Checking accounts offer a secure, accessible place for your funds. If you are considering opening a checking account at a bank or credit union, or you already have one, here’s what you need to know about this account’s benefits and how to best manage it.
The world is changing and so are we! Financial literacy alone is not enough to make sound financial decisions that impact your future. It requires a personalized roadmap, impactful resources, financial literacy along with ongoing support with a Financial Coach. We are proud to be your go-to source for making your financial dreams a reality, through our new Financial Independence Training Program, coming to Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) soon. Explore the possibilities:
You'll get the latest credit union news and updates right to your inbox.
Planning a trip overseas? Airfare will probably be your largest vacation expense. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on airfare to leave you with more to spend while at your destination. Here’s a list of five ways to save on airfare.
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is a proud grant recipient of the National Credit Union Foundation’s Pathways to Financial Empowerment Program. The grant, led by Inclusiv and Neighborhood Trust, will provide the opportunity for MSCU to offer member-centric financial coaching to members and the local community through best-in-class training to employees.
Solar panels can benefit the environment and potentially save the homeowner boatloads of money in energy costs. Thanks to the ever-evolving solar industry and generous government incentives, solar panels are more popular than ever. Here’s what to know about going solar.
If you pay with credit cards, you may have noticed that you often get a little fee tacked onto the price of what you’re buying. You may be notified about this fee in advance, or it may be an unpleasant surprise. Let’s take a closer look at these credit card surcharges and what you, as the consumer, need to know. Why merchants charge “swipe fees” Credit card issuers, like Visa, bill the retailer for the payment service they provide, and the retailers often pass a portion of this charge on to their customers. Swipe fees generally range from 1.5% to 3% of the purchase. Some merchants pass the entire credit card processing cost on to the customer. Others require a minimum sale amount for all credit card purchases. Are credit card surcharges legal? According to a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, surcharges are protected as a form of free speech. However, there are restrictions on how they can be applied. Merchants are required to: Clearly disclose the fact that there is a surcharge prior to the transaction. Display the credit card surcharge on the receipt. Keep surcharges below 4% of the transaction, or the fee the merchant pays to the credit card companies, whichever is less. Also, the minimum purchase requirement cannot exceed $10. It’s also important to note that credit card surcharges are legally protected, but debit card surcharges are not. States on credit card surcharges While it’s legal under federal law to add a surcharge to purchases made with credit cards, some states forbid this practice. As of Nov. 1, 2022, the following states, and Puerto Rico, have laws prohibiting merchants from charging these fees: California Colorado Connecticut Florida Kansas Maine Massachusetts New York Oklahoma Texas What happens when a merchant breaks the rules? Often, the merchant is simply unaware of, or does not understand, the latest version of the law. If you find yourself on the consumer end of a broken credit card surcharge law, you can politely let the merchant know. Sometimes, though, the merchant is well aware of the law and consciously chooses to disregard it. You can report violations to the credit card network by calling the number on the back of your card or submitting an online complaint. Credit card surcharges are usually legal, but you need to know your rights as the consumer. Let this guide keep you in the know on credit card merchant fees. Your Turn: Have you ever been charged an illegal swipe fee? Tell us about it in the comments.
Q: What are the best personal finance apps to help me stick to my money resolutions this year? A: As you know, there’s always an app for that; whatever “that” is! Here’s our review of four of the most popular personal finance apps. Mint A quick look at this app: Function: Full money management Cost: None Free trial: N/A Basic features: The wildly popular money management app lets you track bills, categorize and review your spending and monitor your credit health, all at no cost. Mint excels at providing a complete financial picture in one spot. You can link your credit and debit cards to the app, and Mint will read your transactions, categorize them and show you how you’re spending your money. Access your credit score, get a breakdown of how your score is determined and create a budget on the app, too. The big downside to Mint is the ads, which many users find annoying. Personal Capital A quick look at this app: Function: Budgeting and investment tools Cost: Budgeting tool is free. Wealth management costs 0.89% of the balance. Free trial: No Basic features: Allows you to manage your assets and investments along with your everyday spending. Personal Capital shines at investment management. Track your portfolio by account, asset class or individual security and identify new opportunities for diversification and risk management. The disadvantages of Personal Capital include the high cost for wealth management and complicated budgeting features. You Need a Budget A quick look at this app: Function: Budgeting and tracking expenses Cost: $98.99/year or $14.99/month Free trial: Yes Basic features: Import transactions from your checking account and apply them to each budget category to get a full picture of your spending habits. Adjust budgeting categories as necessary and review detailed reports of spending throughout the month. You Need a Budget (YNAB) is an app built around YNAB’s famed four rules for improved overall financial health: Give every dollar a job Embrace your true expenses Roll with the punches Age your money The cons of YNAB include a premium subscription price and multiple features that confuse newer users. Prism A quick look at this app: Function: Bill payment and tracking Cost: Free Free trial: N/A Basic features: Track and pay your monthly bills with ease. Prism takes the stress out of paying bills. Sync the app with thousands of billers nationwide, add your bills and Prism will automatically track them for you. You’ll get friendly reminders when a bill is nearly due, and you can even use the app to schedule payments several days in advance. Outside of bill payment, Prism is limited in its money management functions. Use this guide to find the perfect apps to help you reach your financial goals. Your Turn: Which apps are you using to help you keep your financial New Year’s resolutions? Share them with us in the comments.
The holidays are in the rearview, but if you’ve gone over budget with your spending, it’s time to deal with the aftermath, which is coming head-on. Here’s how you can get your budget back on track for the new year. Review your holiday spending How much debt did this season’s spending set you back? Spend some time crunching the numbers so you have a better idea of what kind of recovery steps you need to take. Choose your recovery process If you’ve got multiple credit card balances to pay off, you may want to consolidate your debt by taking out a personal/unsecured loan and then using the funds to pay off your credit card debt. You’ll have just a single, low interest payment to make each month. Another option is to pay off one credit card bill at a time, maximizing payments on the bill that has the highest balance, or the one with the highest interest rate, until it’s completely paid off. Once you’ve crossed one debt off your list, move on to the next until you’re debt-free. Trim your budget It’s time to cut that budget down to size! Consider underused subscriptions you can drop, inflated grocery bills you can trim and auto insurance policies that can be swapped for a cheaper plan. The more you trim, the more money you’ll free up for paying down debt. Put your holiday resources to work Along with a pile of debt, the holiday season may have left you with some extra cash through work bonuses, tax returns and gift money. Put these resources to work by using a portion of this money, or even all of it, toward paying down your holiday debt. Go on a shopping detox Take a break from the mall this month and resolve to swipe the plastic only for essentials. At the very least, keep impulse purchases to a minimum until your budget recovers. Make a plan for next year’s holiday season When you open a Holiday Club Account at Mutual Security Credit Union, you can set up an automatic monthly transfer from your payroll or checking account to feed your holiday savings all year long. If you blew your budget this holiday season, take steps to help your finances recover. Use the tips outlined here to get started. Your Turn: How are you helping your budget recover from the holidays? Share your best tips with us in the comments.
January begins with a bang, but there are no major shopping holidays once the new year gets going. Of course, you can still pick up great bargains this month, or find that you’ve overpaid for something when its price drops right after you’ve purchased it. Here’s what to buy and what to skip in January.
ongratulations! You’ve reached the 12th and final step of the 12 steps to financial wellness. Here, we’ll review the previous steps and adjust this part of your financial health plan as necessary.
