28 Nov

Keep Holiday Spending In Check

Keep Holiday Spending In Check

Keep Holiday Spending In Check

ENGLISH |  EN ESPAÑOL

The holiday season is a time for joy and laughter, spending time with family and friends and sharing our blessings. It can also be a time of overspending. Navigator Credit Union has some ways you can make the season merry without putting a squeeze on your wallet.

Make a plan
If you haven’t made your list, now is the time to do it. Take the time to make a list of everyone you want to buy for, note two to three ideas for each person and set a price limit. Be sure to account for any secret Santa and holiday gift exchanges as well. Keep the list handy and check off the names as you purchase the gifts.

Stack rewards with discounts
Reward stacking is combining several shopping rewards programs to maximize the discounts, points and cash back you receive on a purchase. This could mean buying a gift using a credit card that allows you to earn cash back plus using a discount browser extension as well as a store coupon.

You may want to use the Navigator Platinum Rewards card for your seasonal purchases, and if you do you’ll earn one uChoose® Rewards point for every dollar spent. You can redeem the points for thousands of items – including cash back. There’s also no annual, balance transfer or cash advance fees. Learn more at navigatorcu.org/your-card.

Think outside the box
Right now, retail inventories are full of items that had been hard to find during the pandemic due to supply chain issues. Although furniture and home décor aren’t typical holiday gifts, the longer those types of sales are slow to rebound, the steeper the discounts may become as the year goes on.

Give gift cards
If you’re a chronic overspender or are worried about your usual gifts costing way more than you’re expecting, consider gift cards. Gift cards allow you to avoid high inflation on goods and services. A big plus - you’ll know exactly how much you spent at the end of the season.

Try conscious gifting
Instead of loading up multiple gifts per person, consider embracing conscious gift giving. The practice focuses on meaningful spending that fulfills a purpose in someone’s life, such as a unique secondhand item or a family portrait.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping frenzy. With some planning, you can wrap up the year in a festive fashion and begin the new year in a strong financial position.

Spread more cheer with the help of Navigator!
Here are four ways Navigator can help you stress less this holiday season.

  • Transfer the balance from your high-interest credit cards to a Navigator Platinum Rewards card and enjoy 8.99% APR for the life of the balance transfer. Learn more at navigatorcu.org/balance-transfer.
  • Refinance your auto loan with Navigator and choose between 90 days no payment OR $150 cash back. Click here for complete details.
  • A holiday loan is a sensible financial solution to provide you with the extra cash you need, for whatever you need. Apply today!
  • Do you have a loan with us? You can skip a payment and use the funds towards your holiday expenses. Have more than one eligible loan? Skip a payment on each one! Learn more at https://navigatorcu.org/skip-a-pay/.

APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Membership and credit eligibility requirements apply. Cardholders pay 8.99% APR from the first billing cycle through the life of the transferred balance. APR for purchases is as low as 10.90% based on credit criteria. Offer available through March 31, 2023. See Visa agreement for uChoose Rewards® terms and conditions. uChoose Rewards® is a registered trademark of Fiserv Solutions, Inc. Visa® is a registered trademark of VISA Inc. Auto loan currently financed with Navigator Credit Union cannot be refinanced with this offer.  Interest begins accruing from the date the loan is funded. Borrower is allowed to make payments during the three-month loan payment deferment period if so desired. Funds for cash back option deposited into Navigator savings account. Auto loans of $10,000 or more. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Subject to change without notice.

28 Nov

Staying Safe While Banking Online

Staying Safe While Banking Online

Staying Safe While Banking Online

Digital banking makes managing finances easy. You can pay bills, deposit checks and transfer money from wherever you’re located. But it’s also a prime target for hackers.

Navigator Credit Union works continuously to improve security and protect sensitive data but you also play a vital role in keeping your information safe. Here are some steps you can take to keep your information out of the hands of hackers.

Use Complex Passwords
Create passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols for each account. Change them every three to six months to lower the odds of your password being stolen or decoded. Consider using a password manager to store and protect your passwords - and make using longer and more complicated passwords easier. Never share your username and passwords with others.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor, or multifactor, authentication can add a second layer of security verification when logging in to your online or mobile banking account. First, you enter your login name and password then you have to pass a second security test.

