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News and Insights

Welcome to Mutual Security Credit Union's news and insights page where you'll find updates, tips, and tricks for your banking, borrowing, and financial planning needs.

Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Financial Wellness  |  Halloween  |  Savings

What to Buy and What to Skip in October

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.

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security  |  Financial Wellness  |  Fraud Protection

Don’t Get Caught in an Auto Warranty Scam

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. 

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Blog Feature

Economy  |  Finances  |  Financial Wellness  |  Savings

6 Ways to Pay Less at the Pump

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.

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Blog Feature

Credit Card  |  Credit Score  |  Finances  |  Financial Wellness

Step 9 of 12 Steps: Build and Maintain an Excellent Credit Score

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.

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Blog Feature

Energy Efficiency  |  Finances  |  Savings

Benefits of Getting a Mobile Home Loan Through a Credit Union

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. 

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Company News

Board Chairman Rides to Cure Cancer

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Savings

What to Buy and What to Skip in September

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. 

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Company News  |  Student

2022 Community Service Scholarship

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!

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Blog Feature

Home-Buying  |  Safety  |  Savings

Following Up on Your Home Inspection

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. 

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Company News

Announcing the Winners of MSCU's 2023 Calendar Photo Contest

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.

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Blog Feature

Credit Card  |  Economy  |  Finances  |  Financial Wellness

Cash, Credit or Debit: How Should I Pay?

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?

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Blog Feature

Auto Loans  |  Car-Buying  |  Economy  |  Finances

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car in 2022

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. 

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances

Step 8 of 12 Steps to Financial Wellness: Know When and How to Indulge

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?

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Student

2022 Community Service Scholarship

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!

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Savings

Back-to-School Shopping Hacks

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Savings

Step 7 of 12 to Financial Wellness: How to Pay Yourself First

“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. 

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Student

2022 Larry F. Holderman Scholarship Recipient

We’d like to congratulate, Kourtney Payne, one of our 2022 Scholarship Recipients of the Larry F. Holderman Scholarship.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Savings

Step 6 of 12 to Financial Wellness: Pay it Forward

[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.]

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Savings

What to Buy and What to Skip in August

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.

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Student

2022 Community Service Scholarship

Congratulations to Alexis Gonzalez, one of our 2022 Community Service Scholarship recipients!

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Student

2022 Community Service Scholarship

Congratulations to one of our 2022 Community Service Scholarship recipients, Pratham Kapadia!

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Blog Feature

Auto Loans  |  Budgeting  |  Car-Buying  |  Energy Efficiency  |  Savings

Should I Buy an Electric Car?

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?

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security  |  Finances  |  Financial Wellness  |  Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection

Device Protection | Is Your Personal Information Safe?

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Cyber Security  |  Economy  |  Finances  |  Fraud Protection  |  Holidays  |  ID Theft Protection

Don't Get Caught in a Vacation Rental Scam

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Savings

What to Buy and What to Skip in July

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. 

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Budgeting  |  Fraud Protection

Should I Use a Credit Card at the Pump?

Q: Is it a good idea to pay for gas with a credit card? 

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Blog Feature

Finances  |  Health & Wellness  |  Savings

Summer Doesn't Have to Break Your Bank!

Ahh…summer! The season of flip-flops and sunscreen, of lemonade and baseball games. What’s not to love about summer?

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Finances  |  Financial Wellness

Raise Negotiations | How and When to ask for a Raise

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. 

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Financial Wellness  |  Holidays

How to Celebrate Memorial Day on a Budget

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.

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Blog Feature

Credit Card  |  Cyber Security  |  Financial Wellness  |  Fraud Protection  |  Safety

Fraud Rings

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?

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness

Mindful Spending

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. 

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Cyber Security  |  Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety  |  Technology and Finance

Grandparent Scams

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. 

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Cyber Security  |  Finances  |  Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety  |  Student  |  Technology and Finance

Beware of Job Scams

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. 

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Blog Feature

Holidays

6 Gifts for Mom that Don't Break the Budget

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. 

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Finances  |  Health & Wellness  |  Savings

How to Save Big Bucks by Brown-Bagging Your Lunch

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! 

