The Credit Union Difference

Image of Women at Cedit Union Teller Line

As a member of E&G Employees FCU, you are uniquely positioned to manage your finances and watch your money grow on the best possible terms. Like the member of an elite club, you are entitled to exclusive privileges and individualized service, courtesy of your credit union. Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits you can enjoy as a member of E&G.

1.) Highly personalized service

Credit unions are well known for the highly personalized and attentive service they provide to members. A 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index Finance and Insurance Report found that members rate credit unions with better service than banks, scoring an average of 82 out of 100. It’s part of what makes credit unions unique.

When you step through the door of E&G Employees FCU, you know you’ll always be welcomed by familiar faces, warm smiles and friendly greetings. There are no aloof tellers who don’t know you or your financial situation—just our helpful service representatives who treat you like family. No matter your age or stage, our MSRPs are happy to guide you through any monetary challenge and assist you in reaching your financial goals.

At E&G, our outstanding member service means we’re personally invested in your financial well-being and only want to see your success. To that end, we’ll grant you a loan quicker than most big banks, graciously looking past some tarnished credit history and skipping the overly thorough background check. We also host financial education seminars for our members and the larger community throughout the year, enabling you to broaden your money knowledge and to learn how to make smarter financial choices.

2.) Increased value for your money

As a not-for-profit cooperative, your credit union has modest overhead and marketing expenses. E&G Employees FCU is proud to pass these savings on to you in the form of low or no-account fees, better loan terms and higher dividend payments on your savings.

According to a report by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that studied credit unions in New York from March of 2017 through March of 2018, credit unions provided average financial benefits that were equivalent to $85 per member and $178 per household. Another 2018 study performed by Bankrate found that 84 percent of the nation’s 50 largest credit unions offered their members checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fee. Here at E&G, we’re proud to offer our members the same; our Checking Accounts are completely cost-free.

At E&G, we don’t have to answer to outside investors. This enables us to be more attuned to your needs without worrying about increasing our own worth. Our not-for-profit status frees us to offer you optimal terms on Share Certificates, Savings Accounts and more. It’s more money in your pocket just for being a member of E&G.

3.) A voice in how the credit union operates

As mentioned, your credit union does not need to answer to stockholders. Instead, E&G is member-owned, operating with only your best interests in mind.

As a full-fledged member of E&G Employees FCU, you have a voice in how your credit union runs. You are invited to cast your ballot in our elections in which we vote on a volunteer board of directors. The board is then charged with oversight of the credit union and forming all official decisions regarding the way the credit union operates. Our board is comprised of members of the credit union, just like you. This means the decisions they make will always be advantageous to our membership and to the general community instead of trying to pander to outside stockholders. We’re all about doing what’s best for our members.

4.) A chance to give back to the community

Here at E&G, we’re strong believers in giving back to the community. We support many community initiatives and organizations, and we are committed to making decisions that benefit the entire community. We are especially invested in the success of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, The Guidance Center of Westchester, and Project Morry, all causes that are dear to our hearts. We directly support them financially through our Hands Across the Community program.

When you choose E&G Employees FCU, you’re choosing to give back to the community, too.

As a member of E&G, you are entitled to enjoy all of these benefits and so much more. Whatever your particular needs are, we’re here to help you manage your finances every step of the way. Call, click, or stop by E&G Employees FCU today to learn how to make your membership work for you in the best way possible.

Experience the credit union difference.

Getting The Best Deal On A New Ride

Getting The Best Deal On A New Ride

image of a red new carWhen purchasing a new or used vehicle, you want to be sure you’re getting the very best deal. The best deal on your trade, the best price for the vehicle you are buying and the best financing, assuring your lowest possible payment.

Let’s face it, dealers will ask probing questions about your trade and payment to make sure they squeeze out every penny of profit for themselves.

How can you tip the scale in your favor? Research is key when buying a vehicle so here are a few tips.

