Latest News 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 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2461 https://wwfcu.org/blog/beware-of-tax-scams/ Uncategorized Fraud IRS Beware of IRS Tax Scams Tax season is here. It’s not only a time filled with W-2s and receipts – but scams as well. You’ll want to be on your guard to protect yourself this time of year.&#160; IRS Imposter Scams Whether it’s by phone, mail or email, IRS scammers will often try one of two approaches to get your Thu, 21 Feb 2019 11:17:38 Z Amy Neale <p>Tax season is here. It’s not only a time filled with W-2s and receipts – but scams as well. You’ll want to be on your guard to protect yourself this time of year.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>IRS Imposter Scams</strong></p> <p>Whether it’s by phone, mail or email, IRS scammers will often try one of two approaches to get your information:</p> <ul><li><strong>Tax Collection</strong>– Scammers will contact you claiming you owe taxes. They’ll demand that you pay immediately usually by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Verify Information</strong>– You’ll be asked to verify your personal information either by email or text message. It’ll come with a link asking to “click here” or click a button that will take you to a fake form or website.</li></ul> <p><strong>Be Careful</strong></p> <ul><li>If the caller/sender demands payment immediately, don’t give in.</li><li>Ignore your caller ID. Scammers know how to alter it to say “IRS.”</li><li>Don’t click on any links that ask you to verify your information!&nbsp;</li><li>If someone calls out of the blue saying they’re from the IRS – beware. The IRS will&nbsp;<em>always</em>mail you before calling.</li><li>Get the caller’s name, callback number and badge number and then call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)&nbsp;at&nbsp;800-366-4484&nbsp;to check if they’re actually an IRS employee. If not, you need to&nbsp;report them to the IRS.</li><li>If the communication includes the threat of arrest, it’s not from the IRS.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Let the IRS Know</strong></p> <p>If you feel you’ve been a victim of IRS imposter fraud, you should report it.&nbsp;You can</p> <p>report IRS imposter scams online&nbsp;<a href="https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml">here</a> or call TIGTA at&nbsp;800-366-4484. If you’ve gotten a scam email, you can forward it to the IRS:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phishing@irs.gov">phishing@irs.gov</a>.</p> <p><strong>Don’t forget, when it’s time to file your taxes, WWFCU members get a &nbsp;<a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468348271&amp;cid=all_wayne_aff_3468348271/">great discount on TurboTax</a>!</strong></p> 2019-02-21 11:17 +00:00 2019-02-21 05:17 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2458 https://wwfcu.org/blog/why-you-should-love-your-credit-union/ Uncategorized credit union few fees free budget counseling Love My Credit Union low rates sprint TurboTax Why You Should Love Your Credit Union Many of our members make their deposits, withdrawals and payments without thinking much about what being a WWFCU member truly means. That’s okay, we don’t mind. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share the top eight reasons why our members love WWFCU.&#160; Low RatesCredit unions are known for their low loan interest rates. Thu, 14 Feb 2019 11:07:01 Z Amy Neale <p>Many of our members make their deposits, withdrawals and payments without thinking much about what being a WWFCU member truly means. That’s okay, we don’t mind. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share the top eight reasons why our members love WWFCU.&nbsp;</p> <ol><li><strong>Low Rates</strong><br>Credit unions are known for their <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/our-rates">low loan interest rates</a>. In fact, our rates can average 1% less than banks for personal and auto loans and 5% less for credit cards.</li><li><strong>Fewer Fees</strong><br>Thanks to being part of the CO-OP Network, you can use your WWFCU debit card at more than <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/30-000-surcharge-free-atms">30,000 surcharge-free ATMs </a>in the U.S. and Canada.</li><li><strong>Free Budget Counseling</strong><br>WWFCU sincerely cares about your financial well-being, which is why we offer <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/budget-counseling-debt-management">free budget counseling and debt management </a>to our members through GreenPath Financial Wellness.</li><li><strong>Free Identity Theft Protection<br></strong>Do you have a WWFCU Visa? Then you can get <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/free-identity-theft-protection">free identity theft detection </a>and recovery services. If you don’t have our Visa, you can purchase an identity fraud package.