Holiday hosting can be super-stressful — and expensive. This year, with prices soaring, breaking that budget on hosting can seem like a sure thing. Lucky for you, it’s not. Here are six ways you can host a stress-free and awesome holiday meal without draining your wallet.
With the holidays coming up, and online shopping reaching its annual peak, scammers are out to get at your money and your stuff. There are loads of scams to watch for this time of year, from online “retailers” phishing for information as you shop to thieves swiping delivered packages from doorsteps and so many more. The non-delivery scam can be particularly difficult to spot, and recovery is nearly impossible. Here’s what you need to know about this scam.
The holidays are nipping at your heels and there’s still a lot to do! It probably seems like your stress levels keep rising while the money in your wallet keeps dwindling. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy a stress-free and affordable holiday season. Not buying what we’re selling? Well, continue reading to find out how:
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) celebrated the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of their new Shelton Branch location at 1000 Bridgeport Avenue in a two-part event on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Throughout the day, guests were welcomed to take an inside look at the branch’s modern design and given the opportunity to explore how the new space will elevate the MSCU difference.
The world of investing can be confusing, especially to a first-timer. No worries, though; Mutual Security Credit Union can help! Here’s how to start investing in five easy steps.
Whether you’re finishing up your holiday shopping or looking for year-end bargains in any category this month, we’ve got you covered! Here’s what to buy and what to skip in December.
Apostolic Worship Center (AWC) is a multicultural and multi-ethnic church, ministering to people of diverse social, economic, and racial background. As part of their vision, AWC aims to establish “Ministry Centers” to accommodate areas of both physical and spiritual needs within the communities, such as providing groceries and household items to local families in need.
Q: I’m hearing that the U.S. dollar is getting stronger. What does this mean for the economy and for me?
Q: What do I need to know about Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan?
Federal Trade Commission Warning – Protect your home from scammers this winter!
The month of November is National Native American Heritage Month and is to honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans. It’s a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, contributions, and overall history of the first Americans. The holiday was established officially in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, when he approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” The month is also recognized as “Native American Heritage Month,” "Alaska Native American Month," and similar variants which have been proclaimed each year since 1994.
Sticking to a budget during times of high inflation is challenging – but not impossible. Here are five ways to help make it happen:
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Mutual Security Credit Union donated $1,000 to The Center for Empowerment and Education, formally The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury on Tuesday, October 25th.
Cybercrimes are increasing massively each year. In fact, according to Cybercrime Magazine, cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
The biggest shopping month of the year is here! Before you start charging up a storm, though, remember that not all “Black Friday Deals” are really worthy of the label. Here’s what to buy and what to skip in November.
Q: The holidays always have me worried about money. With inflation soaring, I’m more stressed than ever. How can I save on my holiday shopping this year?
Q: My parents are aging and I believe they can use help in managing their everyday expenses, and may eventually need a proxy. How can I best help my parents with their finances?
Democracy is a privilege that’s upheld by the election process. But scammers are out to hijack this process and cause havoc throughout election season. Here are three scams to watch out for this time of year.
It’s never too early – or too late – to start planning for your retirement. However, the more time you allow for your savings to grow, the bigger the nest egg you’ll have when it’s time to cash in.
The History of ICU Day
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, MSCU celebrated the richness of Hispanic culture on Tuesday, October 3rd with our Taco Tuesday & Art Mosaic. The day was a symbol of MSCU’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), while actively merging the history and present day impact of art, culture, and local business.
Mutual Security Credit Union was honored to receive the 2022 Father Cascia Service Award, presented by the St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury, for our remarkable dedication to uplifting the community. The community enjoyed a fun-filled evening of dinner, music, and a silent auction to commemorate the awards on Thursday, September 22nd.
We are thrilled to announce a Mutual Security CU Reward Card Member was selected to win $5,000, as part of the PSCU 2022 Credit Union Give Back Sweepstakes. Longtime member, H. Gonzalez, was eligible in the giveaway drawing for simply using his CU Rewards Card. Gonzalez, who is a MSCU member since 1980, will receive $5000 to use as he wishes. After our Card Services team reached out to him to share the great news, Gonzalez said he felt "happy and surprised" that he had won something! He plans on using the unexpected giveaway to pay medical bills, after recently experiencing a health issue in the beginning of September. The remaining amount will go towards his savings, in case of an emergency. The Give Back Sweepstakes, which began in July, is an initiative ran by PSCU to show how much Credit Unions appreciate and care for members. To qualify, members with a CU Rewards Card were required to use their debit and credit card a minimum of four times per week. This then automatically adds members into the drawing for a chance to win $5,000 to use as they please. There are no strings attached and still an opportunity for card members to win. Simply use the card as normal now through Sunday, October 30th, 2022. For full details about the sweepstakes, visit: https://cugivebacksweepstakes.com/.
There are no big shopping holidays on the calendar this month, but you can still pick up a scary-good deal in October. Here’s what to buy, and what to skip. Buy: Jeans Shop your favorite retailers and check out some new ones you thought you couldn’t afford for incredible savings on jeans this month. Skip: Winter apparel Warm-weather wear won’t start dropping in price until Thanksgiving at the earliest, and the best markdowns will only appear on shelves around the holidays. Buy: Outdoor gear As the weather cools down and people head indoors, prices on all things outdoor will start dropping. This includes patio furniture, gardening tools, grills, camping gear and so much more. Skip: Cleaning supplies Are you in the market for a new vacuum? Looking to score a deal on a robot sweeper? You’re best off waiting a bit until Black Friday. On the biggest shopping day of the year, big-ticket cleaning items get steep discounts. Buy: Halloween costumes and decor As with any holiday, the closer the calendar gets to Halloween, the discounts you’ll see on related paraphernalia get steeper. This includes party decor, costumes, yard decorations, candy and more. Skip: Appliances Don’t spring for a new oven, refrigerator or washing machine just yet! Being hot Black Friday sales items, you’re best off waiting a bit to reduce the amount of money you’ll spend on new appliances. Buy: Autumn apparel You can pick up some in-between weather wear this October at super-hot prices. Retailers need to make space for the winter stock, and will be discounting all autumn wear. Take advantage of this by cashing in on fantastic sales. Use this guide to learn what to buy and what to skip in October. Your Turn: Have you picked up any great deals in October? Tell us about it in the comments.
Auto warranty scams can lead to financial pain, or even disaster, for an unwary consumer. Here’s what to know about these scams and how to stay safe.
With gas prices still rising nationwide, the pain at the pump is real. There isn’t much you can do about the price of gasoline, but there are ways you can pay less at the pump. Here are six ways to save on gas. Use cash Many gas stations offer a discount for paying cash, sometimes up to 20 cents per gallon. This can quickly add up when pumping a full tank. Just be careful to have the cash handy when you need it, as you don’t want to lose all those savings to ATM fees if using machines not connected to your credit union. Use a rewards program or credit card If you don’t like the idea of carrying around tons of cash, but you still want to save at the pump, consider getting a rewards program or credit card. Tread carefully though; not all of them actually benefit the consumer. Find out about a possible annual fee, a rewards cap, membership requirements and the exact redemption value of each reward point before signing up: Check your tire pressure According to the US Department of Energy, a well-inflated tire can save you 15 cents a gallon by boosting your gas mileage by 3%. Check your tires regularly to ensure they’re always inflated. To make this easier, consider springing for a tire pressure gauge that will automatically monitor the health of your tires. Use a gas-tracking app In 2022, there’s no need to search for the gas station with the best-priced gas. There’s an app for that! Popular gas-tracking apps include GasBuddy, Upside and Waze. Using the gas station that’s right near your home or workplace might be easy, but taking the extra time to find one that sells gas for less can save you a bundle. Purchase a club membership If you don’t already have one, this may be the time to buy a club membership. Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart Plus all offer discounted gas exclusively to members. Of the three, Costco tends to feature gas for the lowest price, up to 34 cents less per gallon than a typical gas station. In today’s gas-crazy climate, that’s a huge difference. Of course, you’ll want to find out how much a club membership will run you before joining. Buy gas at the right time of day If you pump gas during the midday hours, after the sun has been beating down on the gas reservoir all day, the gas has likely expanded. This means you’ll be paying the same price for less-dense gas, which won’t last as long. Pump when it’s cooler outside, typically during the morning or late evening hours, for the densest gas. Use these tips to help save on gas despite the rising cost of fuel. Your Turn: How do you save on the price of gas? Share your best tips and hacks in the comments.