  1. Research your vehicle’s trade in value in two (2) or more places so you have a realistic average trade–in value starting out. Some great resources are kbb.com, nada.com and cars.com.
  2. Once you know the type of vehicle, narrow it down to a couple of makes and models that best suit your needs. Then research the best deals available. Some great resources are TruCar.com, Edmunds.com and Kbb.com.
  3. When purchasing a used vehicle, be sure ask the dealer for a Car Fax report and have a mechanic inspect the vehicle whenever possible. This will help avoid problems after leaving the lot.
  4. Finally, save more by financing your new or used vehicle at E&G Employees FCU. Our rate of 3.99% * and terms up to 84 months for new vehicles and a low rate of 4.49%* with terms up to 72 months for used vehicles, can save you more each month.

E&G Employees FCU helps members get the very best deal every day.

APPLY TODAY! 

* Rate assumes the member is eligible for lowest rate offered. Actual rate is determined by the member’s credit history. Application and approval by loans dept. is required. Call the credit union

Importance of Strong Passwords

Importance of Strong Passwords

Creating A Strong Password

Image of wallet, cards and a lock on top of a keyboardExperts say that you should have a different password for each of your accounts, so if a password is compromised it would not affect all of your accounts. In addition your passwords should contain a minimum of 8 characters or more but the more characters the better (14 or more would be best). You should also mix character types (letters, numbers and special characters like %&* etc.) and alternate upper and lower case letters.

Change Your Password Periodically

You should also consider changing your password periodically (every 3 months or more often). This makes your passwords a moving target and makes them much harder for scammers to compromise.

How Would I Possibly Remember My Password?

This is the tough part, keeping track of your passwords. There are certainly ways to create these passwords in a way that you will easily remember. For example perhaps you can use the first 3 letters of the website account (Yahoo) in lowercase followed by your dog’s name (SPOT) in uppercase separated by special characters (Characters above first 4 numbers) and followed by the year you were born (1949). This could look like [email protected]#T$1949 which produces a password 15 characters long with 4 special characters. This would be easy to remember and be different for each account.

You could also create a list and keep it in a safe and secure place.

A strong password goes a long way in helping you keep your identity safe!

Syncing Your Phone To Your Car Can Put You At Risk

Syncing Your Phone To Your Car Can Put You At Risk

Car-Phone Sync ImageIn our uber-connected world, pressing a button on the steering wheel to make a phone call is already second nature for many of us. With just a few taps, we can pull up our favorite playlist, read recent emails and even send a text message. Using our cars like a phone and storing information in data systems is incredibly convenient! And it helps us safely drive while using the phone hands-free, too.

Convenient though it may be, security experts are warning that syncing your phone to your car can put you at severe risk for a data breach. Connecting a rental car or a ride-share vehicle to your phone poses an even greater security risk.

Keep your information safe and avoid getting hacked by educating yourself about this oft-overlooked risk. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of syncing your phone to your car.

The sensitive information stored in your phone—and your car

When you connect your phone to your car, you’re using your vehicle to store loads of information that’s frighteningly easy to access.

Would you ever leave your wallet on the passenger seat of your car in a crowded neighborhood and then leave the doors unlocked? By storing your personal information in your car, you’re essentially doing just that. A hacker can easily scrape data from your car, even if your phone is nowhere in sight. All they need to do is connect their own phone to your car’s Bluetooth system and they’re in!

This is especially alarming when you consider the excessive amount of sensitive data most people store in their phones without thinking much of it. Here is some of the information a hacker can access via a synced car:

  • Recent call log
  • Recent text messages
  • Garage door opener code
  • Personal calendar
  • List of contacts
  • Recent emails
  • GPS data that includes your home address

Use extra caution when renting a car 

If syncing your own vehicle to your phone poses a security risk, that risk increases tenfold when using a rental car.