</li><li><strong>Easier Auto Buying<br></strong>Buying a vehicle is one of the most stressful financial decisions we make. To help take the stress out of the process, we offer free access to <a href="https://wwfcu.cudlautosmart.com/">AutoSMART </a>to help find your dream new or used vehicle. Get a <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/free-carfax">free CARFAX report</a> when you get your auto loan with us. Plus, we offer discounted <a href="https://www.trustage.com/auto-home/save-on-car-insurance?orgIdentifier=000000007401&amp;marketingCampaignCode=ICTBH14B&amp;utm_source=000000007401&amp;utm_medium=CULK_Link&amp;utm_campaign=ICTBH14B&amp;utm_content=CB000158">auto insurance with TruStage</a>. </li><li><strong>Member Discounts<br></strong>From great savings on TurboTax, Sprint, ADT and more via <a href="https://www.lovemycreditunion.org/home">Love My Credit Union</a> to discounted theme park tickets – WWFCU is here to help you save!</li><li><strong>Member-Owners<br></strong>Our members matter to us. As a credit union member, you’re a part-owner of WWFCU – which means you have a say in what we do. And since we’re run by a board of directors that are all members, not shareholders like at a bank, WWFCU’s profits come back to you in the form of lower rates and fewer fees. </li><li><strong>Putting Members First<br></strong>Ask any WWFCU member and they’ll tell you it’s our staff that sets us apart. We truly care about our members and put you first in every decision we make and in all we do. From our tellers to our member service representatives, we’re all dedicated to your financial success. </li></ol> 2019-02-14 11:07 +00:00 2019-02-14 05:07 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2455 https://wwfcu.org/blog/your-tax-prep-guide-and-checklist/ Uncategorized IRS taxes W-2 Your Tax Prep Guide and Checklist The end of January has come and gone, which means you should have all of your important tax documents by now. You know what that means? It’s time to gather everything to get ready to file your tax returns. Whether you file your own taxes or get them done, you’ll still need to tackle this Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:03:41 Z Amy Neale <p>The end of January has come and gone, which means you should have all of your important tax documents by now. You know what that means? It’s time to gather everything to get ready to file your tax returns. Whether you file your own taxes or get them done, you’ll still need to tackle this important step.</p> <p><strong>Tax Forms You’ll Need</strong></p> <p>Here are some of the most common tax forms. (Keep in mind, this isn’t a complete list. Check with IRS.gov for more information.):</p> <ul><li>Form W-2, if you’re employed</li><li>Form SSA-1099, if you get Social Security benefits</li><li>Various 1099s, depending on your situation&nbsp;</li><li>Form 1095-A if you had health insurance through the government Marketplace&nbsp;</li><li>Form 1098 to report mortgage interest (1098), student loan interest (1098-E) and tuition payments (1098-T)</li><li>Form W-2Gs if you have certain gambling winnings</li></ul> <p><strong>Gather Your Receipts</strong></p> <p>You’ll need to decide if you’re itemizing your deductions or taking the standard deduction. To better decide, you’ll need your receipts for the year to see what gives you the biggest write-off. Here are some of the receipts you’ll need:</p> <ul><li>Cash donations to schools, charities and religious institutions</li><li>Non-cash charitable donations</li><li>Job search/moving expenses</li><li>Unreimbursed job-related expenses such as travel, cell phone charges, tools, uniform cost/cleaning, trade journals, meals and entertainment&nbsp;</li><li>Vehicle registration expenses</li></ul> <p><strong>Personal information&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>You already know your address and social security number, but what about the addresses of any rental properties or your dependents’ social security numbers? Also, any addresses of properties you’ve bought or sold. Have all of this information written down and handy.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Get Ready to File</strong></p> <p>It’s up to you how you want to file. But keep in mind that&nbsp;<a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468348271&amp;cid=all_wayne_aff_3468348271/">WWFCU members get great savings on TurboTax federal products</a>. Feel free to&nbsp;<a href="https://digitalasset.intuit.com/DOCUMENT/A44724mxI/TurboTax_TaxPrepChecklist.pdf">view and print out this tax preparation checklist</a>from TurboTax for extra help.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2019-02-07 11:03 +00:00 2019-02-07 05:03 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2449 https://wwfcu.org/blog/emergency-fund-basics/ Uncategorized government shutdown savings Emergency Fund Basics While we were already planning on writing about emergency funds, doing so in the aftermath of the partial government shutdown seems more than timely! Employees were laid off for 35 days and it still might be weeks before they see a paycheck. Would you be able to survive a month or two without a paycheck? Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:59:15 Z Amy Neale <p>While we were already planning on writing about emergency funds, doing so in the aftermath of the partial government shutdown seems more than timely! Employees were laid off for 35 days and it still might be weeks before they see a paycheck.</p> <p>Would you be able to survive a month or two without a paycheck? If the answer is no, then it’s time to seriously think about establishing an emergency fund. However, job loss is only one reason you may need this extra savings. Other reasons include:</p> <ul><li>Medical or dental emergency</li><li>Unexpected home repairs</li><li>Big ticket auto repairs</li><li>Unplanned trips</li></ul> <p>Oftentimes, people will take money out of their retirement savings, get overdrawn in their checking accounts, miss mortgage or other payments or even file for bankruptcy. Don’t let this happen to you!</p> <p>Creating an emergency fund will help you curb unnecessary spending, reduce stress and keep you on top of your finances. Plus, it’s not as hard as you think to put a little extra away each month. Here are some tips to building an emergency fund:</p> <ul><li><strong>Be prepared to save from three to six months’ worth of expenses.</strong><br>Estimate your costs for housing, food, utility bills, transportation (car payment and gas), personal expenses and healthcare costs for a month and go from there. </li><li><strong>Determine how much you may need the fund.<br></strong>How much you save also depends on what you do for a living. If you’re in a high-risk industry where layoffs are common, then you might want to save closer to six months’ income.This also pertains to you if you have a job where the income isn’t consistent from week to week.</li><li><strong>Where to start?</strong><br>Just by cutting down your unnecessary spending (like dinner out or entertainment), you could save an extra $25 per week. That’s $1,300 per year going into your emergency fund. Need more? Save more! $50 per week will get you $2,600 in a year’s time. Also, if you have a tax refund coming, putting it into your fund may be the perfect option.  </li><li><strong>Where to save it?</strong><br>Your <a href="https://wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/compare-accounts">WWFCU savings </a>account is your first option. But you may want to think about using/opening a <a href="https://wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/money-market-accounts">WWFCU money market account </a>– your interest rate will be higher than a regular savings account. </li></ul> <p>Whatever approach you decide to take for creating an emergency fund, the key to it all is to start one. Now. You never know when you may need it.&nbsp;</p> 2019-01-30 15:59 +00:00 2019-01-30 09:59 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2444 https://wwfcu.org/blog/is-it-time-to-refinance-your-auto-loan/ Uncategorized credit score loan rates refinance Is it Time to Refinance Your Auto Loan? When most of us think of loan refinancing, we think of mortgages. But you can also refinance your&#160;auto loan– which is even easier! There are two main reasons you should refinance your auto loan: You’ve found a lower interest rate Your credit score has improved Lower Rate If you don’t already know, credit unions historically Thu, 24 Jan 2019 14:37:36 Z Amy Neale <p>When most of us think of loan refinancing, we think of mortgages. But you can also refinance your&nbsp;<a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">auto loan</a>– which is even easier!</p> <p>There are two main reasons you should refinance your auto loan:<br></p> <ul><li>You’ve found a lower interest rate</li><li>Your credit score has improved</li></ul> <p><strong>Lower Rate</strong></p> <p>If you don’t already know, credit unions historically have the lowest interest rates around, including WWFCU. (<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/our-rates">You can check out our rates here</a>.) So, shop around and see what rates are available and how they compare to your current rate. The lower the rate, the lower your monthly payment!</p> <p><strong>Credit Score</strong></p> <p>You should regularly check your credit score, especially if you’re actively working to improve it. You’re allowed one free credit report per year at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">annualcreditreport.com</a>. If you haven’t checked out your score in a while, it might be time.&nbsp;<br><br>Credit scores range from 300 to 850. While most of us would never hope to reach 850, you should have a goal of keeping it in the 700 to 800 range to get the best auto loan rates.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>A pointer when loan shopping &#8230; Be sure to check with financial institutions at around the same timeframe. That way, credit reporting agencies like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.experian.com/">Experian</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transunion.com/">TransUnion&nbsp;</a>and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.equifax.com/">Equifax&nbsp;</a>will group your credit inquiries all together. This will limit the effect the inquiries will have on your credit score.