Latest News https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2567 https://wwfcu.org/blog/top-financial-tips-for-new-parents/ Uncategorized 401(k) budget emergency fund new parents savings Top Financial Tips for New Parents Being a new parent comes with a lot of decisions. From picking the right stroller and car seat to the perfect name, making the right choices can be stressful. We hate adding to your parental to-do list, but now is the time to add some financially-related tasks to your list as well. Insurance Add Your Thu, 23 May 2019 09:22:50 Z Amy Neale <p>Being a new parent comes with a lot of decisions. From picking the right stroller and car seat to the perfect name, making the right choices can be stressful. We hate adding to your parental to-do list, but now is the time to add some financially-related tasks to your list as well.</p> <p><strong>Insurance</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Add Your Child to Your Health Insurance</strong><br>It seems like a no-brainer, but this task can get overlooked in all of the chaos that comes with a new baby. Most health insurance plans want you to add your new bundle of joy within 30-60 days of delivery. Check with your insurance company and get that baby covered!</li><li><strong>Update Your Life Insurance</strong><br>First, if you don’t already have life insurance – having a baby is an excellent reason to get one now for you and your spouse. This will protect your family when they need it most. Thankfully, life insurance is usually downright affordable. Many financial institutions,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.trustage.com/life?orgIdentifier=000000007401&amp;marketingCampaignCode=BCLGLXBLB4&amp;utm_source=000000007401&amp;utm_medium=CULK_Link&amp;utm_campaign=BCLGLXBLB4&amp;utm_content=CB000159">like WWFCU</a>, can give you access to discounted policies. If you already have a policy, be sure to make your child a beneficiary.</li></ul> <p><strong>Accounts and Forms</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Health Savings Accounts</strong><br>If your employer offers a health savings account (HSA), and you already take part, you may want to adjust your contributions. An HSA lets you use pre-tax dollars to pay for a variety of health-related expenses like co-pays, infant formula, breast pumps and more.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Get or Update Your Will<br></strong>Nobody likes to think about a time when they won’t be around, but now that you have a little one, you’ll want to make sure they’re covered by having a will.A will not only lists beneficiaries when you pass, but also states who you wish to be guardians if your children are under 18. Work with an attorney to update these things or to create a will if you don’t already have one.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Tax Time<br></strong>Once tax time rolls around, you’ll see the financial benefits of having a child – the Child Tax Credit. The IRS also gives you credit for childcare with the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Be sure your tax planner is aware of your latest family addition or, if you file yourself, don’t miss these important credits on your return.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Important Records<br></strong>Once your baby is born, make sure you receive paper copies of key records such as the birth certificate, Social Security card and immunization record. You’ll need three copies of the birth certificate – one for you, one for your child to have later in life and one for a guardian. The Social Security card will arrive by mail. And the immunization record is vital if you’ll be putting your child in daycare. Be sure to keep all of your important documents in a fireproof safe.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Budgets and Savings</strong></p> <ul><li><strong>Change Your 401k</strong><br>Update the beneficiaries on your 401k to include your new baby. You may want to reconsider what your contributions are as well. It never hurts to save more when you can.</li><li><strong>College Savings</strong><br>Sure, they’re just in diapers. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start planning for their college education now. A 529 college savings account may be a great option for you. They grow tax-free and aren’t taxed when money is withdrawn as long as you use it to pay for qualified education expenses. According to the U.S. News, it currently costs $9,716 to $35,676 per year to send a kid to college – so start saving now. Speak to a financial planner to weigh your college savings options.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Revisit Your Debt<br></strong>Ideally, this should be handled as soon as you find out a baby is on the way. Do everything you can ahead of time to reduce your debt by as much as possible. Switch high-rate credit cards for&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/borrow/visa-card">lower rate ones</a>, consolidate your debt into a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/our-rates">low-rate loan</a>and make more than your monthly payments till at least the baby arrives.