Best Times to Buy 2017

Date February 27, 2017

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Need help making these purchases? MCCU has affordable Personal Loans with low interest rates and monthly payments!

A major price is a given for every major purchase – or is it? If you time your buys right, you’ll save a ton. Here are the best things to buy during each month of the year!

February: Prepare for winter

Take stock of your winter gear this month! Retailers are clearing out the last of the season’s merchandise, so you’ll find great deals on winter coats and thermal clothes, as well as on heaters and humidifiers.

March: Get in shape

March is the month to pick up bargain-priced exercise equipment. Treadmills and ellipticals are past their peak season, so retailers want them out. Sports equipment, like golf clubs and athletic wear, are also deeply discounted.

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ATM Fraud On The Rise: Staying Safe While Getting Cash

Date February 24, 2017

Did you know? MCCU members can use over 30,000 no-fee CO-OP Network ATMs, nationwide? Find an ATM near you now!

Scammers are everywhere in web-based commerce. You might think you’re safe using cash, but scammers wait in one location you can’t avoid: the ATM.

ATM fraud is an old concern, but technological advances mean consumers need to be even more aware. Be cautious of the following:

1.) ATMs in weird locations

Cash is convenient. While it’s tempting to use whatever ATM is handy when the need arises, that can be risky. ATMs in financial institutions are regularly monitored, maintained and covered by security cameras. In contrast, an ATM in a store corner may not get that same attention. Most of these machines are privately owned, and the operators assume little liability for their safety.

Use ATMs in secure locations, like financial institutions. They’re safer and well maintained. If you must, choose ATMs in highly visible and public areas to minimize encountering a tampered machine.

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Beware These Utility Scams

Date February 22, 2017

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Gas, electricity and water are not purchases you regularly think about.

However, if someone called and said your account was overdue and that your service was about to be shut off, it’d be frightening. You might do whatever they say to avoid the consequences. And that’s exactly what scammers are counting on.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has warned of a new scam targeting utility customers. A scammer calls and claims the potential victim is overdue on a utility bill and that someone is coming to turn the power off. The scammer will instruct the victim to go buy a prepaid debit card. The scammer asks for the number on the card and then takes its whole value. Transactions on these cards are difficult to trace, which means recovering the money is nearly impossible.

If you’re targeted by one of these scams, stay calm and don’t succumb to threats.

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Get These Things Out Of Your Purse Or Wallet Now!

Date February 20, 2017

 alt=Your wallet can easily become cluttered with loyalty cards, coupons, cash, checks, store credit cards and a host of identification cards. Not only is an over-stuffed wallet a hassle to carry, it may make identity theft easier. Give your purse or wallet a good once over. Look for things you don’t regularly need, and take them out!

Some things should never be in your purse or wallet. If you see these items as you’re trimming down your daily carry, take them out immediately.

1.) Your Social Security card
It’s easy enough to stuff the card into your wallet when you need it for identification and then forget about it. That could be a big mistake. Thieves can use your original Social Security card to apply for all kinds of unsecured debt in your name. Canceling your Social Security number and getting a new one is a complicated, time-consuming process, and you may be liable for fraud as you do so. Keep yourself safe, and get the card out of your wallet! Put it in a secure location in your home, like a safety lock box.

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Going From New Homeowner To Happy Home: Tips For Recent Homebuyers

Date February 17, 2017

Looking for your first home? Contact us about our mortgage loans!

Becoming a homeowner is a major milestone. There’s a thrill in owning your own place, and you’ve got a new, large investment to maintain. A successful homeowner is one who can perfectly balance that new freedom and responsibility. There are several upcoming firsts for new homeowners. Check out these common homeowner situations, and you’ll be prepared for a possible setback.

1.) Something major breaks
As a renter, if the refrigerator breaks, the landlord repairs it. In contrast, when something like an appliance or major system breaks in your home, you’ll be responsible to fix it.
If you’re counting on homeowner’s insurance or a home warranty to cover you, check your policies carefully. Most home warranties end at the walls of your house, and insurance won’t cover damage outside of a disaster. If your home needs significant work, you’ll probably be covering the costs yourself.

Consider practicing self-insurance. Start a home repair and renovation fund, and build major expenses into your monthly budget. These expenses become manageable when spread out over the course of several months. Expect to spend 1-4% of the value of your home in repairs and maintenance annually.