According to a report from Privacy International, most major rental-car companies have no policies to delete sensitive information that is collected during a rental once a user returns the car. You may have experienced this yourself if you’ve ever picked up a rental and find that the device information of the last 10 renters was still stored in the vehicle. That means, if you were to sync your own phone, the next renter would have your information at their fingertips.

It’s fun to have your own music blasting through your ride, and it’s convenient to sync your stored addresses to the car’s GPS system. But no fun or convenience is worth the risk this move can pose to your privacy and safety.

When you leave your personal information in a rental car, you run the risk of the next renter using your information to access your financial accounts, rob your home, or even steal your identity. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that your name and navigation history are not enough for a criminal to do much harm. Once they have this bit of information, they can hack into your social media profiles and crack open your passwords and usernames all over the internet. There are loads of creeps just waiting for the opportunity to act—don’t put yourself at risk!

You can delete your device’s information from the car you rent, but that can also be scraped by a low-level hacker. To be completely safe, it’s best not to sync your phone when renting a car at all.

If you frequently use rideshare programs, like Uber and Lyft, your driver might generously allow you to sync your phone to the car’s infotainment system so you can listen to your favorite song while waiting for the traffic to clear. This, too, can put your information at risk. If a driver ever makes this offer, pull out a pair of earbuds and tell the driver no thanks.

How to protect yourself

You don’t need to give up the convenience of a synced phone in order to protect your privacy. Simply follow these precautions and your information should be safe.

  • Never sync your phone with a rental vehicle or a ride-share car.
  • Don’t plug into USB ports in rental cars.
  • Delete any personal information already stored in your vehicle.
  • Adjust your phone’s settings to the strongest security levels..
  • Restrict the amount of information your vehicle can access and don’t allow it to store or access information without re-syncing to your phone.

Don’t let convenience put you at risk! Exercise caution and protect your privacy when syncing your phone to your car.

What You Need To Know About Inheriting An IRA

What You Need to Know

About Inheriting an IRA

 

No one likes to think about what happens when a family member passes on, but it’s best to plan for the financial repercussions of a death in the family long before the time comes. 

Older woman with young woman having a discussionMost people assume an inherited IRA account will work just like any other asset they may inherit from a loved one. However, there are many rules and regulations at play when it comes to inheriting an IRA. The wrong choice can cost the beneficiary a whole lot of money in taxes and penalties. That’s why it’s important to take the time to research your options now. Then, when the time arrives, you will have a plan in place, allowing you to fully focus your attention on the right matters without worrying about financially messing up. 

Read on for all you need to know about inheriting an IRA. 

Inheriting from a spouse

The surviving spouse has two options when inheriting a traditional IRA: 

1.    Spousal rollover 

The surviving spouse can either change the IRA’s title to have their own name listed as owner, or transfer all the funds to their own existing IRA. If possible, the transfer of funds should be done within 60 days of the departed spouse’s death to avoid heavy taxes on the distribution. Once transferred, the money can continue to grow, tax-deferred. 

This is the most popular option for surviving spouses. However, it is not always the best choice. Surviving spouses cannot access transferred IRA funds without paying the 10% early-withdrawal penalty—in addition to income taxes—until they reach the age of 59 ½. Also, if the surviving spouse is older than 70½, they must take an annual minimum distribution. 

2.    Open an inherited IRA 

With this option, the new owner will remain the beneficiary of the original IRA and open a new inherited IRA account in their own name. This allows the surviving spouse to avoid the 10% early-withdrawal penalty even if they are younger than 59½ years old. 

The owner of the inherited IRA must then begin taking distributions from the account before Dec. 31 of the year of their spouse’s death. 

