08 Jul

Getting your vehicle road trip ready

Summer is here, and many people are looking forward to getting away. Wherever you are headed, Navigator Credit Union wants to help you get there safely.

A routine vehicle inspection is one step that can save a lot of unwanted stress down the road. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has some advice on what you can do to make sure your vehicle is vacation ready.

  • Check tires for tread wear and proper pressure
  • Check your battery
  • Make sure belts and hoses are in good shape
  • Replace your windshield wiper blades
  • Check all brake and head lights
  • Make sure your air conditioning is ready for the heat

Fluid levels, such as oil, brake, transmission, windshield, coolant and power steering, should also be inspected before hitting the road.

When traveling, it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit on hand. The kit includes basic repair tools, jumper cables, first aid supplies, a flashlight and duct tape. Also, do not forget a spare car key, kept in a safe space.

These quick and easy steps can help you relax even more knowing your car has been prepped for this year’s road trip.

20 Jun

Traditional vs. Roth IRAs

IRAs can be an important tool in your retirement savings belt, and whichever you choose to open could have a significant impact on how those accounts might grow.

IRAs, or Individual Retirement Accounts, are investment vehicles used to help save money for retirement. There are two different types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Traditional IRAs, created in 1974, are owned by roughly 35.1 million U.S. households. And Roth IRAs, created as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997, are owned by nearly 24.9 million households.1

Both kinds of IRAs share many similarities, and yet, each is quite different. Let’s take a closer look.

Traditional IRA rules
Up to certain limits, traditional IRAs allow individuals to make tax-deductible contributions into the retirement account. Distributions from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. For individuals covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction for a traditional IRA in 2019 has been phased out for incomes between $103,000 and $123,000 for married couples filing jointly and between $64,000 and $74,000 for single filers.2,3

Roth IRA rules
Also, within certain limits, individuals can make contributions to a Roth IRA with after-tax dollars. To qualify for a tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½. Like a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are limited based on income. For 2019, contributions to a Roth IRA are phased out between $193,000 and $203,000 for married couples filing jointly and between $122,000 and $137,000 for single filers.2,3

Contribution limits
In addition to contribution and distribution rules, there are limits on how much can be contributed to either IRA. In fact, these limits apply to any combination of IRAs; that is, workers cannot put more than $6,000 per year into their Roth and traditional IRAs combined. So, if a worker contributed $3,500 in a given year into a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA would be limited to $2,500 in that same year.4

Individuals who reach age 50 or older by the end of the tax year can qualify for annual “catch-up” contributions of up to $1,000. So, for these IRA owners, the 2019 IRA contribution limit is $7,000.4

Start planning
If you meet the income requirements, both traditional and Roth IRAs can play a part in your retirement plans. And once you’ve figured out which will work better for you, only one task remains: opening an account.

Provided by Jeff Hamm
Vice-President, Wealth Management
Jeff may be reached at 228-474-3427.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. 

Citations.
1 – https://www.ici.org/pdf/per23-10.pdf [12/17]
2 – https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gearing-up-for-retirement-make-sure-you-understand-your-tax-obligations-2018-06-14 [6/14/18]
3 – https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/new-401-k-and-ira-limits [11/12/18]
4 – https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits [11/2/18]

06 Jun

Navigator celebrates 80th Anniversary

Ingalls Employee Credit Union

Navigator Credit Union is celebrating eight decades of serving the Gulf Coast, and this month the celebration centers around a special day in June. It was June 24, 1939, when seven shipyard workers met and planned to form a credit union to offer co-workers opportunities for saving and for loans. Today, Navigator is Mississippi’s largest state-chartered credit union.

The Mutual Benefit Credit Union was the name chosen by the Ingalls Shipbuilding employees who were the founders and first members. The name was soon changed to Ingalls Employees Credit Union, and decades of growth and expansion of services followed. In 2003, the name Navigator Credit Union was chosen by its members to reflect the broader membership base their Credit Union had grown to serve.