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Revise Your Budget<br></strong>You’ll soon be amazed at how something so tiny can cost so much! The USDA states it costs $233,000 to raise a child. Chances are, your budget could use some tweaking now that you have new family member. Diapers, formula, clothing and childcare can make a big dent in your finances. Experts recommend upping your monthly budget by at least 10% to accommodate these growing expenses.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Increase Your Emergency Fund<br></strong>This is another one of those “if you don’t have one, get one” scenarios now that you’re a new parent. You want to make sure you’re financially covered in case of an unforeseen emergency or unexpected layoff. Most experts recommend having 6-12 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. But start with whatever you can afford.&nbsp;<a href="https://wwfcu.org/blog/emergency-fund-basics/">Learn more about emergency funds here</a>.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p>We’re not saying you have to do all of this today, but it’s good to review best recommendations and start from there. Be sure to speak to your accountant, tax expert or financial planner to make the choices that are right for you and your new family.&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-23 09:22 +00:00 2019-05-23 04:22 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2531 https://wwfcu.org/blog/fixed-rate-vs-adjustable-rate-mortgages/ Home Loans adjustable-rate mortgage fixed-rate mortgage home buying interest rate Mortgage Fixed Rate vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages From picking neighborhoods and school districts, to dealing with down payments and home inspections, there are a lot of choices homebuyers need to make. A major decision, one that will affect your finances for years, is what kind of mortgage to get: fixed or adjustable rate.  The most popular type of mortgage is fixed-rate, which means Thu, 16 May 2019 10:13:57 Z Amy Neale <p>From picking neighborhoods and school districts, to dealing with down payments and home inspections, there are a lot of choices homebuyers need to make. A major decision, one that will affect your finances for years, is what kind of mortgage to get: <a href="https://wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/home-loans">fixed or adjustable rate</a>. </p> <p>The most popular type of mortgage is <strong>fixed-rate</strong>, which means it has the same interest rate for the life of the loan. That means your monthly payment (principal and interest) remains the same. An <strong>adjustable rate </strong>mortgage (ARM) comes with an interest rate that changes over time. It’s initially set below the market rate and then increases throughout the life of the loan. Each type of mortgage has its own pros and cons.</p> <p><strong>Fixed-Rate Mortgage – Pros and Cons</strong></p> <p><strong>Pros</strong></p> <ul> <li>Borrowers are protected from sudden and major monthly payment increases if rates go up</li> <li>You’re locked into your rate for the entire term of the loan (unless you refinance, that is)</li> <li>It’s simpler to create and stick to a monthly budget if you know what your monthly payment will be</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons</strong></p> <ul> <li>Your monthly payment will initially be higher than that of an ARM</li> <li>If interest rates are high, it could be harder to qualify for a loan</li> <li>It could possibly cost you more in interest over the life of the mortgage</li> </ul> <p><strong>Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – Pros and Cons</strong></p> <p><strong>Pros</strong></p> <ul> <li>The interest rate and monthly payment are initially lower than those of a fixed-rate mortgage</li> <li>Lower rates mean that you could potentially qualify for a larger loan</li> <li>You could end up saving hundreds of dollars per month for the first several years of the mortgage</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons</strong></p> <ul> <li>Your monthly payment may change often during the loan term</li> <li>Monthly payments may end up being more than you can afford once they increase</li> <li>ARMs are harder to understand compared to the more straightforward fixed-rate loan</li> </ul> <p>Here’s a breakdown of the various mortgages, highlighting what they coast in the long run:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="wp-block-spacer" style="height: 35px;" aria-hidden="true"> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table class="wp-block-table is-style-stripes"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> </strong></td> <td><strong>Fixed Rate Mortgage</strong></td> <td><strong>Fully Amortizing ARM</strong></td> <td><strong>Interest-Only ARM</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Loan Amount</strong></td> <td>$200,000</td> <td>$200,000</td> <td>$200,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Term</strong></td> <td>30 years</td> <td>30 years</td> <td>30 years</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Interest