How to Build a Certificate Ladder and Save Smart

Date December 14, 2016

If you’re looking to earn the highest possible yield on your investments without sacrificing the safety of government backed insurance, Certificates of deposit are one way to go. By using a laddering approach with your Certificate purchases, you can take things up a notch, gaining even more from this already solid investment. MCCU’s Share Certificates are federally insured by the NCUA.

Check out MCCU’s Share Certificate Rates!

What is a Certificate ladder?

Share Certificates typically offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts in return for locking in your money for a set time period. The longer that maturity period is, the higher your earnings. However, if you put all your money in one long-term Certificate and interest rates rise before its maturity date arrives, you’ll miss out on the chance to take advantage of those higher rates. Also, if an emergency comes up, you won’t be able to access that cash without withdrawing the entire amount — and getting hit with penalties on your earnings.

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How to Prioritize Savings Goals When Paying Down Student Loans

Date December 12, 2016

 alt= This post originally appeared on the SoFi blog.

Refinance your Student Loans with SoFi and Get a $200 Welcome Bonus! 

Student loan debt can cause you to delay important life decisions, such as those around marriage and family, or postpone big savings goals like buying a house. But by refinancing, you won’t have to put your dreams on hold. All you need is a little guidance and a plan.

Student Loan Refinancing: Choose Your Own Path

When choosing between a fixed rate and a variable rate loan, and determining term length, your current circumstances, and future goals make all the difference. For example, is your primary focus now on monthly savings or lifetime savings? Do you want to buy a home within the next year or do you want to travel the world once you retire? Or do you want to do both?

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How to Avoid the Busy Holiday Scamming Season

Date December 9, 2016

You’re not the only one joyfully anticipating the holiday season. Cyber criminals are all aflutter, too, as they look forward to the killing they’ll make ripping off innocent shoppers like you. Here are some of the most common ways these thieves operate, because awareness can help you avoid becoming yet another victim.

Antisocial media

Beware those enticing ads that turn up on Facebook and other social media sites offering vouchers, gift cards and deep discounts, as well as the online surveys these ads often link to. These offers are often only empty promises designed to steal your personal information.

Additionally, if you receive concert, theater or sporting event tickets as a gift, never post pictures of them online. Cyber thieves spend lots of time monitoring social media, just waiting for the opportunity to create phony tickets they can resell from your barcode image. If your ticket is resold, you might just find yourself out of a seat on the night of your event. It’s also unwise to post live from an event that gives criminals a heads-up that your home is empty and ripe for picking. Better to wait until the next day to post about the wonderful time you had.

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Do You Need an Estate Plan or Living Trust?

Date December 7, 2016

 alt=The majority of Americans have no plan in place to preserve, manage, and transfer their wealth upon death or incapacity. In California, if you die owning more than $150,000 in assets, whether you have a will or not, your estate could be subject to the costs and delays of probate.

With an Estate Plan you can:

  • Avoid the pitfalls of using joint ownership as a way to transfer property
  • Empower the right person to make decisions for you if there is a medical emergency
  • Avoid probate and federal estate taxes
  • Provide for minor children
  • Distribute your estate according to your wishes

MCCU members have access to discounted Estate Planning services, prepared by experienced attorneys. MCCU has partnered with Affinity Trusts to offer members a quality estate plan.

Join us for our next no-cost informational seminar or contact Affinity Trusts to set up a private consultation today!

 

Be A Wise Giver This Holiday Season

Date December 5, 2016

The holidays are a time when we reflect on what we have and open our hearts (and our checkbooks) to others in need.

Over $360 billion was donated to charities last year, and three out of four dollars came from people like you. The holidays are a prime time for giving, as over 40 percent of annual giving is pledged this time of year. Be diligent and be a wise giver.

While it’s noble to be generous because someone asks, are you giving where you want? If you have an amount to give that works with your budget, be proactive and give with purpose. Do the research on causes and organizations that support programs and initiatives that have meaning to you.  Make sure they are a legitimate 501(c)(3) (non-profit) organization. Check them out on sites like Charity Navigator and Guide Star to ensure their operations and Boards are in good financial standings and acting appropriately. If they’re local, meet with a representative to see the operations first hand. Ask for documentation for your donation and keep with your important papers for tax season and estate planning.

Interested in a start up? Don’t be afraid to give where the money will have immediate impact. And lastly, consider joining a giving circle or local foundation where your money is pooled and committees make the giving decision based on agreed upon criteria.

You should be commended for your generosity. With some planning and inquiry, ensure your giving is always done wisely, too.

Finance Your Business and Live the Dream!

Date December 2, 2016

 alt=Got a great idea for a new business? Wondering how to get it off the ground? Here are a few ideas to get creative about financing your business dream.