Today, the full-service financial institution has 8 full-service Branches in Mississippi and 5 full-service Branches in Alabama. The Credit Union offers innovative financial services such as Save’N Up Debit Card Savings Program and Credit Builder Loans, as well as interest-bearing checking accounts, high yield savings plans, unlimited rewards credit cards, mortgage services, competitive vehicle loans, retirement planning and more.

A painting commissioned to commemorate Navigator’s 80 years, as “your family’s financial navigator” was unveiled at Navigator’s 80th Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in March and is being featured in anniversary festivities throughout the year. The painting, by a Jackson County (MS) artist, illustrates the unique communities the Credit Union serves. Daphne’s mossy oaks and piers; Mobile’s Middle Bay Lighthouse and historic homes; Pascagoula’s Round Island Lighthouse, bayou fishing camps, pine savannas and forests of Gautier, Hurley and Vancleave; Ocean Springs’ downtown marquee and the Port of Gulfport’s anchor are depicted. The state flowers of Mississippi and Alabama, the magnolia and camellia, are featured, and the Credit Union’s founding sponsor Ingalls Shipbuilding is at its center.

Please join Navigator Monday, June 24, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at any Branch for a special “Birthday Party” celebration. Members will enjoy light refreshments and commemorative party favors while supplies last. You can find the Branch closest to you by clicking here.

A lot has changed since that muggy day along the east bank of the Pascagoula River, yet the belief “People Mean More than Money” is still fundamental to today’s Navigator Credit Union. Navigator continues to be a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution working in the best interest of its Members.

23 Apr

Navigator celebrates National Credit Union Youth Month!

The Future is Yours: Picture it! Save for it! Share it!Dreaming of our ideal future delights and inspires us. Children, with their fertile imaginations, are particularly good at dreaming. But to make dreams come true, you need to have clear goals and, very likely, save some money to make them happen. Navigator Credit Union is committed to helping our Members – young and old – achieve financial success.

April is National Credit Union Youth Month. This year’s theme is ‘The Future is Yours: Picture it! Save for it! Share it!” We’re encouraging all Members, particularly the youngest, to wright down their dreams, create vision boards, and encourage each other. These activities will help lay the groundwork for future success.

Putting your dreams and goals down on paper where you can see them every day actually helps you achieve them! Results of a study by Dominican University reveals that writing down your goals on a regular basis makes you 42% more likely to achieve them than if you don’t record them. They determined that using your imagination (right/creative brain) and writing those plans down (left/logical brain) engages your whole brain, including your subconscious. This makes it easier for you to find and seize opportunities that will help you achieve your goals, as well as keep you motivated.

Young members who being a habit of envisioning and recording their goals are more likely to achieve future goals as adults. This year’s Youth Month them will give Members the encouragement they need to start this habit.

Here are some ideas to celebrate Youth Month.

  • Write down your goals and create a vision board. Take a photo and share it on social media sites using the hashtag #CUYouthMonth. Sharing your goal will help inspire others to set goals too.
  • Some goals, like graduation from college or starting a business, will require money. Help your child set up a savings account. Navigator offers savings accounts for youth 17 and under including the Navvi-Gator Super Savers’ Club. This special kids’ savings account for children 12 years old and under gives Members an entry to win a Prize-of-the-Quarter with each deposit of $5 or more.

As your Credit Union, we want to help you teach your children to learn good financial habits. Together we can help them fulfill their dreams both big and small.

13 Feb

Free Community Shred Day

Navigator Credit Union is committed to protecting your privacy. In keeping with our promise, we’re partnering with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office for a free community shred day. But how do you know what to shred and what to keep? Navigator has your guide to how long you should keep certain documents.

Save forever
Keep documents related to major life events – birth, marriage, divorce and death. Lock securely:

  • Birth certificates or adoption papers
  • Social Security Cards
  • Citizenship papers or passports
  • Marriage or divorce decrees
  • Death certificates of family members

Also, keep auto titles and home deeds stored safety for as long as you own the property.

