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Latest News are the conventional ways to protect yourself from data breaches. And then there’s the... Read More March 17, 2018
Help us welcome our newest team member. Say hello to Jada at the South Reno... Read More March 16, 2018
Don’t miss Let’s Talk Investing tonight at 5:30! Read More March 15, 2018
Come see us today at the Discovery doing “Marshmallow Budgeting” for kids! Admission is only... Read More March 14, 2018 financial habits & values kids pick up when they’re young play an important role... Read More March 13, 2018
Next week Enterprise will be at our South Reno Branch to talk all about car... Read More March 12, 2018
Don’t forget to turn those clocks forward for daylight savings! Read More March 10, 2018 Read More March 10, 2018
How to Spring Clean Your Nest Egg Read More March 9, 2018
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Women have some unique challenges that make financial planning especially... Read More March 9, 2018


How to Spring Clean Your Nest Egg


How to Spring Clean Your Nest Egg 

Spring is almost here! We are so excited we almost wet our plants! This means bees buzzing, flowers blooming, sun shining, and yes… spring cleaning. Many people dread going through their house and throwing out old stuff, or even worse, hosting a yard sale! But we here at Great Basin have a few tips to help our members clean up their accounts and keep your finances organized this year so you can go out and enjoy that sunshine! 

One of the best ways to keep your finances organized is to keep an updated transaction register. Not only does this help catch fraud early but is not uncommon for miscellaneous transactions to pop up, so it is best to keep track of exactly what your balance is in your account. We have free registers at any branch, so make a stop by and say hello! 

Another way to keep your account fresh and anew is by updating your account information. This is the best way to ensure that you can be reached for any reason on your account, especially in the case of fraud or other unusual transactions. You can do this by confirming your current address, phone number, and email through online banking or at any branch; our tellers would be happy to help. 

The spring season is always followed shortly by tax season. A great way to keep all your documents close, safe, and accessible is by signing up for E-statements. In doing so, not only are your monthly statements secure through online banking, but they are also completely accessible for viewing at any time. And even if you need to print them out for your accountant, you can do so free of charge using our member resource center. 

We also suggest that our members evaluate their beneficiaries, budgets, retirement plans, and investments to guarantee they are getting the most out of their accounts. Did you recently get a new job and now qualify for Kasasa rewards? Maybe you want to consolidate a previous 401K or IRA account? Or do you need to add or edit your beneficiaries? We can help! 

Spring cleaning doesn’t always have to be a pain, at Great Basin we think the parents should get a spring break too. That’s why we offer products and services that we feel help our members the most. And of course, we are available for any questions, comments, concerns, or even if you’re feeling chatty. They say April showers bring May flowers, and we hope your Spring is as sprung as ours. 

3 Big Social Security Changes to Expect in 2018

Should retirees be expecting a hefty raise or a pay cut in 2018?

by Sean Williams

Mar 4, 2017 at 6:43AM

The 2018 Social Security changes were announced in mid-October. You can read all about the big changes here. Please note that the Social Security Administration lowered the maximum taxable earnings cap to $128,400 in November 2017 from an initially reported $128,700 in mid-October. 

For many retired workers, Social Security isn’t just some ancillary income channel that pads their pockets during retirement. It’s a vital source of income without which millions of seniors would likely be living in poverty.

According to the latest data snapshot from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in June 2017, more than 41.9 million retired workers were receiving an average of $1,368.67 per month. The data show that slightly more than 60% of these retired workers will rely on their Social Security benefits to comprise at least half of their monthly income.

Obviously, political changes are a bit hard to predict. President Trump has suggested that he wouldn’t be looking to directly alter the Social Security program, and would instead tackle things indirectly by focusing on economic growth. Since the payroll tax is the primary funding tool of Social Security, a faster growing economy could indeed lift Social Security’s coffers and help stem an estimated $12.5 trillion budgetary shortfall in the program over the next 75 years. Trump is hopeful that individual and corporate tax reforms, as well as a focus on new trade deals, domestic energy, and a long-term infrastructure plan, will add this desired growth and lift Social Security.

In the much nearer term (i.e., by next year), we have a bit more visibility when it comes to direct aspects of Social Security that are likely ripe for change. Here are three Social Security changes that I believe can be practically locked in as a given in 2018.

1. The full retirement age is rising once again

Unless there’s some serious cohesion in Congress and a new Social Security bill is passed, the full retirement age for new retirees born in 1956 will be rising by two months in 2018 to 66 years and four months.

Your full retirement age, which is determined by your birth year, is the age at which the SSA deems you eligible to receive 100% of your monthly benefit payment. This benefit is determined by factoring in your 35 highest-earning years of work. For persons born in 1956, claiming Social Security at any point between age 62 and age 66 and four months will mean accepting a reduced payout for life. Likewise, waiting until age 66 years and five months all the way until age 70 could lead to an even larger payout than what you’re due at your full retirement age.