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Loan Terms</strong></p> <p>One major factor to keep in mind when refinancing your auto loan are the terms. If you’re one year into a four-year loan, you don’t want to refinance it for five years. While your monthly payments will go down, the amount of interest you’ll ultimately pay will increase.&nbsp;<br><br>You’ll also want to remember that the older the car, the higher the rates. So, your brand-new SUV will come with higher interest rates once it’s a few years old.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Refinancing</strong></p> <p>If you’ve decided that refinancing your loan is a good financial decision, there are a few things you’ll need: your most recent loan statement; your vehicle’s VIN, make, model and year; proof of income, which usually includes the last two to three paystubs. Then, stop by WWFCU and see what we can do for you!</p> 2019-01-24 14:37 +00:00 2019-01-24 08:37 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2441 https://wwfcu.org/blog/3-money-resolutions-for-millennials-and-others/ Uncategorized millennials Personal Loans student loan 3 Money Resolutions for Millennials (and Others!) Millennials are now at the age where they’re buying cars and homes as well as starting families. With all of these financial responsibilities, some other money needs can slip through the cracks. Nothing like having a new year to help you focus on finances. Here are three major money matters Millennials should tackle in 2019: Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:10:47 Z Amy Neale <p>Millennials are now at the age where they’re buying cars and homes as well as starting families. With all of these financial responsibilities, some other money needs can slip through the cracks. Nothing like having a new year to help you focus on finances.</p> <p>Here are three major money matters Millennials should tackle in 2019:</p> <ol><li><strong>Retirement Planning and Saving</strong><br>Sure, retirement is several decades away, but it’s seriously never too early to start saving for it. If you’re not already contributing to a 401k at work or an individual retirement account (IRA), now’s the time to get serious about opening up one. <br><br>Check with your company to see if they offer a 401k and commit to contributing at least 5% of your income to it. If a 401k isn’t available, <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/iras">an IRA is the next best option</a>. Again, 5% of your income is a great starting point. <br><br>If you’re already saving for retirement, think about upping your contribution by 5% or more this year.<br><br></li><li><strong>Refinance Student Loans<br></strong>Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loans. If you’re part of this statistic, chances are you’re diligently making payments without thinking about the bigger picture – like the interest rate. The average rate undergrads are paying is 4.8% while graduate students pay around 6.3%. <br><br>Chances are, there are lower loan rates out there. You could save thousands of dollars by simply refinancing your <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/personal-loans/student-loans">student loan</a>. There are federal loan options as well as loan from your credit union. Keep in mind, credit unions are known to have some of the lowest rates around! A <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/personal-loans">personal loan</a>or <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/home-loans">home equity loan</a> could be just what you need. <br><br></li><li><strong>Make Savings Automatic<br></strong>It’s hard to spend money if you don’t have easy access to it. For this reason alone, we recommend you automate your savings if possible. Most companies offer <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/checking/direct-deposit">direct deposit </a>and usually give you the option of choosing more than one account to disperse your paycheck into. Pick an <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/iras">IRA</a>,<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/compare-accounts">savings </a>or <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/money-market-accounts">money market account </a>and start putting at least 5% of every check into it. Then, commit to increase that amount each year by a percent or two. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice little nest egg piled up!</li></ol> <p>As we mention in the headline, these resolutions are useful whether you’re a Millennial or any other generation before that. The goal is to make thoughtful financial decisions, no matter who you are or what time of year it is. You can save all year long!</p> 2019-01-17 14:10 +00:00 2019-01-17 08:10 -06:00