Tax records
Keep tax-related records for seven years. While IRS has three years to audit you, it has up to seven years under certain circumstances. A seven-year window should cover you in either event. The Federal Trade Commission suggests keeping tax returns forever.

Home improvement receipts
Keep these receipts until you sell our home, since certain expenses may reduce your capital gains tax.

Other records
According to the FTC, you can shred many other documents sooner than seven years. After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute or these documents should be kept as tax records).

Free community shred day
The free shred event is set for Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Walmart located at 3615 Sangani Blvd., D’Iberville, Miss. It will be from 8 a.m. until noon or when the truck is full. Community members may bring up to three bags or boxes of documents to be shredded. It is on a first-come, first serve basis. The free shred day is not open to businesses.

Free shred day set for March 9, 2019 at Walmart in D'Iberville, Miss

22 Jan

Credit Score Quiz

How much do you know about your credit score? 

Your credit score is a rating lenders use when making decisions about approving loans and determining the terms and rates offered to you. Test your knowledge to see if you know what it takes to build good credit.

1. True or False: Credit scores range from 300 to 850.

2. True or False: A few late payments won’t affect your credit score.

3. True or False: Having multiple forms of debt generally helps your credit score.

4. True or False: Closing old credit card accounts will boost your score.

5. True or False: Paying off bad debt will erase it from your credit history.

6. True or False: Checking your credit report will hurt your score.

Answers

1. True. Credit scores are calculated between 300-850, and 700 or above is generally considered a good score.

2. False. Payment history is the most important factor in determining your credit score. Making on-time payments and keeping your level of debt at a reasonable level will help you improve your score. Late payments, on the other hand, will negatively affect your score.

3. True. Managing multiple forms of debt responsibly (e.g., a credit card, student loan and auto loan) helps build your credit history, and may boost your credit score if you make payments on time.

4. False. Part of your credit score is determined by the length of your credit history. If you close a credit account that you’ve been using for years, this average length of credit history may be shortened.

5. False. If you’ve missed payments or have a delinquent account in collections, paying off a debt does not remove it from your credit records. Most negative entries will, however, fall off your report in seven years.

6. False. Hard inquiries, such as applying for a credit card or a mortgage, could affect your score. Soft inquiries, like when you check your own score or order your free credit report, will not affect your score. You can check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. There are three main credit-reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and you are allowed a free credit report from each every 12 months.

Your score

0-1 correct answers = Credit newbie — Taking the time to learn more about your credit score can help you get on track.

2-4 correct answers = Credit scholar — You’re on the right path, but can learn more to help boost your score.

5-6 correct answers = Credit star — You’ve got all the right information, now put it to work to improve your credit score!

Navigator Credit Union offers Members an innovative solution for establishing credit while saving for something special. With our Credit Builder Loan, you make regular monthly payments, Navigator reports your positive payment history to all three major credit bureaus – and you even earn interest on the money you’re saving while you build credit! Call or visit a full-service Branch today to learn about the Credit Builder Loan.

28 Jun

Try the Bucket Approach

Constructing a portfolio this way may help you ride through a bear market in retirement.
Provided by Jeffrey C. Hamm

Stocks sometimes retreat. That reality can be overlooked in a long bull market. Bear markets do appear, and a deep downturn could force you to sell securities in retirement, so you can pay for necessary expenses.

Right now, you might have too much money in stocks. Years of steady gains may have unbalanced your portfolio and heightened your risk exposure. If you are 60 or older, that constitutes a warning sign, especially given this bull market’s age. What would a downturn do to your retirement fund and your retirement income?

If you are wondering how to respond to this risk, consider the bucket approach to retirement income planning.