There are 3 ways to take distributions from an inherited IRA:

  • Distributed evenly over the rest of the beneficiary’s lifetime. Each withdrawal amount will be based upon the beneficiary’s life expectancy. The surviving spouse also has the option to calculate their life expectancy based on the original owner of the IRA instead of their own. This can be a convenient choice for spouses who were much older than their departed partners, as it allows the surviving spouse to withdraw less money each year and let the remaining amount collect additional interest until they need to access it.
  • Over the course of five years. Emptying the entire IRA in the five years following the original owner’s death will force the beneficiary to pay heavy income taxes on the withdrawals.
  • In one lump sum. The income taxes on a single, full withdrawal of funds can be steep enough to offset any gains.

Non-spousal inheritance

Inheriting an IRA from someone other than a spouse comes with its own set of rules. Primarily, beneficiaries of these IRAs cannot choose to transfer the funds in the inherited IRA into their own accounts. Instead, they will need to begin taking distributions after the IRA’s owner has passed on. They can choose to take distributions over their lifetime, within five years after the deceased’s passing or in one lump sum. 

Beneficiaries of non-spousal inherited IRAs cannot make new contributions to the account. Instead, they must begin taking distributions by Dec. 31 of the year following the death of the IRA’s original owner. 

The exact amount that will need to be withdrawn annually depends on the inheritor’s age. You can check out the IRS’s Single Life Expectancy Table here to calculate how much you would have to withdraw each month from an inherited IRA at various ages. 

Failure to withdraw the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) can mean getting hit with a 50% penalty on the remaining RMD. For example, if you were required to withdraw $7,000 from an inherited IRA per year, but you only withdrew $2,000 one year, you will need to pay a full 50% penalty on the remaining $5,000. That means that $2,500 will go to Uncle Sam instead of into your [credit union] checking account. 

Multiple beneficiaries 

When there are several beneficiaries for a single IRA account, each beneficiary must open their own inherited IRA account and transfer the funds accordingly. In most cases of multiple beneficiaries, RMDs are calculated according to each beneficiary’s age. However, if the assets aren’t divided before the Dec. 31 deadline, the RMDs will be based upon the age of the oldest beneficiary until the funds are distributed into each of the beneficiaries’ inherited IRAs. 

Roth IRAs

Roth IRAs are not tax-deferred like traditional IRAs, so there is never any income tax to pay on withdrawals. There are also no RMDs at play for the original account owner. RMDs will not affect the surviving spouse either, as long as they change the title of the Roth IRA to list their own name as owner. 

However, there are RMDs for non-spousal beneficiaries of Roth IRAs. These beneficiaries are required to begin taking distributions from inherited Roth IRAs in any one of the three manners listed above. If the money has been in the Roth IRA for more than five years, the beneficiaries will not be required to pay any taxes on these distributions. 

It’s important to weigh your options now so, if you are the beneficiary of an inherited IRA account, you already have a plan in place for the funds. 

