Latest News https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2511 https://wwfcu.org/blog/should-you-touch-your-401k/ Uncategorized 401(k) penalty fees retirement savings taxes Should You Touch Your 401(k)? If you’ve taken saving for your future seriously, chances are you have a 401(k). In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a 401(k) is a savings/investing plan from employers that gives you a tax break on any money you set aside for retirement. Good savers can accumulate a tidy sum in these types of accounts, Thu, 25 Apr 2019 09:38:15 Z Amy Neale <p>If you’ve taken saving for your future seriously, chances are you have a 401(k). In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a 401(k) is a savings/investing plan from employers that gives you a tax break on any money you set aside for retirement.</p> <p>Good savers can accumulate a tidy sum in these types of accounts, which can make it awfully tempting to spend. The pervading opinion of most financial advisors is &#8230; don’t do it! Here are a few reasons why touching your 401(k) is a bad idea:</p> <ul><li><strong>A 10% Penalty Fee<br></strong>Unless you’re withdrawing money from your 401(k) for one of the reasons listed later in the article, you’ll have to pay a penalty of 10% on that withdrawal if you’re under age 59½.</li><li><strong>Sooner Taxes<br></strong>If you make a 401(k) withdrawal before age 59½, you’ll also have to pay taxes on the amount you took out. Sure, you’d have to pay taxes on these withdrawals regardless on when you remove the money. But you’ll be paying taxes much sooner and you’re probably in a higher tax bracket than you’ll be when you retire.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Future Wealth<br></strong>The interest you earn on your 401(k) is compound interest.&nbsp;Compound interest is what you earn on your savings, plus the interest that money earns.&nbsp;If you reduce the balance of your 401(k), you’ll be putting a dent in that compound interest as well. That means you’ll be earning less money in the future.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Emergency Funding<br></strong>Many people don’t have an emergency fund and see their 401(k) as a replacement. Problems arise, however, when people dip into their 401(k) savings to pay for big ticket items like vacation or college. So, the money won’t be there if you really need it one day.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Reasons You Can Use Your 401(k)</strong></p> <p>Speaking of emergencies, the IRS has outlined six ways you can tap into your 401(k) before age 59½ without penalties:</p> <ol><li><strong>Disability</strong><br>If something has occurred that causes you to be deemed disabled in the eyes of your insurance company or Social Security, you can withdraw from your 401(k). You’ll need a disability letter to make this happen.</li><li><strong>Medical Bills</strong><br>A major health emergency can get expensive. You can withdraw from your 401(k) to help with the medical bills as long as you take the money out the same year the medical bills occur. Keep in mind that the withdrawal amount can’t exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Disaster<br></strong>Live in an area that’s been considered for disaster relief? You can use your 401(k) to pay for disaster-related expenses.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>55 and Laid Off<br></strong>Losing your job due to layoffs or buyouts means you might be able to withdraw from your 401(k) – if you were 55 the time it happened. The IRS puts it this way: “Made to a participant after separation from service if the separation occurred during or after the calendar year in which the participant reached age 55.”</li><li><strong>Death<br></strong>Yeah, this is the most extreme reason a withdrawal can be made penalty-free from a 401(k). If you die, your family beneficiaries can use your retirement funds to cover burial expenses and supplement other income needs due to your death.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ol> <p>It all boils down to this &#8230; Don’t use your 401(k) as a piggy bank and you’ll avoid penalty and have a happier retirement.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a source of professional advice. Consult your financial advisor and/or tax professional for official 401(k) advice.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> 2019-04-25 09:38 +00:00 2019-04-25 04:38 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2506 https://wwfcu.org/blog/8-ways-to-spring-clean-your-finances/ Uncategorized CardNav Credit Report declutter bills financial apps spring clean finances 8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances Your house and yard aren’t the only things that need a little extra attention this spring – so do your finances. Spring is the perfect time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and tend to the financial areas that need help. We have eight tips to help you spring clean Thu, 18 Apr 2019 09:08:41 Z Amy Neale <p>Your house and yard aren’t the only things that need a little extra attention this spring – so do your finances. Spring is the perfect time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and tend to the financial areas that need help. We have eight tips to help you spring clean your finances:</p> <ol><li><strong>Declutter</strong><br>All of those bills and statements pile up over the years. It’s time to go through each one and determine whether you should pitch it or keep it. It’s a no-brainer that you need to keep vital documents like birth certificates and social security cards forever, but what about your tax returns or loan documents? Check out this&nbsp;<a href="https://www.consumerreports.org/taxes/how-long-to-keep-tax-documents/">handy guide from Consumer Reports</a>that outlines how long you need to keep various paperwork.