April brings out wild about saving

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All year long credit unions support their younger members by educating them to make smart financial decisions. In order that they may spend, save, budget, borrow wisely in their adult life.

This month however, the scale has been raised by credit unions nationwide coming together to promote, recognize, and encourage their youngest members. It’s called ‘Wild About Saving.’

CUNA and credit unions have been celebrating ‘Credit Union Youth Month’ by going wild for saving. “The winning theme for 2015 was submitted by Karina Garcia from CFE FCU (Lake Mary, FL). “Youth Month is all about getting children and their parents excited, maybe even a little wild, about savings,” said Garcia. “For the 2015 theme, I suggested ‘Wild About Saving’ because it gives credit unions many opportunities to express their creativity and engage young members.”

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To learn more about how some credit unions are hosting their own financial education initiatives, view the article here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

 

Not-for-profit credit unions are essential

Seeing as it’s Tax Day, we wanted to remind everyone of the importance of credit unions tax status. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions answer to their members, not wall street investors (e.g., banks). In addition, credit unions give their benefits to their members and community.

Some people have the misconception that credit unions do not pay taxes because of their exempt status, that cannot be more far away from the truth. 102 million credit union owners paid a total of $1.2 trillion in taxes in 2014 alone. The reason why credit unions are tax exempt is because they don’t exist to make profits for investors. Credit union owners pay taxes to support their local communities.

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An analysis from an independent economic research firm called ECONorthwest found that Oregon’s credit unions alone contributed to the $1.9 economic impact in 2014. Proving that credit unions are fundamental financial institutions that are essential to the improvement of Oregon’s economy. Read more about it, here.

Hear about the credit union difference in CUNA’s radio ads:

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Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Last minute tax filing tips

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The deadline to file your 2014 taxes are just hours away! If you haven’t already filed you’re not alone, the IRS reported 10 days ago that they had only received 99 million tax returns. You do have last minute options, find out what they are below!

1. File an extension – By submitting form 4868 the IRS will extend you another six months to file by October 15th. However, you have to estimate what you owe and send that in. Another option, check to see if the state you live in has the same extension option.

2. Let the IRS know if you can’t make a payment – If not, you will receive high penalties and interest.

“As long as you owe $50,000 or less, you can apply for an online payment agreement from the IRS, which lets you spread out the bill over 120 days. Another option: Put the bill on your credit card—the roughly 2% fees might be less than the interest and penalties you’d otherwise face.”

3. You can cut your tax bill before April 15th – Through IRA contributions, those self-employed can fund a SEP-IRA, or if you have a health savings account. All of these are deductible.

4. Got Questions? It is highly suggested to visit IRS.gov instead of their telephone hotline. Only about 25% of callers get through to a live person after a 22 minute wait. You might want to seek out a tax professional however, they might not be able to file everything before tomorrow. There’s also the IRS free file, only applicable if your total income is below $60K.

5. Don’t make stupid mistakes on your tax return because you’re in a rush. These silly mistakes and hold you up on your return and refund, it can cost you money.

To learn more about this, please view the full Time article written by Ellen Stark, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run

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For the 14th year in a row, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom ten-mile run occurred in Washington D.C. It happened to be the first time since 2007 that the blossoms were in peak for the race! Even more to add, the weather was “near-perfect” with sunny conditions and morning temperatures between 45-51 degrees.

CUNA President/CEO, Jim Nussle and Board Chair, Susan Streifel were on hand at the event. Streifel stood at the finish line holding the banner to congratulate racers. In addition, Streifel and Nussle presented a check to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  A total of $500K was donated to the network thanks to funds from the run along with a collaboration of races known as the Credit Union Miracle Day. Credit unions have sponsored the Cherry Blossom ten-mile race since 2002 and have raised more than $7 million for CMN hospitals.

Cherry Blossom 10 miler

If you are interested in hearing from the volunteers or racers from this weekend’s run, we encourage you to check out the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run blog.

Interested in donating to CMN hospitals? There’s still time! Please visit the donations page, here. Contribute and help them reach their goal of $5,000!

For more information on the credit union’s involvement with the race, please view here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

NCUA: Fin. Lit. Webinar April 22nd

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The NCUA will be hosting a financial literacy webinar on Wednesday, April 22nd on ‘Your Mission in Action: Developing Youth Financial Literacy and Savings Programs.’ Credit unions that are interested in further promoting financial literacy initiatives among their members are highly encouraged to attend.

