New Year Resolution: Reduce Monthly Expenses

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to make sure your overall financial health is in good shape, it’s a good idea to dive even deeper and analyze some of your reoccurring monthly expenses that you may be wasting money on as well.

The UCCU Financial Group compiled a list of five common monthly expenses that often can be adjusted, or cut out altogether, to keep more of your hard-earned cash.

  1. Gray spending on credit cards. Far too many people with credit cards fall prey to monthly subscription expenses they quickly lose track of—such as a 30-day free trial you forgot to cancel, or a monthly Netflix fee. Consider going over the last 12 months of your credit card statements and writing down any reoccurring expenses. Then you can decide what can be changed or cancelled.
  2. Health insurance plans. It’s a great idea to see what insurance plans are available and what makes the most sense for you and your family. Be sure to do this in advance of your insurance renewal date. Most insurance companies offer a calculator feature so you can enter in all your expected health needs over a 12-month period for each member of your family and see which plan gives you the lowest out-of-pocket spending over a year’s time, not just the cheapest co-pays. You may be surprised to find out you’re not on the most economical plan!
  3. Cable TV. Consider what you watch – with the ability to live stream most network TV shows on demand and the streaming services available through companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and Hulu Plus, for many cable has become obsolete. Decide what you and your family watch and decide if expensive cable bills can be a thing of the past for you and your wallet.
  4. Home and auto loans. With interest rates, considerably low, it’s worth the time to evaluate the benefits to refinancing your home or auto loans to see if there’s a lower rate option than what’s currently on your loan(s). Refinancing to a lower rate can reduce your monthly payments by hundreds to thousands of dollars a year.
  5. Cell phone plans. Mobile companies have begun to do away with their super strict, two-year service contracts and are often overselling you on services and data you don’t actually use or need! Do some research on your current contract and your provider’s fees, discounted family plans and what you’re currently paying. See if there’s a better, cheaper monthly option for your needs that will save you money.

Don’t hesitate to contact Steve Lloyd at the UCCU Financial Group to schedule an appointment if you’d like to further discuss your financial situation. Our phone number is 801.223.7502.

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Scary Financial Statistics to Avoid

Pumpkins with money signs.

While many enjoy being spooked at Halloween, what’s not so welcome are haunting feelings about a dark financial future. If your fear of finances is holding you back and you’re too frightened to brave the unknown, take a look at this list of financial statistics which suggests ways to avoid encountering a “scary” situation.

  • 67% of American workers have less than $50,000 saved for retirement. A worrisome number from a recent retirement survey that also revealed an even scarier statistic: 29% of Americans have less then $1,000 saved.1 The best way to get out of the dark here is to act now. Invest wisely and realize that saving money in a bank, for example, typically yields low returns. Instead, consider putting your money in a tax-deferred IRA account or 401(k) retirement account, especially if your employer matches contributions.
  • 25% of Americans making at least $100,000 live paycheck to paycheck.2 An alarming number of Americans, with what could be perceived as having lucrative jobs, still make poor financial decisions. For many, having more money equals more spending. Time to face your financial situation head-on. Practice making cuts in your monthly expenses to avoid living paycheck to paycheck while adding more to savings or investments that pay back. The more often you practice good spending habits the less scary and more fruitful your financial situation becomes.
  • Over 53% of Americans could not pay for an emergency that costs more than $400.3 This is a concerning statistic to think that the average American could not cover an unexpected expense, like a car breaking down or replacing a broken household appliance. General financial wisdom advocates establishing an emergency fund stocked with enough reserve cash to cover three to six months of living expenses. The best way to deal with this is to plan for the unexpected. If saving is an issue, consider setting up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck to push more cash into savings.
  • Over 60% of parents feel more comfortable speaking to an advisor about finances than their adult children.4 Many families still struggle with financial conversations and today, more than ever, children are increasingly anxious about their finances. Don’t let your children make poor financial decisions that could seriously impact them—and possibly you—in the future. The best way to avoid this statistic is to involve them in appropriate financial conversations either at home or with a financial professional.