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Shred It<br></strong>The best way to prevent fraud is to shred all of those documents and paperwork you’re throwing out.If you don’t have a paper shredder, it may be time to get one. It’s a small investment to make for peace of mind when disposing sensitive information. Don’t forget you can always stop by the WWFCU lobby and put your papers in our Shred It boxes. They get collected once a week for shredding.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Take a Video<br></strong>Thanks to our handy smartphones, taking a video of your home and its contents is super easy. This is something you should do every year. Why? In case of theft, fire or flood, you’ve got proof of your belongings for insurance claims.&nbsp;&nbsp;Be sure to get the brand names and serial numbers for expensive electronics or larger items like appliances. Once you’re done, store the video on a cloud server so it’s safe, no matter what happens to your home.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Get Tech Savvy<br></strong>Your smartphone can be useful beyond selfies and the aforementioned property videos. There are apps out there that will help you budget and stay on top of bills. If you’re a WWFCU member, you should download&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/other-benefits/cardnav-by-co-op">CardNav</a>which lets you manage how, where and when your debit and credit cards are used. Our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/online-services/24-7-home-banking/online-banking">online</a>/<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/online-services/going-mobile/mobile-banking">mobile banking</a>also lets you pay bills electronically and transfer funds.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Check Your Credit<br></strong>Your credit report also needs a little spring cleaning each year. Get your&nbsp;<a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">free annual credit report</a>and closely look at each item on it. Look for any errors or negative items that may impact your score and dispute any mistakes with the credit reporting agency. You can also see if you need to make any changes in the future like using your cards less or reducing the amount of cards you have.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Review Insurance<br></strong>Unfortunately, insurance can be one of those “get it and forget it” items. We sign up for our home or auto insurance and don’t think about it again till we need to file a claim. It may be time to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. You’ll also want to make sure you have the right coverage. Circumstances can change, like adding a new driver or making major renovations to your home. Take the time to make sure you’re covered.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Update Beneficiaries<br></strong>This one can go hand-in-hand with checking your insurance. Life milestones like marriage, divorce and kids happen and it may be time to update your beneficiaries on things like life insurance or investments. Go through each policy and/or account to make sure the right people are listed as beneficiaries. Also, make sure their contact information and social security numbers are correct while you’re at it.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Inspect Estate Documents</strong><br>Hopefully, you have a will, trust and/or estate plan in writing – just in case. If not, this is the perfect time to put one together. Use your attorney to help you do this. There are also plenty of reputable online legal programs that can walk you through the process. Ideally, the people you have listed as powers of attorney or personal representatives are in good health and are willing to take on this important role. Also, be sure you have the correct heirs and distributions listed in your will/trust/estate plan. Here’s some&nbsp;<a href="applewebdata://E9E76F2F-81AF-4C57-9AB4-83567D2FDF9E/create%20will%20online%20free">useful information from AARP</a>on creating a will.&nbsp;</li></ol> 2019-04-18 09:08 +00:00 2019-04-18 04:08 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2518 https://wwfcu.org/blog/fha-loan-basics/ Uncategorized FHA Home Loan FHA Loan Basics An FHA loan is a mortgage that’s guaranteed by the government’s Federal Housing Administration. Because of this guarantee, FHA loans are more available to homebuyers who do not qualify for traditional mortgages.&#160; Should I get an FHA loan?&#160; FHA loans are great for anyone, but they’re especially good for those who:&#160; • Are first-time homebuyers&#160; Mon, 15 Apr 2019 15:08:48 Z Amy Neale <p>An FHA loan is a mortgage that’s guaranteed by the government’s Federal Housing Administration. Because of this guarantee, FHA loans are more available to homebuyers who do not qualify for traditional mortgages.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Should I get an FHA loan?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>FHA loans are great for anyone, but they’re especially good for those who:&nbsp;</p> <p>• Are first-time homebuyers&nbsp;</p> <p>• Have a lower income or credit score&nbsp;</p> <p>• Have a higher debt-to-income ratio&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>So … what are the benefits? </strong></p> <p>• <strong><em>Lower down payment </em></strong>– These loans require a down payment lower than what is generally required for a conventional loan.