked-up rate the car dealer presents to you.

Also, as member-owned and operated institutions, credit unions famously offer loan rates that are consistently lower than those offered by large lenders and banks. In fact, according to Bankrate, the average APR on a credit union auto loan in the beginning of 2019 was a full point lower than the rates offered by banks.

Another key advantage you’ll enjoy from a credit union-financed auto loan is a more relaxed setting when determining how much you can afford to pay each month toward your new car. There’s no rush and no pressure when you’re sitting at Mutual Credit Union and working out your budget. In contrast, when you’re standing in the dealer’s lot surrounded by cars you wish you could afford, you’re far more likely to make a decision you’ll later come to regret.

If you’re in the market for an auto loan, make your credit union your first stop. You’ll enjoy a lower rate and the friendly, professional service you’ve come to expect at Mutual Credit Union.

Your Turn: Have you financed a car purchase through your credit union? Tell us about it in the comments.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Millionaire?

article-how-long-does-it-take-to-become-a-millionaire
A million dollars. For many people, it’s the pinnacle of financial success. For others, it’s just the first stepping stone toward their outrageous dreams. But how long does it take to actually reach that goal? How much would you need to save on a monthly basis to net a cool million? And, most importantly, is achieving millionaire status even within the realm of possibility for most Americans?
If you’ve ever seriously considered these questions with the intention of implementing the answers in your own life, or you’re simply curious, we’ve got the inside scoop. We’ve crunched the numbers and worked out the math to help you find out exactly how long it takes to become a millionaire.
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Believe it or not, a million dollars is approximately four times the median net worth of retirement-aged people in the U.S. Even more incredible, a net worth of a million dollars is well within the reach of most Americans. You don’t need a six-digit salary to make it to the millionaires’ list; all you need is enough time and a sound investment strategy.
 
How long does it take?
There is no pat answer to this literal million-dollar question. The amount of time it will take you to become a millionaire depends on the following factors:
1.   The amount of money you invest
2.   The rate of return on your investment
The table provided here gives you an idea of how much you’d need to save, and how many years it would take you to reach $1 million, at various rates of return.
Monthly Savings
Years to $1 million with 10% annual returns
Years to $1 million with 8% annual returns
Years to $1 million with 6% annual returns
Years to $1 million with 4% annual returns
$100
44.5
52.9
65.7
88.6
$500
28.8
33.4
40.1
51
$1,000
22.4
25.5
29.9
36.7
$1,583
18.4
20.7
23.8
28.4
$2,083
16.2
18
20.4
23.9
$3,166
13
14.2
15.8
18
$4,166
11
12
13.2
16.8
The amounts used after the $1,000 mark in this table represent the numbers that single and married employees can contribute to their IRAs and 401(k) plans, with $4,166 representing the collective maximum monthly contributions for a married couple. Note: Maximum contributions, as of 2019, are set at $19,000 a year for 401(k)s and $6,000 a year for traditional IRAs.
If you already have a tidy sum saved up, and/or you’d like to see how long it would take you to reach a million by socking away a monthly amount that is different than any amounts shown on this table, you can input your own formula into this calculator to get the answers you need.
Getting started
Now that you’ve determined how long it will take you to reach your first million, don’t waste any time getting started. If you’ve made this your goal, the sooner you begin investing, the less money you’ll have to put away each month, and the sooner you’ll reach $1 million.
The easiest and most basic starting point for your million-dollar prize is to maximize your contributions to your employer’s 401(k) and your own IRAs and HSAs. Next, look into investing with a low-cost index fund, mutual fund or lifecycle fund.
If you can’t spare the money you’d need for investing enough funds to achieve your goal, take some time to review your budget and to plug up any expensive holes. Look for pricey habits you’d be better off giving up, subscriptions you can do without and entertainment costs you can trim without feeling the pinch. It might not be easy to make all those changes, but with a million-dollar finish line in sight, you should have all the motivation you need to start living a financially responsible life today.
Two neglected factors
One crucial factor most people forget about when trying to invest their way toward a million dollars is the rule of inflation. Simply put, a million dollars today does not have the same value as a million dollars 30 years from now. When you adjust for inflation at 3 percent a year, $1 million in 2020 would need to grow to $2,427,262 to have the same purchasing power in 2050. For this reason, you may want to tweak the amount you invest as a way of accounting for inflation. This way, you can be sure you have a true $1 million at the end of your investment timeline.
Another point that is often overlooked is the fact that no one can accurately predict the future. There’s no way to know what life events you’ll experience over the next three decades. Some of those can significantly affect your finances in either direction, such as windfalls, expensive medical emergencies, market crashes and the like. It may end up taking you a lot less time than you’d anticipated to reach $1 million, or you may never get there at all.
Are you ready to start investing your way toward one million dollars? Speak to a representative at Mutual Credit Union today to discuss our investment and savings products, as well as get some beginner investment advice. You can be a millionaire!
Your Turn: Do you dream of being a millionaire or did that goal never make it on to your bucket list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Learn More: 

