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At White River Credit Union, we help one another. "People helping people" is our motto. We’ve been in your neck of the woods for 60 years, and have a stake in seeing this community and its people prosper.


LATEST NEWS

Join Us For Rocky Fest 2014

We’ll be hosting our annual Rocky Fest –  well okay, so it’s the first one. But we want you to join us anyway.

We’ll be celebrating the Holidays with treats, games, and FREE Holiday pictures with Rocky – yeah, Santa is a classic, but Rocky is hometown fun!

The festivities begin Friday, December, 19th, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm. C U Here!

Unmarried and Buying a Home? Take Precautions

For those who are looking to share a mortgage but not a marriage license, there can be unforeseen consequences in the event of a split.

A common issue

There are many questions to answer when you embark on a home-buying adventure. The best way to proceed is with help from experts. Talk with a real estate agent you trust as well as a lawyer specializing in family law or estate planning. If you work with a financial planner talk with him or her about your goals and concerns.

Michael Boulette, a Minneapolis attorney asks unmarried clients to consider the following: “Who will own the house? One partner or both? What about the down payment? How will the mortgage be paid and in what proportion? How/will each person receive credit for principle reduction or will one partner treat it as rent paid to the other?”

All of these questions, he says, have income tax implications in terms of ‘rental income’ and itemized deductions.

How to take title of the home

Unmarried couples have some choices to make when it comes down to home purchasing. One of the most important is how to share ownership, if at all. There are five different ways to take ownership:

1.  Individual vesting: In this case, only one individual of the unmarried couple owns the property and owns 100% of it. The other individual has no ownership involvement or rights.
2.  Tenants-in-common: Tenants-in-common allows each borrower to delineate their ownership percentage of the home. Also, in tenants-in-common, each can leave his or her portion of the home to selected heirs.
3.  Joint tenants: In joint tenancy, the owners own 100% of the property together. There is no delineation of who owns what percentage of the home. Joint tenants must both sign documents when transferring the property or using it as a security for a loan.
4.  Community property (with right of survivorship): This vesting is intended for married persons or domestic partners. Similar to tenants in common, the tenants own 100% together.
5.  Trusts: Unmarried people also may take ownership in the form of a trust. The trust documents will determine each trustees’ ownership percentage and will determine what takes place upon the death of a trustee.

Co-ownership and major life changes

It can be unpleasant to talk about—or even think about—worst case scenarios, but if you are unmarried and discussing a home purchase, you must consider how you’d handle a break up or even a death.

By making smart choices early on, putting your decisions in writing, and meeting with a lawyer, your co-ownership of a home can be an exciting and satisfying new life chapter for you and your partner.

Three Tips for Choosing Your College

Traditionally, the college decision process was far simpler than today. Students used to be able pick their favorite option among the different schools without worrying much about the price tag that comes along with tuition.

In today’s educational environment, college tuition costs have continued to rise. This leaves many families unable to afford a college that might have been within their budgets even just 10 years ago.

Many families have been forced into using more sophisticated methods of determining which schools are actually worth the prices associated with them.

Here are some of our suggestions for making the correct college choice for your future:

Compare financial-aid award letters

Each college has its own criteria for the financial aid application. This is what makes determining what financial aid students are receiving from each school they applied to so difficult.

In order to simplify this equation, just remember the primary sources of financial aid are scholarships, grants and student loans. Find where the school lists cost of attendance and subtract the total number of your scholarships and grants.

This should help you determine total cost you will have to pay through expected family contribution and student loans.

Use a loan calculator

Chances are, financial aid and expected family contribution will not cover the total cost of attendance. This is where student loans often come in.

Having to take out a loan is okay, as long as you are careful in your plans for repayment. Each loan comes with different payment plans, benefits, penalties and fees.

Make sure you are using a student loan payment calculator to understand your loan repayment prospects under each plan.

Investigate repayment options

With greater college costs have come more creative ways of paying loans back. Repayment methods like IBR (income based repayment) and PAYE (pay as you earn) allow students greater financial freedom as they pay their loans back.

Be proactive and find out if these are options for you.

By taking a more detailed approach into understanding financing college education, students are able to be more in control of their future finances and have greater freedom in their careers for years to come.

Know Your Priorities to Make Holidays Special

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the solstice, the holiday season can be stressful—with financial stress often playing a large role.

Figure out what makes the holidays special for you and your family and allocate most of your spending to those things. Maybe there are other, less important things you can scale back or skip.

For instance, if you love hosting a lavish holiday dinner but are ho-hum about festive holiday clothing, don’t buy that new outfit. Budget more for your dinner instead. The key is to set priorities and identify the important things.

And remember that handmade or homemade goodies, charitable gifts, or the gift of time can mean much more to recipients than presents.
Here are some ideas:

* Give loved ones a framed photograph of a place or event that is special to both of you.

* Make a charitable contribution in someone else’s name. Give to a fund that person believes in.

* Offer to help with a project around the house, take a friend to lunch, or just go for a walk together.

* Give baked goods or premade dinners to family or friends.

* Offer to pet sit or babysit free of charge.

The holidays tend to bring people together. “So if you have a bad relationship it’s a great gift to mend it and make amends,” says Rob Severson, a financing coach in Deephaven, Minn. “You’ll be a lot happier if you don’t wait and it will probably mean a lot more than a box of candy.”
The holidays are about being focused on others, which actually makes it easier to budget. The less self-centered you are, the less likely you are to have financial issues from spending every nickel on yourself.

Generally the holidays require some gift buying. To help get ahead on next year’s shopping, set up a holiday account at White River Credit Union. Call us at (360) 825-4833.

To Avoid Scammers, Be Wary of the Phone

While scams keep changing, the targets stay the same. Seniors continue to be the marks of a variety of low-risk crimes that prey on their sense of duty and exploit their fear of cognitive loss.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection logged 1.1 million consumer fraud complaints in 2013; 47% of the victims were age 50 or older, with a median payout of $400 a complaint.

Retirees make ripe targets because they have access to cash via retirement savings and equity in their homes.

Here is what to do to avoid being targeted:

•  Ditch the landline. The most common way scammers make contact is by phone, which accounts for 40% of all fraud contacts, up from 30% two years ago. One reason seniors are targeted is because they still use landlines—so they’re easy to find through commercially sold phone lists—and they often answer their phones.

•  Sign up for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network alerts (http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/) and check its online map. This will help you keep up-to-date on the scams happening where you live, as scammers frequently change the areas they’re targeting.

•  Call the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline. If you suspect someone is a victim of fraud, call the hotline (855-303-9470) where fraud investigators can offer advice about how to proceed.

•  Hang up. Whether it’s a purported relative imploring you to send money right away or a sweepstakes requiring you to pay taxes in advance—two common scams—say you’ll call back. Then research the situation. If the caller is putting pressure on you to pay immediately, it’s a scam.

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