For example, you may need to enter a special code, verify your account through an automated phone call, use biometric verification or identify an image. This makes it difficult for a hacker or identity thief to unlock your account, even if they have your online or mobile banking password.

Check Your Settings
Check your privacy and security settings regularly. Monitor the devices that have been authenticated on your account. Any device that does not belong to you should be removed immediately.

For any device to be added, the primary device – used to register for Digital Banking – will receive a text message or phone call with a one-time password needed to authenticate the new device. You can also opt for a push authentication where you can choose yes or no for the new device to be added.

Set-up Alerts
Navigator can notify you when certain actions occur with your account. You can receive near-instant notifications of any potentially fraudulent or suspicious activity. You can set up alerts for the following:

  • Low or high balance
  • New debit transactions
  • Failed login attempts
  • Balance summary

Navigator Members can set up alerts by logging into Digital Banking, and choosing Alerts in the ellipses (…) menu on the top right hand of the dashboard.

If you receive a notification that there was an attempt to log in or add a fraudulent device, contact the Member Contact Center immediately.

Be Wary of Phishing Scams
The first defense against phishing scams is knowing that Navigator will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your Social Security number, online account password or other personal information.

Phishing scams can take different forms, but they’re often email or text scams. For example, you might get an email that looks like it came from your financial institution, telling you that you must log in to your account and update your information. You click the link and log in to what appears to be a legit site but is a dummy site. Or, clicking a link downloads tracking malware to your computer, allowing identity thieves to log your keystrokes. Either way, you’ve given up your login details without realizing it.

Always get to your financial institution’s website by typing a known URL into your browser’s address bar. Do not click links from a text or email to get there.

The Bottom Line
Digital banking offers convenience and control over your financial life. You can mitigate the risks by being proactive and protecting your online banking information. Doing so decreases the odds of your information ending up in the wrong hands.

28 Nov

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are a time to be with family, loved ones and friends. It is also one of the busiest times of the year to travel. If you’re hitting the road to your holiday destination, Navigator Credit Union has some advice to help make it a smooth trip.

Are you ready for a holiday road trip in a new ride? Make the most of every mile with an auto loan from Navigator with rates as low as 3.99% APR. Get pre-approved today. Learn more at navigatorcu.org/auto-loan.

 

APR = Annual Percentage Rate. The Annual Percentage Rate is the advertised rate and can vary based on creditworthiness, age of vehicle and term of the loan. 3.99% available only for collateral 2014 or newer with less than 100k miles. Your rate can be higher depending on your credit performance. The payment amount would be $295.20 for $10,000 financed at 3.99% for 36-month term. Rates are subject to change without notice.

28 Nov

Making Sense of Your Roth 401k

Making Sense of Your Roth 401k

Making Sense of Your Roth 401K

Provided by Jeffrey C. Hamm
Vice President, Wealth Management

There are specific rules addressing distributions and rollovers of a Roth 401(k), which combines features of Roth IRAs and a traditional 401(k). We offer an overview of the key considerations.

The Roth 401(k) has become an attractive investment account, with investors attracted to their qualified tax-free withdrawals and contributions which receive after-tax treatment. But like other 401(k) plans, the Roth 401(k) carries with it numerous rules that impact their ultimate tax treatment. Understanding these rules is critical for optimizing your tax consequences.

Tax-Free? Really?
Distributions from your Roth 401(k) qualify for tax- and penalty-free treatment if the following are met:

  • The participant reaches the age of 59 1/2 or in the event of the participant’s death or disability AND
  • The participant has held the account for at least five tax years.

If the distribution does not meet these requirements, they are characterized as non-qualified and are subject to income taxes and possibly penalties.

Rollover Options
If you have been contributing to a Roth 401(k) while working at an employer and then leave that employer, you have a few options:

  • Maintain the 401(k) with your (now) previous employer
  • Rollover the 401(k) balance into another employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows for rollovers
  • Rollover the account into a Roth IRA
  • Cash out the account value

While all of the above options generally have no tax consequences, if you decide instead to cash out from your plan and the cash out does not meet qualified distribution requirements, you will incur a tax obligation on the distribution that represents earnings and possibly a 10% additional federal tax.

Minimum Distributions
The minimum distribution requirements for both Roth 401(k) and traditional 401(k) plans are similar and begin when participants reach age 72 (the age was increased from 70 1/2 on January 1, 2020. Account holders who turned 70 1/2 prior to that date are subject to the old rules). However, Roth IRAs do not require account holders to take distributions during their lifetime.