Your credit score is vital to your financial health. This number measures your money management skills, credit capacity and fiscal responsibility. An excellent credit score can open the door to large loans and with better interest rates, as well as employment opportunities and more. Let’s explore the best ways to build and maintain an excellent credit score. Have several active credit cards Building and preserving a healthy credit score requires owning a few cards and keeping them active. If you’re just starting out, consider signing up for a beginner’s card, which generally features easy eligibility requirements and very little available credit. Otherwise, have a minimum of three open cards that you use wisely on a regular basis. Work on paying down debt First, choose your debt-crushing method: The snowball method works by putting all available funds toward paying off the lowest debt first, and then the next-smallest, until all debts are paid off. The avalanche method works the same way, but focuses on paying off the highest interest rate debts in descending order until all are paid off. With the snowball method, you’ll get faster results, but may end up paying more in overall interest payments on all debts. Showing the credit bureaus that you’re on track to pay off your debt can do wonders for your score. Pay your bills on time Paying credit card bills when, or before, they’re due is a major factor in your score. Continually carrying an outstanding balance, and/or owing lots of interest, shows that you can’t be counted on to responsibly repay loans. Remember, you can set up automatic monthly payments for your bills so you’re always on time. Bring down your credit utilization ratio Another crucial factor in your score, your credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of available credit you use. Keep your utilization under 30%, or even 10% if you can. To that end, make sure you’re using just a bit of your available credit each month. In addition, consider accepting offers for increased credit – as long as you know you won’t rack up huge bills simply because of having all that credit. Use the tips outlined here to build and maintain a great score. Your Turn: Do you have an excellent credit score? Tell us how you do it in the comments.
Purchasing a manufactured or mobile home can be a great way to find an affordable place to call home. However, you’ll probably need to fund this big purchase. Unfortunately, most large lenders and banks offer little flexibility in terms, conditions and rates when it comes to financing manufactured or mobile homes. But a credit union, on the other hand, can be a great way to help pay for one of these homes.
Mutual Security Credit Union's (MSCU) Board Chairman, Bruce Likly, took part in the Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Ride, which supports cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Bruce, who’s an annual rider, raised money to contribute to this year’s fundraiser.
Get ready for big savings on big-ticket items this September! Retailers want to bring the crowds back after the big back-to-school storm has passed, and to clear the shelves before the holiday season blows in. All that, plus the Labor Day sales, means big savings in September – but not on everything. Here’s what to buy and what to skip in September.
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) would like to congratulate, Mia Piacenza, a 2022 Community Service Scholarship Recipient! Mia has a wealth of community service experience from her role as an AP Ambassador Volunteer to participating in local clean-ups, such as the Oyster Festival Trash Clean up and Campus Clean up in Norwalk, CT. Mia loves giving back but believes sharing knowledge is the greatest way to make an impact in the community. Throughout the summer, Mia volunteered her knowledge and expertise during summer school by helping classmates with their Algebra. Although Algebra comes naturally to Mia, she quickly learned this isn’t the case for many of her peers and some of them were falling behind. “Someone or something must have failed these students along the way. So, I set my goal. This goal was to help my classmates rise to the occasion,” Mia said. Mia spent the summer working alongside peers, tutoring them one on one and educating them on several algebraic matters. This will lead to several of her peers progressing to the next grade and qualify them to graduate. “As the summer progressed, watching their knowledge extend was heartwarming. I felt like I was making a difference, even in the [smallest] manner, and it became clear that I was essential in helping them.” Mia reflected on how their big smiles were after passing their “80 or above mark,” which will forever be rewarding to her. She hopes to continue making an impact and helping people around her succeed, whether they are her classmates, teammates or even family members. As Mia heads to college, she is eager to continue helping the community, but this time in a life-saving way. Mia is attending Lehigh University this Fall and aspires to become a Physician’s Assistant. On behalf of MSCU, thank you for your service, Mia. Please join us in congratulating Mia on her scholarship award and all her admirable work for our community – The MSCU family is wishing you the best in your college endeavors!
If you’re under contract for a new home, you’ve likely had an inspection conducted on your new home. This inspection is an important part of the home-buying process, and is generally required by the mortgage company. It can help you find any major defects in the home, such as a faulty roof or dying HVAC system, which may prompt you to walk away from the deal. Alternatively, the seller can choose to repair any areas needing major work before the closing.
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is proud to announce the winners of our second year’s Calendar Photo Contest! There were many spectacular photos submitted in response to this year’s theme, “Pets in our Community” that are all deserving a spot on the calendar, which made it very hard to pick only 12.
Q: With inflation soaring, I want to spend my money in the best way possible. When paying for various everyday and occasional purchases, should I be using cash, credit or debit?
If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, you’re probably prepared to get greeted by sticker shock. You may also know that supply is low, so finding your dream car can be challenging – or impossible. Here’s what to know about the state of the market, as well as the pros and cons of buying a car in 2022.
Living a life of financial wellness means being happy with a lifestyle that’s within your means, but doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re lacking. At the same time, financial wellness means money choices are governed by discipline and not by emotion. So how do you strike a balance between the two?
Congratulations to one of our Community Service Scholarship recipients, Sally Kirk! Sally has completed over 700 hours of local community service throughout the Fairfield County. From collecting non-perishables for Homes for the Brave, to raising domestic violence awareness and creating care packages for the Center for Family Justice, Sally has done their best to make an impact in their community. “I feel great satisfaction in being able to engage in these activities, as they have allowed me to meet new people, develop my leadership skills, and make a positive impact,” Sally noted. As President of the Interact Club at Trumbull High School, an affiliate club of the Rotary organization, Sally was the liaison between teachers and Rotary advisors, oversaw club officers, and led all club plans, activities, and meetings. During sophomore year, they attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), a three-day leadership conference where attendees had the opportunity to create a service-oriented project to benefit their local community. There, Backpacks for Hope was co-founded with RYLA peers, with the mission to provide backpacks for homeless people in the Fairfield County. Although many projects from the conference ended shortly thereafter, Sally’s commitment to helping others led to the project’s expansion. Since its inception, Backpacks for Hope has provided over 250 backpacks filled with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and other essentials. The backpacks are distributed to the Alpha Community Services, which provides temporary housing and services to the homeless. This Fall, Sally is attending American University with a major in Political Science. Sally aspires to become a Lawyer, where they can continue serving others. “Packing backpacks for those in need, running food drives, raising money for organizations and individuals in need, helping animals, and encouraging others to become future leaders gives me purpose and confidence to pursue more opportunities to help others in college and beyond,” Sally said. Thank you, Sally, for your continued effort in caring for our community. The MSCU family wishes you all the best in your college endeavors!
