2014 2nd Quarter
The purpose of a personal budget is twofold. It'll help you figure out exactly how much money you earn, and figure out exactly how you are spending that money.
A good personal budget requires an honest financial assessment. For many people, creating a personal budget is the first time they take a hard look at the way they spend money. It can be a little shocking ("I spend $115 a month on coffee?"), but also very satisfying ("I can save $100 a month by brewing my own!").
The overarching goal of a personal budget is to minimize expenses and maximize savings. By cutting down on unnecessary spending and increasing your monthly savings, you can put that extra money toward important long-term financial goals like:
- Lowering credit card debt
- Paying off loans
- Saving for a child's college education
- Investing in a retirement account like a 401(k)
- Saving for a large purchase (home, car, boat, vacation, etc.)
Exactly how much money should you save each month? As much as you can afford. If you can design a personal budget that leaves you with an extra $20 at the end of the month, that's a good start. As you earn more money and trim more expenses, you'll watch that amount grow and grow.
Perhaps the most important ingredient of a successful personal budget is commitment. Budgets require the active participation of the entire family. If mom and dad are buying generic groceries while their teenage son is using the credit card to buy $200 sneakers, then the budget will never work. Everyone needs to be on the same page and working toward the same goals.
The first step in creating a successful personal budget is to carefully log your earnings and expenses. Visit http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/personal-budget.htm to learn more about restructuring your debt.
2014 MVFCU Annual Membership Meeting
Tuesday, May 6 Evangelo's Restaurant, Wasilla
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.
MVFCU invites you to our Annual Membership Meeting, Tuesday, May 6, at Evangelo's Restaurant in Wasilla. Refreshments will be served. We'll see you there!
By Al Strawn
I recently attended a national credit union conference in Washington, D.C. More than 4,000 people gathered from all over the nation to speak to our elected officials on issues important to credit unions. Our message was simple: don't impose new taxes on credit unions, and reduce the amount of regulations that prevent us from serving our members.
The theme of this year's conference was "Unite for Good." My hope for Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union is that we remain true to our motto of "People Helping People," and together we act in unity of purpose. As morning light breaks through the darkness, we need to reach out to all segments of our community offering a helping hand to those most in need.
On that first Sunday morning, five of us went on a walking tour. We took the Metro to the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial then walked up to Arlington Cemetery. We were humbled upon seeing the hillside blanketed with white crosses. Young fathers reminded their kids not to run amok but rather to behave with respect toward this place of sacred honor. We stood at President Kennedy's grave site with the eternal flame and then continued on to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the War Memorials, and the Lincoln Memorial. We stood in the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech. We ended our tour at the Jefferson Memorial where the words he penned to the Declaration of Independence are inscribed:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator "
I was reminded that the establishment of our great nation is rooted in Judeo-Christian values as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. It is obvious to me that our founding fathers saw a strong connection between God and liberty. Looking down at us from the top, east side of the Washington Monument, was the inscription: "Laus Deo," which is Latin for "Praise be to God." There is no doubt that in the beginning we were meant to be truly "one nation under God."
It seems to me that part of the answer to our nation's growing problems is for the citizenry and the elected officials to return to our spiritual roots. President Ronald Reagan once said, "Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience ... without God there is a coarsening of society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure ... If we ever forget that we are "one nation under God," then we will be a "nation gone under."
Despite all the dysfunction coming out of our nation's capitol, I came home with a glimmer of hope.
Let us embrace the best from our past and move forward together leaving a better future for our children.
One day Only!
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
The fourth annual MVFCU Adventure Sale is coming Saturday, May 17! Watch mvfcu.coop and visit our community offices for details on rates, vendors and more!
Taking simple steps to evade identity or information theft can save you from a world of pain. Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
Avoid Identity Theft
- Minimize the use of your Social Security Number, and keep your Social Security card in a safe place other than your wallet.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Don't respond to requests to verify your account number or password. MVFCU will never ask for personal information including passwords or card numbers via email or text messages.
- Destroy documents that contain personal identification information, including convenience checks, preapproved credit card offers, and the like.
- Protect your computer from spyware and viruses.
- Opt out of information sharing by reading through websites' privacy policies.
- Don't share any personal information online unless you know it is a secure website with https:// in the address bar and the symbol of a padlock at the bottom of the browser window.
- Review your statements and bills to be sure there are no unauthorized charges or withdrawals.
- Stop pre-approved credit offers (which decrease your credit score and make a perfect target for identity thieves to steal your mail) by removing your name from the credit bureau marketing lists. Visit optoutprescreen.com or call (888)-5OPTOUT.
- Anytime you are asked for personal information, and it seems "phishy," ask questions. Don't do business with them if you are not satisfied with the answers you receive.
- Review your credit report on an annual basis at a minimum. Free at annualcreditreport.com.
Avoid Online Danger
- Avoid opening unsolicited or suspicious email.
- Don't open attachments from unknown senders.
- Don't download file-sharing applications or software.
- Keep your security tools enabled.
- Never plug an unknown USB into your computer.
- Don't surf questionable websites.
- Keep firewalls turned on.
- Only use encrypted wireless networks because they offer higher levels of protection.
- Only use your personal computer or device to fill web forms and registration pages. This prevents key loggers from collecting your information on a shared device.
- Be especially wary about information you share on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Never give a computer technician your password information unless absolutely necessary and if you are certain they are who they say they are.
Create Secure Passwords
- Keep your password a secret from everyone!
- Don't ever write your password down.
- Ensure your password cannot be guessed by avoiding the use of personal identifiers (do not use a pet name or your name, or things that you like that identity thieves would easily be able to deduce).
- Avoid using single words. Use a combination of lower and upper case letter, symbols and numbers.
- Keep your password random.
While all of the above security information is essential to know, it's important to understand that information security is everyone's responsibility.
When it comes to retirement planning, you're in the driver's seat. But many people are uncertain about the road ahead, both the future of Social Security from the government and their employer's pension plan. That means more responsibility falls on you to set the right direction with your personal savings. Learn how IRAs may help you steer toward a successful retirement. Attend a no-cost, no-obligation IRA Seminar on May 14.
This seminar will concentrate on the strategies necessary for a successful retirement, and discuss the features that make IRAs an important part of your retirement income plan. Learn answers to all your IRA questions including:
- What's the difference between a traditional and a Roth IRA?
- How do I decide which type of IRA is right for me?
- How much can I contribute and when can I withdraw from my IRA?
- Should I consider a rollover from my 401(k) plan into an IRA?
- How will an IRA fit into my overall retirement plan?
Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free (866) 512-6109. Nondeposit investment products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value, and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members.