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Financial Resources – News Articles & Links


Money Myths To Stop Believing                                   
 
Myth #1: Debit is always better than credit.

The real deal: Credit cards may actually be the payment method of choice on occasion. First, many credit cards offer rewards in the form of travel miles, cash back, and other bonuses. Second, building and maintaining a strong credit history is crucial for your financial wellness; the best way to achieve this is by using your credit cards and paying your bills on time. Finally, lots of credit cards offer purchase protection, which makes them the smarter payment method for big-ticket items.

Myth #2: Buy a home at all costs.

The real deal: For many people, including those who are not yet ready to put down roots or who anticipate a career change that necessitates moving across state lines, renting a home or apartment might be the better choice. It can also be a financially expedient option if you live in a super-expensive area.

Myth #3: Investing is for rich people.

The real deal: Anyone with a small pile of funds can get a foothold in the stock market. A smart investment strategy puts you on the track to financial independence.

Myth #4: My partner manages our finances, so I don't need to think about money.

The real deal: While it is fine for one partner to actively manage the family's money, it is crucial for both partners to be aware of the state of the family finances. They both should also be capable of managing household expenses and investments if something were to happen to their partner.

Myth #5: Credit cards will get me through any financial crisis.

The real deal: Depending on credit cards to get you through a financial emergency is the perfect way to dig into a deep pit of debt. Thanks to interest, you'll be paying back a lot more than you spend.

Credit cards should not be relied upon for a real financial emergency, such as a job loss, divorce or illness. It's best to build an emergency fund with three to six months' worth of living expenses so that you're completely covered in case the unexpected happens.

Myth #6: I'm so young; I don't need to think about retirement.

The real deal: The younger you are when you start building your retirement fund, the less you'll be required to put away each month, and the more you'll save by the time you're ready to retire. Gift yourself with a comfortable retirement by maxing out your 401K contributions and/or opening an IRA or another retirement fund. Start today and let compound interest work its magic!

Myth #7: I have enough money in my account for my expenses, so I don't need to budget.

The real deal: Budgeting is for everyone, regardless of their financial standing. A budget will force you to make responsible money choices, and ensure that you're fully aware of the state of your finances at all times.


Is It Time to Upgrade Your Vehicle?

If it’s been a while since you’ve purchased your last vehicle, you may not be up-to-date on all of the latest features of new cars.  A recently published article from Consumer Reports helps educate car shoppers on new safety and convenience features to look for when upgrading your current vehicle.  Here are some that are featured in the article: 

Safety Features

Convenience Features

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Physical knobs for audio and climate systems
  • 360-degree surround-view camera
  • Auto-dimming mirrors
  • Fast USB charging
  • Keyless entry
  • Multizone climate systems
  • Power driver’s seat with height-adjustable lumbar
  • WiFi hotspot
  • Wireless charging pad

Source:  Consumer Reports, March 2019, www.consumerreports.org


Beware the Password Scam!

How it works
The victim gets an email from a "hacker" claiming to have cracked their passwords, broken into their computer and used their webcam to watch online activity. They'll threaten to reveal that the victim has been visiting disreputable sites or to loot their accounts-unless the victim pays a steep price.

To prove that they are "legitimate," the scammers will share a password that the victim had used many years ago. They'll often include the password in the subject line to grab the victim's attention.
 
If you receive an email like this, don't panic. There's no professional hacker behind the scam, and no one has watched your online activity. The simple explanation for how the scammer got your password lies in previous breaches.
 
Over the last decade or so, there have been massive database breaches of major corporations, sites, and retail stores like Yahoo, eBay, Target, and more. Thanks to these breaches, there are now huge amounts of personal data and passwords floating around the internet. This data can be easily nabbed by a partially skilled hacker or purchased illegally.
 
How to spot the scam
Many potential victims recognize this scam for what it is as soon as the hacker claims to have dirt on them. For others, the outdated password is their clue. However, for victims who have been using the same passwords for years, this old code might still be in use and the scam seems legit.
 
If you receive an email with your password in the subject line, ignore the message and delete it.
 
Protect yourself
There's not much you can do about the sensitive data loose on the internet. However, you can protect yourself from falling prey to this, or a similar scam. Here's how:
1. Update your and use strong, unique codes for each site.
2. Choose two-factor authentication when possible.
3. Never open emails from suspicious sources.
4. If you are targeted, alert the FTC at ftc.gov.

Important Update about your EMV Chip Debit Card

When you use an EMV chip-enabled debit card to make a payment, most merchants that are equipped with EMV chip card terminals give you the option of paying as either “Debit” or “Credit.” Either option may require you to enter your PIN.  Always inform the cashier "you want to choose credit.”  You might encounter the two options - US MasterCard or International MasterCard, always choose International MasterCard; and your transaction will be completed as a credit transaction.  You may also see US MasterCard and MasterCard, choose MasterCard and your transaction will be completed as a credit transaction.  Please note, you may still be required to enter a PIN, but as long as you select credit, International MasterCard or MasterCard, the transaction will be processed as a credit transaction and not Point of Sale (POS).  If you don't see these options, the merchant you are shopping with has decided for you; and they will only route it through US MasterCard as a POS transaction.

Many members who make purchases with their debit cards at certain retailers, no longer have the option of choosing “Credit” when making their payment. Unfortunately, some stores have made the business decision to require their customers using a debit card to use the “Debit” option and enter their PIN, thus making the “Credit” option unavailable. When your purchase, if over $50, goes through as a pin-based POS debit transaction, it will incur a nominal 50 cent fee.

If a retailer does not permit you to select “credit” at the sale terminal, you have the following options:

  • Complete the transaction and pay a 50 cent fee
  • Cancel out of transaction; and pay with a First Service VISA Credit Card instead
  • Cancel out of the transaction and pay with a check or cash

Let your voice be heard!  If a retailer tells you that you no longer have an option on how to pay for your transaction – we encourage you to call or write the store. Let them know that as a consumer, you want them to bring back your choice on how you pay for your purchases.


Additional online resources:

  • MyCreditUnion.gov - Financial tools and calculators, including college savings, student loans, mortgages and retirement savings. Users also have access to a personal budgeting worksheet.
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  • Pocket Cents - A financial literacy tool for all age groups which provides personal finance lessons and tips for groups including youth, tweens, teens, young adults, families, seniors, parents, educators and service members.

Click here for additional free Consumer Protection links to protect your identity and personal information.