The 2018 increase in the full retirement age was actually signed into law all the way back in 1983 by Congress in order to account for lengthening life expectancies. Long story short, if you’re born in 1956 (or later), you’re going to have to wait even longer to receive 100% of your benefits, or you’ll have to be willing to accept a steeper reduction in your lifetime payouts.

2. Seniors will get their biggest COLA in years

There are still a few months to go before Social Security’s inflation calculation is made and 2018’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is announced, but as things stand now, it’s looking quite favorable that seniors will net their largest COLA in years.

Right now, Social Security’s COLA is governed by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The average third-quarter reading from the previous year serves as the baseline, while the average third-quarter reading from the current year serves as the comparison point. If the CPI-W falls year-over-year, there is no COLA (i.e., beneficiaries receive the same benefit payment without a “raise”). If there is an increase, beneficiaries receive the difference rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

Recently released data from the Social Security Board of Trustees in July predicts a 2.2% rise in COLA for 2018. The primary culprit behind this increase is higher fuel prices, with general economic inflation playing a smaller role.  

However, it’s still important to remember that the “raise” seniors are receiving is merely meant to match the inflation rate, not put seniors ahead of the curve. If anything, with COLAs falling short of the medical inflation rate in 33 of the past 35 years, COLAs are doing a pretty poor job of keeping seniors on par with the real inflation they’re facing.

3. The rich will pay more

Also, with a growing economy, it’s not uncommon to see a nominal increase in wages among the nation’s labor force. The National Average Wage Index (AWI) is what’s behind Social Security’s maximum taxable earnings, meaning a steady increase in U.S. GDP probably means a healthy increase in maximum taxable earnings.

As noted above, Social Security’s payroll tax is what provides the bulk of revenue to the program (87.3% in 2016, according to the SSA). In 2017, earned income between $0.01 and $127,200 was subject to the 12.4% payroll tax to fund Social Security. It’s worth noting that most workers don’t pay the full 12.4%. Instead, the total is split down the middle between employers (6.2%) and employees (6.2%). For the wealthy, it means any earned income beyond $127,200 is free and clear of Social Security’s payroll tax.

While it’s tough to gauge how much of an increase we’re on track to see in the AWI, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a roughly 3% increase in maximum taxable earnings, pushing the upper boundary of the scale to north of $130,000. Long story short, expect the rich to pay more in 2018.

There’s still plenty of time for these scenarios to be altered, but these Social Security changes are looking very probable in 2018.

Steve Lindquist


Steve Lindquist 
Financial Consultant
9600 S McCarran Blvd
Reno, NV 89523 
(775) 789-3140

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 9600 S McCarran Blvd., Reno NV 89523.

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


Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. This information is found in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing.

Investors should also consider whether the investor’s or beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits available only from that state’s 529 Plan. Any state-based benefit should be one of many appropriately weighted factors in making an investment decision. The investor should consult their financial or tax advisor before investing in any state’s 529 Plan.


Business Startup Loans in Reno!

laptop and things on desk

You have decided to start a business — congratulations! The first step for many business startups is securing a startup loan. Here’s what you need to know about business startup loans in Reno.

Business Startup Financing

Business startups can use different types of financing to fund the startup efforts. Some small business startups may opt for a credit card or crowdfunding to fund their endeavors. Some startup business owners first approach friends and family for funding. Keep in mind that these options all have their own benefits and pitfalls.

Another option is a business startup loan. The funding is more dependable, since your lender is a financial institution. You also won’t be asked at every holiday party or family gathering when you will be able to repay that uncle. When it comes to financing your startup, a business startup loan with your local Reno financial institution is a dependable option.

Types of Business Startup Loans in Reno

Get your business up and running in Reno with a business startup loan!

Startup businesses will need financing for different things depending on the type of business. What does your business need to succeed? There are various options for business startup loans in Reno. A lot depends on what you need and how you qualify. Your business lender will help you decide which small business startup loan will help you succeed.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers many great options for existing businesses and startups alike.

  • The SBA 7(a) Loan Program allows for startup and existing businesses to receive a government guarantee through a partnering lender up to $5,000,000.  This program enables business owners to purchase equipment, get working capital, purchase real estate, refinance existing debt, and much more. 
  • The SBA Express Loan  helps entrepreneurs and existing businesses get up to $350,000 quickly for revolving lines of credit and more, to help you build or grow your business.
  • The CDC/504 Loan Program helps small businesses and startups get funding to purchase assets like real estate and land. This type of business startup loan allows for lower down payments and fixed rate options.

