With so many changes under the new tax reform law, Manatee Community Federal Credit Union breaks down the top 5 to help you understand how you may be affected.
Don’t worry, TurboTax Has You Covered
TurboTax is always up to date with the latest forms and 100% accurate calculations. With TurboTax, you can file your taxes with complete confidence – and get your biggest possible refund, guaranteed. AND, as a credit union member you can save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products. Click here to access TurboTax and your savings!
Five Changes That May Affect You
Lower tax rates, more money. One of the biggest changes is the reduced tax rates, about 1 – 3% for the majority of taxpayers so you may be seeing more money in your paycheck.
Elimination of personal and dependent exemptions. Personal and dependent exemptions of $4,050 were eliminated. This can mean a big reduction in the number of write-offs you once had.
Increase in the Child Tax Credit. The new tax reform law increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child and it raises the income threshold, which means more people could be eligible for the credit.
Changes if you’re a homeowner. The new law limits the amount of state and local property, income, and sales taxes that can be deducted to $10,000.
Elimination of tax deductions. The new tax reform law eliminated several popular tax breaks starting in tax year 2018 (the one you file in 2019) like miscellaneous itemized deductions.
Don’t worry about knowing the new tax laws. TurboTax has you covered and will be up to date with the latest forms and 100% accurate calculations. When you are ready to file, click here to access TurboTax and your savings!
Credit union members can earn $100 for each new line you activate, up to 3 lines, when you switch to Sprint®.
Here’s how it works:
- Get a $100 cash reward for each new line you activate, up to 3 lines.
- Current Sprint customers will receive a $50 cash reward for every line transferred into Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards.
- Plus, get a $50 loyalty cash reward every year for as long as you are a Sprint customer.*
Here’s how to sign up for Sprint cash rewards:
- Become a Sprint customer.
- Register at LoveMyCreditUnion.org/SprintRewards or in the Love My Credit Union Rewards® app.
- Allow up to six to eight weeks to see cash rewards directly deposited into your credit union account!
Make the switch today and save with the Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards!
The savings don’t end here! Members have saved nearly $2 billion on services they need from partners they trust. The more offers you take advantage of, the more you save.
- Save up to $15 on TurboTax Federal online and downloadable tax products.
- Get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with a new ADT monitored home security system. Call 844-703-0123 to activate this special offer.
- Earn cash back with Love to Shop at over 1,500 online retailers.
Manatee Community Federal Credit Union Members Get Exclusive Discounts from Love My Credit Union Rewards!
Now with the Love My Credit Union Rewards program, you can save on products and services you use every day. Members have saved nearly $2 billion in discounts from valued partners through Love My Credit Union Rewards. You can save too with valuable discounts from these partners:
- $100 cash reward with every new line switched to Sprint! Current customers will receive $50 for every line transferred. Plus, a $50 loyalty reward every year for every line!*
- Get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with NEW ADT monitored home security system. Call 844-703-0123 to activate this special offer through the Love My Credit Union Rewards program.
- Shop and get cash back at over 1,500 online retailers with Love to Shop.
To find out more and learn about other valuable discounts, visit our website or LoveMyCreditUnion.org. You get all these offers and discounts just for being a member of Manatee Community Federal Credit Union.
*Activ. Fee: Up to $30/line. Credit approval req. Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards Offer: Offer Ends 12/31/2018. Avail. for eligible credit union members and member employees (ongoing verification). Tax ID req. to establish business acct. Switch to Sprint and receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation. Reqs. port-in from an active number (wireless or landline). Existing customers receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation and/or a $50 cash reward for each smartphone line transferred to program. New lines req. activation at point of sale. Max 15 lines. Sprint acct must remain active and in good standing for 31 days to receive Cash Reward. Excludes MBB devices, tablets and Sprint Phone Connect, upgrades, replacements and ports made between Sprint entities or providers associated with Sprint (i.e. Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance.) May not be combinable with other offers. $50 Loyalty Cash Reward: Members can earn one $50 cash reward annually when Sprint acct remains active and in good standing for 1 year. Max 15 lines. Cash Reward: Cash Reward issued by CU Solutions Group. Allow 6-8 wks for Cash Reward to be deposited to your Credit Union acct. If the Cash Reward does not appear after 8 wks, visit lovemycreditunion.org/sprintrewards. Other Terms: Offers/coverage not avail. everywhere or for all phones/networks. May not be combinable with other offers. Offer, terms, restrictions, and options subject to change and may be modified, discontinued, or terminated at any time without notice. Restrictions apply. © 2018 Sprint. All rights reserved. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Better Budgeting in 3 Steps
Whichever method or tools you use, the three steps to develop a monthly budget are always the same.
Step 1 - Determine Monthly Income. Your first budgeting step is to determine your monthly income. When they think about income, most people think of what they earn from their job. However, it is important to include all sources of income. For example, if you earn regular money babysitting for a relative or receive child support, it should all be included in your budget. Use net income, which is the amount of money you receive after taxes and other deductions (health and life insurance, 401k contributions, etc.) After you become comfortable managing your money on a monthly basis, you may want to consider a six-month plan and, eventually, work up to a yearly budget.
Step 2 - Identify High-Priority Bills. Your next budgeting step is to determine your high-priority bills. Examples include a mortgage or rent payment, basic utilities, auto payment, and insurance premiums. These payments are generally fixed, and you are expected to pay them every month. Some bills, such as insurance, are paid periodically. For this type of bill, budget by dividing the amount of the expense over the appropriate number of months (i.e. a quarterly payment would be divided over 3 months).
