Should I Use a Credit Card or a HELOC for Emergency Home Repairs?

Date May 5, 2015

It’s a scenario homeowners know all too well: Just as money is getting a little tight, something goes wrong. Maybe the air conditioning breaks down in the dog days of summer, or a pipe bursts or the roof starts leaking. If you need to repair your home, you have two choices for financing the job: a credit card or a home equity line of credit. We’ll help you decide which would best fit your situation.

The benefits of using a HELOC

Like a credit card, a HELOC is a revolving line of credit, meaning that you can borrow (and pay interest on) only what you need. Unlike a credit card, however, it’s backed by an asset — your house — so its interest rate is pretty low. The advantage of using a HELOC is that it can be cheaper than using a credit card. If you can qualify for a HELOC, it can be a low-cost way to fund home repairs, and you might be able to get a tax deduction for it (ask your tax advisor).

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How to Save for a Summer Vacation

Date April 8, 2015

Nothing pops the post-vacation happiness bubble like receiving your credit card bill and realizing it will take you months to pay off the trip. This year, start saving ahead of time so your summer vacation won’t cause more stress than it relieves.

Here are some strategies to consider.

Make an annual budget

Sit down and figure out your annual travel needs, from visiting distant relatives to taking a weekend trip, or taking a longer vacation out of state or even out of the country. It’s not unusual for families to spend 3% to 4% of their annual income on travel, but the final figure will depend on your other expenses, whether you have children and whether you live close to your immediate family. Once you have an estimate of how much you want to spend annually, you can begin making a savings plan.

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MCCU Chosen as Councilman Mitchell Englander’s Business of the Month!

Date March 13, 2015

Find out more about MCCU!

How the Big 3 Credit Reporting Agency Changes Will Affect Consumers

Date March 11, 2015

The 3 credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – have made some recent changes that are actually in favor of the consumer.

Under the recent agreement, all 3 agencies will improve their dispute resolution process, which is largely automated, and instead use specially trained employees. The three companies will also establish a six-month waiting period before reporting medical debts on consumers’ credit reports, providing more time for consumers to resolve issues that might amount only to a delayed insurance payment or other disputes. The credit agencies will also remove medical debts from an individual’s report after the debt is paid by insurance.

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Keys to Making Home Renovations Pay Off

Date March 9, 2015

After months of hibernating, many people gain a burst of energy in the spring, manifesting in major cleaning and the occasional renovation. The tendency toward the latter has continued to grow in the past year and is projected to expand by up to 5% this year. With more people investing in remodeling, keeping up with the Joneses may bring more value to your home and neighborhood. If sprucing up the house is on your radar, here are a few things to consider.

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6 Tax Deductions You Shouldn’t Miss

Date February 27, 2015

You may owe less to the Internal Revenue Service than you think. Before sending in your tax returns, make sure you haven’t missed any of these potential deductions. Some of them might surprise you, especially if you’re not used to looking beyond the standard deduction box. Always check with a tax advisor regarding any deductions.

1. Gambling losses

Doing poorly at gaming tables or horse races may not be so bad after all. Because winnings count as “other income,” it makes sense for losses to be considered offsets. If you itemize deductions, the part of your losses that match your winnings can be taken as a deduction. So if you win $2,000 but lose $3,000, you can deduct just $2,000 from your taxable income.

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Going Mobile: Using Banking Apps on Your Smartphone

Date January 14, 2015

Dealing with your banking needs these days can be as easy as turning on your smartphone and logging into your account right in the kitchen. From checking your balance to transferring money to your college-aged child, many of the most frequently performed financial tasks can be done in the palm of your hand.

Despite this ease of use, 49% of smartphone owners haven’t used mobile banking in the last year, according to a Federal Reserve study. A common sticking point? Most non-users—69%—are concerned about security risks. But there are several ways to protect yourself from online threats. Here’s a look at how to get started, along with a few tips on smartphone banking without putting your financial information at risk.

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5 Steps to Take Now to Keep Your Retirement Plans on Course Next Year

Date December 19, 2014

As you prepare for the holidays, take a moment to get your financial house in order before year’s end. Whether you’re facing a heap of debt or just trying to put a budget together for the first time, this will help you make the most of your money in 2015 and beyond. Here’s a to-do list to get started, but remember to always speak to a tax advisor and investment specialist to help you with your retirement needs:


  1. IRA issues

If you haven’t maxed out your individual retirement arrangement (IRA) contributions for the year, you have until April 15 to add to it.  For 2014 tax purposes, you can put in up to $5,500 if you’re under age 50, and another $1,000 for those 50 to 70½, after which restrictions tighten considerably. You may also want to consider converting a traditional IRA, which can provide a tax benefit now, into a Roth IRA, which doesn’t reduce your taxes for this year. You’ll have to pay taxes on the converted assets, so think carefully about whether this is a good time to take the tax hit. If you expect your income to be higher next year, now might be a good time to do this, while your tax burden is lower.

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Checking Accounts That Fit YOUR Needs

Date December 5, 2014

Tired of “one-size-fits-all” checking accounts? At MCCU we understand that everyone has unique financial needs. That’s why we offer four distinct checking account programs. Choose one that meets the demands of your financial life:

  • Free Checking. A basic checking account with no monthly service charges and no minimum balance requirements.
  • Premium Checking. Earn interest with a $1,000 minimum daily balance and get free non-MCCU ATM transactions.
  • Teen Savers Checking. Help a teen (age 17+) take a step toward financial independence with their first checking account.
  • Fresh Start Checking. Perfect for starting over after a negative ChexSystems report due to past bounced checks, or poor money management.

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Using Holiday Gift Shopping to Teach Kids Financial Lessons

Date November 21, 2014

The holiday season is a time of giving—and spending. That makes it a perfect time to teach your kids a lesson or two in smart finances.

Shoppers this year intend to spend an average of $804, up almost 5% from last year, the National Retail Federation says. As you begin to check names off your list, give kids a gift that’ll keep on giving with smart shopping lessons.

Holiday spending for kids

Here are four simple tips to help youngsters prepare to buy presents for family and friends and learn good holiday spending habits: 

1. Make a budget.

Help the kids decide how much money is available. For the younger ones, this might be an allowance or an allocation from mom and dad. Older kids might consider using their own earnings or savings. Once the amount available is determined, help your youngsters create a budget. Tech-savvy kids might employ the aid of a smartphone budgeting app or a computer program. And there’s always the pen and paper method.

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