Financial Resources – News Articles & Links
June Feature Article
Your Guide to Summer Savings
June is the month of sun-kissed beaches, dripping ice cream cones, backyard BBQs … and spectacular sales. Use this handy list to see where to save and what to skip this June.
Save: Swimwear. Now is a good time to find great deals on all your swimwear needs.
Skip: Grills. If you wait until August or September to splurge on that high-end grill, you may be able to buy it for half the price!
Save: Donuts. National Donut Day is the first Friday in June. Join in the celebration by seeing which area pastry shops have deals on sweet treats
Skip: Designer clothing. Love brand-name clothing, purses and shoes? You’ll be wise to wait another month before giving your wardrobe an overhaul. Toward July’s end, you’ll be able to nab incredible deals on name brands at many high-end retailers.
Save: Movie tickets. You’ll find $1 movie tickets in June at Regal Cinemas for family friendly movies to help kids beat the heat and offer families a fun and economical outing.
Skip: Televisions. You won’t find much in the way of TV deals this month, and you’ll be stuck paying full price – or more – on any purchase. It’s best to wait until next season when TV prices start dropping.
Save: Outdoor gear. Pick up outdoor gear for a great price when you most need it! June is a great time to stock up on fishing, hiking and camping gear and supplies.
Skip: School supplies. You’re better off waiting another month or two before stocking up on pencils and paper. Back-to-school sales start rolling out in July, but don’t pick up speed until mid-August.
Save: Gym memberships. Summertime can get dry for gyms. Cash in on this drop in business by snagging a great deal on a gym membership this June. If you’re not ready to sign up for a full year, you might be able to land a free trial day or two, or a complimentary class. No more excuses for not getting into shape!
Skip: Laptops. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, it’s best to wait until the back-to-school sales start in July and August
Save: Kitchenware. You’ll find the most popular wedding gifts on sale this month, namely dishware and cookware. Take advantage of these sales to buy wedding gifts, replace old dishes or stock up on pots, pans and glassware.
Tax Bill - Some Key Changes
Despite efforts to create limitations on the availability of pre-tax contributions to 401(k) retirement plans, Congress decided to leave retirement plans largely untouched after receiving powerful pushback from taxpayers in all sectors of the economy. The Act did make some minor changes though, including changes to a rule regarding the ability to convert funds in traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Currently, taxpayers have the ability to convert funds from a pretax IRA to a post-tax Roth IRA and pay tax on the money that is converted. Taxpayers also currently have the ability to change their minds and undo this conversion through a process called recharacterization. The Act has repealed the rule allowing recharacterization of a Roth IRA back into a traditional IRA after a conversion.
MORTGAGE INTEREST TAX DEDUCTION
The final Act will not affect current homeowners; it would allow them to continue to deduct the interest paid on up to $1 million of mortgage debt. New homebuyers will only be able to deduct the interest on up to $750,000 of their mortgage principle on home purchases scheduled to close on or after January 1, 2018. The new cap expires at the end of 2025. It is important to note that the MITD only applies to those filers who opt not to take advantage of the new standard deduction, which is $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint filers under the Act. Those individuals who opt to still itemize, will also be able to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local property taxes under the bill.
HOME EQUITY LOAN INTEREST DEDUCTION
The Act limits the deductibility of interest paid on some home equity loans/lines of credit for loans beginning after December 31, 2017, depending on the purpose of the loan. The Internal Revenue Code currently distinguishes between "acquisition" debt, meaning loans to buy, build or substantially improve a main or second home, and other "home equity" debt. The Act does not alter this distinction, but eliminates the deduction of "home equity" debt and limits total "acquisition" debt to $750,000. Existing home equity lines of credit may also not be "grandfathered" into receiving the deduction. Additionally, beginning in 2018, any interest accrued on certain existing home equity loans/lines of credit may not be deductible. The suspension expires at the end of 2025.
This article is for general information purposes, as we do not provide tax advice. Individuals should consult their tax advisor for specific questions.
Equifax Inc. Data Security Breach
- Social Security Numbers
- Birth Dates
- Driver’s License Numbers (in some instances)
Important Update about your EMV Chip Debit Card
When you use an EMV chip-enabled debit card to make a payment, most merchants that are equipped with EMV chip card terminals give you the option of paying as either “Debit” or “Credit.” Either option may require you to enter your PIN. Always inform the cashier "you want to choose credit.” You might encounter the two options - US MasterCard or International MasterCard, always choose International MasterCard; and your transaction will be completed as a credit transaction. You may also see US MasterCard and MasterCard, choose MasterCard and your transaction will be completed as a credit transaction. Please note, you may still be required to enter a PIN, but as long as you select credit, International MasterCard or MasterCard, the transaction will be processed as a credit transaction and not Point of Sale (POS). If you don't see these options, the merchant you are shopping with has decided for you; and they will only route it through US MasterCard as a POS transaction.
Many members who make purchases with their debit cards at certain retailers, no longer have the option of choosing “Credit” when making their payment. Unfortunately, some stores have made the business decision to require their customers using a debit card to use the “Debit” option and enter their PIN, thus making the “Credit” option unavailable. When your purchase, if over $50, goes through as a pin-based POS debit transaction, it will incur a nominal 50 cent fee.
If a retailer does not permit you to select “credit” at the sale terminal, you have the following options:
- Complete the transaction and pay a 50 cent fee
- Cancel out of transaction; and pay with a First Service VISA Credit Card instead
- Cancel out of the transaction and pay with a check or cash
Let your voice be heard! If a retailer tells you that you no longer have an option on how to pay for your transaction – we encourage you to call or write the store. Let them know that as a consumer, you want them to bring back your choice on how you pay for your purchases.
Additional online resources:
- MyCreditUnion.gov - Financial tools and calculators, including college savings, student loans, mortgages and retirement savings. Users also have access to a personal budgeting worksheet.
- Pocket Cents - A financial literacy tool for all age groups which provides personal finance lessons and tips for groups including youth, tweens, teens, young adults, families, seniors, parents, educators and service members.