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Credit Cards Or Debit Cards – What’s The Smartest Swipe?

Date February 15, 2017

Most people own at least one debit card and at least one credit card. Although it may not seem like it, there are many differences between the two. Each time you use a credit card, you’re borrowing money. You’ll need to pay that money back along with interest.

A debit card, on the other hand, simply transfers your own money from your checking account to the vendor you’re paying. The funds are taken directly from your account in a similar manner as using checks – only quicker. Some processing terminals will require a PIN and some will require a signature. Both credit and debit cards are convenient, quick and easy. They’re also safer than cash, because cash cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

Which one should you use? The answer depends largely upon your lifestyle.
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How Can You Get The Most Out Of Your Investment In Your Home?

Date February 13, 2017

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I want to increase the value of my home.  What can I do?

  • Regular home maintenance is essential to protecting your largest investment. Before you worry about luxury amenities like a swimming pool or marble counter tops, go through the house and do some preventative maintenance.  You can start by printing out a home walkthrough sheet from an article on buying a home – after all, that’s what the next buyers are going to do. Make sure everything on the list is up to snuff.  If anything needs work, now’s the time to do it. Remember:  If it costs a dime today, it may cost a dollar after it breaks.
  • You’re not renting your home from the next owners. It’s a great idea to invest money in improving your home:  You can increase the value while getting to live in a nicer house.  But it’s also easy to go too far down the path of building for the next buyer.  Don’t pay for a patio, pool or three-car garage you don’t need because you think it’ll improve the value of the house. The next buyer might not want to barbecue, prefer a big yard to a pool, or not own cars.  Build what you want, so that even if you don’t get all of your money back, you get to enjoy your house.
  • Don’t pay for home improvements by using your credit card. That will get expensive fast. Instead, see if you can secure a home equity loan or line of credit.  The rates on those tend to be much lower than credit cards because you have collateral to secure the loan.  You can get started here!

How To Get By In An Emergency: Personal Loan Or Credit Card?

Date February 10, 2017

Unexpected expenses are, by nature, unplanned … and costly.

While it’s best to have a rainy-day fund, for many this is just a dream. If you’re unsure how you’d survive a financial emergency, you’re not alone. A survey found that 47% of Americans would borrow for a $400 emergency.

As a credit union member, you have borrowing options. Two popular choices for emergency funding are personal loans and credit cards.

Here are several pros and cons to each.

1.) Limits.

Credit cards have credit limits in the thousands, enough to cover a small emergency. The value of credit cards is their convenience; there’s no need for a new loan each time you incur an expense.

However, many people don’t have sufficient credit to cover major financial emergencies and instead choose to utilize a personal loan.

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Private Mortgage Insurance – What You Need To Know

Date February 8, 2017

Mortgage or PMI Questions? Contact one of our mortgage advisors today!

Whether you’re a long-time homeowner or you’ve just started shopping for your dream house, you’ve seen stacks of papers full of acronyms. Buried amid the dense undergrowth of legalese are three letters that could be costing you more than you think. Be on the lookout for PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance.

PMI in a nutshell
Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a venture capitalist, like those you may have seen on “Shark Tank.” An inventor comes to you and says they’ve got a killer new product. They need $300,000 now and they’ll repay it with 4% interest over the next 30 years. If they don’t, you can take the manufacturing equipment they’re going to buy with your loan, which is worth about $250,000.

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Put Your Trust In A Trust: 4 Reasons Trust Accounts Make Sense For You

Date February 6, 2017

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No one wants to think about estate planning, but you’ll need to make a plan for when the end comes. You owe it to the people you love.

One way to establish a plan for your estate is through a will, which is a contract between you and your heirs that is enforced by the state. There are several problems with that. First, in most states, your will must go through probate, or a hearing in front of a probate judge. Hiring attorneys is expensive and administrative costs can eat 2-4% of your assets.

Second, wills can be costly to set up. You’ll need an attorney’s assistance to create and ensure the legality of a will, and these fees can accumulate if someone challenges your will.

Finally, wills can be challenged in court. A will can be thrown out on “testamentary capacity,” or another argument by a slighted heir. These challenges aren’t always successful, but they can drag the inheritance process on for years, draining your estate’s final value.
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