It’s back-to-school season, but that doesn’t mean you need to break your budget. Here’s six back-to-school shopping hacks to get you started.
“Pay yourself first” is a catchphrase that refers to prioritizing your personal savings above other expenses. To achieve it, savings should be a fixed line on your budget that happens every month without fail.
We’d like to congratulate, Kourtney Payne, one of our 2022 Scholarship Recipients of the Larry F. Holderman Scholarship.
[Now that you’ve started paying down debt, you and your partner have tackled big money issues, and you’ve mastered the art of spending mindfully, you’re now ready to think beyond your own needs by learning how to pay it forward.]
Independence Day sales are over and Labor Day is a month away, but great deals can still be had in August. Here’s what to buy and what to skip this month. Buy: Back-to-school supplies Look for weekly deals on school and office supplies at big-box stores, pharmacies and e-tailers this month. Think beyond school – you can stock up on a year’s worth of pens and paper for your home printer at a bargain price this August by shopping back-to-school sales.
Congratulations to Alexis Gonzalez, one of our 2022 Community Service Scholarship recipients!
Congratulations to one of our 2022 Community Service Scholarship recipients, Pratham Kapadia!
Q: With gas prices soaring and expected to continue climbing into the foreseeable future, I’m wondering if this is a good time to consider purchasing an electric car. Should I buy an electric vehicle now?
A 2021 study by Deloitte found that the average American internet household owns 23 connected devices, an increase from an average of 11 devices in 2019, and that number is increasing each year. When we think of devices, we mostly consider our smartphones, home computers, and tablets. Increasingly, though, additional WIFI enabled gadgets like televisions, thermostats, home security systems, and even kitchen appliances are being included in that list. Some predict that by the end of 2022, the average will have increased to as much as 50 devices per American household. The convenience of adjusting your home thermostat from your desk at work, or looking inside your own refrigerator from the dairy aisle in the grocery store comes with an often overlooked security risk. Every connected device provides a window for someone with malicious intent to access the personal information stored on that device, or even worse, to gain access to your home network. If someone gains access to your local network, they can easily access your personal data by "listening" to your internet traffic, or they can launch various attacks, such as malware or ransomware. This cybersecurity article from the Federal Trade Commission contains more insight about the importance of protecting your connected devices and your home network.
With prices rising on everything, including hotel stays, record numbers of vacationers are choosing to rent private homes or apartments on sites like Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). Unfortunately, though, vacation rental scams are on the rise as well. Here’s all you need to know about these scams and how to avoid them.
The days are still long and filled with sunshine. And though retailers would have you think otherwise, school is still a long way off. If you’re looking to save on some purchases this month, you can find lots of bargains around Independence Day weekend and beyond. Here’s what to buy and what to skip in July.
Q: Is it a good idea to pay for gas with a credit card?
Ahh…summer! The season of flip-flops and sunscreen, of lemonade and baseball games. What’s not to love about summer?
Asking for the occasional raise should be part of any career path, but it can sometimes be difficult to know when and how to ask for an increase in salary. Follow these tips to make negotiating your next raise easy.
Celebrating Memorial Day can cost a pretty penny, but there’s no need to spend lavishly to have an epic holiday weekend. Here’s how to celebrate Memorial Day on a budget.
Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about fraud rings and how dangerous they can be for both businesses and consumers. What is a fraud ring, and how can I keep myself safe from falling victim?
Creating a budget and deciding to stick to it is easy; it’s actually carrying through on your plan that’s the hard part. For too many people, financial responsibility ends at having good intentions and real life gets in the way of all well-laid plans. A large part of the discrepancy between what they want to do and what they actually do is caused by their failure to spend mindfully. When every indulgence and impulse buy is just a swipe away, it can be super-challenging to rein in that spending instinct – but it is possible. Here’s how to learn the art of mindful spending.
Scammers will capitalize on anything to pull off another ruse, even the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild. Grandparent scams are not new, but they have gotten a lot more sophisticated in recent years, so they can be difficult to spot. Here’s what you need to know about grandparent scams and how to avoid them.
It’s an amazing employment opportunity – or is it? Scammers often hijack the job market and ensnare hopeful job seekers into their schemes. If you’re job-hunting, it’s a good idea to review the way these scams play out and how you can avoid them. To help you out, we’ve put together a short primer on what you need to know to stay safe from job scams.
It’s time to show Mom how much she means to you! If the idea of Mother’s Day brings thoughts of pricey chocolates, flowers and other gifts, along with a busted budget, you may be going about this the wrong way. No worries, though; we can help. Here’s a list of six ways you can show your mom how much you care without draining your wallet.
Did you know that choosing to bring your own lunch to work each day can save up to $3,000 a year? Each takeout lunch can easily cost $12 more than a homemade meal. If you’d put that money into an index fund and contribute to it for 25 years, you can save $500,000!
Scammers never take a break from dreaming up new ways to con people out of their money. Recently, they’ve even been hijacking QR codes to pull scams on innocent victims. Here’s all you need to know about QR code scams and how to avoid them.
Talking finances with your partner may not be your idea of a shared romantic moment, but communicating openly about how you manage your money is a crucial part of having an honest and trusting relationship. It’s fairly common knowledge that arguing about money is the leading cause of divorce in the U.S., and no one wants to be the next statistic. Unfortunately, though, people often grow defensive when discussing the ways they choose to spend their money. How, then, can two partners have a calm, productive discussion about money? Here are six tips we’ve compiled to help guide you in this super-important conversation.
Winter is on its way out, and spring is on its way in. That means it’s time to stop hibernating and get outside! Before you do, though, you’ll need to help your home recover from the damage incurred during winter and take steps to prepare it for spring. Don’t stress about what you need to do; just follow our lead with these six steps for preparing your home for spring.
The rising inflation rate, once determined to be a transitory and natural consequence of pandemic lockdowns, now appears to be here to stay, given that headlines announced a 7% increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in the beginning of 2022. To help control prices, the Federal Reserve will likely increase interest rates this year, possibly up to four times in total.
During last year’s tax season, it seemed unlikely that we would still be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic when filing again this year. However, as the world continues to react to the virus, scammers are adapting their techniques to steal your money. With the increase in the number of transactions with the IRS this year (including child tax credit pre-payments, economic stimulus payments, and federal unemployment), the door has also become more widely open to thieves attempting to steal your tax benefits and your identity.
There’s nothing quite like watching sports live. The energy, the cheers, the game! But tickets to live sporting events can be pricey, and scammers know this well. They’ve come up with all sorts of scams involving the sale of sport tickets, and often, they succeed at conning innocent victims out of their money. Here’s what you need to know about sport ticket scams and how to avoid them.
The big day is drawing near, and if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to file your tax return! Before you file, though, it’s a good idea to review your return to ensure you haven’t made any mistakes or forgotten any deductions or credits you’re eligible to claim. Below, we’ve compiled a list of last-minute tax tips to know before you file.
Each year, the St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury recognizes certain individuals and organizations that have served the poorest of greater Waterbury as a volunteer, in an exceptional manner, consistently, over a significant period of time. In doing so, these individuals and organizations exemplify the spirit of service and the dedication of Father Philip Cascia who founded the Mission and served as its chief officer, counselor, and guide throughout the early years of operation. Accordingly, the awards have been named the "Father Cascia Service Award" to honor his memory and to keep alive his spirit of service in present-day and future generations.