Rate</strong></td> <td>4.5% APR</td> <td>4% APR<sup>* </sup></td> <td>4% APR<sup>*</sup></td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Initial Monthly Payment</strong></td> <td>$1,013.37</td> <td>$954.83</td> <td>$666.67</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Payment After 4 Years</strong></td> <td>$1,013.37</td> <td>$1,038.67</td> <td>$791.67</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Total Interest Paid</strong></td> <td>$164,813.83</td> <td>$261,906.43</td> <td>$457,500.00</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Total Payments</strong></td> <td>$364,813.83</td> <td>$461,906.43</td> <td>$457,500.00</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Ending Balance</strong></td> <td>$0.00</td> <td>$0.00</td> <td>$200,000.00</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="font-size: 10px;"><sup><em>*</em></sup><em>Rate is fixed for 12 months, then adjusts by 0.25% every 12 months to a maximum of 12%. The highest rate charged was 11.25%.</em></p> <div class="wp-block-spacer" style="height: 27px;" aria-hidden="true"> </div> <p><strong>How to Decide?</strong></p> <p>There are a few factors to consider before deciding which type of mortgage is right for you. When choosing, ask yourself these questions: </p> <p><strong>How much can you afford?</strong></p> <p>Once you’re prequalified for a mortgage, look at your monthly budget and determine what you can actually afford. Your bottom line may influence which mortgage you pick. You’ll also need to figure out what you can afford if your ARM rate increases. Start with the worst-case scenario and work your way back from there. </p> <p><strong>How long do you plan on living in the home?</strong></p> <p>If you think you’re only going to be in the house for a few years, an ARM can help you save. If you plan on raising kids and growing old in your home, you should probably consider getting a fixed-rate loan.</p> <p><strong>What are the terms of the ARM?</strong></p> <p>ARMs come in all shapes and sizes, i.e. interest-only, fully amortizing, adjustment terms from one month to 10 years, etc. Know what you need and what your financial institution/credit union has to offer. </p> <p><strong>What are the interest rates and where are they going?</strong></p> <p>If rates are currently high, an ARM makes total sense. Their lower initial rates will help you save in the beginning. If rates are low, a fixed-rate mortgage might make the most sense. </p> <p>After you’ve <a href="https://wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/loan-calculator">crunched some numbers</a>, it’s always good to discuss your options with both an accountant and your mortgage lender to choose the mortgage that’s right for you. </p> <p><strong>WWFCU teams up with Mortgage Center to give its members the best, most affordable options. Click here to apply for a mortgage or call 888-562-6865 to explore your options today.</strong></p> 2019-05-16 10:13 +00:00 2019-05-16 05:13 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2549 https://wwfcu.org/blog/private-mortgage-insurance-pmi-basics/ Uncategorized home buying Mortgage PMI private mortgage insurance Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Basics Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) When purchasing a home, there are many different costs to factor into a budget. While many people are aware of expenses like taxes and the cost of making&#160;repairs, there are some costs that people don’tthink about, such as Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an additional monthly expense added to your Tue, 14 May 2019 16:29:02 Z Amy Neale <p><strong>Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)</strong></p> <p>When purchasing a home, there are many different costs to factor into a budget. While many people are aware of expenses like taxes and the cost of making&nbsp;repairs, there are some costs that people don’tthink about, such as Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an additional monthly expense added to your mortgage payment when you make a smaller down payment on a home.</p> <p><strong>Why is PMI Required?</strong></p> <p>Private Mortgage Insurance is generally required by lenders when you are putting a low amount down on the home. When you put less money down on a home, the risk is higher, so lenders will require the insurance to protect themselves in case of a mortgage default.</p> <p><strong>Will PMI Ever Go Away?</strong></p> <p>With a conventional loan, PMI can be canceled when your equity rises above a certain percentage. Thishappens when mortgage payments are made or a home’s value appreciates.</p> <p>If you’re eligible to cancel PMI, your lender will want to schedule an appraisal to ensure that you have enough equity.</p> <p>With an FHA loan, you may be eligible to cancel PMI when you pay your mortgage down to a certain percentage of the original sales price. The&nbsp;market value of the home doesn’t matter.</p> <p>If you’d like to know whether you can cancel your PMI, speak with your mortgage lender.</p> <p><strong>Can PMI Be Avoided?