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security

Don’t Get Caught in a QR Code Scam

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. 

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Financial Wellness

Step 4 of 12 to Financial Wellness: The Money Talk With Your Partner

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.

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Health & Wellness

How to Prepare Your Home for Spring

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. 

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Blog Feature

Economy

How does a Rising Interest Rate Environment Affect the Economy?

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. 

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Blog Feature

ID Theft Protection  |  Tax Season

What to Know About Protecting Yourself During Tax Season

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.

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Cyber Security

Beware of Sport Ticket Scams

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. 

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Tax Season

Last-Minute Tax Tips to Know Before You File

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. 

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Company News

Mutual Security Credit Union Selected to Receive the Father Cascia Service Award

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.

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Financial Wellness

What to Buy and What to Skip in March

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. 

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Blog Feature

Budgeting

What to Buy and What to Skip in April

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. 

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Blog Feature

How to Create a Great Business Blog

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. 

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Finances

How Does War Affect the American Economy?

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. 

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Financial Wellness

Step 3 of 12 to Financial Wellness: Pay Down Debt

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. 

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Cyber Security

Beware of Debt Relief Scams

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. 

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Blog Feature

Mutual Security Credit Union Donates $7,500 in Honor of Black History Month

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:

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Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection

Are You Unknowingly a Money Mule?

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.

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Budgeting

How Can I Save on Entertainment Costs?

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. 

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Budgeting

The Best Way to Spend Your Paycheck

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. 

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Holidays

Black History Month and Credit Unions

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.

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Home-Buying

All You Need to Know About Taking Out a Home Loan in 2022

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.

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Budgeting

Step 2 of 12 to Financial Wellness: Creating a Budget

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. 

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ID Theft Protection

Identity Theft: What to Know and How to Protect Yourself

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.

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Technology and Finance

All You Need to Know About the Metaverse and NFTs

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?

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ID Theft Protection

Five Ways to Keep Identity Thieves Guessing

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.

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Energy Efficiency

Helpful Environmentally Friendly Tips for Saving on Heating Costs

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.

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Budgeting

How Can I Save on Super Bowl Sunday?

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. 

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ID Theft Protection

Protecting Children from Identity Theft

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. 

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Personal Loans

6 Ways to Use a Small Personal Loan for Business

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. 

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Budgeting  |  Savings

Leaving Your Job? Make Sure Your Wallet is Ready

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. 

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Budgeting

12 Steps to Financial Wellness-Step 1: How to Track Your Spending

Are you ready to join us on a journey toward financial wellness?

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Home-Buying

What Are The Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

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. 

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ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

4 Scams to Watch for After the Holidays

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.

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Health & Wellness

How to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues – It Doesn’t Need to Cost a Thing!

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. 

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Savings

How Can I Insulate My Investments Against Inflation?

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. 

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New Year, New Money Habits: How to Stick With It in 2022

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. 

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Savings

What Are Some Affordable Healthcare Options?

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. 

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Car-Buying

Should I Buy or Lease a Car Now?

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. 

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Budgeting  |  Retirement  |  Savings

Your Complete Year-End Financial Checklist

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.

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Fraud Protection

How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud this Holiday Season

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: 

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Fraud Protection

10 Tips for ATM Safety

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. 

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Budgeting  |  Holidays

Last Minute Shopping Hacks

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. 

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Budgeting

Should You Think About Changing Financial Professionals?

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.

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Fraud Protection

4 Scams to Watch Out for this Black Friday

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. 

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Credit Score  |  ID Theft Protection

Your Credit Score and Identity Theft

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.

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Budgeting  |  Holidays

8 Holiday Shopping Hacks to Help You Save Big This Season

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. 

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Budgeting

Why Refer Friends and Family to Your Financial Professional

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.

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Company News

MSCU Update: Seasons of Change

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.

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Budgeting

Is Inflation Here to Stay?

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.

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Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness

4 Tips to Protect Your Family and Your Future

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.

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Credit Card

The Beginner’s Guide to Credit Cards

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.

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Holidays

What to Expect for Holiday Shopping 2021

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.