You don’t have to face the fear alone. Give Steve Lloyd at the UCCU Financial Group a call at 801.223.7502 if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.

Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

 

 

 

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Taxes and Investment Gains Correlation

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Taxes play an important role in your investment strategy, regardless of your tax bracket. That’s why understanding how short and long-term term capital gains impact your investments over time can be critical. Below is a quick explanation on how that works.

Taxes and Investment Gains

Simply put, short-term gains are realized on investments held for under a year, while long-term capital gains are derived from investments held for more than one year. For example, if you purchase 100 shares of stock for $20 per share and sell them six months later for $25 per share, the $500 in profit is considered a short-term capital gain by the IRS and taxed at as ordinary income. Conversely, if you wait more than a year to sell the shares, they will be taxed at the long capital gains rate of 15% to 20%, depending on your tax bracket.

For investors in higher tax brackets, this rate can be substantially lower than the rate applicable to short-term gains.

Depending on your tax bracket, if you held the same shares for a year or more, you could end up making more money if the stock price continues to increase but still pay less at tax time. In addition, only your net investment income is taxable, meaning if you gain $500 from one investment but lose $500 on another in the same tax year, then your net gain is $0 and you are not required to pay any additional taxes.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought.

If you’d like to learn more about the relationship between investments and taxable gains in your portfolio, contact the UCC Financial Group at (801) 223-7502.

Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.
Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

Not NCUA/NCUSIF Insured – No Credit Union Guarantee – Not A Deposit – May Lose Value
Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency.

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The Importance of "Time In"

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Despite evidence to the contrary, many people believe that investment success is dependent upon their ability to outguess the markets—entering and exiting at the most opportune times. However, history paints a different picture. Investing is a long-term process that has … Continue reading

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Retirement Matters

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Retirement living conjures up various images. Some see retirement living as traveling. Others envision more family time. Still others simply look forward to more free time. No matter what your view, there are a number of questions and concerns that … Continue reading

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TruStage Insurance Offerings

TRUSTAGE BANNER

 

Insurance protection is part of a solid financial plan. Dependable coverage helps ensure financial relief when you need it most. TruStage, in partnership with UCCU offers you access to services and resources to help protect you and your family from the unexpected and give you comfort knowing you’re taken care of.

With nearly 80 years of experience working with Credit Unions, TruStage has a variety of insurance products and programs available to members like you.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

One of the nice benefits of UCCU membership is a no-cost TruStage Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance policy from CMFG Life Insurance Company. AD&D coverage pays you or your loved ones a cash benefit after an accident results in a covered injury or loss of life due to an accident. You can get $1000 of coverage, paid for by UCCU, and provided by CMFG Life Insurance Company. You can also get up to an additional $300,000 AD&D coverage from CMFG Life at affordable rates by signing up online for your no-cost or additional protection.

Auto Insurance Program

Working with carefully selected auto insurance partners, the TruStage Auto Insurance Program can provide discounted rates for UCCU Members, online services, and a 24/7 claims service.

If you haven’t compared auto insurance lately, it’s a great time to take a look. Your UCCU membership could result in some nice savings. For more information you can get a  quote online.

Homeowners and Renters Insurance Program

Working with carefully selected insurance partners, the TruStage Home Insurance Program can provide discounted rates for UCCU members. Whether you’re renting, or you own your home you’ll get quality coverage including: liability, personal possessions and additional living expenses. You’ll also get the convenience of online servicing and 24/7 claims service.

Right now is a great time to take a look into what TruStage can offer you. Your credit union membership could result in some nice savings.

For more information on homeowners and renters insurance you can go online and get a free quote.

Life Insurance

TruStage also offers Life Insurance policies to help you protect the people who matter most in your life. With many different options in whole and term life insurance on the market it may be a good time to look into this coverage. TruStage has plans and policies with affordable rates to fit your budget and help you plan for the future. To learn more about this important coverage you can go online or call 1-855-612-7909.

At UCCU we want you to understand all of your options and try to get you the best rates on the things that matter most. For more information about CMFG’s TruStage programs call 1-855-483-2149 or to talk to a UCCU professional call 801-223-8188.

 

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