</strong></p> <p>There are different ways in which paying for PMI can be avoided. You may not have to pay PMI if you put a larger amount down on a home or, in some situations, are willing to pay a higher interest rate. There are also mortgage options that do not require PMI, like VA loans. Our partner, Mortgage Center, offers several mortgages including the PMI Saver, which allows you to avoid PMI with a smaller down payment.</p> <p>If you have questions about PMI, including whether your PMI can be canceled, speak with yourmortgage lender. If you’d like to keep your mortgage with your credit union or are interested in the PMISaver mortgage, contact our partner, Mortgage Center, by calling 800.353.4449.</p> <p><em>Information as of February 2019.</em></p> <p>Mortgage Center is an Equal Housing Lender NMLS# 282701</p> 2019-05-14 16:29 +00:00 2019-05-14 11:29 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2524 https://wwfcu.org/blog/essential-tips-for-first-time-homebuyers/ Uncategorized First Time Home Buyers home inspection house hunting Mortgage Essential Tips for First-time Homebuyers The thought of buying your first home can be thrilling – and intimidating. Whether you’ve just started the homebuying journey or you’re in the middle of the process, we’ve got some tips to help you along the way. These tips can be a refresher if this isn’t your first time house-hunting as well.&#160; Down PaymentIt Thu, 09 May 2019 10:53:04 Z Amy Neale <p>The thought of buying your first home can be thrilling – and intimidating. Whether you’ve just started the homebuying journey or you’re in the middle of the process, we’ve got some tips to help you along the way. These tips can be a refresher if this isn’t your first time house-hunting as well.&nbsp;</p> <ul><li><strong>Down Payment<br></strong>It may sound odd, but you need to start saving for a house down payment&nbsp;<em>before</em>you start thinking about buying a house. Most experts recommend having a 20% down payment, but less is also okay. Just keep in mind, the more you have to put down, the less you’ll have to borrow. Plus, your monthly payments will be smaller. A smaller down payment may mean you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance.&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Take Control of Your Finances<br></strong>Before thinking any further about mortgages, you’ll want to check your credit score. You’ll want to not only know your score, but look at your full report to see what may be negatively impacting your score. See any mistakes on your report? Now is the time to fix them. Contact the reporting agency to get errors put right. Also, put a halt on any big purchases. Those can have an impact on your credit as well.&nbsp;<a href="https://wwfcu.org/blog/for-national-credit-education-month-do-you-know-what-affects-your-credit-score/">See what other factors may be affecting your score here</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>How Much Can You Afford?</strong><br>This is the big question, isn’t it? It sets the tone for the rest of your house-hunting experience. Speak with a mortgage specialist to get prequalified for a mortgage to determine how much you can afford. However, just because you’re qualified for a certain amount doesn’t mean that’s what you can really afford.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/loan-calculator">Do the math to see what your monthly payments would be</a>before looking at houses.&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>House Hunting</strong><br>This is the fun yet stressful part! Be sure you work with an experienced buyer’s agent that knows the areas you’re interested in living. Once you start looking, remember life isn’t like HGTV. Houses may need work – it’s important to see beyond the clutter to see a home’s potential. You’re better off buying a home that needs a little cosmetic work and has a newer furnace, AC, hot water heater and roof. When searching, look for a home that will fit your future needs, not just your current ones. For example, you may have children in your future.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Do Your House Homework</strong><br>Found the perfect home? Before you make an offer, check out the neighborhood. How are the schools? (This affects home value as well as your kids’ education.) What are the crime statistics? Drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day or days of the week to get a true impression of it.&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Making an Offer<br></strong>If you were smart and home shopped within your budget, making an offer should be a smooth process. Work with your Realtor to check out comparable homes that have sold nearby recently to ensure you come up with the right price. You don’t make an offer on a home based on what you can afford, you make it based on what it’s actually worth. It’s that simple. Be sure to make the home sale contingent upon a home inspection. This will help give you leverage when making the offer and avoid any surprises once you sign on the bottom line.