Topics that will be discussed:

  • Strategies for developing new youth fin. lit. programs or enhancing current programs
  • Research available on youth savings and financial literacy
  • Making outreach effective
  • Financial literacy resources available from the NCUA, other federal agencies and nonprofit

Speakers include:

  • Gigi Hyland, Executive Director of NCUF
  • Ken Worthey, NCUA
  • Gail Laster, NCUA
  • Morgan Rogers, NCUA
  • Louisa Quittman, US Treasury
  • Katie Bryan, Consumer Federation of America

Time: 11AM ET

Hashtag: #NCUAChat

Registration is now available, here.

For more information

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Tax Day is Upon Us

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Donna Rosato from MONEY reminds us all that tax day is looming, only 6 more days left! If you haven’t started preparing your documents or feel you can’t file before April 15th remember you have the option to file an extension.

Below are 7 things you need to consider if you can’t make the April 15th tax-filing deadline:

1. You still have to file form 4868 by April 15th. However, by doing this it will give you up to 6 months after to file.

2. If you owe money you still have to pay on time. Failure to pay will result in a 0.5% to 1% penalty on the amount your owe each month or part of a month while the bill is outstanding.

3. Don’t be hit with a failure to pay penalty. You must file! The penalty is usually 5% of the unpaid tax amount.

4. Uncle Sam will be harder on you. If you owe money but don’t have your own to pay with, use a credit card. Uncle Sam will hit you with a hard tax bill.

5. Have your documents in order but don’t have the money to pay the government? If that’s the case you might not need to file an extension.

6. Anticipating a refund from Uncle Sam? Well you won’t get it until you file!

7. Did you know? The IRS will KEEP your refund if you didn’t file three years running.

According to the IRS about 12 million people file a tax extension each year. Don’t feel like you are alone! Read more, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Overconfident about financial future

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More than 2,000 American adults participated in a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Harris Poll.  “The Financial Literacy Survey, now in its ninth year, measures the American consumer’s level of knowledge as it relates to financial literacy, as well as trends associated with personal finance behavior.”

The findings were released this week by NerdWallet and the NFCC,  in which it was discovered that 92% adults claimed they had a level of ‘over-confidence’ when it came to their financial future. The adults even rated their financial knowledge as an ‘A’ or ‘B’.

Unfortunately, the ‘over-confidence’ reported by the participants did not match their money habits.

Despite the overconfidence, 70% admitted they are concerned about their finances. Student debt was a big concern for most of the survey participants.

“Many Americans are spending their adult lives slowly chipping away at a mountain of student loan debt only to find themselves approaching retirement later in life with little or no savings,” said Susan C. Keating, president and chief executive of the NFCC. “The stakes are too high for consumers to let misplaced confidence get in the way of sound financial decisions.”

Learn more about this study, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Credit Unions vs. Banks: Explained

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Great River Federal Credit Union sponsored a story in the SC Times that explains the difference between credit unions and banks.

Here’s how credit unions and banks differ on the following topics:

Owners:

Banks report to corporations/shareholders.

Credit unions report to members.

PROFITS:

Banks share profits amongst owners.

Credit unions recycle profits back to members.

RATES & FEES:

Credit unions offer better interest rates and lower fees compared to banks!

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION:

Credit unions continue to rank higher than banks on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

GIVING BACK:

Credit unions not only give back but invest in their community through scholarships, charity involvement, financial education, and more.

INSURED:

Credit unions are insured by the NCUA up to $250,000.

Learn more about the credit union difference in the full article.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

What you should’ve learned in school about money

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Natasha Burton from Marketwatch discovers what you should have learned in school about money from the professionals.

1. Learn how to think about money

2. Learn how to talk about money

3. Learn how to live within your means

4. Learn how to budget better

5. Learn how to prioritize your spending

6. Learn how to save smarter

7. Learn how to save for retirement

8. Learn how to keep track of money

Financial well being begins in how you were raised and educated. It highly important that schools teach children about money: where it comes from, how to manage, and attain wealth.

Learn more about the article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Budget friendly ways to enjoy Easter with the family

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Below are some easy ways to celebrate the Easter holiday with your family. Best of all, they are cheap ways to entertain the kids! Tess Frame from Go Banking Rates explains.

1. Bake Easter egg sugar cookies

2. Cook Easter dinner together

3. Make sock bunnies

4. Make jelly bean bracelets

5. Make an Easter garland

6. Carve a watermelon Easter basket

7. Visit a local farm

8. Pin the cottontail on the bunny

9. Make edible Easter nests

10. Fold table napkins into bunnies

Here more of Frame’s ideas, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org