Invest in What You Care About

Invest in What You Care About

Q: I’m looking to make some investments, but I don’t want to compromise my principles. How can I make investment decisions that reflect my values?
A: It’s easy to see people doing bad things in the world. Whether it’s cigarette companies marketing to minors or companies employing cheap overseas labor, corporations are certainly not free from wrongdoing. Investors can quickly get a bad taste in their mouths after researching a company they’re considering.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways investors can use their money for good. If you’re interested woman with little girl on her lap reading to herin doing good and making good money in the process, read on. Here are three ways to identify investments that match your values.
1.) Ethical ETFs
ETF stands for exchange traded fund. They’re a kind of mutual fund people can buy and sell shares in. There are all kinds of ETFs, from those that focus on a specific sector to those that seek a certain level of fixed income.
There are also ethically focused ETFs. For example, the largest such fund is Barclay’s Women in Leadership fund (WIL). This fund targets companies that have a higher number of women in leadership roles, and it currently has about $30 million in assets under management.
There are other, similar funds, like those that target low carbon emission companies, or those that adhere to certain religious values and exclude alcohol, tobacco or pornography companies. Whatever your ethical stance is, there’s an ethical ETF that can help you invest according to your principles.
Of course, sticking to your guns has costs. These funds, as a category, have trailed behind their peers in the recent market rally. Their limited exposure shields them from market declines, but it also prevents them from taking full advantage of rallies.
2.) Microlending
If your concern is more with doing the most good for people with your investment dollars, you might consider going into the microlending business. Several sites, like Lending Club and Prosper, offer you the opportunity to make loans to individuals who might have difficulty accessing traditional financial institutions. It could be because they live in an area that is underserved by banks and credit unions, or because their credit history isn’t enough for what they’re trying to borrow. For people in the developing world, for instance, access to credit services is a serious barrier to entrepreneurship that microloans can help overcome. No matter the reason, microlending helps people get loans from everyday people instead of from financial institutions.
Of course, there are significant risks involved with microlending. There’s a reason why financial institutions set standards for credit scores and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. People trying to borrow on microfinance sites may not be able to repay their loans. There’s also little in the way of verification. Someone might claim to need a loan to help pay for medical bills when, in actuality, they want to spend the money on luxury goods for themselves.
Despite the risks, microlending remains a viable way to use your investment dollars to achieve social good. Just be cautious about your lenders, and never invest more than you can bear to lose.
3.) Community investment
Perhaps you’re more concerned with improving your community. You want your dollars to stay local and improve the lives of people around you. The opportunity exists for you to do just that through community investment, and it’s easier than you think.
When you become a member of E&G Employees FCU, you help make it possible for us to make loans to local small businesses and individuals right here in the community. Just by opening a certificate or putting a larger deposit in your share account, you can enableE&G Employees FCU to finance projects that make our community a better place to live.
Unlike the alternatives, community investment bears very little risk. It still offers the same goods as other forms of ethical investment. You still get a return in the form of interest and the knowledge that you’re investing according to your values.

How To Spot an Investment Scam

How To Spot an Investment Scam

 

Image of Lock with the word securityYou’re online, and there’s a contest open to all. You know the answer, and the free gift is enticing. Should you enter?

You go into a shopping mall and are asked to fill out a form to enter a sweepstakes to win a car. You’d love to have the car, and, hey, someone’s going to win it. There’s no purchase necessary, so why not? “Don’t do it!” says Eric Stein, a scam artist who was interviewed (while in jail!) by The Wall Street Journal. He should know. In his interview, Stein provides the following information that will prove useful in avoiding the investment scams you so often read about.

  • Don’t respond to email or snail mail that you didn’t request, no matter how legitimate it looks. Scam artists have become very professional and will produce something slick, glossy and easy to understand. Don’t fall for it.
  • The online contests and car sweepstakes you see in stores are both used by scammers to target names and addresses. Don’t fill them out.
  • Avoid funds that are advertised as “low risk, high return” or “safe,” or promise an outrageous return such as 25% per quarter. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t purchase financial products because a friend or clergy person recommends them. They may have already fallen for the scam without knowing it.
  • Don’t talk to a financial salesperson on the phone if you don’t know him. Don’t be polite – simply hang up. Anyone can call himself a “financial adviser” or a “business consultant.”
  • Buy stocks only from a licensed, registered broker.
  • Don’t buy unregistered securities. Keep your eyes open.
  • Don’t let the fact that traditional investments aren’t giving you the returns you want turn you into bait for scammers.

Five Must-Have Gadgets for College Students

Five Must-Have Gadgets for College Students

Image of College Student with headphones on in front of a laptop

You’ve already got your laptop, tablet and, of course, your smartphone. What more can you need for college?

Check out our list of 5 super-convenient gadgets that every college student should know about.