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Cyber Security  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

All You Need to Know About Multifactor Authentication

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. 

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Budgeting

Which Financial Steps Should I Take After a Divorce?

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. 

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Cyber Security  |  Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection

5 Steps to Take After a Data Breach

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. 

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Personal Loans

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

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. 

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Car-Buying

Should I Trade in my Car Now?

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.

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ID Theft Protection

Beware of Skimmers and Shimmers

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.

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Financial Literacy for Kids  |  Halloween  |  Holidays  |  Money Management Skills for Youth

Six Ways to Illustrate Smart Money Management with Halloween Candy

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.   

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Cyber Security

Beware Cryptocurrency Scams

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. 

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Credit Card  |  Credit Score

6 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

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.

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Holidays

21 Ways to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

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. 

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Home-Buying

All You Need to Know About Home Equity Loans

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. 

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Community Giving  |  Company News

Mutual Security Credit Union Donates $2,500 to Griffin Health, Safe Kids

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.

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Credit Card

Your Complete Guide To Using Your Credit Cards

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?

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Company News

Announcing the Winners of MSCU’s 2022 Calendar Photo Contest

Mutual Security Credit Union (MSCU) is proud to announce the winners of its first-ever Calendar Photo Contest!

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Cyber Security  |  Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

Beware of Gift Card Scams

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.

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Community Giving  |  Company News

MSCU Employees Donate $1,000 to Help Local Kids Get Ready for the School Year

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.

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6 Steps to Crushing Debt

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!

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Safe Back-to-School Shopping on a Budget

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.

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Company News  |  Insider  |  Travel

MSCU Builds International Relationship with COOPSME Cooperativa in the Spirit of People Helping People

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.

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5 Tips to Reach Your Retirement Goals During Uncertain Times

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.

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Planning Ahead Pays Off

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.

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Cyber Security  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

How to Create and Keep Strong Passwords to Protect Your Accounts

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.

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Why You Need to Be Financially Fit

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.

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Retirement

Saving for Retirement and Your Child's Education at the Same Time

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.

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Retirement

Estimating Your Retirement Income Needs

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.

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5 Reasons Now Might Be the Time for Annuities

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.

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Home-Buying

Should I Sell My House Now?

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:

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Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection

Don't Let A Scam Ruin Your Summer Fun

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.

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Auto Loans  |  Car-Buying

All You Need to Know About Auto Loans

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:

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Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection

Scams: What's Old is New Again

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.

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Community Giving  |  Company News

Introducing the 2021 MSCU Community Service Scholarship Recipients

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.

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Needs Vs. Wants: How to Tell the Difference

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.

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The Rise of Digital Wallets and Contactless Transactions

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.

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Home-Buying

Pre-qualification for a Home Loan

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!

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Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

Don't Fall for the USPS Smishing Text Scam

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.

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Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness  |  Home-Buying

All You Need to Know About HELOCs

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.

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Car-Buying

Navigating the Current Auto Loan Market

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.

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Home-Buying

Financing a Home Renovation with a Home Equity Loan

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?

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Safety  |  Tax Season

Beware Stimulus and Tax Scams

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!

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Meet the Team

Meet the Team: Tiffany Keels

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.

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Home-Buying

What You Didn’t Know About Home Loans

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.

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Safety  |  Tax Season

Tax Fraud: The IRS Dirty Dozen List

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.

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Blog Feature

5 Smart Ways to Use Your Stimulus Check

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.

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Blog Feature

Savings

What Do I Need to Know About Debt Consolidation?

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.

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Blog Feature

Meet the Team

Meet the MSCU Team: Ralph Mesite

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!

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Blog Feature

Meet the Team

Meet the MSCU Team: Jacklyn Putetti

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.

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Blog Feature

Holidays

4 Incredible Facts in Honor of Black History Month

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.

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Blog Feature

Safety

Beware Coronavirus Vaccine Scams

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.

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Blog Feature

Holidays

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

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:

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Blog Feature

Budgeting

Why Should You Work With a Financial Professional?

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.

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Blog Feature

Home-Buying

What Do I Need to Know About Today’s Real Estate Market?

