USC Credit Union Blog

USC Credit Union Blog

Retirement Saving Options to Consider

Posted by Alexa on Sep 15, 2014 12:21:00 PM

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When it comes to retirement savings, you have options to consider. Here is a list of some of those options and information that can help you make the best decision. It’s USC Credit Union’s goal to be your financial partner for life and to empower you to own your future. Let’s get started!

Traditional IRA
An IRA is an Individual Retirement Account. Deposits to a traditional IRA are not taxed and your contributions will grow “tax-deferred,” meaning you will pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it.
• Income limits: Anyone with earned income (younger than 70½) can contribute.

• Tax-deductible? Yes, on both state and federal returns for the year you make the contributions.

• Withdrawals: Qualified distributions can begin at 59½, but the first distribution cannot occur until
five years after the first contribution. Also, contrbutions (but not earnings) can be withdrawn penalty- and tax-free anytime.

• Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): Begin at age 70½ 

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Topics: Retirement Planning, savings, retirement, Traditional IRA

Friendly Credit Unions Are Now 100 Million Members Strong

Posted by Alexa on Sep 8, 2014 1:52:00 PM

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There are now 100 million credit union members across the U.S., the Credit Union National Association announced Tuesday. Combined, credit unions have $1.1 trillion in assets. And credit unions are attracting millennials at a rapid pace, which is good news for the future.

But even if they are no longer a tiny corner of the banking universe, credit unions remain small when compared to commercial banks, which hold $14.8 trillion in assets. Despite their rapid growth, credit unions still represent only 7.4 percent of banking assets. To put things in perspective, JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) have combined assets of $4.5 trillion: two banks have four times the assets of all the nation's credit unions combined.

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Topics: Credit Unions, credit, usc credit union, usc, join a credit union, member

How Much Is Too Much To Spend on Your Hobbies?

Posted by Alexa on Sep 3, 2014 10:50:00 AM

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Thanks in part to the time I spent serving in the Army, I have tons of friends with unusual hobbies. Friends who skydive every weekend, with hundreds of jumps under their belts. Helicopter aviators who are learning how to fly airplanes. Endorphin junkies who register for triathlons and adventure races every chance they get.

On the more sedentary side, my parents collect wine and have a cellar full of bottles. And I've been taking guitar lessons for years. But there's a problem with all of these hobbies: the cost.

All the fun pastimes are expensive, or so it seems. Army officer and adventure racer Robert Kurtts agrees. "Adventure races and triathlons not only have entrance fees," he says, "they also have the cost to travel to the race and stay overnight before an early morning race start."

Those entrance fees can range from $20 for a short local race to more than $500 for a national or international class event. Beyond that, Kurtts notes, some races are gear-intensive, and all the necessary equipment can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Kimberly Paine, aka Misfit Merida of the Providence Roller Derby team, says that her sport is putting unexpected pressure on her home life. "Gear, dues, insurance, after parties ... the expected and unexpected costs of playing roller derby have strained our wallets and our marriage," she says. "One pair of skates can cost between $300 and $600, and a set of wheels can cost over $100. The average roller derby player spends about $600 a year on her favorite pastime."

Hobbies like these can get quite costly, and that's not even taking into account the value of a person's time.

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Topics: Retirement Planning, budget, hobby spending, financial planning

3 Ways 20-Somethings Can Get Debt-Free

Posted by Alexa on Sep 1, 2014 10:18:00 AM

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Getting debt-free in your 20s can be more than just a dream. It can become your reality if you are willing to work hard, pay your debt obligations as agreed and spend less than you make.

With planning and willpower, following these guidelines can help see you through to your goal.

1. Know Your Budget

Before you can make a plan for paying down debt, get a handle on your monthly budget. How much are you making each month? What are your current monthly expenses? How much are you paying toward your debt obligations each month?

Are there quick ways you can slash your spending? Visit the public library for free Internet access and free books and movies. Stay in and cook more and eat out less. Make your coffee at home.

Apply the money you save to paying down debt.

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Topics: Students, Debt, student debt, credit, usc credit union, usc, budget

Unable to Pay Off Debt?

Posted by Alexa on Aug 27, 2014 9:34:00 AM

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A look at two different methods of paying off debt: the Snowball Method and the Avalanche Method. Click "read More" to watch. 

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Topics: Debt, usc credit union, usc, living with debt

It's Never Too Early to Prepare for Retirement. Start Planning Today!