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Use of gift funds </em></strong>– This means that gift funds from friends or family can be used to pay for your down payment or closing costs.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Lower credit score requirements </em></strong>– FHA does not overlook poor credit entirely, but if you’ve made credit mistakes in the past you still have a chance to qualify. Credit score requirements for an FHA loan can vary by lender.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Less money in the bank </em></strong>– Conventional mortgages generally require that buyers have a large reserve of funds in the bank. FHA loans on the other hand only require you to have one month’s worth of reserves saved.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Help with closing costs </em></strong>– FHA loans allow sellers to contribute a much larger amount towards closing costs than with a conventional loan. In some cases this amount can be enough to cover all, or most, of closing costs.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Assumability </em></strong>– FHA loans are assumable, meaning that if you get an FHA loan now, a future buyer of your home could take over that loan instead of getting a new mortgage.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Larger debt-to-income (DTI) ratios </em></strong>– FHA loans will generally allow for a higher DTI ratio than conventional loans. This can be beneficial to recent college graduates with a lot of student loan debt. To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, divide your monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Some downsides…&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>• <strong><em>Mortgage Insurance Premium and Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium </em></strong>– In order to protect the government, FHA loans require a Mortgage Insurance Premium that’s charged monthly. This premium can cost nearly double what Private Mortgage Insurance is on a conventional loan. FHA loans also require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium for the cost of insuring the loan.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Loan limits </em></strong>– The limit on how much money can be borrowed is lower for an FHA loan. The loan limits depend on where a home is located.&nbsp;</p> <p>• <strong><em>Property standards </em></strong>– FHA loans require stricter standards for a property’s condition than conventional loans. A fixer upper or a home that would require costly repairs immediately, may be ineligible for an FHA loan.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Review your options.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Although there are some downsides to FHA loans, to the right buyer the good outweighs the bad. If you’re a first time homebuyer, college graduate with student debt, or just looking for a lower down payment option, FHA loans may be right for you.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Interested in an FHA loan or want to discuss your options? Our partner, Mortgage Center, is here to help. To get started, call 800.353.4449 or visit MortgageCenter.com. </strong></p> <p><em>Information as of February 2019.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Equal Housing Lender Mortgage Center NMLS# 282701&nbsp;</p> 2019-04-15 15:08 +00:00 2019-04-15 10:08 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2490 https://wwfcu.org/blog/4-mistake-to-avoid-at-tax-time/ Uncategorized Tax Return taxes TurboTax 4 Mistake to Avoid at Tax Time When preparing your taxes there are a lot of simple and easy errors you can avoid with a little double checking and extra diligence. Also, one of the biggest reasons a tax refund is delayed is because of an error. Check out this list of common errors and correct them before you file: Incorrect or Thu, 11 Apr 2019 06:53:12 Z Amy Neale <p>When preparing your taxes there are a lot of simple and easy errors you can avoid with a little double checking and extra diligence. Also, one of the biggest reasons a tax refund is delayed is because of an error. Check out this list of common errors and correct them before you file:</p> <ul><li><strong>Incorrect or Illegible Social Security Numbers</strong><br>Double-check your Social Security numbers before you file. You need to make sure that you have the right numbers for you and your spouse, as well as for any dependents that you claim. Your EITC and other dependent related tax benefits could be at risk if you have the wrong Social Security number for your child.<br><br>Also, make sure your tax return is legible. Rather than filling out the forms by hand – making it easy to mistake the number 8 for the number 3 in your Social Security number, use tax prep software</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Forgetting Dependents</strong><br>Don’t forget to claim dependents. In many cases, college students can be claimed by you. Also, if you have been caring for an aging parent, you can often claim him or her as a dependent. Think about those to whom you have been providing material support, and don’t forget to claim them as dependents.<br><br>Just make sure that no one else is claiming them as well. Each dependent can only be claimed on one tax return. So, you need to work out claims with siblings if it’s your aging parent, or with your ex if you are divorced.