22 Jan

Retirement: WHAT are you going to do with your time and WHERE are you going to do it?

rmlefcu blog picPerhaps you are counting down the days until your retirement with feverish excitement or you feel heart palpitations because you’re not quite sure what this period of life holds for you.

We’ll explore how retirees WANT to spend their time, how they ACTUALLY spend it and some great places in Colorado for people 65+ to make their home.

How we envision retirement: U.S. News and World Report have studied this topic extensively and in an article titled “5 Ideal Ways to Spend Your Retirement” they enumerate wish lists for retirees. Respondents included the following desires, including but not limited to: spending more time with family, pursuing a long held passion, taking more time for your personal interests (think hobbies) and doing activities you already know you enjoy.

How we actually spend retirement: Sleeping, reading, watching TV, home improvement projects, shopping, and working.

Quite the dichotomy wouldn’t you agree? Read More

13 Jan

5 Ways to Avoid Having Your Identity Stolen

shutterstock_277127651

Identity theft is like a shape shifter taking on many forms. There are three common types.

  1. Existing account takeover
  2. New account creation
  3. Identity creation

In short, either someone takes what you have out of your account, opens up new accounts with your information, or uses pieces of your personal identifying information, such as your social security number, and goes on a wild tear you likely won’t know about until it becomes a financial nightmare.

RMLEFCU is working to switch all the cards we issue to use EMV technology. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. Cards with EMV contain a super-small computer chip that’s extremely hard to counterfeit. Consider that almost half of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the United States—even though only a quarter of all credit card transactions happen here. The banks want to rein this in ASAP by moving away from magnetic-stripe cards, which are much easier to counterfeit.

Your personal information can be used to access current accounts, other than just your credit card, and can lay the groundwork for a brand new identity. While RMLEFCU uses technology to secure your credit cards, there are important steps you can take to make sure your personal identifying information stays PERSONAL.

These tips are not exhaustive, but are manageable tips to safeguard your financial security.

1. Photocopy the contents of your wallet. Don’t take pictures of your cards with your smartphone. Even if you try not to share with the cloud, the moment you turn that function back on for any other photos, you are potentially compromising that information. If you don’t have access to a copy machine, you can write down or type up all of the credit card company information (Issuer, credit card number, CVV, expiration date and contact number) and store this or the photocopy in a secure safe or locked file cabinet. This way, if your purse or wallet is stolen or lost, you know exactly who to contact to make sure no fraudulent charges are made and you are able to pause or close these accounts.

2.  Keep on top of your bank and credit card statements. Check every 15 days, set up a reminder on your phone or computer to log in and look at the charges. If you don’t recognize something, you’ll have enough time to contact us or your credit card issuer (if it’s not us) and try to resolve the charge.

3.  Get off mailing lists and get a locking mailbox. Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com to stop unsolicited offers from coming. Here’s more info. A locking mailbox helps deter thieves from accessing any other sensitive information that might still arrive, despite your efforts to cut down on this type of mail.

4. Keep personal identifying information in a safe place and or shred things. There are still dumpster divers out there. Or the potential of unscrupulous visitors in your home. Shred your personal identifying information or if you need to keep a record or it keep it in the same safe or locked file cabinet where you have stored what cards and accounts we mentioned in step #1.

5. Stop giving out your social security number. To create new accounts, thieves may only need your social security number paired with other public information that can be found online. Being able to find your address or employment information only requires whitepages.com and LinkedIn or your name and city, if your name is unique enough. Don’t give it out to anyone and if pressed, ask if you can use an alternative ID. There are only a few state and federal programs that REQUIRE it. Ask if you can provide your passport or driver’s license instead. Check here for when you have to provide it and for a few more alternatives.

By doing these 5 things, you are better able to safeguard your finances from conniving criminals. If at any time you have questions about suspicious activity in your RMLEFCU account, call us at (303) 458-6660 or contact a branch representative.

05 Jan

5 Money Questions to Wrestle With Before Marriage

couple shopping picIf you and your significant other have been ring shopping, or have announced your engagement, this article is for you. We know you’re busy with wedding planning and housing headaches and whether she’ll ever understand your sense of humor, but as your credit union it’s our job to offer advice when it comes to our area of expertise. Here are 5 money related questions that you need to deal with before that marriage license is signed.

Perhaps you can use a long car ride as the time to delve into these. There’s no way to escape them once you’re married, so you might as well have the conversation in a car.

It’s unnecessary to know all the little nitty gritty details about each other’s financial life, but the following questions can set you up to cover a lot of ground and avoid unnecessary surprises.

  • Where is the money currently going?

Have a sense of how much each of you spends each month and on what. If one of you has a credit card payment that is eating up 30% of your salary, that’s money that can’t be going towards a house payment or vehicle. What are your monthly obligations and how many payments are left on these?

  • What kind of lifestyle do we see for ourselves?

What area of town do you want to live in? How large does your house need to be? Do you want to be able to save money and live in a smaller house or save less money, have a nicer home but end up working more hours for more years to be able to afford that lifestyle? What kinds of things will you spend your money on? Experiences? Children’s educations?

  • How do kids figure in?

It’s no secret that kids don’t come out with a manual OR c-notes taped to their fleshy little appendages. The associated expenses of childcare and schooling must be factored in and planned for prior to their arrival. If you don’t plan on using childcare, would an alternative like grandparents or a single income situation work for your family?

  • How do you spend your disposable income?

Ah, the dark web. It’s easy enough to print your statements out for your monthly bills but to take a stark look at where the rest of your paycheck is going, requires complete candor. If one of you utilizes cash for these type of expenses, start by taking pictures of receipts every time you use cash.

  • How much debt do you have?

It’s a fair question if you plan on having one account you both draw from. For instance if one party has student loans, will they be the responsibility of the person who took them out? Or will a certain amount come from the shared account? Maybe this is the agreement for student loans but not for credit card debt. There’s no right or wrong answer, but a discussion at this stage is warranted.

There are undoubtedly more money questions that you can ask, but these are great places to start.

Congratulations from RMLEFCU on finding your special someone!