Back – to – School Budgeting Surprises

young boy child with Abacus

And How To Get Ahead Of Them

Ah, back-to-school season. Your child is anticipating the academic year ahead of them, and for parents, too, this can be an exciting time. But it can also be an expensive one — especially when you get blindsided by costs you weren’t expecting. Here’s your guide for how to handle unexpected back to school expenses.

Where To Start

A new school year can mean new activities and interests — many of which demand dollars. Talk to your child in advance about what they think they might be interested in, says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com. “Especially as they get older, they might not be talking to you as much about things they deem important,” she says. “Keeping those lines of communication really open can help you as a parent anticipate what the costs might be.”

The school will likely provide a list of necessary supplies. But there’s nothing wrong with writing to your kid’s teacher — even during the summer — and inquiring about needs, especially for items that are generally more expensive, like field trips and technology.

Also, keep in mind that when you’re trying to anticipate costs, one of your best sources of wisdom is your spending history. “I would look at your back-to-school shopping costs from last year. See what you spent on that you didn’t anticipate, and factor those items into your budget if you need them again,” says Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert at andreaworoch.com.

Extracurriculars = Extra Costs

Your kid’s extracurricular activities always seem to inspire activity in your wallet. For activities like dance and gymnastics, you may have to purchase costumes for performances. And for things like Model UN, your child will need business attire. Also, if your child is an athlete, you’ll likely have to pay for equipment. “Nowadays, especially since the recession, a lot of schools can’t cover the cost of uniforms, and in some cases even basketballs and footballs,” says Bodge. And if you’re buying something like cleats, it can cost you again later in the year when your child grows out of them. “Don’t overspend now, assuming that these supplies are going to carry you through the year,” Woroch warns. Activities often require ongoing expenditures. Instead, keep an eye open for neighborhood sales and swaps where you may be able to use last year’s equipment to give you a leg up on this years, financially.

Clothing: At First, Less Is More

Even though you may be tempted to snap up every possible outfit your child may need for the year while the summer sales tax holidays are in full swing, hang onto a portion of your budget for later in the year, advises Bodge. Why? If you live in an area with regular seasons, better deals on cold weather clothing happen later — in late September and October. Plus, if you wait, your kids have an opportunity to go to school, check out what everybody else is wearing, and see if they want to hop on a trend. You can ensure you’re spending money on things they like wearing and will actually wear.

Technology

Technology is likely an integral part of your child’s educational experience — especially if they’re in grades five or above. It’s quite possible they’ll have homework requiring a computer and assignments to print out at home. In other words, if you realize in October that you’ll need to purchase a laptop you hadn’t planned on, that can be a major hit to your budget. To prevent a possibly stressful surprise like this, make sure you reach out to your childs’ teachers or school in advance.