March is one of the quieter shopping months, since there are no major holidays or sale events. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some fantastic buys in March! Be a smart consumer and brush up on the retail sales cycle to learn which items are on sale in March and which purchases would be best pushed off for another time. Here’s what to buy and what to skip in March.
The days are getting longer and warmer, and that means summer is just around the corner! Though April is a mid-season month without any major shopping holidays, you can still score some great deals. There are also many items you’ll want to put on your waitlist until prices drop in another month or so. We’ve got all the info for you so you can shop smart! Here’s what to buy and what to skip in April.
Every business is blogging today, but creating a killer business blog can be challenging. How do you strike that perfect balance between professionalism and casualness while building a blog that promotes your business in the best way possible? Here, we’ve outlined four steps for creating an outstanding blog for your organization.
While we all hope the war taking place between Russia and Ukraine won’t spread further, when major countries are at war it does impact the global economy. Here’s how the war in Ukraine is influencing the U.S. economy and American banking, additional fallouts we may be facing soon and steps you can take to protect your assets in case of war.
Consumer debt can be one of the biggest challenges to realizing good financial wellness. Credit card companies design their business model in a way that makes it easy to get stuck paying off debt for years. With some intentional action and commitment, reaching true financial wellness and being financially independent is possible. At the very least, seek to be on track for paying it off shortly. Below, we’ve outlined how to pay down debt in five simple steps, along with three debt-paying strategies to avoid.
High debt can be a beast, taking huge bites out of a household or personal budget and destroying any chance of financial wellness. To make matters worse, being in high debt can mean being stuck in a desperate cycle that never ends, as payback is often accompanied by high interest rates that make it nearly impossible to get ahead. Unfortunately, scammers know this well, so they target victims with debt relief scams to get at their money. Here’s what you need to know about debt relief scams and how to avoid them.
In honor of Black History Month, Mutual Security Credit Union donated $2,500 to each of the following nonprofits that serve and empower the Black community:
Triangulation Fraud and How You Can Be an Unwitting Participant Most people who frequent online auction sites, like eBay, have probably seen some deals that simply seem too good to be true. While these big discounts can be legitimate, they are occasionally part of a growing trend known as triangulation fraud. Often called a victimless crime, the online buyer becomes a participant in the scam without even knowing it, taking on the role known as the "money mule" and a participant in a scam that could be taking place thousands of miles away.
Being proactive about a budget that doesn’t work any longer due to current prices is commendable. Fortunately, there are ways you can trim your recreation budget without feeling the pinch. Below, we’ve listed eight ways you can save on entertainment costs.
Everyone loves payday, but too many employees don’t know how to allocate their paycheck in a way that best serves their financial needs. Use the tips outlined below to learn how to manage your paycheck responsibly.
Black History Month provides Americans across the country with the opportunity to celebrate the rich history and culture of the Black American people. As a financial cooperative built on the twin values of community and kindness, we anticipate using this month to study Black American history and culture as it relates to finances, banks, and specifically, credit unions. Let’s take a look at the history of credit unions and finance in the Black American community.
The real estate market has shifted tremendously since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as we approach the two-year mark since COVID-19 reached the U.S., the market continues to adjust to the changing economic environment, rising inflation and fluctuating demand. If you’re looking to take out a home loan in the near future, it’s important to learn about the current market trends and what you can expect in the coming months. Here’s what you need to know about taking out a home loan in 2022.
Budgets play a crucial role in promoting financial awareness, which then helps to facilitate more responsible money choices. This discipline will benefit you individually, as well as all who are part of your household.
We live in an increasingly digital world. People use devices and technology to shop for everything from groceries and clothing to furniture and electronics. We sign in to multiple websites and apps to communicate and share photos with family and friends, manage personal and business finances, plan vacations, and everything in between. While increased accessibility helps make so many activities quick and convenient, having so much of our personal information online leaves us vulnerable to cyber criminals who are eager to steal and benefit from our personal information. As the multitude of online services has expanded, so has the rate of fraudsters engaging in identity theft.
If a time-traveler from the 19th century landed in your living room, you’d likely have a hard time explaining the way our world works – especially the way we deal with finances. Your visitor can watch as you hold an oblong object in your hands and proceed to order a full summer wardrobe, new bedroom furniture or maybe even airline tickets. Who would have imagined we’d be able to do all that and more or without ever touching a dollar bill, coin or even a credit card?
Identity theft continues to be more than just a costly headache. Once the bad guys have your identity information they can make repeated attempts to try to access your accounts, apply for credit in your name, and even steal your tax refund. We’re going to dig into some lesser-known, proactive steps you can take in the new year to protect yourself from becoming the target of identity fraud. And remember, If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, you have access to an Identity Theft Recovery Advocate as a benefit of your Enhanced and Elevated Checking Account. These professionals are trained and ready to help you reverse the damage and get back on track quickly. Our experienced advocates know how to spot identity theft, and when necessary, will support you through the process of repairing any damages.
As the outside temperature falls, we raise the temperature inside, and with it, heating costs go up, too. While peaceful white snowfall may be picturesque, the winter utility bills are not quite as pretty.
Super Bowl parties are always great fun to host, but they can cost a pretty penny. To help cut the costs, we’ve compiled some hosting hacks so you can pull off the party of a lifetime without breaking your budget.
Identity fraud goes in and out of the headlines with regularity, and while it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with the most current scams, we frequently hear updates from various news sources about guarding our identities. The latest scams are putting our children’s identities at risk.
Here at Mutual Security Credit Union, we are proud to offer small personal loans to our entrepreneurial members at affordable interest rates and easy eligibility requirements. Here are six popular ways to use a small personal loan for your business.
One of the many pandemic’s lasting effects on the U.S. economy is the so-called Great Resignation of 2021. Employees are voluntarily leaving their jobs in droves. In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a whopping 20.2 million workers left their jobs from May 2021 through September 2021. Reasons for the high turnover range from availability of federal economic aid to general burnout, which reached a turning point during the pandemic.
Are you ready to join us on a journey toward financial wellness?
Owning a home can provide you with significant tax benefits. It’s important to learn how home ownership can impact your taxes so you know which home-related expenses to claim on your returns for maximizing your savings potential.
The holidays may be over, but scammers never take a break. The weeks after the holiday season generally, bring an increase in scams that can be difficult to spot. Watch out for these four common post-holiday scams.
The visitors have returned home, the leftovers in the fridge have been tossed, the kids are back in school and you have work first thing Monday morning. After the excitement of the holidays, the return to normal can make even the jolliest of folks a little depressed.
There’s not much you can do about the rising cost of goods, but as an investor, there are steps you can take to protect your portfolio. Here are five ways to insulate yourself against inflation.
If you’re like most people, you likely start each year with a list of resolutions to help you improve various aspects of your life. The list may include resolutions to help you become more physically fit, further your career growth and improve your personal relationships. Another category of resolutions you may make centers on those that affect your finances.
The cost of health care coverage has skyrocketed over the last decade, and even more so in the last few years. With prices spiking on just about everything now, many Americans are finding it challenging to identify a decent health insurance plan they can afford.
The chip shortage and other factors relating to the pandemic and inflation have created a tight auto loan market, the likes of which haven’t been seen in years. As a result, finding a new or used car that meets your criteria is challenging in today’s market. Unfortunately, though, leases have also risen in price and there is limited availability among many models.
As 2021 draws to a close and we prepare to usher in 2022, take a moment to go through this year-end financial checklist for ensuring your finances are in order before the start of the New Year.
