18 Oct

Planning for Retirement Now

Planning for Retirement Now

No matter what age you are, the time to start planning for retirement is now. If you have no idea where to start, or just want to review your current plan, we’re here to help. By following these few pieces of advice, you can take your retirement savings plan up a notch and start seeing the real difference that saving early can make.

Contribute to Your 401(k)

Contributing to your 401(k) is the simplest way to start planning for your retirement. Even if it seems impossible when you’re struggling to pay off student debt, pay rent, and just afford to eat, focusing on setting aside a small amount every paycheck and contributing it to your 401(k) can make a huge difference in the long run.

Another benefit, is that most employers offer contribution matches to your 401(k). Meaning the amount that you put in, they will match up to a certain percentage, usually 3%. This is essentially free retirement money, so take full advantage and contribute at least the maximum amount that they will match. You should start contributing to your 401(k) as soon as possible.

Open an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)

There are two types of IRAs, traditional and Roth – both with advantages depending on when you would like your contributions to be taxed. A traditional IRA allows you to contribute up to $5,500 per year and grows, tax-deferred, until retirement. With a Roth IRA, you can contribute the same amount per year, but the money is taxed now instead of when you remove it at retirement. RMLEFCU offers both types of IRAs, so you can pick the account that best suits your retirement savings needs. Learn more about our IRA options here.

Be Wise with Your Investments

The younger you are, the more aggressive you can be with your investments as you can handle the ups and downs of the long-term market. The older you get though, you likely want to start choosing more conservative investment options with less risk. If you know little to nothing about investing, instead of trying to decipher the world of stocks and mutual funds by yourself, it’s wise to enlist the help of a professional. Here at RMLEFCU, we have a great financial planning department that is ready to help you plan for retirement and long-term success.

Plan an Emergency Fund

Now that you’re contributing funds toward your retirement, you may think that you don’t need to save anything else. In the case of an emergency though, you’ll want to have a separate account set up with a decent amount of money that can be used for unexpected expenses instead of putting large expenses on a credit card or, even worse, using retirement savings. By setting up a separate savings account with an ideal amount of about 3 months living expenses saved up, you can maintain peace of mind that you will be able to handle any unfortunate emergency that might come up. Sometimes cars break down and dogs need to visit the vet. RMLEFCU offers both regular and custom savings accounts to help you with your specific savings goals. Check them out and see which is the better option for you.

Give yourself peace of mind by looking at the big picture and planning for retirement sooner rather than later. You’ll thank yourself in the long run and probably not even miss the simple expenses you might have to cut back on today. If you need help getting started planning for retirement and would like to speak with one of our financial advisors, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or visit our website for more information.

 

 

12 Oct

Tips for Paying Off Debt

Tips for Paying Off Debt

Debt has become a dirty four-letter word of sorts. People don’t want to talk about it, and yet it consumes and frustrates so many of us. Fear not though! RMLEFCU is here to give you a few tips for paying off debt and help you along the way.

Plan and Budget

Even though it may be intimidating and seem impossible to dig yourself out of the debt hole, if you learn how to take control of your finances and come up with a game plan, it can be a lot simpler than you think. A simple way to start, is by gathering the balances and interest rates from your various credit cards and loans. Once you have a good idea of how much you owe in total, then you can begin to come up with a budget and plan of attack.

To create a budget, start out by making a spreadsheet that includes your monthly income and expenses. Then, go through the expenses and see what costs are truly non-negotiable and which you can live without – at least until you are debt free. This will loosen up some extra cash that you can put directly towards paying off your debt, getting you one step closer to financial freedom. Check out the new budgeting tool in the RMLEFCU online banking portal. This handy feature integrates with your spending to help you plan a budget and stay on track.

Tackle the Most Expensive Debt First

Now that you have decided how much you owe in total, it’s time to take a closer look at the different interest rates on various loans and cards. Sort them from highest to lowest interest rate and focus on paying off the higher ones first, by putting more than the minimum payment down on them each month. By doing this while continuing to pay at least the minimum on all others, you will lower the amount of interest costing you the most money every month.

Another option is to consolidate your high interest debt into a lower interest option. If you have credit card debt, consider transferring the balances on your higher interest credit cards to a lower interest RMLEFCU credit card for no additional fee. If you have high interest loans such as student loans or an auto loan, talk with a loan advisor about paying them off with a lower interest RMLEFCU option such as a HELOC, personal loan, or by refinancing.