Posted by Alexa on Aug 22, 2014 11:30:00 AM

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Generally speaking, financial experts say you’ll need 70% of your annual pre-retirement income in order to maintain your standard of living in retirement. That statement may have you wondering when you should begin saving, and the simple answer is now. As with any big project, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you look at the big picture. However, by breaking your retirement savings goal into manageable steps no matter when you start, you’ll find that the process becomes less intimidating. In fact, armed with information you gather along the way, we even propose that the process can be an exciting adventure! It’s USC Credit Union’s goal to be your financial partner for life and to empower you to own your future. Let’s get started!

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Topics: Retirement Planning, savings, retirement, future planning, Investment

24 Ways to Save Money in College

Posted by Alexa on Aug 18, 2014 10:22:00 AM

121495246Ever hear the phrase "starving student?" Well, it didn't come from nowhere (and certainly not a fat-cat). College students are notoriously broke, but it doesn't have to be that way. These 25 tips will put more (er, some) money in your pocket.

1. Make a Budget, Check It Twice

This is number one on our list for a reason. It's easy to let money fritter away. Thou Shalt Not Fritter. A nightclub cover charge here, a dinner out with friends there, a book you didn't know you had to buy for class thrown in the mix and suddenly all the money you have for the month vanishes in a cloud of shame.

Getting a basic idea of how much you're spending each month and where you can cut back is one of the most fundamental financial lessons you'll learn while in college. This worksheet will help you brainstorm your expenses while Mint.com can track your spending.

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Topics: Students, money, college, budget

When Should You Start Saving for College?

Posted by Alexa on Aug 13, 2014 10:40:00 AM

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Congratulations! You’re starting a family. In addition to managing midnight feedings and figuring out how to get baby slobber off your work clothes, you’ve got some serious financial considerations to work through. That little bundle of joy in the bassinet is going to be headed off to college before you know it, so it’s never too soon to start thinking about how to pay for it.

So when should you start saving for your kid’s college? The short answer is, as soon as possible. The long answer? Well…

What to do before you start saving

Yes, it’s important to start saving for college early, but many experts say you need to place equal if not greater importance on your own retirement plans. After all, there are other options for paying for college, but your only option without any retirement savings is to a) keep working or b) get by on meager social security payments.  College can be paid for with loan programs, scholarships and grants. Retirement cannot.

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Topics: college, financial future, family, savings

A Crash Course in College Moving: 12 Tips To Get You on Your Way

Posted by Alexa on Aug 11, 2014 9:31:00 AM

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Just when you thought the trickiest parts of making the transition from high school to college were over (testing, applications, interviews) the reality of packing up your life and moving to college is quickly sinking in. While moving might seem fun and exciting at first, you’ll soon realize that the preparation for college dorm life can be a challenge. With these helpful tips, moving to college might be the easiest thing you’ll do all year.

1. Sort it out

Before you start packing, organize all your belongings and separate the items you want to leave home. Remember that college dorm rooms are usually cramped, so only pack essentials. If you find a bunch of items you want to get rid of, relegate them to donation boxes or have a yard sale.

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Topics: Students, college, usc, dorm, usc dorm, move in day

How To Trim $500 From Your Monthly Spending

Posted by Alexa on Aug 6, 2014 9:09:00 AM

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Think about how much sooner you might be able to accomplish those big financial goals you've been dreaming about — buying a new car, saving up enough for a down payment on a house, or finally finishing that home improvement project — if you could just find another, say, $500 to spare in your budget each month.

We know what you're probably thinking: That sounds great in theory — but it's practically impossible to achieve. Well, that's exactly what 33-year-old psychotherapist and Ph.D. candidate Lanada Williams is striving to do.

Williams wants to save up to buy a house in Washington, D.C., to share with her partner and 6-year-old son. But the country's capitol tends to be an expensive place to live, so she's finding it difficult to put away enough every month to reach her goal.

Fortunately, even the best-built budgets typically have room for some improvement. A tip? Learn to pinpoint those improvable spots and then make small adjustments that don't feel disruptive. "No one starts training for a marathon by running 26 miles," explains David Blaylock, CFP® withLearnVest Planning Services. "So you need to set a goal you can work toward over time."

To prove it may be possible to free up extra cash on a tight budget, we asked Williams to share her monthly expenses with us, so Blaylock could help retool her priorities in order to work on saving more for the house of her dreams.

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Topics: Home Buying, financial tips, budget, financial future

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