With the holiday shopping season heading into its final frenzied stretch, scammers are out in full force to take advantage of busy shoppers. In particular, credit card fraud is rampant during this time of year. With most purchases paid for with plastic, scammers have their pick of vulnerable prey before the holidays. Stay safe this season and protect yourself and your cards from fraud with these safety measures and preventative tips:
With shorter days approaching, bringing more hours of darkness along with them, it’s more important than ever to brush up on ATM safety. Using a compromised machine can mean risking identity theft and/or having cash stolen. With this simple machine, all it takes is a few short minutes for a victim’s life to be completely ruined.
Retailers and suppliers have been urging consumers to shop early this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean everyone has been paying attention. If you’ve pushed off your shopping until the last minute, we’ve got you covered! Here are six ways to keep your last-minute shopping stress-free and inexpensive.
You rely on your financial professional to provide experience and expertise to help develop a practical financial plan for you, manage debt and establish an emergency fund, weather market volatility, create a budget, grow your assets, save for the life you want, and invest and plan for retirement — and more.
Black Friday has traditionally been the day that kicks off the holiday shopping season, sending hordes of crowds surging through malls and big-box stores all over the nation. Unfortunately, it’s also been a day that kicks off the season of shopping scams.
Did you know that your credit score can be one more indicator of identity theft? Your credit score is typically used as an indicator of your experience using credit and is obtained by potential lenders, landlords, and employers as an important indicator of how you have used debt in the past. However, your credit score can also be a lagging indicator that someone else may be using your credit. Let's take a look at what a credit score is, how it is affected by your own credit activities, and when you should be concerned about identity theft.
Ready, set… charge! The holiday shopping season is here, and between inflated prices, the rising cost of gas, and the urge to splurge this time of year, it can be harder than ever to stick to your budget. Here, we’ve listed eight holiday shopping hacks to help keep your spending under control while still finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.
If you’re currently working with a financial professional at Mutual Security Credit Union, think back for a moment to the time before you begin your financial planning journey. Maybe your overall financial picture was just fine — or maybe it was chaotic and uncertain. Perhaps you earned plenty of money, but failed to invest it wisely to help grow your assets and secure your future...or you may have made risky choices and wasted a lot of time and energy worrying about your investments.
When you live in the northeast, each season has its own charm—but nothing beats a New England fall. Golden yellow, sunburnt orange, and ruby reds appear all over the landscapes and the cool crisp air has you reaching for your favorite sweater. Fall’s transformation reminds us of the constant change in our lives and the ability we have to create change for others. It’s empowering and yet humbling.
According to the most recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. inflation is currently running at a 13-year high of 5.4% — and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Here’s what you need to know about the current state of the U.S. economy and what you can likely expect in the coming months.
You’ve worked hard to live out the American dream: a career, homeownership, investing, raising a family, saving for a child’s college education, and building a nest egg over time. Taking advantage of opportunities to grow your savings, including maxing out your 401(k) at work, has resulted in a solid financial footing that allows you to have some fun along the way and even splurge once in a while. Life is good, and you’re on track to enjoy a comfortable retirement where you can continue life’s adventures. At least that’s the hope.
Credit cards! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. According to the latest report by the Federal Reserve, there’s a whopping $790 billion in credit card debt in the U.S. On the flip side, though, opening credit cards and managing them responsibly is crucial to establishing your credit history, which impacts your eligibility and rates for large, low-interest loans.
The holidays are coming and it’s time to hit the shops! Retailers and consumers around the nation are anticipating a holiday season that’s a lot closer to pre-pandemic days than last year’s festivities. Unfortunately, though, suppliers are cautioning consumers to expect supply shortages, shipping delays, and higher price tags this year. With that in mind, here’s a look at what you might expect to see this holiday shopping season.
In our digital world, passwords are as much a part of our lives as Netflix and Amazon. Keeping information stored in dozens of accounts across the web can make it easier to stay on top of your finances, order a new pair of jeans, or even schedule a dentist appointment. Unfortunately, though, passwords can be relatively easy for scammers to hack, opening the door for identity theft, credit card fraud, and more. Multifactor authentication (MFA) can provide an extra layer of protection for your accounts and sensitive data.
Divorce can be difficult on many levels, and one of the most formidable challenges for most is the financial strain it causes. Making sense of your finances after a divorce takes work and time, but with proper planning and a responsible approach, it can be done.
Data breaches show up in the news almost as often as celebrity couple breakups. According to Risk Based Security’s Mid-Year Data BreachReport, there were 1,767 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2021, exposing 18.8 billion records. One of the most far-reaching of these breaches was the T-Mobile data breach in August, which has impacted more than 50 million people. A data breach exposes confidential information of its victims, which can include Social Security numbers, account information, credit card numbers, passwords, and more. If your personal information has been compromised by the T-Mobile data breach or another exposure, take these five steps to mitigate the damage.
Personal loans, sometimes called unsecured loans, are loans that allow flexible use, offer short- to moderate-term repayment options and quick funding. Their versatility and convenience make them a popular choice for borrowers of every financial standing. Let’s take a deeper look at personal loans, how they work, and their pros and cons.
Q: I’ve heard that used cars can currently fetch a pretty penny from dealers because of a nationwide vehicle shortage. Should I trade in my car? A: The auto market has been red-hot for months as manufacturers scramble to catch up on pandemic-induced supply shortages. While circumstances vary, this can be a great time to get top dollar on a used car. Here’s what you need to know about the current auto market for sellers.
You've probably heard about it on your local news over the last few years; criminals caught with equipment that allowed them to capture credit and debit card activity of unsuspecting consumers fueling up at the local gas station or using their cards at other outdoor accessible transaction terminals. These criminals are typically found with cash, devices, and hundreds of fake cards manufactured from the data they stole. Even more terrifying is that these seemingly local intrusions are almost always part of a larger international criminal enterprise.
Costumes are being crafted, scary movies are playing on TV, and the smell of sugar is in the air—Halloween is almost here! And Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube Challenge, “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy,” isn’t far behind.
As one of the hottest investments on the market, cryptocurrency has been enjoying the spotlight for quite a while, and scammers are eager to cash in on the excitement. Cryptocurrency scams are particularly nefarious since the digital currency is not regulated by any government, and once it has transferred hands it usually cannot be reclaimed. Here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrency scams and how to avoid them.
An excellent credit score is the ultimate goal of the financially responsible consumer. Those three magic digits tell a story of accountability, good financial sense, and the ability to spend mindfully. A great credit score also unlocks doors for large, affordable loans; employment opportunities, and more.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Since 1968, the month has offered Americans the opportunity to celebrate the unique histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
As you pay down your first mortgage or the value of your home increases, you develop equity. When you have equity built up in your home, borrowing against it with a home equity loan is a great way to tap into the money when you need it most. Many people take out a home equity loan to finance home improvements, pay for their child’s college education, cover unforeseen medical costs, and many other purposes. Here’s all you need to know about home equity loans.
Griffin Hospital's Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Coalition educates children and adults on a variety of health, wellness and safety programs to reduce unintentional injuries and death among children under the age of 17. Safe Kids offer hands-on, interactive, and fun programs at the Griffin Hospital and throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
Have you been trying to improve your credit score, but can’t get ahead of your monthly payments or find that your spending gets out of control when you're paying with plastic and want to know how you can use your credit cards responsibly?
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is proud to announce the winners of its first-ever Calendar Photo Contest!
Everyone loves a gift card for their favorite retailer or restaurant. It’s like getting money to spend in any way you please! Unfortunately, scammers also love gift cards, but for all the wrong reasons: They often use gift cards to pull off scams. Here’s what you need to know about gift card scams and how to avoid them.