Other Considerations
Contributions made to a Roth 401(k) incur tax obligations when made, making them attractive when you anticipate that tax rates are likely to increase or you expect your income to rise significantly over time. If either of these scenarios fit your situation, by locking in present day tax rates, you may avoid future tax increases.

Additionally, if your income places you in a high tax bracket that prohibits you from contributing to a Roth IRA, a Roth 401(k) may be advantageous. In 2020, the phase out for Roth IRA eligibility begins at modified adjusted gross income of $124,000 for single taxpayers and $196,000 for married individuals filing jointly.

Jeff Hamm may be reached at 228-474-3427.

Learn more about NCU Wealth Management.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Navigator Credit Union and NCU Wealth Management are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using NCU Wealth Management and may also be employees of Navigator Credit Union. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Navigator Credit Union or NCU Wealth Management. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:

Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency

Not Credit Union Guaranteed

Not Credit Union Deposits or Obligations May Lose Value
28 Nov

Chicken Mole with Tortilla Strips

Chicken Mole with Tortilla Strips

Chicken Mole with Tortilla Strips

Cozy up this winter with this classic Mexican dish. Mole (pronounced MOH-lay) is a rich, dark reddish-brown sauce made from onions, garlic, chiles and a bit of Mexican chocolate and is usually served with poultry.

Servings: 8; Calories: 254 Per Serving; Protein: 27g Per Serving; Fiber: 3g Per Serving

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced OR 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
1 4- to 4.5-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
1 to 3 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon sauce
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 10.5-ounce can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat discarded, cut into bit-size pieces
4 8-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free or low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped green onions (green part only) (optional)

Directions
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the green chiles, almonds, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Stir in the broth and tomato sauce.

Using a hand blender or immersion blender, puree the mixture in the pot. (Alternatively, puree the mixture in a food processer or blender and return to the pot.) Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the chicken. Simmer for 8 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.

Put the tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Broil the tortillas strips about 6 inches from the heat for 2 minutes. Stir. Broil for 1 minute. Stir. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the strips start to turn crisp and golden. Remove from the broiler. (Some strips will be partly soft.)

Reserve about one-fourth of the tortilla strips for garnish. Put the remaining tortilla strips and 3/4 cup mole in each bowl. Top with the sour cream, green onions and reserved tortilla strips.

Recipe provided by the American Heart Association.

31 Aug

Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off

Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off

Navigator Credit Union can help you pay for home improvements with a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Features include:

  • Ability to borrow up to 80% of your home’s equity
  • Navigator pays closing costs up to $1,500
  • Limited time offer of 2.99% intro APR for 6 months
  • 7-year draw period, followed by a 10-year repayment period
  • Convenient ways to access your funds
  • Navigator servicing for the life of your loan

Apply today by emailing mortgage@navigatorcu.org or calling 800-344-3281, option 5.

Source: National Remodeling Magazine: 2022 Cost Vs. Value Report

APR is Annual Percentage Rate. Rate and terms are based on credit criteria. The minimum loan amount is $10,000 and the maximum loan amount is $150,000 for a first mortgage HELOC and $100,000 for a second mortgage HELOC. Loan to value must not exceed 80%. Condominiums, investment properties and manufactured homes are not eligible for this offer. Offer subject to change without notice. Membership and credit eligibility criteria apply. Terms and conditions apply. NMLS# 646402 Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Opportunity Lender.

 

31 Aug

Strategies to Manage Debt

Strategies to Manage Debt

Strategies to Manage Debt

Americans are piling up debt as they deal with a higher cost of living. The New York Federal Reserve says US households added $100 billion in credit card debt alone over the past year. That’s the largest jump in more than two decades.

Repaying your debt can often feel challenging. That’s why making a plan to manage your payments and balances can help. Navigator Credit Union has some strategies and tips that can make managing your debt easier.

Strategies
There are several strategies to help you get back in control if you’ve found yourself falling behind on your payments or want to pay off your debts faster.