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Overlooking Tax Deductions</strong><br>Go through your expenses from the past year, and make sure you aren’t overlooking&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2013/03/05/turbotax-answers-most-commonly-asked-tax-questions/">deductions</a>. You might be surprised at what you can deduct, from job hunt expenses to moving expenses, if you meet the right criteria. Don’t pay more than you have to.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Not Taking Advantage of E-file</strong><br>E-filing is a great way to file your tax return quickly (don’t miss the deadline!) as well as get your tax refund processed quicker. Plus, there is a reduced chance of mistakes on the IRS end if you E-file.<br><br>If you are entitled to a tax refund, you can get it much faster when you E-file. E-file combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax refund. The IRS estimates that 9 out of 10 tax refunds will be processed within 21 days.</li></ul> <p><strong>Don’t forget that WWFCU members can save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products.&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468348271&amp;cid=all_wayne_aff_3468348271/"><strong>Get your maximum refund with TurboTax today</strong></a><strong>.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em>Courtesy: TurboTax</em></p> <ol><li></li></ol> 2019-04-11 06:53 +00:00 2019-04-11 01:53 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2498 https://wwfcu.org/blog/boost-your-financial-literacy/ Uncategorized Credit Report financial literacy month Retirement savings How to Boost Your Financial Literacy April is Financial Literacy Month. Financial Literacy Month became official in 2004 when the Senate passed Resolution 316 to officially recognize the month. While it’s not as fun as Halloween or your birthday, its goal of starting and keeping healthy financial habits is worth celebrating. Why We Need Financial Literacy Month&#160; We know, it seems Thu, 04 Apr 2019 09:51:02 Z Amy Neale <p>April is Financial Literacy Month. Financial Literacy Month became official in 2004 when the Senate passed Resolution 316 to officially recognize the month. While it’s not as fun as Halloween or your birthday, its goal of starting and keeping healthy financial habits is worth celebrating.</p> <p><strong>Why We Need Financial Literacy Month&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>We know, it seems like everything has its own holiday these days. But when you consider the following numbers, you’ll understand why Financial Literacy Month is so important.</p> <ul><li>Only 24% of millennials show basic financial literacy.&nbsp;<em>(</em><a href="http://www.nefe.org/Press-Room/News/Millennials-Gap-Between-Confidence-and-Knowledge"><em>National Endowment for Financial Education</em></a><em>)&nbsp;</em></li><li>35% of U.S. adults with a credit file have debt collections reported in those files – owing an average of $5,178.&nbsp;<em>(</em><a href="http://www.urban.org/research/publication/delinquent-debt-america"><em>Urban Institute</em></a><em>)</em></li><li>About one-third of Americans pay the minimum due on their credit cards each month.&nbsp;<em>(</em><a href="http://www.usfinancialcapability.org/results.php?region=US#managing-financial-products"><em>FINRA’s National Financial Capacity Study</em></a><em>)</em></li><li>The number of consumers age 60+ with student loan debt has quadrupled over the past decade.&nbsp;<em>(</em><a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201701_cfpb_OA-Student-Loan-Snapshot.pdf"><em>Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</em></a><em>)</em></li><li>Two-thirds of Americans would struggle to scrounge up $1,000 in an emergency.&nbsp;<em>(</em><a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Two-thirds-of-US-would-struggle-to-cover-$1,000-crisis.aspx"><em>NORC Center for Public Affairs Research</em></a><em>)</em></li></ul> <p><strong>How’s Your Financial Health?</strong></p> <p>We can’t think of a better way to honor Financial Literacy Month than to help our members improve their financial health. Here are a few tips to get you started:</p> <ul><li><strong>Get Your Free Credit Report</strong><br>The best way to get a handle on your finances is to know exactly what you owe and what your credit score is.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/">You can get one free annual credit report here</a>.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Create a Budget</strong><br>It doesn’t matter if you use an app, spreadsheet or a piece of paper. What’s important is to just write down what money comes in and goes out each month and then put together a budget using those numbers.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Put Together a Debt Payoff Plan</strong><br>We’ve all got a little debt to pay off. Do you know how much your debt totals? Do the math and then figure out how you can start paying it off. Hint – start with the debt with the highest interest rates first.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Pay Yourself First</strong><br>Before you tackle your monthly bills, be sure you’re putting away some of each paycheck in a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/compare-accounts">savings</a> or&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/iras">retirement account</a>. That way, you won’t be tempted to spend it.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Earn Some Extra Cash<br></strong>You could freelance, get a second job or get creative to earn some extra money each month. This could boost your savings and help you pay your debt off that much faster.