The month of August typically marks the end of summer vacation and the start of school for many students of all ages. This means parents will be having to dish out some money on school supplies, but it’s an expense that some families truly can’t afford. Luckily, when there’s a need, the community never fails to step up to the plate and help.
You and debt are so over. You’ve just about had it with those endless piles of credit card bills and those hideous numbers that never seem to get any lower. It’s time to kiss that debt goodbye!
It’s time for back-to-school shopping! This year’s back-to-school season requires shoppers to try sticking to their budgets, and purchase everything on their lists, without exposing themselves or their kids to the coronavirus. Here’s how to shop for school safely and without breaking the budget.
After CUNA announced its ‘Building financial health for a brighter tomorrow’ theme for this year’s International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) on October 21st, Mutual Security Credit Union CEO Hank Baum used his connections to get in touch with COOPSME Cooperativa located in La Romana, Dominican Republic to see how Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) can expand its celebration internationally and help a fellow credit union through shared knowledge and resources.
During this season of financial uncertainty, it may be tempting to dip into your retirement accounts to get by. Or, maybe you’re an older worker who’s experienced job loss and are wondering if you should claim Social Security at age 62 rather than wait until full retirement age. Before making any major decisions that could have implications on your long-term retirement goals, access our helpful guide, 5 Tips to Reach Your Retirement Goals During Uncertain Times. If you have any questions or concerns about meeting your retirement goals, reach out to a financial professional located at our credit union.
Both literally and figuratively, planning ahead can pay off. It's important to think about your future now so you can enjoy it to the fullest down the road. A financial professional can evaluate your current financial situation and help you make the most out of your financial plan.
Your passwords are like the keys to your life. And when it seems like there’s another big security breach every week, you want to be absolutely sure your passwords are strong and safe. After all, with just a few keystrokes, a scammer can have full access to your personal information, financial accounts, social media pages and so much more.
Individual Americans spend hundreds of dollars a year and at least as many hours on keeping themselves physically fit — but too many people neglect their financial health. Just like physical health, being financially fit is crucial to your wellbeing, your future and your quality of life.
You want to retire comfortably when the time comes. You also want to help your child go to college. So how do you juggle the two? The truth is, saving for your retirement and your child's education at the same time can be a challenge. But take heart — you may be able to reach both goals if you make some smart choices now.
You know how important it is to plan for your retirement, but where do you begin? One of your first steps should be to estimate how much income you'll need to fund your retirement. That's not as easy as it sounds, because retirement planning is not an exact science. Your specific needs depend on your goals and many other factors.
Recent market volatility and concerning global events are causing many investors to consider diversifying their portfolio even further by including annuities as part of their retirement strategy. Why? There are several reasons you might want to consider annuities, including their growth potential, ability to provide guaranteed income and limit losses.
Is 2021 a good time to sell your home? While it appears to be a seller’s market, and the perfect time to put your home up for sale, there are many variables to consider before going forward. Below, we’ve outlined important points to know about today’s market so you can make an informed decision about selling your home in 2021. Is it a seller’s market now? According to Realtor.com, the current supply of homes on the market is at an all-time low, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in more than two decades. This can be attributed to the federal moratorium on foreclosures, as well as the months-long halt on new construction. At the same time, demand for homes is up, as many millennials are entering their peak homebuying years, mortgage rates hit record lows and more people are working from home than ever before. In fact, in 2020, more homes were sold than in any year since 2006, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Naturally, when demand exceeds supply, prices will go up. Let’s take a look at some of the current trends driving this market, as shared by Realtor.com and Redfin.com:
Hello, summer! It’s the season of flip-flops and ice pops, of sun-drenched afternoons and lazy days at the beach. And, unfortunately, summertime is also prime time for scammers. People are more relaxed, schedules are looser and vacationers are traveling in unfamiliar locations. All of this can lead people to let their guard down during the summer, and the scammers know it.
If you’re in the market for a new car or truck, you’re likely also shopping for an auto loan. Your auto loan will affect your monthly budget for the full term of the loan, so it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision before finalizing it. Here’s all you need to know about auto loans and how to choose the one that’s best for you. How do auto loans work? Auto loans make it possible for consumers to purchase a new car without having all the cash on hand when buying. With a car loan from a financial institution or private lender, you’ll receive the funds you need to purchase the vehicle in one lump sum, which you’ll pay a portion of back each month, with interest, over the term of the loan, which generally lasts 5-7 years. Where do I apply for an auto loan? There are two primary sources for auto loans:
It happened in the midst of the lockdown. Dan and his family were unable to visit their aging mother due to COVID-19 concerns. While being isolated from her family and friends, Dan's mother received a phone call. An unknown person convinced her to go to the nearest Dollar General store and purchase $2,000 in gift cards, and provide the gift card numbers to him over the phone. Suffering from early-onset dementia, she didn't question the request but instead followed the instructions. It wasn't until much later that she admitted the mistake to her son. Had she checked with him first, she would have been told it was a scam, saving her the risk of getting out in public and getting sick, and also the heartache of realizing she'd fallen victim to a scam. Unfortunately, these stories are all too common, and they can happen to anyone - not just the elderly. In addition to the financial loss, many times these scams can also result in the loss of personal information and identity theft.
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is continuing a long-standing tradition of awarding scholarships to students in the community to help them reach their scholastic and professional goals.
One of the most important parts of setting up a monthly budget is separating needs from wants. Before assigning dollar amounts to any categories, it’s important to know which parts of your monthly expenditures are an absolute need, and which items would be nice to include, but are not a necessity. Many people find this particularly challenging, and many even give up on budgeting when they can’t move past this step.
You are standing in line at the pharmacy, ready to check out. While fumbling around in your purse for cash or a card, you notice the person in front of you has simply scanned their smartphone across the payment card reader. In a flash, they've paid for their merchandise and are out the door, leaving you feeling like you have been lost in a time warp. How did they do that? It's simple, really. A credit or debit card has been attached to a "digital wallet" which is then recognized by the merchant's payment terminal, authorizing the transaction.
If you've been thinking something along the lines of, "My current house just isn’t doing it for my family. We’re looking for a house to purchase that is near good schools and in a good neighborhood, but it’s taking longer than hoped. I’m a little worried that interest rates are going to go back up before I get a chance to buy. What should I do?" This article is for you!
Your phone pings with an incoming text. You swipe it open to find a message from the USPS. They’re texting to let you know that the scheduled delivery time for your package has been changed. Unfortunately, though, the message is not from the USPS and you’ve just been targeted by a scam.
If you’re a homeowner in need of a bundle of cash, look no further than your own home. By tapping into your home’s equity, you’re eligible for a loan with a, generally, lower interest rate and easier eligibility requirements. One way to do this is by opening up a home equity line of credit, or a HELOC. Let’s take a closer look at HELOCs and why they can be an excellent option for cash-strapped homeowners.
If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, get ready to experience sticker shock. Prices on new and used cars have soared since the beginning of 2020, and experts aren’t expecting them to fall anytime soon. Here’s what you need to know about the current auto loan market and how to navigate it successfully.
I’m doing some home renovations this spring, and I’m not sure how to finance it all. Do I take out a loan? Should I just charge all the expenses to my credit card? There are so many options! Which one makes the most sense for my finances?
It’s stimulus season and tax season at once, and scammers couldn’t be happier. They know that taxpayers are eager to get their hands on their stimulus payments and tax refunds. As consumers are working to file their taxes before the May 17 deadline, all that paperwork and payments mean people may be letting their guard down. For a scammer, nothing could be better!