Business Startup Loans at Reno’s Great Basin FCU

Attend a “Let’s Talk” at Great Basin FCU to help your small business or startup grow!

Great Basin Federal Credit Union is a local business lender. We are able to offer business startup loans with better terms. Our Member Business Loans help small businesses and startups in Reno grow and develop to become successful. At Great Basin FCU your business startup loan in Reno can have longer terms, lower down payments, and competitive rates.

Learn more about how to help your startup business grow in Reno with the help of your neighborhood credit union. Also, attend our business related “Let’s Talk” each month to learn how to help your business. Our February 28th free talk will cover the topic of Trademarks & Copyright, basically everything a lawyer would tell you so you can protect your intellectual property. This talk will also give you the chance to learn the benefits of the SBA 504 Loan Program!

Contact Business Services Representative, Nina Hallock, at Great Basin FCU to get a business startup loan in Reno today!


Happy Valentine’s Day

Hannah and Audrey

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and before you know it, there will be lines of people buying roses at the grocery store and making reservations at our amazing local Reno restaurants. In fact, overall Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit 19.7 billion dollars this year! Luckily, we have compiled a few tips to get you through another commercial holiday with your account unscathed. We have…


Instead of going out to a fancy restaurant and buying an expensive meal, suggest making a meal together at home instead. There are plenty of easy, cheap, and tasteful recipes that are not only memorable, but enjoyable to make. And the best part is that you get to spend time with your significant other in the process. The only thing better than a five star meal is one that is made with love for someone you love.


It may be tempting to want to splurge on your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, but handmade gifts are a great alternative on a budget. It can be as simple as framing their favorite picture, or writing a heartfelt note in a handmade card. For those with significant others, be sure to have a honest conversation about your expectations for this holiday. Many couples set spending limits or skip the holiday all-together in an effort to save.


Flowers smell good, they look beautiful, and they can be delivered for a simple, yet special gift. A couple of ways to save on flowers this year is to make sure to order ahead and switch it up. Many florists give discounts for those who pre-order and you may be able to save even more if you have them delivered a few days before Valentine’s Day. Another option is to skip the roses and pick a different flower that is less pricey, or a favorite of your loved one.

Date Night

If you want to plan an extravagant date for your loved one, but don’t want to spend a fortune there are many ways to do both! Northern Nevada is home to many free, local, and inexpensive adventures. The Truckee River Walk offers delightful views and is located right next to the Art District. Just remember to bundle up! For those outdoorsy couples, there are many trails such as the Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway and Hunter Creek Trail to explore as well. Also, for the star lovers out there, the Fleishmann’s Planetarium offers inexpensive shows and even offers various discounts for students, teachers, military, 60+, etc.


Valentine’s Day is a special time that we get to celebrate LOVE! All of us on board here at Great Basin especially pride ourselves on being member-loved. And remember that even if you feel like you don’t have a Valentine this year, you are definitley ours, we appreciate you so much. Relationships are one of our core values here at Great Basin and we want to wish our members, their families, and friends a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Customer Service is the Only Service

Two women working together on a computer

When you’re shopping for an item or a gift, you shouldn’t just hope to find that item. You want to know the details of it, why it makes it better than others of its like, and feel absolutely sure that you made the right decision. More often than not, however, one sometimes doesn’t do as much research as they believe they have. You realize that there may be more options than expected, or it’s simply not what you wanted. That is when good customer service can make all the difference.

In my previous work, I sold suits for a company and often had to help guests in finding an ensemble for an event – weddings, high school dances, business meetings, and sadly funerals. It was important to not only know your products and its details, but you also had to cater to your client. It was almost never as easy as just slapping together an outfit for him or her and telling them “That will work.” One has to listen to them and get to know their personal tastes and dislikes, where the event was, the weather there, the day they would need the outfit, and even if they were dressing for themselves or if they were sent to us by a friend or family member.

Paying attention to these details is key to making a client or guest happy with their purchase. If even one item is not to their liking, that can mar the experience. If the associate who should be knowledgeable on the products is not, trust can be very hard to earn. After all, would you rather go with someone who listens to you and caters to your own needs? Or have someone that simply says “Yes, that is a good choice” without explaining why it’s a good choice? Are you getting all the information you could want, or not being told anything at all?

Here at Great Basin FCU, I like to think that everyone here is knowledgeable and helpful with our members. If anyone is not sure on how best to help, we are always quick to ask someone who is to make sure our members are well taken care of. It is vital for any business that their customer service skills are top notch, because without that, they are only serving themselves and not their clients.

With that, dear reader, what kind of customer service do you expect to have? A fast and efficient waiter at your favorite restaurant? A knowledgeable investment expert? An honest salesperson (they exist) at a retail store? Keep these in mind wherever you go, and soon you will see which places you frequent are actually worth your time.