Avoid The Big Shopping Spree Before September

These next few weeks as you’re strolling through the mall, you’re likely to be bombarded with colorful back to school sales. You may be tempted to start shopping for everything on your list right then and there, but prices are expected to drop throughout the month of August, reaching a low in early September, says Bodge. And even once you think prices can’t get any lower and you’re ready to shop, make sure you compare prices online before making a purchase — especially with big ticket items like a laptop or phone.

Also, if you want to minimize the hassle of returns and items that don’t fit, try to shop with your child. “Bringing your kids shopping with you — even if it seems like a pain — is good bonding time. And it shows them what shopping is,” Woroch says. Giving them a budget will instill in them the idea that money is a limited resource. Plus, if your child can watch you in action making efforts to save (using a coupon, buying on sale), that will give them an appreciation for the value of money — something that not nearly enough kids will be taught in schools.

 

Sources: 

https://www.savvymoney.com/blog/spending/back-to-school-budgeting-surprises/

Contributing Editor: Jean Chatzky with Molly Povich

Do My Child’s Activities Really Need to Make Me Go Broke?

little girls playing soccer with coach.jpg

Extracurricular activities are an important part of a child’s development. They allow students to shine in ways that may not be possible in the classroom. It also helps kids step out of their social circles to forge new friendships. They may even be your child’s gateway to a college scholarship and possibly a lucrative career. 

But extracurricular activities are expensive. If you’ve got several school-aged children and each wants to participate in two activities, you can be looking at an investment as high as $10,000 or more for fees, equipment, uniforms, instruments and supplies. 

No worries though; you don’t have to choose between your budget and your children’s happiness. Here are some ways to save on your kids’ extracurricular activities: 

1. Limit the number of after-school activities you allow for each child 

If you’ve got several over-ambitious young ones at home, consider limiting extracurricular activities to just one per child. You’ll be doing your children a favor by forcing them to pick an area of focus, allowing them to channel all their energy in one direction. Plus, it’ll be easier for them to keep track of just one schedule — and it’s a lot easier on your carpool calendar, too! 

2. Register early 

Lots of children’s’ sports programs offer discounts of up to 30 percent just for signing up early. Speak to your children about after-school programs and sports teams well before the season so you can register early and snag those early-bird specials. 

3Purchase used equipment 

Save big on sports gear by purchasing gently used equipment from sites like PlayItAgainSports and SidelineSwap. Some of these sites also allow you to sell your own used equipment. 

4. Swap equipment 

If you have friends with kids who are also into sports and music, see if you can swap equipment and instruments from year to year. 

5.  Rent musical instruments 

If you’ve got budding musicians at home, consider renting the instrument they’ve taken up this year. There’s no way to tell if that burst of passion they’re currently nursing for the oboe is just a passing phase or the beginning of a lifelong hobby. Some instruments, like the French horn, can cost as much as $1,000 but can be rented for as little as $50 a month. 

If your child is convinced they’ve found their instrument of choice, you can purchase gently used musical instruments from resale sites like Craigslist, eBay or Reverb. 

6. Volunteer your time 

If you’ve got the time to coach a team or to walk around selling refreshments during games, you might be able to nab a discount on the program’s fees and equipment. 

By making smart, frugal choices, you can turn your children’s dreams into reality without draining your wallet. 

Your Turn: How do you save on your children’s extracurricular activities? Share your own tips with us in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g27678115/back-to-school-hacks/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/save-extracurricular-activities-kids-after-school/

https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/saving/11-ways-to-save-on-after-school-activities/

Word of the Month: Credit Card

Father and son using laptop together, online shopping

Kate and her mom were going shopping for school supplies. Kate had her mind set on exactly what she wanted. She’d even scribbled a list of all the things she was going to buy at the store.

“And can’t I get that?” she asked, pointing at the sequined pencil case her best friend Lori had told her about.

“Oh, Kate,” her mom groaned. “We can’t buy the most expensive of every supply on your list!”

