Latest News https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2461 https://wwfcu.org/blog/beware-of-tax-scams/ Uncategorized Fraud IRS Beware of 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 <a href="https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml">here</a> or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484. If you’ve gotten a scam email, you can forward it to the IRS: <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  <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 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2437 https://wwfcu.org/blog/how-to-dig-out-of-holiday-debt/ Uncategorized budget credit card debit card debt holidays How to Dig Out of Holiday Debt Did you pack on some extra pounds as well as debt over the holidays? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Consumer’s spent an average of just over $1,000 this holiday season. Like those extra pounds, it takes more work to whittle debt down than it did to gain it. That’s why WWFCU put together some helpful Thu, 10 Jan 2019 16:16:47 Z Amy Neale <p>Did you pack on some extra pounds as well as debt over the holidays? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Consumer’s spent an average of just over $1,000 this holiday season. Like those extra pounds, it takes more work to whittle debt down than it did to gain it. That’s why WWFCU put together some helpful tips to dig you out of holiday debt.</p> <ul><li><strong>Add it Up</strong><br>Gather together your billing statements from all of your credit cards. Don’t forget those store credit cards – their interest rates are usually higher than you Visa or Mastercard.</li><li><strong>Make a Plan<br></strong>Figure out how much you owe overall and take note of which cards have the highest rates. Then decide if you want to pay off the smallest debt first or the one with the highest interest rate. If your debt total is overwhelming and your rates are high, you might want to consider getting a personal loan to consolidate it all at a lower rate. Or you could transfer your balances to a zero or low-rate card. The lower the rate, the faster you’ll pay it off.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Stop the Spending</strong><br>Now that the holidays over, it’s the perfect time to put a stop to all your credit card spending. Vow that for the next 6 months you’ll only use cash or your debit card for purchases. It’s easier to tackle your debt if you’re not adding more at the same time!</li></ul> <p>While it might take several months or a couple of years to pay off your debt, don’t despair or give up. Growing new, healthy spending habits and reducing your debt can only help boost your credit score!</p> 2019-01-10 16:16 +00:00 2019-01-10 10:16 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2431 https://wwfcu.org/blog/how-to-build-credit-without-a-credit-card/ Credit Cards How to Build Credit Without a Credit Card You need credit. In order to buy a home, be eligible for loans, and live a financially healthy life, you’ll need to participate in some sort of credit. Many Americans turn to credit cards as the primary way to build their credit report and score, but they can also pose problems. Credit card debt adds Thu, 10 Jan 2019 14:49:37 Z Dan DeRoeck <p>You need credit. In order to buy a home, be eligible for loans, and live a financially healthy life, you’ll need to participate in some sort of credit. Many Americans turn to credit cards as the primary way to build their credit report and score, but they can also pose problems. <a href="https://wwfcu.org/borrow/visa-card-application">Credit card</a> debt adds up quickly and can be a pain to pay back, especially with high interest rates. Luckily, there are options for those consumers who would rather stay away from credit cards but still want to work to build their credit. Building credit allows an individual to progress as a consumer, opening new avenues of credit for their future.</p> <p><strong>Student loans</strong></p> <p>Over 70 percent of university graduates in the United States have student loans and it can be one of the first ways young adults establish a credit history and report. Because many student loans require a cosigner—like parents—to guarantee the loan, young adults can take out this type of loan without much or any previous credit history.</p> <p>Once the grace period on a student loan has expired (usually six months after graduation), it’s time to begin making payments on those loans and building a healthy credit report. Student loans are repaid on a monthly basis, giving the borrower twelve opportunities each month to bump up their credit by proving they are a responsible borrower. Some students are even able to make payments on their loans while still attending school. If this is an option in your budget, you will graduate with an already increased credit score and less interest to pay over the life of the loan as you’ve been paying down the principal.</p> <p><strong>Rent</strong></p> <p>In almost all cases, rent payments are not reported to the three credit bureaus, so faithfully paying this particular bill won’t build up your credit. However, if you enroll in a rent-reporting service like Rental Kharma or RentTrack, that bill will be reported, building you a positive history of on-time payments.</p> <p><strong>Car loans</strong></p> <p>An auto loan can be difficult to obtain without previous credit but can be achieved with the help of a cosigner (similar to those student loans). Just remember, if you need a cosigner, any late or missed payments will equally affect their credit and the lender could garnish their wages to pay off the loan.</p> <p><strong>Mortgage</strong></p> <p>Out of all of the types of loans that affect your credit score and report, a mortgage can be the hardest to get without an existing healthy credit score. But, if you do qualify for a mortgage and make on-time payments every month, it’s a sure way to boost your credit standing.</p> <p>Credit cards are not for everyone. Some consumers just prefer to work with other forms of credit. Both can be beneficial to your overall credit score as long as you are making regular and full payments.