Step 3 - Estimate Other Expenses. After subtracting the priority bills from your net income, you will ideally still have money left for other important items, such as groceries, gasoline, and credit cards. The first time you set up a budget, it may be hard to determine how much you will spend on groceries or gas. So the next step is to try your best to estimate these amounts, and track your expenditures to monitor the accuracy of your estimates. Comparing your estimiates to how much you actually spend will help you adjust your budgeting amounts for the next month.
A word of warning: Most people are surprised at the amount of money they spend on trivial or unnecessary items. It’s important to set aside funds to cover the high priority bills first. Try to allocate a reasonable amount of money for miscellaneous expenditures, such as dining out and entertainment. For example, if you’ve been spending $100 per month on dining out, consider allowing only $50 in your budget. Then, after spending your allocated amount, don’t spend any more in that expense category. It takes discipline, but is well worth it. The money you save can go toward building up your emergency savings account, paying down your debts, saving for retirement, or maybe even paying for a vacation.
It may be difficult at first, but most changes are not easy. You’re changing your mindset and attitude toward money, and that takes time. But the longer you do it, the easier it becomes. It won’t be too long before your budget becomes a habit.
Spring Cleaning Your Finances
Springtime means opening the windows, sweeping out the
dust from over the winter and starting anew. It is also the
opportune time to clean out your wallet or purse, that junk
drawer full of receipts and those overflowing file cabinets.
But where to begin?
Go through your wallet and purse and fish out any receipts
you may have accumulated. Review which ones you need to
keep and why you kept them. Do you have receipts related
to rebates? If so, sit down today, fill out the form, and either
load on-line or put in the mail. Do you have credit card offers
lying around that need to be dealt with? Or, how about
passwords scribbled on post-it notes? Do you have other
receipts tacked on a bulletin board or shoved in a kitchen
junk drawer? How about all the paperwork from filing your
taxes? Rake them all together!
Once you’ve raked together all your sensitive papers, it’s
time to decide what to do with them. For tax documents,
in most cases, you should plan on keeping tax returns
and any supporting documents (e.g., W-2s, mileage logs
if you itemize, etc.) for at least three years after the date
you filed or the due date of your tax return, whichever is
later. Always consult your tax preparer, if you have questions.
Receipts not related to refunds or extended warranties can
be set aside for shredding. Do you have a pile of credit card
offers taking up space in a drawer? Get them ready for
So, once you decide what you need to shred, how do you
handle it all? Tearing the documents in half and throwing
them out is not the way to go! A home shredder is a good
idea. It is recommended that you buy a shredder that
crosscuts. In other words, you want all that paper ending up
looking like confetti, and not in strips. Home machines are
not typically heavy-duty, so be careful as to how much you
shred at a time. If your shredder is not equipped to take on
staples or other metal, be careful to remove them from the
paper to avoid damaging the blades. If you have a lot of
sensitive documents, many communities now offer Shred
events. They enable you to drop off your documents for
shredding for free, or for a small fee, and even watch it
being shredded while you wait.
Highly sensitive documents (social security cards, passports,
birth certificates, wills) should be locked up in a fireproof file
cabinet or lockbox. Gather all other pertinent papers, like
insurance forms, tax documents, mortgages, and put them in
a secure location. Inform trusted family members where the
documents are located and/or location of a key for the secure
file cabinet or lockbox.
A little planning this spring, alongside your traditional
cleaning, can set you up for a great financial year!
8 Steps for First Line of Defense against Credit Card Fraud
With all the news about breaches in security from popular places such as Target and Michaels, you may be wondering, how on earth did that happen and what can I do to protect my accounts?
Cardholder diligence and account monitoring is becoming more important as the first line of defense in fraud mitigation. Manatee Community Federal Credit Union wants you to be aware of steps you can take to decrease the chances of this from happening to you:
8 Steps for first line of Defense against Credit Card Fraud
- Monitor activity on your accounts regularly. Fraudsters are becoming savvier at avoiding detection of fraud monitoring programs by following transaction spending patterns that are similar to cardholders as well as by using less popular merchants that may not be monitored as heavily.
- Ensure your financial institution including Manatee Community Federal Credit Union has current contact information to reach you in case of suspect activity on your account. Manatee Community members: To report your MasterCard lost or stolen, please call 1-800-338-0566 immediately. To report your VISA® Debit card lost or stolen, please call 1-800-757-9848 immediately.
- When shopping online, do not store your login credentials or your debit/credit card information on websites.
- Ensure your login credentials (user IDs and specifically passwords) for your computer, online banking, smart phones, web sites or any system where you log in has secure, complex passwords that are difficult to guess (ex: minimum of 9 characters long using a combination of upper & lower case letters, number and characters).
- Update passwords for web sites regularly to ensure continued protection. We recommend doing this monthly.
- Be cautious of accessing personal information and of purchasing online if on an unsecured or public WiFi network.
- Ensure that personal computer and smart phone protections are kept current (ex: firewalls, anti-virus software, etc.)
- Be aware of current fraud trends related to social engineering (ex: phishing) and social networking sites (ex: Facebook).
Although nothing is guaranteed to completely safeguard you against breaches, these due diligent steps will make it more difficult for the culprits. If you need assistance or have any questions feel free to contact Manatee Community Federal Credit Union at 941-748-7704.