The bucket approach may help you through different market cycles in retirement. This investing strategy, credited to a Florida financial planner named Harold Evensky, has simple and complex variations. It assigns fixed-income and equity investments to different “buckets” with the goal of providing sufficient cash flow to retirees during different stages of their “second acts.”1,2

The simplest version involves just two buckets. One holds the equivalent of 1-5 years of cash reserves (in deposit accounts and/or fixed-income investments), and the other holds everything else in the investment portfolio. When you need to fund your expenses, you turn to the cash and the fixed-income vehicles and leave equities untouched. Rebalancing your portfolio (that is, selling investments in an overweighted asset class) lets you increase the size of your cash bucket.1,2

Other versions of the bucket approach have longer time horizons. In one variation designed to be used for at least 25 years, a cash reserve bucket is created to fund the first two years of retirement, its size approximating 10% of the portfolio; the cash comes from FDIC-insured sources or Treasuries. A second bucket, intended to generate somewhat greater income, is planned for the rest of the first decade of retirement; this bucket is filled with longer-duration, fixed-income investments and comprises about 35% of the portfolio. The third bucket (the other 55%) is designed for the years afterward and contains a sizable equities position; the goal here is to realize some growth and compounding for a decade, then tap into that bucket for income.

In glimpsing the details of the bucket approach, you can also see the big picture. Suppose a bear market occurs just as you retire. Since your retirement income strategy pulls cash from deposit accounts and fixed-income investments first, your equity positions have time to rebound. You have a chance to avoid selling low (and selling off part of your retirement fund).

Is the bucket approach foolproof? No, but no investing strategy is. In the worst-case scenario, you drain 100% of the cash bucket(s) and end up with an all-equities portfolio. That is hardly what you want in retirement. Bucket allocations must be carefully calculated, and periodic bucket rebalancing is also needed.

The bucket approach may have both financial and psychological merits. Most retirees use the 4% rule (or something close) when withdrawing income: they take distributions from various accounts and asset classes, perhaps with little regard for tax efficiency. If Wall Street stumbles and their portfolios shrink, they may panic and make moves they will later regret – such as selling low, abandoning stocks or even running toward alternative investments in desperation.

When you use a bucket approach, you first turn to cash and/ or liquid securities for retirement income rather than equities. Psychologically, you know that if a bear market arrives early in your retirement, your equity holdings will have some time to recover. This knowledge is reassuring, and it may dissuade you from impulsive financial decisions.

Ask about the bucket approach today. It could be a great financial strategy to adopt for your retirement.

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

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.

Citations.
1 – seattletimes.com/business/about-to-retire-heres-how-to-cope-with-stock-market-shocks/ [11/25/17]
2 – news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=839521 [12/13/17]

28 Jun

6 Expenses to Include in Your Homebuying Budget

When you buy a home, it’s important to look beyond the sale price and mortgage payment to set your budget.  First-time homebuyers are sometimes caught off guard by overlooked expenses, which can create an uncomfortable finance pinch. Be sure you consider these one-time and ongoing expenses:

  1. Home Inspection. Before you close on your home, you’ll want to have it thoroughly inspected by a professional. Your lender may even require it. For a few hundred dollars, an inspection can uncover potential trouble such as structural problems or asbestos. If problems are found, you may need to pay another expert to provide an assessment. A good inspector can also tell you what to expect in terms of…
  2. Home maintenance. Experts recommend setting aside 1 to 3 percent of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. You may need to buy lawn care equipment or replace the roof, furnace or water heater.
  3. Taxes and insurance. Property taxes and homeowners insurance aren’t always included in mortgage payment calculators.  Costs vary widely, depending on the value of your home and its location, but taxes and insurance together can easily total a few hundred dollars a month.
  4. Extra cash at closing.  Your lender should give you a detailed estimate of closing costs.  But beyond those, you may have to pay additional expenses, such as a prorated portion of property taxes or homeowners association fees that the seller has already paid.
  5. The move. Whether you hire professional movers for a few thousand dollars or rent a truck, buy boxes and recruit friends to help, moving costs money.
  6. Settling in.  You may have to pay utility connection fees when you move in, plus utility costs may be higher than you were used to as a renter.  You’ll probably want to replace the locks on all the doors.  And you may need new window coverings, rugs and furniture.

