16 Apr

Partnering with You to Enhance Our Community

At Navigator Credit Union, we’re proud to be part of this community. As neighbors who live and work here, we want to do what we can to help support and improve our area.

Benefits Ripple Throughout the Community

Through our lending programs, we have:

  • Helped young families buy their first homes and allowed growing families to move into larger ones.
  • Supported the start of new businesses and helped others expand.
  • Enabled young people to buy the cars they needed to get jobs and made a college education affordable for others.

Our savings programs have:

  • Provided a safe way for area residents to set aside money so they can enjoy a secure retirement.
  • Made it possible for community members to build a cushion to fall back on in emergency situations.
  • Helped generations of youth develop good money management habits and feel the excitement of a growing savings account.

In addition, Navigator Credit Union has lived up to the honor of serving this community in many other ways.

We’ve organized fundraising efforts and supported causes such as Special Olympics, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the United Way. Navigator leaders also encourage employees’ volunteer efforts, as well as sponsor local schools, sports teams and community events.

Spirit of Cooperation

We use many avenues to promote the well-being of our community, but we couldn’t do it without the help of others. We work in partnership with area residents and civic and business leaders to help determine what roles we can fulfill in advancing the community’s interests.

Most important is the part you play. We couldn’t do any of this without the loyalty and support of our members. We strive each day to continue earning your trust and your business by providing top-of-the-line products and exceptional service. Thank you for making this community a better place to work and live.

Respectfully,

Robert A. Fertitta President & CEO

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.
16 Apr

To Have and To Hold: Investing Strategies for Newlyweds

Congratulations on your big day! The early days of wedded bliss are full of exciting changes and adjustments. Among the most important: Planning for your joint financial future. Say “I do” to these steps toward building a solid fiscal partnership:

Update financial paperwork.

Add your spouse as the beneficiary on any insurance policies and financial accounts, such as 401(k)s. Consider designating your spouse as your power of attorney and health care proxy, so he or she can make decisions about your finances and care in the event you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. If you haven’t created a will, now is the time to get started.

Talk about your goals.

Together, discuss your values and financial history and how they’ve shaped your attitudes toward money. When you understand where your partner is coming from, it’s easier to strategize on future plans. Talk about what you hope to achieve this year, in five years, 10 years and so on.

Establish a budget.

Start by looking at your income and spending habits — from fixed costs like housing and car payments to variable expenses like groceries, utilities and entertainment. If you aren’t sure what you’re spending in certain categories, tracking your spending for a month or two can be an eye-opening experience. Create a budget to account for all of your financial obligations and savings goals. Some experts recommend aiming to save 20 percent of your income — 10 percent toward building an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses and 10 percent toward retirement. If you have debt or accelerated savings goals (like saving for a down payment in the next year or retiring early), you may need to adjust your saving percentages accordingly.

Create an investment plan.

Once you know your savings goals, you’ll need to determine where you’ll stash your cash. Explore your tolerance for risk — are you conservative savers who like guaranteed returns or aggressive investors who are comfortable with the volatility of the market? Your risk tolerance and time horizon can help define the investment vehicles you use. Most experts recommend low-risk federally insured accounts, like money market accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs), for short-term goals and higher-risk options that offer the potential for higher returns, like stocks or mutual funds, for long-term goals.

Schedule ongoing “state of the union” discussions.

Assess your budget, goal progress and any setbacks often. Have you received a raise or lost a source of income? Have your priorities or timelines changed? How do those changes affect your plans? Like other aspects of your marriage, maintaining open communication can help you stay the course together.

READY TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE?
The experienced professionals at Navigator Credit Union can help you create a financial plan for your needs and goals. Call (228) 474-3427 to schedule an appointment today.

Investment products:
Not federally insured
Not a deposit of this institution
May lose value

16 Apr

College Degrees Still Make the Grade

With the rising costs of attending college, much debate has occurred in recent years about the value of a college education. Yet, a recent examination by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that over the past decade, the rate of return on a college degree has remained fairly consistent at around 15 percent.* This rate of return is the difference between wages for individuals who have a college degree versus those with only a high school diploma after accounting for the cost of college. This return rate remained steady for both bachelor’s and associate degrees. The report found that despite changes in the economy, a college education continues to be a valuable asset in creating higher lifelong earnings. So how do you ensure your child is able to afford college once he or she is ready?

College Saving Strategies

While the advantage of a college degree is clear, the price of college continues to increase year-after-year, creating a challenge for many families. But, there are a number of ways, both traditional and creative, that you can use to help your child be financially prepared for college:

Open a college savings account for your child. Navigator Credit Union offers a variety of savings vehicles including Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and 529 College Savings Plans. Both of these savings accounts are a great way to invest long-term in your child’s education. These tax-advantaged accounts allow anyone to contribute including parents, grandparents, other relatives or family friends. Which brings us
to our next tip:

Suggest relatives contribute. Many people, including grandparents and other relatives, want to see your child succeed. Consider asking them to contribute to your child’s savings in lieu of extravagant gifts during the holidays or for birthdays. While of course your child will enjoy some presents, think about giving smaller gifts and putting the difference into saving for their future.