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Stay Informed</strong></p> <p>One of the best ways to get and stay financially literate is to boost your knowledge about personal finances. Here are a few websites you might want to check out:</p> <ul><li><a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/"><strong>Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</strong></a> – It’s dedicated to keeping consumers safe while educating them at the same time.&nbsp;</li><li><a href="http://www.jumpstart.org/about-us.html"><strong>Jump$tart Coalition</strong></a> – A great website for kids and parents alike to learn more about money.</li><li><a href="http://www.aarp.org/tools/"><strong>AARP</strong></a>– You don’t have to be retired to use their free literacy tools.</li><li><a href="http://www.financialworkshopkits.org/"><strong>National Endowment for Financial Education</strong></a> – Created to boost the financial literacy of consumers like you.&nbsp;</li><li><a href="https://www.greenpath.com/"><strong>GreenPath Financial Wellness</strong></a> – Thanks to WWFCU’s partnership, our members have unlimited free access to personal and family budgeting, debt counseling and more.</li></ul> 2019-04-04 09:51 +00:00 2019-04-04 04:51 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2486 https://wwfcu.org/blog/money-smart-week-kicks-off/ Uncategorized debt counseling GreenPath money smart week Money Smart Week Kicks Off No matter how financially savvy we think we are, there’s always room to learn more. That’s why the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago created Money Smart Week. Over 30 Chicago-area organizations joined together to create the Money Smart Advisory Council to work together to promote financial literacy. Money Smart Week launched in 2002 and includes Thu, 28 Mar 2019 07:47:38 Z Amy Neale <p>No matter how financially savvy we think we are, there’s always room to learn more. That’s why the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago created Money Smart Week. Over 30 Chicago-area organizations joined together to create the Money Smart Advisory Council to work together to promote financial literacy. Money Smart Week launched in 2002 and includes a week’s worth of financial seminars and educations activities.&nbsp;</p> <p>At WWFCU, we try to educate our members on financial matters whenever possible. Here are a few ways we accomplish this:</p> <ul><li><strong>Our Branch</strong><br>Have a financial question or just want to learn more about your financial options for your future? Stop by WWFCU and speak to a member service representative or call us at (734) 721-5700.<br></li><li><strong>Our Blog</strong><br>WWFCU now offers weekly money-related articles on <a href="https://wwfcu.org/blog/">our blog</a>. <br></li><li><strong>Financial Resource Center <br></strong>For additional money-related articles on topics ranging from auto buying to travel, WWFCU members have free access to the <a href="https://wwfcu.frc.finresourcecenter.com/">Financial Resource Center</a>. <br></li><li><strong>Budget/Debt Counseling<br></strong>We all need a little extra help once in a while. WWFCU partner <a href="https://www.greenpath.com/">GreenPath Financial Wellness</a> offers unlimited free access to personal and family budgeting, debt counseling and more. </li></ul> <p><strong>Always remember, WWFCU is here to help with any financial questions you may have.&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.moneysmartweek.org/learn"><strong>You can learn more about Money Smart Week and access tons of financial resources here</strong></a></p> 2019-03-28 07:47 +00:00 2019-03-28 02:47 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2482 https://wwfcu.org/blog/when-to-file-your-taxes/ Uncategorized Identity Theft taxes When to File Your Taxes If you’re like millions of Americans, you wait till mid-April to file your income tax return. But are there any benefits to filing then? Or is it better to file early? We break it down for you. File Your Taxes Early Honestly, there are more pros than cons to filing your taxes before the April Thu, 21 Mar 2019 13:44:53 Z Amy Neale <p>If you’re like millions of Americans, you wait till mid-April to file your income tax return. But are there any benefits to filing then? Or is it better to file early? We break it down for you.</p> <p><strong>File Your Taxes Early</strong></p> <p>Honestly, there are more pros than cons to filing your taxes before the April 15<sup>th</sup>deadline. Here are seven reasons to file your taxes early.&nbsp;</p> <ol><li><strong>Avoid Late Penalties<br></strong>If you wait too long to do your taxes, you might get hit with a late-filing penalty from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This could be as much as 5% of what you owe. If you think you’re going to be late, be sure to file an extension with the IRS now.&nbsp;<br><br></li><li><strong>Stop Identity Theft<br></strong>We’ve warned you about&nbsp;<a href="https://wwfcu.org/blog/tips-for-preventing-identity-theft/">identity theft</a>and&nbsp;<a href="https://wwfcu.org/blog/beware-of-tax-scams/">tax fraud</a>before. When it comes to filing taxes, all a criminal needs is your personal information to file a phony tax return in your name – with the refund going to them, not you. Stop this fraud before it can happen and file your return as soon as possible.&nbsp;<br><br></li><li><strong>Save Money</strong><br>Oftentimes, tax software prices can increase the closer you get to the filing deadline. If you’re going to use a tax expert to help you, make your appointment sooner rather than later, chances are their calendars fill up the closer you get to April 15<sup>th</sup>.