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting

5 Reasons We Overspend (and How to Overcome Them)

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.

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Blog Feature

Company News  |  Meet the Team

Meet the MSCU Team: Lillie Davis

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness

How to Make the Most Out of Your Stimulus Check

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.

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Blog Feature

CEO Year-End Message: We Never Took Our Eye Off Of You, Our Members

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.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

5 Steps to Take After Being Hacked

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.

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Blog Feature

Keeping the Cheer in the Holidays this Year

‘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.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

Online Holiday Shopping – Buyer Beware!

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.

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security  |  Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  Safety

Beware of Debt-Collection Scams

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.

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Company News  |  Insider

Mutual Security Credit Union Distributes $100K in COVID-19 Relief Grant Funding to Connecticut Nonprofits

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.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

My Identity Has Been Stolen. Now What?

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.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Savings

The Importance of Being Financially Fit

Are you ready to stretch those financial fitness muscles? We hope so, because it’s time to get financially fit!

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Blog Feature

What’s the Best Way to Use a Home Equity Loan?

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?

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Blog Feature

Financial Basics for Millennials

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.

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Blog Feature

You've Been Automatically Enrolled in Your Company's 401K...Now What?

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.

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Blog Feature

Safety

The Dark Web - A Gateway to Criminal Activity

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.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  Safety

8 Ways to Spot a Counterfeit Bill

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.

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Blog Feature

Retirement

Investing for Major Financial Goals

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.

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security  |  Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

Your Complete Guide To Identity Theft Protection

Did you know there were 14.4 million victims of identity theft in 2019? According to Javelin Strategy, each case cost the victim an average of $1,050 – and that’s only the cost in dollars. When an individual’s identity is stolen, the thief wreaks major havoc on the victim’s financial health, which can take months, or even years, to recover from.

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Blog Feature

Changing Jobs? Know Your 401(k) Options

If you've lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It's important to understand your options.

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Blog Feature

Health & Wellness

7 Ways You Can Use A Personal Loan this Summer

Summer is a time for fun and excitement, but it can also be super expensive. Summertime can be a season of major life changes like household moves and weddings; purchasing that boat you’ve been eyeing and let’s not forget those dream vacations!

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Blog Feature

Savings

My Savings Has Been Wiped Clean; How Can I Replenish It?

The last few months have been really tough on people's finances, and many have been forced to use their savings for getting by. If your emergency fund and savings account are basically zero, you may be wondering how can you replenish it. 

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Blog Feature

Company News

Why You Should Consider The Credit Union Difference

From the outside, banks look sophisticated and glamorous. There’s all that hype, glossy advertising and flashy logos. But, when it comes down to it, those things don’t matter much. What counts is how each institution will look after your money and what kind of service you can expect from them. And, while banks and credit unions offer nearly identical services and account choices, there are some subtle differences.

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Blog Feature

ID Theft Protection  |  Safety

Surface, Deep, and Dark Web Explained

You have probably heard people talk about the mysterious “Dark Web” where criminals gather to commit fraudulent acts that result in financial fraud, identity theft and more. But most people don’t really understand what the Dark Web is or how it works. Let’s start with a few facts about the Internet itself.

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Blog Feature

Cyber Security  |  Safety

Watch Out for These Scams as the Country Moves Toward Reopening

As the coronavirus continues spreading across the country in waves and peaks, every state is making bold moves toward reopening under a strange new set of circumstances dubbed the “New Normal.” Face coverings are de rigueur. Floor markings have been slapped down exactly 6 feet apart near checkout counters in retail stores. Shoppers are weary, cautious and careful. And, as the country moves forward and adapts to the new realities, scammers aren’t far behind.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness  |  Home-Buying  |  Savings

Financial Dos and Don’ts During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Since the coronavirus has landed on American shores, each day seems to bring more devastating news about the state of our economy. What steps should you be taking to protect you personal finances during this time?

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Health & Wellness

Snowball Method vs. Avalanche Method: What’s the Best Way to Tackle Debt?

Debt is the ultimate killjoy. It can destroy a budget, make long-term financial planning impossible, and shadow every purchase you make with guilt. No one wants to live with that debt burden. But how do you kiss your debt goodbye?