Kate was stumped. “But why not?” she asked. “If it’s too much money, you can just put it on your credit card!”

Mom gave her a look, and then said under her breath, “Let’s talk about this a little later, at home. Meanwhile, let’s try to find all of your supplies at decent prices.”

Kate agreed and they finished shopping without any more arguments.

After they’d gone home and put away all of Kate’s supplies, Mom prepared two tall glasses of lemonade. She sat down at the kitchen table, across from Kate.

“Let me explain how it works, Kate,” she said. “A credit card isn’t ‘free money.’”

Kate yawned. “I know, I know—you get a bill at the end of the month and you need to pay it all back.”

Mom nodded. “Exactly. But there’s a few things you don’t know about credit cards.”

“Like what?”

“First of all,” said Mom, “lots of credit cards cost money just to have. It’s called an ‘annual fee.’ Also, credit cards don’t lend you that money for free. They charge you interest on every purchase you make.”

“Interest?”

“That means extra money, a certain percentage of the purchase that you need to pay to the credit card company.”

“So it really costs you more than the price!” Kate broke in.

“Exactly,” Mom smiled. “You won’t have to pay the interest if you pay the full amount on your bill on time, but most people don’t. And then they end up paying for that one little purchase for months—or even years and years!”

“So, if the best way to use a credit card is to pay up your full bill each month, why have one at all?” Kate asked. “Why not just use cash?”

“That’s a great question,” Mom said. “There are two main reasons people have credit cards other than to help them pay for stuff they can’t really afford,” she explained. “One is to get the rewards. Lots of credit cards offer points and money back for specific purchases you make on the card.”

“Cool!” said Kate. “Like a bonus for spending money?”

“Right,” said mom. “But it sometimes can get out of control and people spend more than they planned just because they’re getting some points out of the deal. So it doesn’t quite work out as planned. Plus, lots of rewards cards have an annual fee, so they’re expensive just to have.”

“Wow,” Kate said. “And what’s the second reason?”

Mom reached into her wallet and pulled out her MasterCard. “You see this?” she asked. “This helped me buy our house!”

Kate’s eyed bulged. “You can buy a house on a credit card?”

Mom threw back her head and laughed. “No, Kate,” she said. “Let me explain. Let’s say someone has a bunch of open credit cards but they’re super-careful with how they use them. They’re always careful about paying their balance on time and they never rack up huge bills. What does that say about them?”

“They’re responsible!” Kate said. “They know how to pay back what they borrow and they don’t spend too much money.”

“Exactly!” Mom smiled. “So when someone wants to take out a huge loan—like a loan that will help them buy a house, the people lending them that money will look at the way they use their credit cards. It’s called their credit history and credit score. The person’s credit history will tell the borrower about their credit card use in the past, and their credit score is like a grade which shows how responsible they’ve been with their credit. Are you following?

Kate nodded. “I think so.”

“So, why do you think the lender will look at their credit history and credit score when deciding if they will lend this person money to buy a house?”

“Because they want to make sure the person will pay them back!” Kate exclaimed.

“You’re catching on really quickly,” Mom grinned. “I was always very careful with my credit cards, and that helped us get a mortgage for this house!”

“Wow,” Kate said. She had a lot to think about. “What do you say we open a credit card for me, Mom?” She asked. “I want to start building my credit score right now!”

Talking points:

  • Can you explain the way a credit card works?
  • Why do you think credit card companies let people borrow so much money from them?
  • Are credit cards a good way to purchase something you can’t afford? Why, or why not?

