Financial Tips For Single Parents

Date June 21, 2017

Single parenting brings unique budgeting challenges.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that it costs an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child to age 18 – and many single parents shoulder that responsibility alone. Even with adequate child support, it’s smart to be proactive about financial matters as a single mom or dad.

Estate planning should be your first priority. It’s essential to make arrangements for your children should you become incapacitated. Draw up a will, designating a guardian for your children, and a “power of attorney,” giving someone the legal right to make decisions on your behalf.

Consider setting up a trust – a legal structure that is overseen by a trustee, in which your assets can be held for your children. Also, ask your employer about disability benefits. Generally, you will receive a smaller income when you claim disability, however, ensuring even partial income is crucial for single parents who don’t have another source of income to cover a gap.

Taking out a life insurance policy is equally important. The policy you purchase will depend on your finances; a term policy is most economical because it offers a straightforward death benefit.

Health insurance is essential. Premiums may be sky-high, but if you’re uninsured, a serious medical procedure can be financially crippling. Comparison-shop for policies at your state’s marketplace or at HealthCare.gov.

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Retirement Savings For Self-Employed People

Date June 19, 2017

 alt= Moonlighting is the new normal. It seems like everyone has a side hustle or a personal project they hope to someday turn into a business. While this money-making ambition is good for the pocketbook, it can be a little tricky come tax time.

Unlike salaried employees, independent contractors don’t get 401(k) programs, pensions or other employer-sponsored retirement programs. Since they are the employer, the burden falls on them to make all of the decisions about retirement accounts. While this can be a hassle, it’s part of the radical freedom involved in being your own boss. You have the flexibility to pick a program that works best for you.

There are three big options when it comes to saving for retirement as a small business owner, independent contractor or self-employed worker. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each. Remember not to let perfect be the enemy of good with these plans. Any savings is better than no saving at all!

1.) SEP IRA
SEP IRA is an acronym for Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account. It’s closely related to the Roth and Traditional IRA accounts that many people set up outside their workplaces, but there are a few important differences. First, they’re funded exclusively by employers, not employees. Of course, if you’re self-employed, you hold both roles and can fund your own account. Second, they have much higher limits. In 2017, you can contribute the smaller of $54,000 or 25% of your net income to a SEP IRA, as opposed to the $5,500 you can contribute to a personal IRA. Third, there aren’t the same Roth and Traditional variations. All SEP accounts are tax-deferred, which means you can deduct the contributions from your self-employment income, but will have to pay taxes when you withdraw the money.
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Earn More – Special 15-Month Certificate Rate at MCCU!

Date June 15, 2017

Make Your Home Energy Efficient!

Date June 14, 2017

Matadors Community Credit Union has partnered with the state of California to offer homeowners affordable financing for energy-efficient upgrades! Click here for more information on our Energy Loans and enjoy the video!

 

 

7 Ways To Love Your Mortgage

Date June 12, 2017

Every corner of the personal finance world seems to hammer home the same point: Debt is the wealth killer. Debt is the single greatest threat to your retirement planning, college savings and financial independence.

Except, as it turns out, there is one kind of debt that defies all of these rules: mortgages. Money you owe on real property can, in fact, be a boon to your financial independence in a lot of ways. While we’ve seen the recent financial trouble that occurs when people finance their lifestyles using the value of their home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see mortgages as a reasonable and realistic financial tool to build your wealth. Let’s talk about seven reasons why mortgages are different from other kinds of debt:

1.) Having a mortgage can improve your credit score. Mortgages are seen as “good debt” by creditors. Because it’s secured by the value of your house, lenders see your ability to maintain mortgage payments as a sign of responsible credit use. They also see home ownership, even partial ownership, as a sign of financial stability. Since 2009, credit scoring agencies have added points for consumers who are able to manage different kinds of debt. Having a mortgage that you pay each month makes you look like a better, more responsible user of credit.  Read the rest of this entry »

Protect Yourself from WannaCry Ransomware and Other Viruses

Date June 9, 2017

On Friday, May 12, an unprecedented virus spread through the internet, creating enormous damage and loss. The WannaCry ransomware, as it is called, attacked 57,000 computers in less than a day.

Ransomware works by holding a victim’s data under “ransom.” The virus encrypts the data and holds it hostage unless the victim pays a ransom, and the files are promised to be decrypted for the user.