Find the Right Mortgage
The experienced mortgage specialist at Navigator Credit Union can help you understand the true costs of homeownership so you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises.  We’ll help you find the right mortgage for your circumstances and budget. Contact a mortgage professional by calling 228-475-7300 or 800-344-3281, option #5; emailing Mortgage@navigatorcu.org ; or click here.

01 Jul

Open the Door to a Remodel Plan that Pays Off

Trying to sell or thinking about it?

Home prices may be up in your neighborhood — more reason to invest in your home to get the best price if you’re planning to sell. Despite what conventional wisdom says, most of the home improvement projects with the greatest return on investment are not so glamorous. Did you know a new front door ranks at the top of the list? According to a recent report from Remodeling magazine, sellers recoup 66 cents of every $1 they spend on the average remodeling project.

Before you splurge, consider these three upgrades and fixes. They won’t break the bank, but could pay off and help you clinch a deal if you’re serious about selling:

1. Create space. Knock out a non-structural wall, or remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens space and creates a sense of flow is advantageous.

2. Prune and landscape. Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views and darken interiors.

3. Address the basics. Insulate the attic, repair plumbing leaks or replace rusty rain gutters. These fixes can go a long way toward boosting value.

If improving resale value and recovering remodeling costs are important to you, consult with a real estate agent first, then make it happen with a home equity loan from Navigator Credit Union. Learn more here. 

RENOVATIONS WITH THE GREATEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT

If you’re considering a home improvement project to boost the quality and appeal of your home, here are some ideas that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.*

97%
Entry door replacement: 96.6%
87%
Deck addition (wood): 87.4%
84%
Attic bedroom: 84.3%
84%
Garage door replacement: 83.7%
83%
Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7%

* Source: Remodeling magazine 2014 Cost vs. Value report, www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/

16 Apr

9 Signs You Need Life Insurance

If you think life insurance is only for people with kids, you may be missing out on an important financial planning tool. Ask yourself these questions to find out if you should take a closer look at your needs for life insurance.

1. Do you have a spouse or partner?

Anyone who depends on you may suffer a financial setback if something happens to you, and naming them as beneficiaries in your life insurance policy may give you peace of mind.

2. Do you have kids?

You want to do everything in your power to safeguard your child’s financial future. If you’re a single parent, you have even more responsibility resting on your shoulders. Life insurance can take care of their immediate expenses and provide funds for college and other future needs.

3. Do you provide financial help to parents, siblings, nieces and nephews or other loved ones?

Anyone who depends on you may suffer a financial setback if something happens to you, and naming them as beneficiaries in your life insurance policy may give you peace of mind.

4. Are you a caregiver for aging parents or family members with special needs?

The care you provide (including basic help with household or transportation needs) is important to your loved one’s quality of life. Life insurance can help cover the costs of their care if you’re not there.

5. Are you a stay-at-home parent?

You provide valuable support to the family, and it’s important to factor in the value that you bring to the family when considering life insurance needs.

6. Do you have grown children?

Even if your children are grown, there may be ups and downs as they find their way in the world. Life insurance may not be as critical at this stage as it was when they were small, but it can provide financial stability for your children if you die.

7. Do you own a small business?

A life insurance policy can be structured to protect your business and your family. For example, a policy could provide funds for a buy-sell agreement to sell your interest in the company and provide proceeds to your heirs.

8. Are you focused on charitable giving?

(And do you wish to name an organization as a life insurance beneficiary?) A life insurance payout can continue a legacy of donations to an organization you support financially.

9. Are you retired?

Life insurance may be instrumental in achieving your goals. For example, you may want to leave an inheritance for heirs or pay final expenses (funeral and burial costs) through life insurance.

Find out more about how life insurance can help protect your family’s future. Contact an insurance professional at Navigator Credit Union at (228) 474-3427 or at www.navigatorcu.org.