Continue “paying” expenses you’re used to. As your child grows, there will be a number of expenses that arise and eventually are no longer needed — such as money for diapers, baby-sitting or braces. Instead of forgetting about these costs once your child outgrows them, start putting that money toward your child’s college savings.

Here For You and Your Child’s Future

Getting started on saving for your child’s educational future doesn’t have to be confusing or difficult. The investment professionals at Navigator Credit Union can help you decide the right strategy for your family. Contact us today by calling (228) 474-3427 or visiting us online at https://navigatorcu.org to help your child prepare for the rewards of a college degree.

* Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York. www.newyorkfed.org.
Investment products:
Not federally insured
Not a deposit of this institution
May lose value

16 Apr

Diversification, Patience & ConsistencyThree important factors when it comes to your financial life.

Provided by Jeffrey C. Hamm

Regardless of how the markets may perform, consider making the following part of your investment philosophy:

Diversification.

The saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has real value when it comes to investing. In a bear OR bull market, certain asset classes may perform better than others if your assets are mostly held in one kind of investment (say, mostly in mutual funds, or mostly in CDs or money market accounts), you could be hit hard by stock market losses, or alternately lose out on potential gains that other kinds of investments may be experiencing. So there is an opportunity cost as well as risk.

This is why asset allocation strategies are used in portfolio management. A financial professional can ask you about your goals, tolerance for risk, and assign percentages of your assets to different classes of investments. This diversification is designed to suit your preferred investment style and your objectives.

Patience.

Impatient investors obsess on the day-to-day doings of the stock market. Have you ever heard of “stock picking” or “market timing”? How about “day trading”? These are all attempts to exploit short-term fluctuations in value. These investing methods might seem fun and exciting if you like to micromanage, but they could add stress and anxiety to your life, and they may be a poor alternative to a long-range investment strategy built around your life goals.

Consistency.

Most people invest a little at a time, within their budget, and with regularity. They invest $50 or $100 or more per month in their 401(k) and similar investments through payroll deduction or automatic withdrawal. In essence, they are investing on “autopilot” to help themselves build wealth for retirement and for long-range goals. Investing regularly (and earlier in life) helps you to take advantage of the power of compounding as well.

If you don’t have a long-range investment strategy, talk to a qualified financial advisor today.

Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free 800-369-2862. Nondeposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

16 Apr

Trusts — An Often-misunderstood Estate-planning Tool

Does a trust suggest an image of “trust fund babies” living a life of leisure on their inherited money? The truth is, trusts aren’t useful only for the wealthy. When set up properly, trusts can provide benefits to even those with modest means.

What’s a trust?

A trust is an arrangement with three main parties:

  1. A trustee (usually a third party) who holds the assets in the trust.
  2. A grantor, who sets up the trust and provides the assets.
  3. A beneficiary, (or beneficiaries), the person or persons who will ultimately benefit from the trust.

There are two major types. An irrevocable trust, as the name implies, cannot be changed once it is set up. A revocable trust can be changed at any time during the grantor’s lifetime. Usually, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable when the grantor dies.

Who Can Benefit from a Trust?

Depending on how they’re set up, trusts can help:

  • Avoid probate. Probate is the legal process of proving a will, which can be lengthy and expensive. If you leave property to someone in a will, it must go through probate. Property left in a trust usually does not go through probate, so the beneficiary may receive the assets more quickly at lower cost to the estate.
  • Ensure privacy. Probate is public record. A trust is generally private.
  • Provide control. A trust can allow you to determine how and when assets are distributed to the beneficiary. For example, rather than leave a lump sum to your beneficiary, a trust can allow you to parcel out the money over time, or when a milestone — such as completing a college education — is reached.
  • Protect your family. For example, if you’ve been married more than once and have children from a previous marriage, a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust can provide income to your surviving spouse and pass the remaining assets onto other beneficiaries upon the second spouse’s death. In another example, a special needs trust can help ensure that a child with special needs has access to funds to enhance his or her quality of life, without losing any government benefits to which he or she may be entitled.
  • Minimize estate taxes. Certain irrevocable trusts may remove assets from your estate, potentially saving on estate taxes.
  • Fulfill charitable goals. For example, a charitable remainder trust can be constructed to provide income to you during your lifetime or a period you specify, with any remaining assets going to the charity upon your death.

Put Your Trust in Us

The trust and estate planning professionals at Navigator Credit Union can work with you and your attorney to determine if a trust would be beneficial in your situation. Give us a call at (228) 474-3427 to learn more.

16 Apr

Free Stuff Online: Not Just a Myth

When you’re in need of a microwave, rocking chair or tennis racket, is your first instinct to head to the mall? You may be surprised to learn that you can actually use the Internet to find these types of items for cheap — or even free!