The WannaCry virus demands a payment of $300 in exchange for decrypting infected files. If the victim does not pay within three days, the ransom doubles to $600. When seven days go by without payment, WannaCry deletes all the files.

By the following Monday morning, more than 200,000 systems worldwide were infected by the virus, with European countries being hit the hardest.

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Beware of Scams! Give Your Kids Tools For Standing Up To Con Artists

Date June 7, 2017

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The world is a big and beautiful place. So not only do we want your kids to grow up to be financially savvy, we want them to be able to spot a scammer and avoid a bad situation.

Unfortunately, it is also filled with unethical people who are trying to take advantage of the innocent and the naive at every turn. Your kids may be too young to have been burned, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t old enough to start protecting themselves. Teach them about scams and con artists and then bring it all home for them with this short, interactive activity.

To talk to your kids about con artists, gently explain that there are some people who will always try to cheat others out of their money or personal information.

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Getting Married? Don’t Let Financial Stress Take The Cake

Date June 5, 2017

Of all the things to discuss before marriage, finances are the least exciting. Statistically, money is the top reason couples argue and financial arguments are among the top predictors of divorce. So, how can you avoid becoming a statistic? Here are some ideas from the experts:

Talk To Each Other

  • A 2013 poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling  found 68% of engaged couples have negative attitudes about discussing money. To 45%, it’s “necessary but awkward,” and 7% say it’s “likely to lead to a fight.” Five percent predict it would call off the wedding.
  • The result? Couples don’t talk finances. A Fidelity survey found that over one-third don’t know their partner’s salary, of which 72% think they communicate “very well” about finances.

It’s not surprising: What’s romantic about debt, budgets or taxes? Nobody can ensure newlywed happiness, but experts agree: Don’t wait.

Discuss taxes now. If you’re both employed, the “marriage penalty” may cost you more; consider marrying in January. But if one spouse earns the majority, you’ll enjoy a “marriage bonus” and a December wedding might be wise.

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Vote Matadors Community Credit Union BEST CREDIT UNION for 2017!

Date June 1, 2017

 alt= The Los Angeles Daily News is holding their annual Reader’s Choice Awards! MCCU has won seven times and with your help, we can win again!

We have been a part of your community since 1963 and are proud of our financially healthy and safe and sound credit union. We have been consistently awarded a 5-star rating – the highest rating available – by Bauer Financial!

Please vote for us by clicking this link, and go to the Goods & Services category. Scroll down to Credit Unions and type in “Matadors Community Credit Union”! You can vote for your favorite restaurant, school, florist and more while you’re there. Let your voice be heard and vote for all your San Fernando Valley favorites!

You have until Wednesday, June 28th at 5:00 p.m. to vote!

We thank you in advance and please tell your friends and family to vote too!

Vote for Matadors Community Credit Union and all your other favorites today!

Borrowing Against Your 401(k) – Is It Ever A Good Idea?

Date May 31, 2017

 alt=One of the many perks available to working folk is a company-matched retirement plan, named after the part of the tax code authorizing it. These tax-deferred retirement packages are the principal retirement vehicle for just over half of all people in the United States. Americans sock away about 6% of their pay in 401(k) plans to receive employee matching and tax breaks.

One feature many people don’t realize about 401(k) funds is that the account holder can borrow against the balance of the account. About 87% of funds offer this feature. The account holder can borrow up to 50% of the balance or $50,000, whichever is lower, but the whole amount must be repaid within five years. There’s no approval process, and there’s no interest. It’s basically a loan you give yourself, and is a popular enough option that 17% of millennial workers, 13% of Gen Xers and 10% of baby boomers have made loans against their 401(k) accounts.

Despite these benefits, borrowing against a 401(k) is a risky proposition. There are harsh penalties for failure to repay and taking money away from retirement savings is always risky. Borrowing from a 401(k) account should not be a decision that is made lightly.

As with most financial moves, there are benefits and disadvantages to borrowing from a 401(k). It can be difficult to sort through them, particularly if your need for money is acute and immediate. Before you borrow from a 401(k), though, ask yourself these four questions:

1.) Will the money fix the problem?

Many borrowers use money from their 401(k) to pay off credit cards, car loans and other high-interest consumer loans. On paper, this is a good decision. The 401(k) loan has no interest, while the consumer loan has a relatively high one. Paying them off with a lump sum saves interest and financing charges.

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