  • Look for an already established business in your arena that might sponsor or partner with you to develop your idea. For example, an app that might streamline email might be a great partner for Google and Gmail.
  • Start and sell small and use that revenue to grow bigger. It may take longer, but the “bootstrap” method is solid and predictable.
  • A small business loan may work if you have collateral and good credit. This option is especially appealing to businesses with tangible goods to sell or equipment to liquidate.
  • Crowd-funding, Kickstarter, Indiegogo–A savvy appeal to the masses can bring in fast cash.
  • Friends and family members are great cheerleaders, and they can also be great investors. Be sure to work out clear objectives and details to ensure you maintain the relationship going forward.

MCCU also offers Business Accounts, including Checking, Savings, Certificates and Money Market (Savers Plus). Visit us today for more information and together we can make your business dreams come true!

Top 5 Fuel Economy Tips

Date November 30, 2016

The days of dollar-a-gallon gasoline are long gone. Today, we wind up spending $50 to $80 every time we stop to fill up our gas tanks. Considering the average commuter fills up once a week, we spend a staggering $3,240.00 a year just on gas!

Sure, there are plenty of solutions to ease the pain at the pump. Popularized by the Toyota Prius, hybrid vehicles use a combination of gas and electric power to stretch highway gas mileage. Unfortunately, they do little to make up the costs of stop-and-go city driving during which the tiny gas-powered engine has to work overtime to accelerate. To completely cut out gasoline power, all-electric plug-in vehicles started appearing on the showroom floors across the nation. Offerings from Tesla and Fisker are brilliantly-designed, great-looking cars if you want to avoid using gas altogether, but their steep price tags and practicality issues make them unfeasible for most of us.

For those who are not prepared to drop a better part of a $100,000 on a Tesla Model S, we compiled five fuel-saving tips that help you save some money regardless of whether you are driving a Hybrid or V8-powered gas-guzzling monster.

  1. Proper Tire Inflation

Have you ever walked on sand or in deep snow? Do you notice how much tougher it is to walk on soft, uneven surfaces, and how much more energy you expend? The same concept applies to your tires. Underinflated tires create a softer and larger contact area with the asphalt, making it harder for your vehicle to spin the wheels in order to get up to speed. The harder it is for your car to spin the wheels, the more energy it will expend in doing so, burning more gas.

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Caring for an Elderly Parent

Date November 28, 2016

 alt=Caring for an aging parent or relative can take its toll on you and your family. Often, money is spent unnecessarily and unknowingly on services that could have been provided elsewhere.

There are many resources to help make your obligation more manageable. Here are a few to investigate:

 Caring.com: Comprehensive website providing financial, medical, and support advice for caregivers.

ARCHRespite.org: A repository and database to help families locate respite and crisis care service in their local communities.

AARP.org: Includes a Caregiving Resource Center with multiple links and contacts for elder management.

MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org: Uses a sliding scale payment to ensure that homebound relatives get a hot meal and companionship.

Senior Banking Discounts
MCCU offers Senior Banking discounts that may help your parents save money on banking services. Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

Considering Going Back to School?

Date November 23, 2016

Working on a second career? Going back to work after an extended absence? Don’t want to waste away in retirement? Lifelong learning is always a valuable investment, but make sure you’re making a sound investment you won’t regret.

If you’re looking to start a new career that needs a degree or certification, consider the costs of obtaining that over the expected time you’ll be working. If you’re middle-aged or older, you may not recoup in salary the investment you made in the education. Look at community colleges as alternatives to expensive private or state schools. Inquire about adult education programs and scholarships.

Borrowing is an avenue to explore, but again, remember the repayment costs when compared to the wage earning potential, job market and expected tenure. When making a budget, don’t forget the added costs of books, commuting, parking, supplies and fees. Even though you probably won’t be participating in campus sports programs or student council, you pay the same fees as an 18-year-old incoming freshman. Whichever route you choose to further your education, be sure you are ready to put in the hours and the work to complete the program so your money spent is money well spent.

And remember MCCU if you need additional funds for school, in addition to your federal loans. MCCU offers Private Student Loans at affordable rates.

Already have student loans? Consider refinancing with MCCU and get a $200 welcome bonus!

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance – What Is It and Do I Need It?

Date November 21, 2016

 alt=Auto insurance is required in most states. It makes sense to protect your investment and yourself and others in the event of an accident. But what happens when your car just stops working or something breaks? Those situations aren’t covered under traditional auto insurance, but can be costly and inconvenient none-the-less.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance is worth considering for situations like these, especially if you rely–like most people–on your car to get to work or getting your children to school. You can’t be without a vehicle and your budget may not be able to sustain the unexpected repair fees or rental car charges. Mechanical Breakdown Insurance goes beyond warranties and covers electrical failure, transmission work, drive axles, and more. There are many plans to choose from and most auto loan lenders have partnerships with providers.

MBI premiums are usually very affordable and can be worked into most budgets. You can even work it into your MCCU auto loan to keep payments low.

Looking for a new car? Check out Autoland – skip the Dealer trip and save time and money! And for a limited time, get $100 cash back!