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Retirement in 2017

We thought you might find the following information useful as it explains noteworthy changes to Social Security that both retirees as well as those currently paying into Social Security can expect in 2017.

  • Cost-Of-Living Adjustment– Based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index over the last two years, a Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (or COLA) will be implemented for Social Security income beneficiaries in 2017. This will result in a 0.3 percent increase in payouts, or approximately an extra $5 per month.1 A modest increase compared to a 14.3 percent payment increase back in 1980.2
  • Earnings limit increase– Retirees who plan to work and collect Social Security at the same time may have some of their benefit withheld if they exceed the new earnings limit. In 2017, the earnings limit for those aged 65 and younger will increase to $16,920 from $15,720. Those taking Social Security benefits, who earn more than the new amount, will have $1 in benefits held back for every $2 in earned income over the $16,920 limit. However, the earnings limit will go away once you turn 66 and Social Security payments will no longer be withheld if you work and receive benefits at the same time. Also, payments will increase to credit you for any part of your benefit withheld in the past, according to US News & World Report.3
  • Changes to double claiming– Often married couples age 66 or older have taken advantage of collecting spousal Social Security payments worth half of the higher wage earner’s benefit amount only to later opt to take payments based on the other spouse’s individual work history, which now would be higher due to delaying the claim. Yet in 2017, this will no longer be an option. Retirees who turned 62 on January 2, 2016 or later will no longer be able to double claim a spousal payment and an individual payment at separate times. Instead, they will now just receive the higher of the two benefit options.

Bump in full retirement age – Like the COLA, it may seem like a modest increase, however, this change could affect the Social Security payments that you may plan to receive. Seniors reaching the eligible full retirement age of 66 years old will now have to wait 2 months (age 66 and 2 months) in order to receive full benefits.

How will this impact retirees? Those planning to claim Social Security as early as possible—such as age 62—will see a larger reduction from their overall benefits (slightly larger than the one they’d receive for claiming benefits early) with the extra 2 months tacked onto the full retirement age.

Give our financial services department a call at 775-789-3123 if these changes have you thinking about your retirement strategy, or if you just want more information.

All the best,

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
9600 S. McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV  89523
(775) 789-3140
gbfinancial.org
Find me on Facebook!

 

Registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with any other named entity. CA Insurance License #0G30574

Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

 

Hip Hip Hooray for Jay!

Meet Jaycyn. This month marks Jay’s 10 year anniversary with Great Basin Federal Credit Union! We asked her to take a minute out of her busy day as the e-Branch Manager to tell us all a little about herself.

  • Favorite part about working at Great Basin: “Helping employees grow and making sure they enjoy what they are doing!”
  • When I was little, I wanted to be: “A mermaid!”
  • Little known fact/fun fact about me: “I am deathly afraid of worms!”
  • Favorite thing to snack on while working: “Uhm today I have dried mangoes!”

Jay’s boss, Sarah, had this to say about her: “Jay loves to take on new challenges and finds value in seeking new ways to improve processes. She can be counted on to complete a task above what is expected of her. She loves her team and always finds the positive in a situation.”

Aren’t we all lucky to have a gal like Jay!

Congratulations to her on this accomplishment! Thank you for 10 great years. Here’s to many more!

March is National Credit Education Month!

March is officially National Credit Education Month! Our team at Great Basin FCU decided there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to talk about credit. Learn how to build and repair your credit with some credit education tips from yours truly!

Credit Education

Your credit score is a number associated with the borrower’s (your) risk. If a financial institution like a bank or credit union were to lend to you, how likely is it that you will pay a loan back in full and in a timely manner?

How do you know if your credit score is good or bad? Credit scores can usually range from 0 to 850, though credit scores will most commonly land between around 400 and 800. A good credit score is on the higher end of the spectrum, and a poor credit score will be lower. A credit score of 720-850 is considered excellent, and a credit score above 690 is good. If your credit score is below 690, this may indicate some credit problems such as late payments on a credit card or loan in the past or maxed out credit limits. A score of 350-650 indicates a damaged credit history, perhaps from a bankruptcy, collections, or a combo of many things.

It is much easier to learn about credit slowly but surely than to learn the hard way and hurt your credit score. At Great Basin FCU, education is one of our Core Values. Credit education for young adults matters to us at Great Basin FCU, so we spend a considerable amount of time on this topic. Our Youth Focus Committee travels out to schools to start the credit conversation in the classroom! Our team teaches kids about money, including topics like credit.

Building Your Credit

There are a few different tactics you can use to approach building or improving your credit. At Great Basin FCU, a great option for improving your credit is our ReBuild Together Loan, tailored specifically for young adults with no credit or adults with a damaged credit history.

This type of personal loan at Great Basin FCU is tailored specifically for credit union members with poor credit or no credit history at all. We lend you an amount between $1,000 and $3,000 for a term between a year and three years. The money we lend goes into a special savings account until you have made your payments to fulfill the loan. At the end of the loan term, you’ll have the money you paid in plus a good payment history on your credit.

How to Improve Your Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that ties to your financial responsibility and credit history.

  • Pay Off Your Credit Balance

If you pay off your outstanding balance on your credit card more than 
once a month, your credit score will improve. Paying off your credit balance
too frequently does keep you from building credit, so make sure to carry 
some balance in order to show use of the line of credit.

Even if you do not pay off your entire credit card balance each month, you can keep your credit card balance low to establish that you use around or less than 30% of your offered credit at any given point. If you keep your balance low, your credit score will get better!