Pay More Than the Minimum

The minimum monthly payments on credit cards and loans are usually 2-3% of your total outstanding balance. In order to make a dent in your debt, you must pay more than just the minimums. Otherwise you are just dragging out the repayment period causing yourself more stress and costing yourself more money. The longer it takes you to repay charges, the more interest banks charge you. Don’t fall into this vicious cycle. Instead, try paying the minimum payment every other week or pay double the monthly minimum. For example, if your minimum payment due is $100, try paying $200 or more whether it’s all at once or sporadically throughout the month. This will allow you to avoid interest charges and improve your credit score. Win-win!

Increase your Assets

If you’re following all of the above steps and still don’t feel like you’re getting un-buried as fast as you would like, it might be time to consider other options to increase your cash flow. This can be anything from selling unnecessary items you may have accumulated over the years, or even getting a second job. Depending on how much money you need and how much time you are willing to invest, each of these options has its pros and cons that should be taken into consideration with your unique situation.

Paying off debt doesn’t have to be intimidating and frustrating. If you develop a solid plan and stick to it, becoming debt free is completely possible for anyone. If you want more tips for paying off debt or would like to speak with one of our expert representatives, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or visit our website.

09 Oct

Dreams Thrive Here –International Credit Union Day Contest

Dreams Thrive Here

Dreams Thrive Here –International Credit Union Day Contest

The theme for International Credit Union Day 2017 is “Dreams Thrive Here,” and we are behind that sentiment 1000%! After all, we’ve been supporting each other’s dreams since 1938. In that spirit, members are invited to visit our Facebook page and share their own experiences in using RMLEFCU’s tools and services to make a dream happen.

Tell us about a memorable trip, favorite vehicle, or educational experience that the credit union helped make happen and be entered to win your choice of:

  • A free loan slide-by for the holiday season
  • ¼ point off a new loan
  • Or one free year of Kasasa Protect

Enter the “Dreams Thrive Here” contest by sharing your story on the post linked below, by tagging @RMLEFCU in a post on Facebook, or using #DreamsThriveHere on Twitter or Instagram before October 19th (International Credit Union Day).

We look forward to hearing your stories!

Dreams Thrive Here Facebook Contest

*Entrants must qualify for RMLEFCU membership. Eligibility is open to current or retired employees of law enforcement organizations in the state of Colorado as well as family of our current members. For a full list of eligible organizations please visit https://www.rmlefcu.org/about-us/become-a-member.html.

04 Oct

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

In this day and age, most everyone is aware of phishing scams and does their best to avoid falling prey to their tricks. With such a high level of awareness, you might think that the volume of thieves out there creating phishing scams has decreased. The unfortunate truth though, is that innocent consumers still fall victim to scams every day, as criminals get better and better at their job of fooling every-day people. Fortunately for you, RMLEFCU has a policy to educate our members on these internet-related fraudulent schemes and how to avoid them.

Access Sites Directly

RMLEFCU advises that you not access the Credit Union’s webpage from a link on a third-party site, as it may not be authentic. Always access the site by typing the name or URL address into the browser or use a “bookmark” that directs you straight to the site. This will ensure that you are visiting the actual, secure website instead of a copy or lookalike page.

Beware of Emails Asking for Information

Nowadays, people get so many emails each day that it’s hard to keep track of them all. When going through your inbox, trying to decide which are important and which are spam, it’s easy to see the name of a trusted institution and immediately assume that it is a legitimate email. As a rule of thumb, RMLEFCU will never request confidential information such as account numbers, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs) via email. If you receive an email request requesting one or more of these examples, report it to the Credit Union and delete the email immediately.

Ensure Webpages are Secure

When visiting any site where you will be putting in sensitive personal information, always make sure to check that it is secure. You can check this by looking at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of ”http”, the site is secured using the SSL Certificate. This ensures that all of your data and information is secure when it is passed from your browser to the site’s server. RMLEFCU maintains current website security certificates that safeguard confidential transactions and information. Just make sure to authenticate the site pages before entering in any sensitive material.

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Report Suspicious Activity

If you suspect that you have gotten a phishing scam via email, phone call, or other form of communication, reach out to the institution that the message was supposedly sent from at a phone number or email address that you know to be legitimate. This will not only validate whether or not the message was genuine, but, if it was a scam, will allow the institution to alert others and prevent further damage.

Everyone slips up now and then, but by following these precautions, you will drastically lower your chances of falling victim to a phishing scam. Just by getting into the habit of checking websites you visit for the SSL Certificate verification, the chances of your identity or personal information being stolen is significantly reduced.

If you have any questions about RMLEFCU’s policy regarding phishing scams, please visit our website or give us call at (303) 458-6660.