&nbsp;<br><br>Don’t forget, as a WWFCU member you can save on TurboTax federal products.&nbsp;<a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468348271&amp;cid=all_wayne_aff_3468348271/">Learn more and get your discount here</a>.&nbsp;<br><br></li><li><strong>Extra Time</strong><br>If you know you’re going to owe money on your return, it can give you peace of mind to file earlier rather than later. You won’t have to start paying till April 15<sup>th</sup>, but you’ll have a head start so you can arrange your payment.&nbsp;<br><br></li><li><strong>Don’t Procrastinate</strong><br>While most of us dread doing our taxes and put it off, it could cost you. It may take you longer than you think to do your return and you could miss the deadline. This will cost you extra in penalty fees and the possible extra expense of needing an expert to help you file. Starting your tax return as soon as possible ensures you’ll have enough time to file it before the 15<sup>th</sup>.<br><br></li><li><strong>Prevent Mistakes</strong><br>None of us are at our best when we’re rushing to get something done. The same goes with your taxes. When you give yourself plenty of time to file, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes on your return. Face it, no one wants an IRS audit!&nbsp;<br><br></li><li><strong>Get More Money – Faster<br></strong>Statistically, the sooner you file, the larger your refund will be and the sooner you’ll receive it. Over 20 million Americans wait till the last week to file – don’t be one of them.&nbsp;</li></ol> <p>So, the bottom line is to file your income tax return as soon as you can. You’ll save yourself money and stress and get your refund that much sooner!</p> 2019-03-21 13:44 +00:00 2019-03-21 08:44 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2472 https://wwfcu.org/blog/for-national-credit-education-month-do-you-know-what-affects-your-credit-score/ Uncategorized Credit Report credit score national credit union education month For National Credit Education Month – Do You Know What Affects Your Credit Score? To recognize National Credit Education Month, we thought we’d focus this week’s blog on credit. By now we all know that paying your bills late or not paying them at all can drastically affect your credit score. But there are many more factors that go into your score. First, let’s start off with the actual Thu, 14 Mar 2019 05:01:29 Z Amy Neale <p>To recognize National Credit Education Month, we thought we’d focus this week’s blog on credit. By now we all know that paying your bills late or not paying them at all can drastically affect your credit score. But there are many more factors that go into your score. First, let’s start off with the actual scores:</p> <ul><li>300-629: Bad credit</li><li>630-689: Fair/average credit</li><li>690-719: Good credit</li><li>720 and up: Excellent credit</li></ul> <p><strong>What Affects Your Score?</strong></p> <p>Whether you’re looking at your score on Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, all three major credit reporting agencies look at the same things when determining your score (in order of importance):</p> <ol><li><strong>Payment History</strong><br>This one is a factor most people understand. If you have a long history of late payments, your credit score will be lower. However, how late those payments are will affect your score differently. A payment that’s 30 days late will have less of an impact than one that’s 90 days late.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Credit Usage</strong><br>Some people think the more credit you have, the better off you’ll be. Not necessarily. It all comes down to ratios. Credit agencies look what you owe with both revolving credit (credit cards, lines of credit) and installment loans (auto loans, mortgages, etc.) and what your total credit is. This is your utilization ratio or rate. The more maxed out you are on all of your credit cards and loans, the higher your ratio is and the lower your credit score will be.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Credit History Length</strong><br>Sometimes it pays to be older – or at least have a longer credit history! Agencies will look at the ages of your oldest account, newest account and the average age of your accounts – as well as what accounts you’ve used recently. Opening a new account could lower your average age of accounts as well as your credit score. Keep in mind that closed accounts could stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, and impact the average age of your accounts.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Credit Mix</strong><br>You’ll want to have both installment loans and revolving credit to show a healthy mix and improve your score. If you only have one type on your credit, you may want to think about getting the other to help your score. As an example, if you only have credit cards on your history, you may want to apply for a small loan. Just be sure to make your monthly payments on time!</li><li><strong>Recent Credit</strong><br>Every time you apply for a credit card or loan, a credit inquiry is made. Unfortunately, these inquiries can put a ding in your credit score and can stay on your report for up to two years. If you’re checking your own credit score, that’s known as a “soft inquiry” and won’t affect your score. The good news is if you’re, for example, shopping for a car loan, credit agencies will group together all of those hard credit inquiries over a two- to four-week time period. They will only count as one inquiry and have less of an impact on your score than if all were factored in individually.