Sites like Craigslist, eBay and local exchange sites are increasingly being use to unload items people no longer need. Users may be moving or remodeling, want to avoid the hassle of selling, or be looking for a green way to recycle items they don’t need any more. Here are a few tips to score big and avoid pitfalls:

  • Take your time. If you don’t need an item right away, keep searching until you find the right one.
  • Don’t feel obligated. Often users will post items at flattering angles or omit details. Don’t take an item that you’ll just end up getting rid of yourself.
  • Stay safe. Never go alone to pick up an item. Try to meet in a neutral public place like a coffee shop.
16 Apr

How to Begin Building a Strong Credit History

There are many reasons why having a strong credit history is important. It can affect everything from your ability to rent an apartment to getting a good job.

Payment history and credit score are two of the most important factors contributing to a positive, healthy credit record. Individuals who demonstrate personal responsibility by paying back the money they borrow — on time, every time — are typically rewarded with higher credit scores. A high credit score, in turn, shows lenders that you are worthy of trust for even more credit. (Scores range from 300 to 850, the higher the better.) And, utilizing credit wisely opens the door to meeting your financial goals — both short- and long-term.

If you are just beginning to utilize credit, here are some tips for starting off on the right foot:

Use your credit card(s) wisely.

It’s true that you need to use credit to build credit and having a credit card is one way to start. But rather than using a credit card sporadically, consider charging small amounts regularly that you can afford to pay off every month. Also limit how many credit cards you apply for — two is a good number — with one of the cards being a VISA® from Navigator Credit Union.

Avoid using all your available credit.

Each credit card comes with a pre-established credit limit. Don’t top out your card by using all your available credit. It’s too easy to go over your credit limit and potential lenders don’t like to see maxedout cards. Instead, use 10 percent to 30 percent of what’s available to you.

Apply for a car loan.

Making affordable, monthly car payments is an excellent way to build a healthy payment history. A car loan represents a different type of loan than a credit card. You are borrowing a fixed amount with a specific payment and repayment term. You may need a co-signer, such as a parent, for a car loan.

Keep track of your credit.

It’s a smart idea to check your credit report at least once a year for possible errors. There are three main credit-reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and you are allowed a free credit report from each every 12 months. You can check your credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

We Can Help

Whether it’s a credit card or an auto loan, Navigator Credit Union can help you on your way to building a strong credit history. Come in and meet with one of our representatives today.

A WORD TO THE WISE
While you can recover from credit missteps — such as missing a payment or going over your credit limit — it can take up to seven years for your credit score to recover after a significant drop.
16 Apr

Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Kebabs

These colorful kebabs are fun — and healthy — for the whole family.

Number of servings: 8 (serving size = 1 kebab)

Ingredients

For kebabs:
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
2 red or green bell peppers, seeded
2 medium red onions
16 cherry tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
2 medium ears of sweet corn
Nonstick cooking spray
For sauce:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon thyme

Directions

  1. Rinse all the vegetables. Cut zucchini, squash and bell peppers into 2-inch chunks. Cut red onions into wedges. Combine the cut vegetables with the tomatoes and mushrooms in a bowl.
  2. Cut the corn into 1-inch pieces and cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Add the cooked corn to the other vegetables.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, garlic and thyme for the sauce.
  4. Toss vegetables in the sauce and thread vegetables onto 8 skewers. (If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.)
  5. Before starting the grill, spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill over medium heat. Baste occasionally with extra sauce.
  6. Grill for 20 minutes or until tender.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 73 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 107 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 515 mg potassium.
Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, https://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov.

16 Apr

Just Moved? Do These Things, Then Relax

If the bubble wrap, pizza boxes and tape rolls are history, and you’ve just moved the last box into your new home, you might think the hardest part of the move is over. You’re right. But before you relax or collapse from exhaustion, there are a few things left to do. Here’s a checklist of easy post-move musts.

Set up utilities.

Change electricity, gas, water, cable, phone and Internet to your new address. Most utilities let you sign up for service or change your existing service online.

Fill out a change of address form.

Visit the local post office or go to www.usps.com to complete an official change of address form. Contact financial institutions directly to let them know you’ve moved.

Secure your place.

The previous homeowner’s friends and family could have copies of your keys, so call a locksmith and have all the outside door locks changed. Also, change the garage door opener codes.

Get acquainted.

Find the main circuit breaker, and check your major appliances to make sure everything is hooked up and ready to run.

Map out the area and get connected.

Take a drive or a walk around the neighborhood to find the nearest grocery store, gas station, pharmacy, hospital and post office. Consider subscribing to the local newspaper or community magazine. This will quickly get you up to speed on what’s happening in your neighborhood.

Keep track of moving expenses.

Thanks to the convenience of online and mobile banking, you can keep your accounts instead of opening new ones. Keep an eye on your balance, transfer money or pay a bill on the spot. The power to do it all is in the palm of your hand. With mobile banking from Navigator Credit Union, you can take us with you while you’re on the go — or shopping for that new door mat. To learn how to save time and money with the convenience of mobile banking, visit www.navigatorcu.org or call (800) 344-3281. Welcome home!