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Closing Costs</strong><br>You’ll want to factor closing costs into the overall number-crunching at the beginning of the house hunting process. Closing costs usually include a title search, title insurance, taxes, lender costs and some upfront housing expenses like homeowner’s insurance. Expect to pay about 2% to 5% of the purchase price of your home in closing costs. You can also ask the home seller to pay for some of the costs when negotiating the purchase price.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Still have homebuying questions? Don’t worry, we have mortgage specialists that can help!&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/home-loans"><strong>Click here to see what home loan options WWFCU has to offer</strong></a> <strong>or&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/about-us/get-in-touch/contact"><strong>speak to a specialist today</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p> 2019-05-09 10:53 +00:00 2019-05-09 05:53 -05:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2513 https://wwfcu.org/blog/7-smart-ways-to-invest-your-tax-refund/ Uncategorized invest tax refund pay debt tax refund 7 Smart Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund You can maximize your tax refund in several ways — from paying off high-interest debt to investing in a business or saving for retirement. One or more of these options could be the perfect fit for you. Pay Off High-Interest DebtHas a high-interest credit card balance been a thorn in your side? Resist temptation to Thu, 02 May 2019 09:44:12 Z Amy Neale <p>You can maximize your tax refund in several ways — from paying off high-interest debt to investing in a business or saving for retirement. One or more of these options could be the perfect fit for you.</p> <ul><li><strong>Pay Off High-Interest Debt</strong><br>Has a high-interest credit card balance been a thorn in your side? Resist temptation to book a vacation with your refund and tackle that debt instead. Start with debts with the highest interest rates; eliminating these will save you the most money in the long run. If you don&#8217;t have any credit card debt, use your tax refund to reduce your car or student loan debt.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Up Your 401(k) Contributions</strong><br>Put your tax refund toward everyday expenses, while increasing your 401(k) contributions. If you&#8217;re only putting in 3% of your paycheck, but your company matches up to 6%, you can double the pre-tax income you&#8217;re investing to maximize retirement funds.<br><br>Your paychecks will be slightly lower but you can use your refund to make up the difference while investing in your retirement and lowering your taxable income.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Increase a Home Down Payment or Resale Value</strong><br>If you&#8217;ve been saving for a home, use your refund to increase your down payment to avoid costly private mortgage insurance payments and also to reduce the overall amount of your mortgage.<br><br>If you already own your home and have been waiting to replace a leaky pipe or start a much-needed home improvement project, getting a tax refund might be a good time to make your home more functional while increasing its resale value.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Make an Investment</strong><br>Perhaps you want to invest in real estate, a tech start-up or a stock you believe is about to soar, but you&#8217;ve been waiting for a little extra cushion of cash. If you&#8217;ve done your research and are itching to take a calculated risk, utilize your tax refund before dipping into your checking or savings accounts.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Make Investments that Save Time and Money</strong><br>Dedicate part of your tax refund to a product or service that can save you time, money or a combination of the two. An example is finding a meal delivery service that&#8217;s cheaper than grocery shopping and can help make serving dinner quicker and easier on you during your busy workweek.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Open a Credit Card Account with Benefits</strong><br>As long as you&#8217;re debt free and pay off your credit card balances every month, you might want to invest in a card with desirable perks, especially if your current credit cards don&#8217;t offer any benefits.<br><br>Some cards may require an annual fee, but they often offer substantial travel and lifestyle rewards. The right credit card should save you more than—or provide services that far exceed—the cost of maintaining the account.</li></ul> <ul><li><strong>Give a Tax-Free Annual Gift</strong><br>If you have a well-established financial portfolio and are near retirement age, you may want to consider gifting excess funds, such as a large refund, every year. The IRS sets an annual limit ($15,000 per recipient, as of 2018) on the gifts individuals are able to transfer to others, including family members, without filing a gift tax return.<br><br>You are allowed to gift up to $15,000 to as many people as you want, though, as long as you haven&#8217;t exceeded the lifetime exclusion amount, which is $11.2 million as of 2018.</li></ul> <p><em>Courtesy: TurboTax</em></p> 2019-05-02 09:44 +00:00 2019-05-02 04:44 -05:00 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