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Blog Feature

Company News

Actions Speak Louder Than Words When Elevating the Community

Our hearts are broken for the black community. In the last few weeks we have been listening, learning and determining what role we can play in offering solutions.

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Blog Feature

Credit Card  |  Health & Wellness

Why Does My Credit Score Matter?

Your credit score is made up of three numbers, serving as an indicator of your financial history, wellness and responsibility. These three little numbers can spell the difference between approval and rejection for a mortgage, a job, a rental unit and so much more.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  Health & Wellness  |  Safety

Don't Let Scammers Get Your Stimulus Check!

Millions of Americans have received or are awaiting a gift from Uncle Sam to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27, the federal government is sending out $290 billion in stimulus checks over the next half a year.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Safety

Six Tips To Use Your Economic Impact Payment To Boost Your Financial Health

Many Americans are eligible for Economic Impact Payments (EIPs)* as part of coronavirus tax relief efforts. Here are six tips to help you use your economic impact payment safely and in a way that benefits your financial health & well-being during this difficult time.

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Blog Feature

A Quick Reference Guide of Financial Terms Related to COVID-19

Some of the financial terms flying around in the wake of the recently approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act may be confusing. We have broken down some of the key components and how they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Blog Feature

Coping with Market Volatility: Avoid Rash Decisions

If you've been watching the market lately, perhaps the first question on your mind is, "Should I make a big change in my investments?" In reality, a volatile market isn't the best time to do a complete makeover of your portfolio, especially if you have long-term financial goals you're trying to address. Even if you feel that your portfolio needs adjusting, maintaining a firm grasp on your fundamental investment strategy can help you be more thoughtful about making any changes.

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Blog Feature

Home-Buying

Should I Buy a House During a Pandemic?

If you've been planning to buy your first home this spring and spent years preparing for this purchase, you may be wondering if you should go through with your plans now that the coronavirus has had a negative impact on the economy.

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Blog Feature

Safety

Beware of Coronavirus Scams

Scammers are notorious for capitalizing on fear, and the coronavirus outbreak is no exception. Showing an appalling lack of the most basic morals, scammers have set up fake websites, bogus funding collections and more in an effort to trick the fearful and unsuspecting out of their money.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Savings

6 Financial Lessons You Can Learn from Basketball

With college hoops March Madness coming up, let’s take a moment to review some surprising financial lessons we can learn from the iconic sport and its players.

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Blog Feature

Savings

What Should Be on My Financial To-Do List This Spring?

Do your finances need a bit of sprucing up this spring? We’ve got a set of tips that will help you get your money matters in order and help you prepare for summer fun!

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Blog Feature

Benefits of Regular Maintenance on Your Car

MSCU is proud to partner with the industry experts at BMW of Ridgefield and BMW of Bridgeport to offer financing to their customers. Regular maintenance on your vehicle is like going to the dentist for cleaning or your doctor for a physical. Having regular maintenance performed is necessary to keep your vehicle running correctly and safely, as well as extend the life of your vehicle and help it retain value.

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Blog Feature

Company News

Mutual Security Credit Union has its Crasher!

Mutual Security Credit Union is pleased to announce that Member Service Representative Christopher Isaacs has been selected to attend Crash the GAC 2020 by The Cooperative Trust and Credit Union National Association to represent the state of Connecticut and Mutual Security Credit Union!

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Blog Feature

Budgeting

5 Ways to Trim Your Fixed Expenses

When trying to trim a monthly budget, most people don’t consider their fixed expenses. These recurring costs, which include mortgage payments, insurance premiums and subscription payments, are easy to budget and plan for since they generally remain constant throughout the year. While people tend to think there’s no way to lower fixed expenses, with a bit of effort and research, most of these costs can be reduced.

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Blog Feature

Fraud Protection  |  Safety

Beware of the 2020 Census Scam

Every 10 years, the Census Bureau makes an effort to count every person living in the U.S. Though the process won’t start until mid-March 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is already warning of scammers exploiting the process to con you out of your sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the census procedure; so you know what to expect and so you can easily spot a scam.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting

How to Create a Budget in 6 Easy Steps

If you’re always wondering how you’re going to pay the next bill, feel guilty when you indulge in overpriced treats and you can’t seem to find money to put into savings, then you probably need a budget.