8 Things To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen

Retiree - Financial planning

  1. Lock the compromised account. Dispute any fraudulent charges on your compromised accounts and ask to have them locked, or even shut down.
  2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This helps alert creditors that someone may be trying to open accounts in your name. Contact one out of the three credit bureaus to add the fraud alert to all three. Visit Equifax.com or Experian.com or Transunion.com.
  3. Consider a credit freeze. This will make it impossible for the scammer to open a credit line or loan in your name.
  4. Alert the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Visit https://www.identitytheft.gov and follow the site’s instructions.
  5. Strengthen your passwords. In addition to changing them, use strong and different passwords for all your online accounts.
  6. Check your account statements. It’s best to do so frequently to look for suspicious activity.
  7. Open new credit cards and accounts. Replace compromised accounts that you’ve shut down so you can be inconvenienced as little as possible.
  8. Repair your credit. Be extra careful about paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization low.

Your Turn: Have you ever been the victim of credit card fraud? Share your story with us in the comments.

7 Steps To A Mid-Year Financial Checkup

7-Steps-to-Your-Mid-year-Financial-Checkup

It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is half over. Take a timeout from barbecues and beaches to give yourself a mid-year financial checkup. Use the seven steps below to guide you. 

Step 1: Revisit Your Budget 

Take some time to review your monthly budget. Is it working for you or are you falling behind each month? After reviewing, adjust your budget as necessary. 

Step 2: Anticipate Large Expenses 

List any large expenses you anticipate in the coming six months. This can include household appliances that may need replacing or an anticipated medical expense that is not fully covered by insurance. 

Next, determine the spending category you will take the money from to cover these expenses. Deciding on a source for these funds now will help you avoid making the wrong choices when you’re under pressure in the future. 

If you do not have enough money set aside for these expenses, build a savings plan into your monthly budget so you have the funds available when you need them. 

Step 3: Review Your Tax Withholdings 

Review your tax withholdings to see if they need any adjusting. Your goal here is to pay the perfect amount so you’re not hit with a huge tax bill at the end of the year, but you’re also not lending the government your money all year long. 

Step 4: Check Your Credit Score 

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. If your score has gone up in the last six months, you’re doing great! 

Conversely, if your score has dropped, review your report in detail. Take the necessary steps to fix your score today, whether that means contesting an erroneous charge with the Federal Trade Commission, setting up an automatic payment on some of your bills or lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often. 

Step 5: Review Your Investments 

Review and adjust all of your investments. This includes your retirement funds, any stock investments, bonds, trust funds or share certificates at Mutual Credit Union. Make sure you are maximizing your contributions when possible and that your other investments are performing according to plan. Adjust as necessary.   

Step 6: Tackle Your Debt 

List every outstanding debt you carry, including credit card debt and all kinds of loans. Designate one debt to tackle first and work on a plan to pay it down. Once you’ve paid off this debt, move to the next one on your list. 

Step 7: Review Your Financial Resolutions and Long-term Goals 

Review the financial resolutions and goals you dreamed up at the end of 2018 and then determine whether you are taking the steps necessary for making them happen. If you’ve been neglecting them, create a plan for working toward them for the rest of the year. 

Now you can kick back and enjoy the remaining summer season, guilt-free. 

Your Turn: What’s on your list for your mid-year financial checkup? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/investing/financial-checklist/index.html

https://onebiteblog.com/its-time-for-your-mid-year-financial-checkup/

Word of the Month: Work Ethic

 

Youth working movie theatre concessionsSchool was out, and Aaron and Tom were counting down the days until July. That’s when their first real job would start and they could hardly wait.

“It’s going to be awesome!” Tom said to Aaron while they practiced shooting baskets at the park. “At the end of the summer, we’re gonna be rich!”

Aaron laughed and easily sank a shot from center court. He didn’t think he and Tom would be rich with the money they were making, but he was excited to start his first real job. He almost felt like a grown-up!        

“Don’t forget the best part,” he shouted to Tom over the sound of the bouncing ball. “Free ice cream every day!”

Tom and Aaron had gotten summer jobs at Scoops, the neighborhood ice cream store. They’d be helping the owner, Mr. Smith, behind the counter for a few hours each afternoon during the busy summer months.