</li></ol> <p><strong>Not sure what your credit is? You’re allowed to get a free credit report from one of the agencies per year. Visit&nbsp;</strong><a href="applewebdata://B7F2220D-A5EB-40E3-B0A3-DBD6F7759224/truly%20free%20credit%20report"><strong>annualcreditreport.com</strong></a><strong>to learn more or get your report today.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></p> 2019-03-14 05:01 +00:00 2019-03-14 00:01 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2475 https://wwfcu.org/blog/five-tips-for-spring-break-on-a-budget/ Uncategorized budget travel packing list road trip Save spring break travel Five Tips for Spring Break on a Budget Spring break. For teens and college kids, it’s almost a rite of passage. For families, it’s a much-needed vacation from the day-to-day grind. For both, it can take a big bite out of your savings. We think everyone deserves a spring break – so we put some tips together to help make it more affordable. Thu, 07 Mar 2019 06:06:53 Z Amy Neale <p>Spring break. For teens and college kids, it’s almost a rite of passage. For families, it’s a much-needed vacation from the day-to-day grind. For both, it can take a big bite out of your savings. We think everyone deserves a spring break – so we put some tips together to help make it more affordable.</p> <ol><li><strong>Save on Accommodations<br></strong>Whether you’re booking a hotel room or renting a condo/home, it pays to shop around. There are tons of travel sites out there nowadays to help you find the best deal. The key is to keep checking after you’ve booked your accommodations to make sure your price is still the best deal around. Many booking sites offer to meet or even beat competitor prices, so keep your eyes open.</li><li><strong>Cut Food Costs<br></strong>When booking your room, be sure it either includes a kitchenette (or at least a refrigerator) or free breakfast. Many hotels now offer free breakfast to entice tourists, just be sure it doesn’t add to the overall cost of your room. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchenette and are driving, pack food from home like cereal, milk, juice, alcohol, granola bars, etc. to cut down your food costs.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Take a Road Trip<br></strong>Jetting off to Florida may seem the best way to go, but it won’t be the cheapest. Opt for somewhere a bit closer so you can take a road trip. Or make sure you have enough drivers to make the distance manageable if your heart is set on Florida!</li><li><strong>Make a Packing List<br></strong>Be sure to make a packing list – and check it twice once you’re packed. Buying replacement sunglasses, sunblock or swimsuits will definitely add to your budget. There are numerous packing lists online, find one and customize it to fit your needs. That way you’ll remember to pack everything you need.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Wait Till Last Minute&nbsp;<br></strong>If this won’t make you anxious &#8230; you might consider waiting till the last minute to book your hotel or flights. You can often get great deals with last minute plans. But if you have a specific hotel in mind or plan on vacationing somewhere popular, it may make more sense to forgo the savings and book ahead.&nbsp;</li></ol> <p><strong>If you are going on vacation, don’t forget to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMO3aQatXR0&amp;feature=youtu.be">let WWFCU know</a>! Sometimes out of state charges can be a red flag and cause us to put a hold on your credit or debit cards. Just call (734) 721-5700 and let us know where you’ll be traveling and for how long. We want your vacation to be a good one!</strong></p> 2019-03-07 06:06 +00:00 2019-03-07 00:06 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2465 https://wwfcu.org/blog/how-to-survive-tough-financial-times/ Uncategorized budget debt help new job save money How to Survive Tough Financial Times Whether you’re a victim of the federal government shutdown, a recent layoff or just too much debt, don’t despair. There are some simple steps you can take to help you survive these tough times: Cut back Review spending habits– This should be your first step. Put together a budget of what’s coming in and what’s Fri, 22 Feb 2019 06:48:17 Z Amy Neale <p>Whether you’re a victim of the federal government shutdown, a recent layoff or just too much debt, don’t despair. There are some simple steps you can take to help you survive these tough times:</p> <p><strong>Cut back</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Review spending habits</strong>– This should be your first step. Put together a budget of what’s coming in and what’s going out.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Go out less often</strong>– Chances are, once you review your spending habits, you’ll find areas where you can cut back – including going out to eat or to the movies. Try staying home for dinner and Netflix instead.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Brew your own coffee</strong>– The average grande cup of coffee or specialty drinks at Starbucks start at about $4. Brew your coffee at home and/or work and you could save at least $100 annually per weekly cup of coffee. If you’re getting coffee out each work day, you could ultimately save over $500 a year if you just make it yourself.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Save energy to save money</strong>&#8211; Turn down thermostat in the winter, up in the summer can you could save up to $100 per month. Also, turn off lights you don’t need and replace old bulbs for the new energy saving lightbulbs to save even more.