  • Snowball Method: With this method, you start small and work your way up. Begin by paying off your smallest debt first. Then, take the amount you were paying for that debt and pay it toward the next smallest debt, and so on until everything is paid off.
  • Avalanche Method: Just like an avalanche, you knock out the big things first and then work your way down. Focus on paying off your highest interest rate first, then roll those funds into the next highest, and then the next.
  • Consolidation: Debt consolidation allows you to combine all of your debts into one payment. There are two ways you can consolidate your debts. You can transfer your credit card balances to one credit card, ideally one with a lower interest rate. By doing so, you’ll be paying less on interest and more on the principal. With the Navigator Platinum Rewards card, there are no balance transfer fees and interest rates are as low as 10.9% APR. Learn more at navigatorcu.org/your-card. Another option is to take out a personal loan and use it to pay off your debts. At Navigator, personal loans are available in amounts from $500 up to $20,000 and feature great low rates, flexible terms and fast processing.

Tips to Get Out of Debt
There are also other adjustments you can make to your approach to debt and daily spending habits that can make a large impact.

  • Reduce Expenses: The simplest thing you can do is stop spending on anything that isn't essential. Since debt doesn't go away by itself, the faster you stop adding to the problem the better.
  • Pay More Than Your Minimum Balance: Adding even just a little bit of extra money to your monthly payment can help you pay off your debt sooner and pay less overall.
  • Negotiate With Your Creditors: If you can’t afford the minimum payments, you can ask creditors to rewrite the terms of your credit agreements. This often means making smaller payments over a longer period, which does mean you'll end up paying more interest and therefore increasing the overall cost of resolving debt. But that's usually a better solution in the long run than having to default or declare bankruptcy.

Tapping Other Resources
If you've been contributing to a retirement savings plan at work, you may decide to tap into this resource instead of falling behind in payments. Borrowing from your retirement funds to solve debt problems should only be done after careful consideration. After all, you'll still need income from your savings down the road. Withdrawing from your retirement funds, rather than borrowing from them, will incur penalties, so be wary.

If you own your home, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) could be a good tool for consolidating debt. With a HELOC, you’re using the equity of your home to open up a line of credit you can use as needed. You don’t have to withdraw the full amount at once and you only need to pay interest on the funds you need.

Emergency Funds

One of the smartest things you can do when things are going well is to establish an emergency fund as part of your savings plan. Start with any amount you can afford to set aside, with a goal of saving enough money to cover at least three to six months of living expenses. That way, if an unforeseen event puts a drain on your finances, you'll have some backup funds to help see you through.

APR = Annual Percentage Rate. The Annual Percentage Rate is the advertised rate and can vary based on creditworthiness. Annual Percentage Rate of 10.90% is available to qualified borrowers. Subject to credit approval and based on credit performance. See Visa agreement for uChoose Rewards® terms and conditions. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Membership eligibility is required.

31 Aug

When is the right time to buy?

When is the right time to buy?

When Is The Right Time to Buy?

ENGLISH | EN ESPAÑOL

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting milestones. It’s also one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. As with any major decision, the first step is to determine if it’s the right time. Navigator Credit Union offers these tips to help you know if buying a home now makes sense for you.

Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score is one of the main factors determining your eligibility for a mortgage and your ability to get the best rate. A healthy score is usually considered 740 and above. American consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from the three big credit rating agencies. The government’s official website to order these reports is annualcreditreport.com.

Watch Your Cash Flow
Along with having money saved up for your mortgage down payment and emergency expenses, it’s essential to determine that you can afford a monthly mortgage payment. After all, no one wants to be “house poor.” One strategy is to calculate your estimated mortgage payment and then subtract the rent you’re paying now. Take the difference and put it into a separate saving account for at least six months. At the end of that time, you should be able to determine if you can afford the extra expense. It’s also important to take stock of all your monthly bills, such as rent, utilities, car payments, groceries and other day-to-day costs. Whether you rent or own, it’s best to keep your monthly housing costs below one-third of your monthly income.

Meet Your Local Mortgage Team
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you probably have plenty of questions. Along with a knowledgeable real estate agent, you’ll need an experienced, attentive mortgage specialist who can answer those questions. You can set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of Navigator’s friendly mortgage professionals.  A mortgage banker will take time to understand your needs, go over your credit report with you and - when you’re ready to move forward – guide you through the application process.

Get Pre-Qualified
To help you know how much house you can afford, Navigator’s Mortgage Services offers free pre-qualification. This will show you how much financing you qualify for based on your current circumstances and give you a realistic price range to guide you as you start house hunting. You will also be provided a pre-qualification letter, which can show sellers you’re a serious buyer.