“It’s going to be so much fun working at Scoops,” Tom said, catching the ball. ”I can’t think of any job I’d like to do more!”

Aaron nodded happily. Tom was right: it was going to be awesome!

***

One week later, Tom and Aaron met up at the intersection of Oak Street and Maple Drive for the walk to Scoops on their first day of work.

“This is going to be the best job ever!” Tom yelled, pumping his fist in the air.

But four hours later, he was telling another story.

“I have never worked so hard in my life!” he complained, collapsing onto a bench down the block from the ice cream store.

Aaron dropped into the spot next to him and let out a loud groan. “That was crazy,” he agreed.

“I thought this job would be fun Getting people the ice cream flavor they want, putting on the toppings, working the cash register—but it was so hard!”

And it was. Scoops had been packed all afternoon, and it wasn’t easy to keep the customers happy, make sure everyone got the right change and greet each person with a smile, too, like Mr. Smith insisted they do.

Aaron shrugged. “Don’t forget; we’re getting paid for this work,” he tried to cheer up Tom. But Tom still brooded.

***

The next day, when Aaron reached the intersection of Oak and Maple, Tom was nowhere to be found. Aaron waited one minute. Then two  and three, but still no Tom. He looked at his watch. If he didn’t leave soon, he’d be late to work!

Finally, after waiting seven whole minutes, Aaron left. He ran all the way to work so he would still be on time.

Tom showed up 15 minutes later, not looking too happy to be at work. Mr. Smith didn’t look too happy to see him either. He handed Tom a Scoops apron and told him to get started at the toppings center.

Work that day was a little easier than the first day, since Aaron and Tom knew what to expect. They were also learning their way around the counter a little better and everything took them less time.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Aaron told Tom as they licked their triple-scoop cones after work that day.

Tom just shrugged.

The next day, Tom was waiting for Aaron at Oak and Maple and Aaron was happy to see him.

“I’m leaving early today,” Tom told Aaron. “My aunt is taking my cousins to a Cubs game and they’re leaving at 4:15. They invited me to come along and I need to leave at 4 in order to be at their house on time.”

“Can’t they leave a little later?” Aaron asked. Their job was over at 4:30 every day. Aaron remembered Mr. Smith’s frown when Tom had shown up late for work yesterday and he couldn’t imagine their boss would be too happy if Tom left a whole half-hour early.

“Nope,” Tom shrugged as they reached the door of Scoops. They both walked into work together.

Later that afternoon, after exchanging a few words with an unhappy-looking Mr. Smith, Tom gave Aaron a little wave and hurried out of the store.

The rest of the week passed quickly. On Thursday, Tom came late again—this time a whole hour late. On Friday, Tom and Aaron walked through the doors with huge smiles on their faces.

“Payday!” they whooped, exchanging high-fives.

But a few hours later, when they got their checks from Mr. Smith, only Aaron was smiling.

“What’s this?” Tom asked Mr. Smith.

“That’s your paycheck,” Mr. Smith said calmly.

“But why is it so much less than it’s supposed to be?” Tom whined.

Aaron saw that his friend was upset. “We were supposed to get paid the same,” he said, coming to Tom’s defense. “Why is my check so much higher than Tom’s?”

“That’s because I hired you with the understanding that you’d get paid a specific salary if you worked a certain number of hours each week, right?”

Tom and Aaron nodded. Aaron had a feeling he knew where this was going.

“And you, Aaron,” said Mr. Smith, “have worked all those hours.”

Mr. Smith turned to Tom, who was staring at the floor. “While you, Tom, have not. You’ve come late, you’ve left early, and I’ve paid you what I believe is a fair rate for the amount of hours you actually worked. You need to learn how to develop—and to respect—a work ethic.”

Tom looked interested. “What’s that?” he asked.

“That means respecting a job. Being on time. Fulfilling your responsibilities. Doing what you are hired to do. Showing that it matters to you. Do you know why it is important to have a work ethic?”