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Earn more</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Try online content</strong>– There are sites like YouTube for videos, SoundCloud for music and Hubpages for writing articles. All offer revenue sharing if you share content.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Think about freelancing/consulting</strong>– Chances are you’re an expert in something. Find ways to do some moonlighting by offering your expertise or expert services to earn some extra cash.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Ask about a raise</strong>– This is a tricky one. If you’re due for a raise, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. Nicely. If you’ve just had a raise, then ignore this tip!</li><li><strong>Find a new job</strong>– We know, easier said than done. But if you’re not in your dream job (or even close), and know you’re being paid well under market value, then it may be time to shop around for a new job. Make sure you look at the whole job package, not just the salary, when interviewing. Sometimes the right benefits can help just as much as more pay.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Shop Smarter</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Plan your grocery shopping</strong>– Check out your grocery store’s specials and coupons before you go. Most of these are now available online to make life easier. Be sure to make a shopping list before you go – and stick to it. It’s those impulse buys that add up.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Experiment shopping online for groceries and necessities</strong>– Online stores like Amazon and Thrive Market let you buy your everyday food and necessities often at a cheaper price than your local store. There are also online pet food stores like Chewy.com so you can save on your furry friends’ food as well. Compare prices before you buy, sometimes the prices are similar to your grocery store or warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Think used</strong>– Stop by your neighborhood thrift or resale stores for great deals on used clothes, shoes and accessories. Or websites like Craigslist have pretty much anything else you might need from used sports equipment and furniture to appliances and kids’ stuff.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Rethink Your Car</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Find a job closer to home</strong>– Again, not always the easiest solution. But if you work an hour or more from home, you could save big on gas if you can have a shorter commute or even work from home if possible.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Trade in that gas guzzler</strong>– We all love our big trucks and SUVs, but they’re murder on your wallet when it comes to gas. Most also come with hefty monthly payments as well. It might be time to trade it in for a more affordable, gas sipping vehicle.</li><li><strong>Stick with regular grade gas</strong>– If you think higher octane gas is better for your vehicle, think again. Not only does higher grade gas cost more, it could be hurting your car. Most vehicles are designed to use regular gas. So, save dimes per gallon and hit the regular button at the pump.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Negotiate Bills</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Start negotiating</strong>– Usually a quick call to your cell phone, cable or Internet companies can save you hundreds. They often have specials or cheaper plans to help you save. You can always bump your plan/service back up again in the future.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Call your creditors and credit union</strong>– Believe it or not, most creditors and definitely your credit union are willing to work with you when it comes to loan or credit card payments. The key is to call them and let them know what’s going on before the bills pile up! WWFCU even offers&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/all-other-loan-types">skip-a-pay</a>which lets you skip a loan or credit card payment.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Reach out to the IRS</strong>– If you’re facing a tax bill from the IRS, keep in mind that they’ll work with you on installment payments till you get the bill paid off.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Find financial counseling</strong>– There are experts out there who are dedicated to helping people like you manage their debt and budgets. This includes&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/budget-counseling-debt-management">GreenPath Financial Wellness</a>, a free service offered by WWFCU. They help with debt repayment, avoiding foreclosure/bankruptcy and much more.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Stop Charging&nbsp;</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Put away your credit card</strong>– Paying for everything with your credit card may seem like a short-term solution, but you’ll be facing long-term debt till you pay it off. Take your cards out of your wallet so you’ll be less tempted to use them.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Pay with cash – always</strong>– This is a good habit to get into. It helps remind you that if you don’t have the cash for something, you can’t afford it. If so, don’t buy it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>If you’re facing tough financial times, let WWFCU know. With just a phone call, you might be able to get a loan extension or negotiate payments to take a little stress out of your life. Contact us at (734) 721-5700.</strong></p> 2019-02-22 06:48 +00:00 2019-02-22 00:48 -06:00