</p> <p>Original Source: http://lmcu.frc.finresourcecenter.com/Loan__Credit_Management_78913.html?article_id=2753</p> 2019-01-10 14:49 +00:00 2019-01-10 08:49 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2420 https://wwfcu.org/blog/top-10-financial-resolutions/ Uncategorized budget credit card ira resolution savings Top 10 Financial Resolutions Although dieting and good health may top most people’s New Year’s resolutions, WWFCU thinks you should add some financial resolutions to your list. Below are our top ten – feel free to pick and choose the ones that work best for you.&#160; Sign up for credit monitoringPeriodically checking your credit union and credit card statements Thu, 03 Jan 2019 17:44:34 Z Amy Neale <p>Although dieting and good health may top most people’s New Year’s resolutions, WWFCU thinks you should add some financial resolutions to your list. Below are our top ten – feel free to pick and choose the ones that work best for you.&nbsp;</p> <ol><li><strong>Sign up for credit monitoring</strong><br>Periodically checking your credit union and credit card statements isn’t enough these days. You need to get serious about monitoring your credit this year. First, start by getting your <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">free annual credit report</a> and review it for any errors. Then, you might consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. If you’re a WWFCU Visa Rewards cardholder, you can get <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/free-member-services/free-identity-theft-protection">free identity theft protection as well as credit monitoring</a>. Non-cardholding WWFCU members can pay a small fee for this service. </li><li><strong>Pay yourself first</strong><br>You’ve probably heard this a lot – but haven’t done anything about it. The best way to save money is to not have access to it. Many direct deposit programs let you deposit your paycheck into several accounts. Make one of these an <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/iras">IRA </a>or <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/compare-accounts">savings account </a>and resolve to save at least 5% of every paycheck. In a few years’ time, you’ll be glad you did. </li><li><strong>Pay your bills right after payday</strong><br>It’s too easy to spend money if it’s just sitting in your checking account. So, once you’ve contributed 5% to your savings account or IRA, it’s time to pay your bills. Don’t wait beyond a day or two after payday, or you’ll find irresistible things to spend your money on instead. Apps like BillTracker (<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/billtracker-for-iphone/id306827235?mt=8">iOS</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=medo.billtracker">Google</a>), <a href="https://www.mobillsapp.com/">Mobills</a> or <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint </a>can help keep you and your bills on track. </li><li><strong>Pay more than the minimum on your credit card bills</strong><br>The average credit cardholder has a balance of about $6,000. If you make just the minimum payment each month, it’ll take you <strong>14 years</strong>to pay your balance off, compared to 3.5 years if you pay the minimum payment plus $100 each month. Even if you can’t afford adding $100 per payment, any amount over the minimum payment will shave years off of your debt.  </li><li><strong>Open an IRA</strong><br>It’s a fact – you’re now one year closer to your retirement. Whether you have ten or thirty years between now and retirement, the time to save for it is now. WWFCU has simple <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/savings/investments/iras">individual retirement accounts </a>(IRA) that you can open today.  </li><li><strong>Create an emergency fund – and add to itmonthly</strong><br>If you’re one of the more than half of Americans without an emergency fund &#8230; you’re tempting fate. Instead of putting yourself at risk of a financial catastrophe, it’s time to build up an emergency fund. Ideally, it needs to be 12-18 months of your take-home income. But we live in the real world, so consider putting at least 5% of your income into an emergency savings account each month and get a head start. </li><li><strong>Make one extra payment per year on your mortgage</strong><br>Did you know that just one extra payment on your <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/products-services/loans/home-loans">mortgage</a> each year can shorten the length of your loan by four to five years? It’s worth it to scrape together the extra funds to wrap up your loan that much sooner. </li><li><strong>Improve your credit score</strong><br>The average credit score is 683. When you consider 800+ is a perfect score, most of us have plenty of room for improvement! To help boost your score this year: keep an open credit card account in good standing and keep credit inquiries to a minimum. Also, getting that <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">free annual credit report</a> will help you stay on top of what areas of your credit need improving and give you the chance to resolve any inaccuracies on it. </li><li><strong>Make a budget and follow it</strong><br>We all talk about making a budget. Some actually do it. Fewer really stick to it. Be one of the few and put together a realistic budget for your household and follow it. There are tons of apps out there to help these days such as <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a>, <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/">YNAB</a>, <a href="http://wally.me/">Wally </a>and <a href="https://www.mvelopes.com/">Mvelopes</a>. If you own a <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/borrow/visa-card">WWFCU Visa Rewards Card</a> or debit card, you can take advantage of our free <a href="https://www.wwfcu.org/member-benefits/other-benefits/cardnav-by-co-op">CardNav</a> app that lets you set dollar limits for transactions and more. </li><li><strong>Find a better job</strong><br>Instead of focusing solely on