Ready to Start Your Homebuying Journey?
Give Navigator Mortgage Services a call today at 800-344-3281, option 5, email mortgage@navigatorcu.org or visit navigatorcu.org/mortgage.

Membership and credit eligibility requirements apply. Equal Housing Opportunity Lender. Federally insured by the NCUA. NMLS #646402

31 Aug

Seared Beef Sirloin and Grilled Peaches

Seared Beef Sirloin and Grilled Peaches

Seared Beef Sirloin and Grilled Peaches

Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit, a perfect complement to bitter greens like arugula and the savory flavor of the steak.

Servings: 4; Calories: 270 Per Serving; Protein; 28g Per Serving; Fiber: 2g Per Serving

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless top sirloin steak (about 1 1/2 inch thick), all visible fat discarded
4 medium peaches, halved
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground preferred
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups spinach, spring mix greens, arugula, kale or other greens
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sliced basil leaves
2 tablespoons fat-free feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

Preheat the grill on medium high.

Put the beef and peaches on a large platter. Using a basting brush, brush the oil over the beef and peaches. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the beef. Drizzle the honey over the peaches.

Grill the beef for 8 to 10 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness.

Place the peaches on the grill with the cut side down. Grill the peaches for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fork-tender.

Let the beef stand for 10 minutes before slicing it.

Arrange the greens on a large platter. Top with the grilled peach halves. Drizzle the peaches with the vinegar. Sprinkle with the basil and feta. Serve with the beef.

 

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association.

31 Aug

Common Retirement Investment Mistakes

Common Retirement Investment Mistakes

Common Retirement Investment Mistakes

Provided by Jeffrey C. Hamm
Vice President, Wealth Management

Only one in four Americans (27%) feel very confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire, according to the 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey Summary Report.⁠1 While the number is up slightly from the 2018 survey (23%), it underscores a pervasive sense of uncertainty among those approaching retirement age.

While there is no single action that can boost the collective confidence of retirees, there are several key investment mistakes that, if avoided, can help maximize retirement savings and provide confidence to those who are entering their Golden Years.

Pitfall #1: Failing to Maximize Your Contribution
If you can afford to do so, contributing the maximum amount to your employer-sponsored retirement plan will increase your chances of reaching your investment goal. The earlier you start, the better; it will allow your investments and any potential earnings to grow on a tax-deferred basis.

Pitfall #2: Failing to Develop a Concrete Plan
Establishing clear goals that incorporate a time element (number of years until retirement) is necessary to create a relevant investment plan. Without such a plan, it is difficult to understand whether your savings will provide you with the living standard to which you’ve grown accustomed and for each year of your retirement.

Pitfall #3: Short-Term Investment Mindset
The stock market fluctuates; that’s a fact. And in the short term, they face a relatively high risk of price volatility. But in the long-term stocks have historically delivered relatively stable earnings. So selling off your holdings whenever the market takes a dip is a sure way to incur losses that impact your long-term goals.

Pitfall #4: The Quest for Perfection
Buying low and selling high is evergreen advice, but trying to time investment decisions on when the market will be at its lowest or highest is risky business, often leading to missed opportunities. As per #3 above, investing for the long-term can provide a more stable investment mindset.

Pitfall #5: Eggs All in One Basket
Some investors make the mistake of investing in just one fund or asset type, thereby subjecting it to high risk should the market impact their specific holding. Spreading your investment risk over a mix of assets can help manage potential loss during these sharp market swings. The key here is diversification to offset losses in a particular asset category.

With these pitfalls in mind, you are well-positioned to avoid the common mistakes of other investors and maximize opportunities for your retirement plan.

Jeff Hamm may be reached at 228-474-3427.

Learn more about NCU Wealth Management.

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC.

1 https://www.ebri.org/docs/default-source/rcs/2020-rcs/2020-rcs-summary-report.pdf?sfvrsn=84bc3d2f_7

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Navigator Credit Union and NCU Wealth Management are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using NCU Wealth Management and may also be employees of Navigator Credit Union. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Navigator Credit Union or NCU Wealth Management. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:

Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency Not Credit Union Guaranteed Not Credit Union Deposits or Obligations May Lose Value