“Why?” asked Tom.

“Because, when you accept a job, you are committing to do the work involved,” Mr. Smith explained. “You are giving your word that you will fulfill your responsibilities. And if you want your job to pay off and to open new opportunities for you, you need to show that you can handle the workload and do your job well. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Tom nodded, looking thoughtful. He was quiet all the way home.  

The next day, when Aaron reached the corner of Oak and Maple, Tom was there to greet him. Tom stayed until 4:30 sharp that afternoon, and all the days the rest of the week.

On Friday, Mr. Smith was smiling widely when he handed them their checks.

“Full paycheck for both of you this week,” he said.

The boys thanked him, but he wasn’t done.

“Can you stay a few minutes late today?” he asked the boys. “I have an interesting opportunity you might want to hear about.”

Aaron and Tom shared a quick fist-pump when Mr. Smith’s back was turned. They didn’t know what Mr. Smith wanted to talk to them about, but it sounded interesting. And they knew it was only because they had shown a strong work ethic.

Talking Points:

  • Can you think of three ways to show a strong work ethic?
  • Do you think it’s easier to show a strong work ethic at an easy job?
  • How can a strong work ethic help you get ahead in life?

All You Need to Know About Remote Deposit Capture

In a world where you can order almost anything using your mobile phone, it makes sense that we, Mutual Credit Union offers a complete mobile banking experience for our members. remote-check-capture

One of the most convenient features we offer through our mobile banking service is Remote Deposit Capture. All it takes to deposit a check is a few minutes of your time and a phone with internet access. 

Let’s take a closer look at remote deposit capture and mobile deposits. 

What is remote deposit capture? 

Remote check capture is a way for you to deposit a check into your Mutual Credit Union Checking Account from a distant location using a mobile device with internet access. You can be practically anywhere in the world and make your deposit at any time. 

The process is simple: You’ll sign into your Mutual Credit Union mobile app and prepare your check for deposit. Tap on the Check Deposits icon and the app will guide you through snapping a picture of both the front and the back of the check. You’ll also be asked to verify the check amount. Once you’ve made the confirmation, your check will be submitted for deposit into your account. 

It’s that easy. 

The benefits of remote check capture 

1. Convenience. As mentioned, with remote check capture, you can make your deposit anywhere, at any time.

2. Speed. Your check will generally clear more quickly through a mobile deposit than it will through an ATM deposit.

3. Accuracy. You’ll be asked to confirm the check amount for accuracy. On the small chance that an error or rejection happens, you’ll still have the physical check, which you can then deposit at any Mutual Branch location. 

Some facts you may not know about remote check capture 

A. Deposit limits. For your safety, the maximum amount you can remotely deposit in one check is $2500.

B. Bounced checks. Just like a confirmed check deposit can end up bouncing several days later, if we cannot collect the funds, a mobile deposit can also be returned for the same reasons.

C. Holds on checks. Any checks deposited after our evening cutoff of p.m. will be placed on hold until the next business day. 

But is it safe? 

We take many precautions for ensuring your personal information is protected throughout the remote check capture process. 

First, no one can sign into your Mutual Credit Union mobile account without two-factor authentication. Always use strong, unique passwords. 

Second, our mobile app does not store your check images in your phone. Once your check has been submitted, the image is erased from your phone and stored only in our own software. 

Finally, if an error occurs, you’ll always have the physical check to deposit if necessary. 

Mutual Credit Union Remote Deposit Capture is quick, easy and safe. Try it today! 

For even more information on Mutual Credit Union Remote Deposit Capture, visit our website .

Your Turn: What do you love about remote check capture? Tell us about it in the comments!

SOURCES:

https://www.thebalance.com/mobile-check-deposits-vs-atm-deposits-315007

https://www.bankrate.com/banking/5-crucial-facts-everyone-should-know-about-mobile-check-deposit/amp/

https://www.digitalcheck.com/history-of-rdc/