1.   Smartpen

This is perhaps the most helpful gadget imaginable for students. Livescribe smartpens are incredible. You can use them to capture your notes digitally as you take them during lectures. You can use them in conjunction with your smartphone, laptop or tablet. Not only do these awesome pens capture your writing, but they also record beautiful digital audio that you can use to listen to your professor’s lectures again when you are getting ready to ace your midterms 

2.   Laptop lock

There’s nothing more terrifying than leaving your laptop on a table in the library only to come back a minute later and find it gone. Avoid this nightmare with this quick and cheap solution. Purchase a security cable for your laptop to keep it where it is. You can buy a Ruban’s notebook lock for just $8.99. The cable runs up to 6.2 feet long and will make your laptop immovable for everyone who doesn’t know your four-digit code. 

3.   Google Chrome extensions

All that research can give your Google Chrome quite a workout! Let it do its job swiftly and more efficiently by installing a Google Chrome extension on your laptop. You can download your choice of extension for free – and make your work a whole lot easier! 

4.   Dictaphone

Never miss a word of the lecture again! This is one of those gadgets most college students don’t realize they need until half the semester is over. An efficient Dictaphone can be left at the lectern during a class and serve as the perfect backup to spotty note-taking. Choose a model that is sturdy and solid with a decent battery life for the best performance. 

5.   Noise canceling headphones

You can control your own study habits most of the time, but there’s no way you can control your roomies’ method of dealing with schoolwork. If your roommate loves to party hearty in your room every night while you’re cramming for finals, or you just want to block out the entire world and concentrate on your notes, you need a pair of noise-canceling headphones. You can plug into your favorite tunes while you work, or even wear them without plugging into any device at all! You’ll have that quiet you’re craving and it’ll be just you and your work; you won’t even notice the distractions surrounding you. Study on and go ace that exam!

Peer Pressure Pointers

Peer Pressure Pointers

 

ThouImage of girl pushing boy on skateboardgh it’s a force to be reckoned with throughout our lives, peer pressure is arguably the most in-your-face during the school years. Don’t let your kids fall prey to its powers! 

This month’s goal: Teach your kids that peer pressure can make us do absurd things and spend ridiculous amounts of money, but that it can be overcome with confidence and self-discipline. 

Pointers to cover: 

  • The definition of peer pressure.
  • How peer pressure influences our choices.
  • When peer pressure can be a positive thing.
  • How going against the flow shows true inner strength.
  • The fleeting nature of most fads.

Conversation starters 

For kids under age 9:

  • Can you think of something you own just because one of your friends has one, too?
  • When is it a good idea to follow the crowd?
  • Everyone wants to fit in. How can you be part of the group without copying everything they do, buy or say? 

For kids over age 9:

  • Can you think of some ways peer pressure exists for adults?
  • Do you think more or less of someone who is always copying what everyone else is doing?
  • Has anyone ever followed what you did, bought or wore? How did that make you feel?
  • Who do you think is more confident, someone who copies what others do or someone who thinks for themselves?
  • Can you think of some circumstances when peer pressure can be a positive thing?
  • How do you think our lives would be different if we didn’t care what other people thought  of our choices?

Accepting A “No”

Accepting A “No”

Image of Father explaining to his daughter

It isn’t easy for a child to hear a “no” when they want something, but it can be even harder for parents to say. 

This month’s goal: Teach your children that there is a positive value in not having everything we want, even when we can afford it. 

Pointers to cover: 

  • The fallacy of “having it all.”
  • Staying off the hedonic treadmill.
  • Learning how to accept a “no” answer.
  • Learning how to tell yourself “no.”
  • Why even the richest people cannot, and should not, grant their children’s every wish.

Conversation starters 

For kids under age 9:

  •  Why do you think Mom and Dad sometimes tell you “no” when you ask for something?
  • What can be wrong with having everything you want?
  • Can you think of some things that Mom and Dad want (and can afford) but don’t buy?

For kids over age 9:

  • Do you think people who own more things are happier than those who have only what they need and just some of their wants?
  • Why is it hard to be denied what we want?
  • What can be wrong with granting a child’s every wish if the child’s parents can afford it?
  • Do you know anyone who can’t take a “no?”
  • If you were a parent, how would you handle a child who constantly asks for new toys and gadgets?