22 Sep

Things Worth Saving Up for and Splurging On

Things Worth Saving up For

As much as we all like saving money wherever we can, there are a few things in life that people, for the most part, agree are worth spending the extra money on. Whether it’s an experience you’ll never forget or an item that you’ll use every day; some things are worth a bit of a splurge. While everyone’s priorities and opinions are different, this list of things worth saving up for and splurging on seems to be pretty consistent across the board.

Mattress

Fun fact, you spend about a third of your life sleeping, so the real question here is why wouldn’t you splurge on a great mattress? Not only will you get a better night’s sleep, but your productivity and energy will increase too.

Sheets

This goes hand in hand with the quality mattress point. Anyone who’s slept on scratchy sheets can attest that great bedding can make all the difference in getting a good night’s sleep. Now, we’re not saying to go out and buy 1,800 thread count, Egyptian cotton bedding, but spending a little extra money on better sheets can really impact the quality of your shut eye.

Phone and Computer

It’s 2017 and most of us use one, if not both, of these items all day, every day. Investing in a quality product, whichever brand you may be loyal to, will not only last longer, but have less technical issues in the long run than its cheap counterpart.

Running Shoes

Anyone who’s ever ran more than a mile in subpar shoes knows what we’re talking about. While paying $100+ every 200-500 miles may seem like a lot, the injuries that you’ll prevent in the long run make it completely worth it; especially if you consider yourself an avid runner.

Vacations

Are you going to remember that one week in May 2018 when you went to work every day like normal, or when you took a trip somewhere new and made unforgettable memories? People are always saying how they regret not having more experiences and making the most of life when they had the chance. Don’t let that be you.

Now, while you can plan a vacation on the cheap, there are some things you should not go for the cheapest option on. Generally speaking, hotels and sleeping accommodations are the best example of “you get what you pay for.” Depending on where you’re vacationing, paying a little more per night for a room in a safer and more comfortable place, could make or break your whole trip.

Quality Toilet Paper

Not that this one needs very much explaining, but you’ll end up spending the same amount, if not more, for more roles of the cheap, thin stuff than for the nicer brands. Give yourself a break and go for luxury here.

 

While not splurging on some of these items may be fine with some, a good rule of thumb is that if you use something every single day, it’s worth spending a little extra money on to ensure it is of great quality. While it may take some time to save up the money to splurge on these items, it is usually worth it in the long run.

Making a budget and investing in a good savings account are some great first steps to ensuring you have the money for things worth saving up for and splurging on. Lucky for you, RMLEFCU has the people and resources to help with both! Visit our website or give us a call at (303) 458-6660 to find out how we can help you start saving today.

Do you agree or disagree with anything on this list or have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!

18 Sep

Car Buying Process Made Simple

Car Buying Process Made Simple

Have you been thinking about getting a new car recently? Don’t know where to start? Allow us to help. Here at RMLEFCU, we have partnered with AutoTrek® to bring you plenty of resources to simplify the car buying process.

Use an Auto Broker

When making a new or used car buying decision, many people utilize auto brokers to help them with the tedious process of finding the exact car they want at an affordable price point. Simply put, auto brokers streamline the process significantly and do all the heavy lifting for you. Just tell them what you’re looking for in a vehicle and a set price range, and they take care of the rest. From scouring the country locating a vehicle fitting your description to negotiating prices with the dealer; they take care of all the time consuming busy-work so you don’t have to.

RMLEFCU Member Deals and Discounts

By being a member of RMLEFCU, you receive the best deals and discounts in AutoTrek’s inventory. AutoTrek provides RMLEFCU members with the most current and accurate vehicle information on the market, so you can make the most informed car buying decision possible. They also offer members a complimentary vehicle report, so you are able to check the history and information on any vehicle as long as you have the VIN.

What’s the Value of Your Current Vehicle?

How much you will get for your current vehicle will probably effect which car you’ll set your sights on buying next. If the value of your current vehicle is more than expected, then suddenly you might be able to afford a slightly nicer make or newer model! Utilize the NADA appraisal tool to find the approximate trade in value of your vehicle and compare similar models side by side to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Get Your Dream Car

By utilizing the New Vehicle Builder Tool, you’ll be able to research and build your dream car equipped with any and all the bells and whistles you’d like. You can then submit this vehicle to AutoTrek who will search high and low for your exact specifications. Once found, AutoTrek will take care of all the negotiations and deliver the vehicle to you at the best price possible.

RMLEFCU Auto Loans

So now you’ve got your dream car at the best price possible, but how are you going to pay for it? At RMLEFCU, we’re all about making the car buying process as simple as possible, so we offer competitive auto loans only available to members with no payments for the first 90 days! We’re making it easier than ever to get you into a brand-new ride at the lowest possible price, so what are you waiting for? Check out our website for more information and apply online today!