It’s springtime! For many that means out with the old and in with the new. Whether it’s installing a swimming pool, giving your kitchen a complete makeover, or turning your garage into a guest suite this spring, a personal loan can make it possible. Personal loans may be a better option for homeowners who don’t have a great deal of equity in their homes and may not be a good candidate for a fixed Home Equity Loan, or a HELOC.
A home loan, otherwise known as a mortgage, enables you to purchase a house without paying the full price out of pocket at the time of the purchase.
The Criminal Investigation (CI) unit is a special criminal division of the IRS. The CI is tasked with investigating and uncovering tax-related crimes and prosecuting these cases. Each year the CI provides the IRS an annual report detailing their work and highlighting their successes and enforcements related to tax and financial crimes. Why is this important to you? The work of the CI is critical in protecting taxpayers as well as maintaining the integrity of our financial system. Even more importantly, the information uncovered by the CI paints a very clear picture of the criminal activities on the rise and provides each of us an understanding of what to watch out for and how to protect ourselves and our personal information in the future. You can view the CI's full report here for 2020.
If you’re receiving a stimulus check as part of the most recent COVID-19 Relief Package, it’s more important than ever to consider the coming months and make sure you’re using the money wisely. Let our insightful infographic help guide you through your choices as you prioritize how to spend your funds. Access, 5 Smart Ways to Use Your Stimulus Check, for a few strategic tips. If you have questions or would like more details, reach out to a financial professional located at our credit union.
Debt consolidation is the process of moving several (possibly) high-interest debts into a new loan or line of credit. Debt consolidation can help you pay off your debt quicker, with less money going toward overall interest payments.
Thinking about upgrading your current car? Or wondering if you’ll be able to afford the home-improvement project on your to-do list? It’s that time of year where you may be in the market for an upgrade. We want to help you to enhance your lifestyle and reach your financial goals!
From understanding current market conditions and interest rates, to deciding how much to put down and the right type of mortgage for you, there’s a lot to consider. And with all the information available online, and from family and friends, it’s hard to know where to start.
It’s Black History Month; so let’s celebrate! In honor of Black History Month, Mutual Security Credit Union is proud to share four little-known facts about African American history, along with a list of fun ways to commemorate black history and culture.
After months of confusion and fear, there is finally a light at the end of the socially distanced tunnel: the FDA has approved two coronavirus vaccines. Detailed plans to distribute from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna are already underway, with additional vaccines expected to gain FDA approval in 2021.
Since the 1970s, the month of February has been designated as the time to celebrate and commemorate Black history. Schools, television networks and private organizations use this month to increase awareness and to educate people about the rich history of Black Americans. There are so many ways to celebrate! We challenge you to do one thing for Black History Month on each of the 28 days of February. Here are 28 ideas to help get you started:
Financial professionals go by many names: personal financial advisor, investment consultant, financial planner, financial coach...you can probably come up with at least a few more. Their varying backgrounds and credentials come with different designations and titles. And there are at least as many reasons to work with a financial professional as there are ways to call them.
The news from the real estate market can be confusing. What do you need to know as a buyer, a seller, or just an American citizen, about today’s real estate market? Trends and stats in real estate are constantly changing, especially during the unstable economy of COVID-19. Here’s all you need to know about the real estate market today.
With the holiday shopping behind us take some time to reflect on your shopping habits! We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s that I-gotta-have-it urge that overtakes us when we see a pair of designer jeans. Maybe it’s that shrug as we reach for the $6 cup of overrated coffee that says “I deserve this.” Or maybe it’s that helpless feeling as the end of the month draws near and we realize we’ve outspent our budget — again. What makes us overspend? Let’s take a look at five common reasons and how we can overcome them.
When you stop by your credit union, you’ll be greeted with friendly, familiar faces and representatives who care. Our team is always ready and willing to help you with whatever you need – whether it’s a question about your checking account, some personal finance advice or direction in a major life purchase. Meet Lillie Davis, Branch Manager at the Stratford location.
To help you determine the most financially responsible course of action to take with your stimulus check, Mutual Security Credit Union has compiled a list of advice and tips from financial experts and advisers on how to use this money.
What a year it’s been. Looking back to my first message to you as CEO almost 12 months ago, I wrote about the mountains we each were preparing to conquer. No matter our background, beliefs, or positions on topics in our country – we can likely agree that this year has been harder to climb than we all expected. But despite all the challenges of 2020, one thing is for certain…MSCU never took our eye off you, our members.
Uh oh — you’ve been hacked! Finding out someone has cracked open your accounts and helped themselves to your information can be alarming, but there are ways to mitigate the damage while jump-starting your recovery process. Here are five steps to take after being hacked.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but many of us may be feeling grinchy this year. With the pandemic still a looming threat to our health and happiness, the economy still a hot mess and so many of our favorite seasonal activities canceled, getting into the holiday spirit can be challenging.
The rise of online shopping during the pandemic has led to a proportional increase in online fraud and scams. As the Holiday season approaches, we want to make sure you are armed with the knowledge and the skills to protect yourself. With a little awareness, you can avoid online shopping fraud as the busiest time of the year for retail shopping is shifting into high gear.
With the pandemic still wreaking havoc on the economy, many people are struggling to pay their monthly bills and meet their debt payments. Unfortunately, scammers are exploiting the financial downturn by tricking unsuspecting victims into paying for debts that don’t actually exist, or by using abusive tactics to collect legitimate debts.
Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is proud to announce its facilitation in the distribution of $100,000 in grant funding to support 12 local nonprofit organizations as part of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s 2020 Jobs for New England Recovery Grant Program, a relief program designed to help FHLBank members provide financial support to Small Business Administration-defined small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have experienced hardships during COVID-19.
How you protect yourself from identity theft is important. But just as important is how you respond once you suspect your identity has been stolen. Recovering your identity and restoring your financial well-being is stressful and time consuming, and many people who try to do it on their own give up without ever achieving recovery.
Are you ready to stretch those financial fitness muscles? We hope so, because it’s time to get financially fit!
With interest rates falling and home prices rising, it's a great time to tap into your home’s equity using a home equity loan, but you may be wondering...what’s the best way to use these funds?
With age comes responsibility, so if you're a young adult in your 20s or 30s, chances are you've been introduced to the realities of adulthood. While you're excited by all the opportunities life has to offer, you're also aware of your emerging financial responsibility. In the financial realm, the millennial generation (young adults born between 1981 and 1997) faces a unique set of challenges, including a competitive job market and significant student loan debt that can make it difficult to obtain financial stability.
At one time, the only way you could join your company's 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or 457(b) plan was to put pen to paper and sign yourself up by filling out the appropriate forms. Now, though, in an effort to help participants increase their retirement savings, more employers have begun enrolling their employees automatically.
Over the last few months, we've taken a deep dive into the dangers of the Dark Web. We continue our series this month by shedding light on how transactions happen in the Dark Web and the criminal enterprise that exists in this mysterious, hidden place. Why is this important? The more you understand about how criminal activity works, the better prepared you will be to protect yourself and your family from this growing threat.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a wave of scams, with no signs of slowing down. These scams are also producing a surge of counterfeit bills into circulation. Using cutting-edge technology, scammers create bills that look just like the real thing to the untrained eye. Unfortunately, once counterfeit bills are passed, their new owner can become liable for passing them on to someone else.
Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what investing without setting clear-cut goals is like. If you're lucky, you may end up with enough money to meet your needs, but you have no way to know for sure.