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Blog Feature

Auto Loans  |  Budgeting  |  Car-Buying

Five Common Mistakes to Avoid While Car-Buying

Presidents’ Day is right around the corner which brings the first auto sales weekend of the year as both automakers and dealers are anxious to kick off the year in good fashion. Typically, car dealers tend to see lower sales in January, and Presidents’ Day provides them with an opportunity to jump start the year. By adding excitement to a three-day weekend with auto promotions, they entice shoppers to their lots and are able to turn their sales around. And while this car-buying holiday season does provide some of the best annual auto deals, it’s still important to do your research ahead of time to ensure you aren’t blinded by flashy offers. You’ll also want to avoid these five common auto-buying mistakes to help maximize your savings.

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Blog Feature

Student

All You Need To Know About Applying For FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) season is in full swing! Whether you’re a college student, a high school senior or you’re seeking financial aid for your college-age child, it’s time to fill out those forms. The rules and deadlines can be confusing, but we’re here to help. We have answered all your questions on applying for FAFSA.

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Blog Feature

Company News

A Message From MSCU CEO: 2020 Will Be the Year of Elevation and Growth

I am thrilled and deeply honored to be writing to you as your new CEO. Having spent 20+ years in community banking, I came to Mutual Security over 5 years ago to be a champion of the “people helping people” credit union movement.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Credit Card  |  Savings

6 Money Myths You Need To Stop Believing Now

We all grow up hearing the same financial advice: Spend less, save more and invest early. While most of these words of wisdom ring true, there are lots of widespread money management tips that are actually false. Outlined here are 6 money myths that might be causing you more financial stress than benefit.

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Blog Feature

Health & Wellness  |  Holidays

How Can I Make New Year’s Resolutions That Stick?

Every New Year, most people draw up a list of New Year’s resolutions that look depressingly similar to the ones they wrote last year. If this sounds like you, you may be thinking, how can I make things different this year?

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Blog Feature

CEO Larry Holderman's 2019 Year-End Message

As CEO for the last 41 years, I’m proud to say MSCU truly encompasses the fundamental aspects of what credit unions are all about; collaboration, passion, and community. To us, being a full-service financial institution means doing more than simply providing financial products and services.

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Blog Feature

Car-Buying

Five Holiday Car Care Tips

The last thing you need during the busy holiday travel season is car trouble. That’s why the industry experts at BMW of Ridgefield and BMW of Bridgeport have put together these five easy-to-follow tips for preparing your car for travel duty:

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Holidays  |  Savings

Taking Steps Toward Financial Improvement For The New Year

The start of a new year is a wonderful time to make important changes in your financial life. Lucky for you, you don’t have to do it alone. Mutual Security Credit Union will walk you through some financial improvements you can make this year and continue to guide you every step of the way.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Company News  |  Holidays

6 Ways To Keep Your Finances Intact This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to shop until you drop-or until you go broke. But you don’t have to overspend.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Retirement

Retirement Plan Considerations at Different Stages of Life

Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to retire, your employer-sponsored retirement plan can play a key role in your financial strategies.

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Blog Feature

Budgeting  |  Savings

Thanksgiving Hacks to Save Time and Money

Thanksgiving prep stressing you out? Wondering how you’re going to get everything done in time for the big day and stick to your budget at the same time?

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Blog Feature

Community Giving  |  Company News  |  Veterans Day

Honoring Our Nation's Heroes on Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a day of appreciation for all of the brave men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. Mutual Security Credit Union is proud of and grateful for our veterans all year long, but on this particular day, we're committed to making a special effort to thank them and let them know that their service to our country will never be forgotten.

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Blog Feature

Credit Card  |  Money Management Skills for Youth

A Guide to Opening Your First Credit Card

Opening your first credit card is one of the rites of passage into genuine adulthood, but with so much conflicting information, it can all get confusing fast!

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