what you’re spending and saving, it’s important to also focus on your income. It may be time to boost your income by either finding a better paying job or going for that lucrative promotion at work. Many of your money problems this year could get resolved by this one basic change. </li></ol> 2019-01-03 17:44 +00:00 2019-01-03 11:44 -06:00 https://wwfcu.org/blog/?p=2416 https://wwfcu.org/blog/getting-the-most-from-your-trade-in/ Cars Getting the Most from Your Trade-In You’ve been out shopping for your next car and know exactly what you want. You’ve already decided to trade in your car to a dealer to act as a down payment, or save you the hassle of selling it yourself. There are a few things to consider before you even start the trade-in process. The Mon, 17 Dec 2018 14:59:10 Z Dan DeRoeck <p><span lang="EN">You’ve been out shopping for your next car and know exactly what you want. You’ve already decided to trade in your car to a dealer to act as a down payment, or save you the hassle of selling it yourself. There are a few things to consider before you even start the trade-in process.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">The Dos</span></b></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Check online to get an idea of your car’s value.</span></b><span lang="EN"> Edmonds, Kelley Blue Book, and the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) all publish used car pricing guides. These guides are all rough estimates based on past trends—treat them as such. Remember, dealers need to make some money on your old car—they can’t afford to give you book value.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Set up appraisals with a few dealers—at least three.</span></b><span lang="EN"> Start with CarMax, if there is one near you—they deal with used cars in high volumes. They will give you a seven-day guaranteed offer you can use to your advantage with other dealers. Be sure to try to get any offers or estimates in writing before you leave or move forward with your trade.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Take your car to a dealer that doesn’t sell your brand of car.</span></b><span lang="EN"> A Chevrolet dealer will have a few used Impalas sitting on the lot already. Adding more to stale inventory doesn&#8217;t motivate the dealership to give you the best price; however, dealerships often have a list of people looking for off-brand trade-ins.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Look for deals.</span></b><span lang="EN"> Manufacturers and dealers often have incentive packages for trade-ins. These can be beneficial if you don’t have your heart set on a specific make and model; or if you own a certain make and model. These deals are most common with pick-ups, where brand loyalty is high. Incentives do show up from time to time with other body styles, so don’t worry.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Organize your paperwork.</span></b><span lang="EN"> If your car is paid off and you have the title, you’ll need it. It’s good to include the original Monroney (the window sticker) and owner’s manual, if you have them. These won’t necessarily increase the value but can save time in assessing the value of your trade-in. Any repair and maintenance receipts you have would be worth including too.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">The Don’ts</span></b></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Don’t spend hours or a wad of cash on car cleaning</span></b><span lang="EN">. A vehicle straight from the car wash tells a dealer you are eager—this can hurt negotiations for your new car. Clear trash and personal belongings, but don’t worry about every speck of dust or coffee stain. Dealers will give the vehicle a thorough cleaning or ship it straight to auction. A little dirt on a car will not hurt its value. The time, effort, and money you’d spend to remove any sign of daily use won’t be worth it.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Don’t assume you have to trade with the dealer you’re buying from</span></b><span lang="EN">. You can sell or trade your car to any dealer. Your used car will act as a down payment, or a partial down payment, if you combine the trade with your purchase. A check in hand is as good as, if not better than, a car in a parking lot when you start to negotiate for your new vehicle.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Don’t pay for repairs ahead of a trade in. </span></b><span lang="EN">People often think they need to make repairs before trading a car in. Repairs like brakes or alignment can be easily fixed by the dealer after the trade for less than you’d spend. If the car has a blown motor or a cracked transmission, your best bet is a scrap yard.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Don&#8217;t lie about a fictitious higher offer. </span></b><span lang="EN">The vehicle appraiser is a professional—not only in their ability to gauge the value of a vehicle but also in negotiating—with no emotional attachment to the car. If you do have a much higher offer, be able to show them the written offer—negotiate with facts.</span></p> <p><b><span lang="EN">Don’t worry if you owe money on your car.</span></b><span lang="EN"> It happens all the time and is usually solved with a few extra signatures. If you owe more than the vehicle is worth, it could become complicated but not prohibitive. Dealers offering to pay off the balance of your loan no matter what you owe are somewhat misleading. They will pay off the original loan, but they will add the difference into your new financing.</span></p> <p><span lang="EN">All together, expect the process of trading in your car to take a few days to get everything in order. If you plan appraisals and purchase appointments in advance, you could wrap everything up in one day of running around. Every step can be scheduled online or over the phone. Selling and buying cars is a big financial decision. You will get more value for both ends of the transaction if you know what to expec</span><span lang="EN">t.</span></p> 2018-12-17 14:59 +00:00 2018-12-17 08:59 -06:00