  • Reduce Your Debt

Outstanding debts take a toll on your credit score over time. Limit the amount of debt you carry by paying off any outstanding loans. If you have multiple outstanding loans like student loans and business loans, consider paying off one loan completely to cut interest from that loan.

  • Get Another Credit Card

Your credit score includes a calculation of how much of your line of credit you are using at any given time. If you open a new credit card, your proportion of amount of credit used versus amount of credit offered will help raise your credit score.

  • Pay Bills On Time

Your credit score is a number that
reflects your financial behavior,
including if you pay your bills on time. Avoid taking a hit to your
credit score from paying bills late by marking your bill dates on your
calendar. Don’t forget to add time for payments to process as well!

  • Make Adjustments

People can fall on tough times, and money can get tight. The tough time is the reason why we have a credit card for emergencies — to help us through. If you endured a period where you took a hit to your credit score because you had to use all of your resources to make ends meet, look at clearing up your records with a creditor.

You can repair your credit score by negotiating with a creditor. If you have a relationship with your bank or credit union and a reputation as someone who pays on time, you can negotiate with your creditors. Borrowers who have established a strong reputation for paying bills and balances on time can may be able to erase some of the harsh penalties in a credit score for a late payment here or there when the going gets tough.

 

Happy National Credit Education Month from our Great Basin FCU family to yours. We are here to help you learn how to improve your credit.

Life Insurance & Life Events

While you can’t always ensure what the future holds for the ones you love, you can help ensure their future is protected. Having sufficient life insurance and the right financial instruments in place can help protect their dreams for the future—and give you and them the peace of mind to look ahead with confidence. 

And if you already have life insurance, remember that your insurance needs can change as you approach significant life events, such as:

  • Marriage
  • Purchasing a new home
  • Purchasing a new business
  • Children moving out of the house or going to college
  • Retirement

As exciting as it is to think about the futures of those you love, it can be a little daunting to think about putting together the right mix of insurance and financial products to protect them. We would be happy to help, and put the knowledge and experience of our financial professional to work for you. Together, we’ll assess your needs and concerns, discuss your options, and then decide on a practical solution that meets your budget. We’ll make sure you understand the program we put together, and can help you adjust it should any events like those above prompt changes in your coverage.

Call Steve Lindquist today at 775-789-3123 to find out how we can help give you an even brighter view of the future. Or if you prefer, you can stop by and talk to us in person at Great Basin Federal Credit Union. We look forward to talking with you soon!

All the best,

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
9600 S. McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV  89523
(775) 789-3140
gbfinancial.org
Find me on Facebook!

 

 Registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with any other named entity. CA Insurance License #0G30574

Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

It’s not fun to talk about fraud, but our friends at NerdWallet know that it’s a must. To check out some of the measure that reno credit union Great Basin takes as well as tips, visit the Security page.

With nearly 38,000 complaints logged in 2015, credit card fraud ranks as the second most common form of identity theft, behind only tax- or wage-related fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

It can take many forms, including:

  • Scammers who try to sucker you into giving up credit card info over the phone.
  • E-mail phishing.
  • Skimmers – devices hidden in the mouths of card slots at gas pumps, ATMs and even restaurants to copy card information.

Nothing but healthy skepticism can save you from falling for a slick hustler. But advances in technology are designed to better protect consumers against credit card fraud when making purchases in person.

EMV cards

Though they’ve been used widely for years overseas, EMV cards are relatively new in the U.S. They still have the thick black band on the back, so they can continue to act like the “magstripe” cards that people have been carrying in their wallets and purses for decades. The brainy component is the chip embedded in the card, indicated by a gold- or silver-colored foil square on the front.

When inserted into an EMV reader, the chip generates a unique, encrypted transaction code, or token. When the token reaches your bank, it is decrypted to verify your account and authorize the payment. Since the token changes with every transaction, a stolen token can’t be reused.

By comparison, the information on a magstripe is unchanging, meaning it’s easily cloned. In the U.K., where EMV has been in use more than a decade, the switch cut in-person credit card fraud by more than two-thirds.

Bear in mind that EMV chips are no safer than magstripes when you’re buying online or giving credit card info to someone over the phone. And for now, most gas pump card readers aren’t EMV-ready.

Great Basin offers the EMV chip card technology for both their low rate Visa Credit Cards and Visa Debit Cards, as well as 24-hour fraud protection. Cards are printed in the branch while you wait, so in the event that you do have to block a card due to fraud, you won’t be left waiting to receive a new one in the mail.

Mobile payment services

“Mobile wallets” or “e-wallets” use the same kind of token technology as EMV cards. The difference is that instead of pulling out your card, you tap or scan your smartphone at retail checkout terminals.

Depending on the smartphone pay system, you may need to enter a PIN or scan your fingerprint to complete a transaction. With Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, you’re assigned a substitute card number that’s unique to the phone and tethered to your credit card number.

Using your smartphone or tablet adds another layer of security, because a hacker would need to have both the device and its password.

Monitor your credit card statements

It’s a good idea to check your accounts regularly. If you see charges you know you didn’t make or otherwise don’t recognize, contact the card issuer to clarify and, if necessary, dispute them. You may also want to set up a fraud alert or request a credit freeze.

Online transactions

If you’re buying online, make sure you’re on a secure site before you enter sensitive information. Look for the https:// or a padlock at the start of the web address.

It’s also wise to avoid accessing bank or personal finance sites using public Wi-Fi, which can be wide open to hackers.

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