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LATEST NEWS

Exercising Your Right To Better Finances

Financial fitness” is a popular phrase used to emphasize the importance of healthy money habits. But it might just be more telling than you ever imagined. More and more evidence is piling up that there is a link between working out regularly and making the most of your money.

Stress relief First, make a list of the types of purchases you most regret afterward. Next, write down next to each buy the emotional state coinciding with your poor spending choice. Chances are that feelings like anxiety, agitation or worry are closely linked to your problem purchases. As it turns out, these are just the kinds of negative states a vigorous activity can help alleviate. If you feel one these unhappy phases coming on, figure out a quick way to get a sweat going instead of reaching for your credit card.

Clear head Exercise not only invigorates the body, but it can also help the mind function better too. If you’ve got a big financial decision coming up, a brisk workout can help you achieve a focused, meditative state. This in turn can help to make the pros and cons of your alternatives more clear and help you prioritize what really matters.

Better health If you’re paying for your own health insurance, you’re probably pretty motivated to engage in healthy activities. But even if you’re on your employer’s plan, consider the benefits of paying less for prescriptions, sleeping aids, cold medications, pain relievers and other costs associated with health issues.

Increased productivity Striving for that big promotion at work? Wanting to give your own business every last ounce of your energy? No matter if they company is yours or someone else’s, you’re going to be able to give it more effort when you’re operating at your highest level of fitness. Don’t believe it? Compare your output after a day of lethargy to one when you’ve coming off a great workout.

Cheap fun If your usual entertainment options consist of trips to the mall, movie theatre, concert venue or trendy restaurant, the discretionary spending portion of your budget can really tip the scales. Consider instead active endeavors that cost much less, like hiking, swimming or bicycling. Your area likely has clubs dedicated to these activities that can help make staying fit a pleasurable and inexpensive activity.

Emerging research suggests that making positive change to your financial habits can follow directly from beefing up your exercise regiment. Time to put your exercise goals next to your savings chart on the fridge!

http://findyourbalanceblog.org/2014/10/27/exercising-your-right-to-better-finances/

Consolidate Debt at White River Credit Union

If you’re up to your eyeballs in debt and finance charges, and late fees are weighing you down, a consolidation loan from White River Credit Union can be just what you need.

White River Credit Union’s low rates and flexible terms make for affordable payments.

Want even more convenience? Arrange for automatic payments or payroll deductions to seamlessly get your loan paid off.

We can help you get your finances back on track, and get a handle on high-rate debt.

Retirees: Stretch Your Travel Dollars

You did it! You saved, you met your retirement goals, and now it’s time to travel the world.

The one hiccup is that your budget is likely tighter than ever. However, having a more flexible schedule offers you money-saving advantages. Here are some tips to help you stretch your travel dollars around the world and back.

* Look for bargains. Look online for deals at places like Groupon Getaways and TravelZoo, and add yourself to lists for coupons from preferred airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies.

* Use your newfound flexibility. Travel to popular destinations during the off-season for better deals. Take advantage of “flash deals” offered via apps like Last Minute Hotels, a Travelocity app that offers discount booking 48 hours in advance. These time-sensitive offers are where you can score the biggest savings and, since you no longer have to worry about dwindling vacation days, you may be uniquely suited to take advantage of them.

* Be detail-oriented. Cut incidentals while pursuing the bigger discounts. For instance, try to book lodging that includes free Wi-Fi and continental breakfasts.

* Don’t forget memberships. Use savings from clubs you’re a member of, such as AAA, AARP, or other discount retailers. Check to see if these affiliations offer any travel-related savings. Sometimes your credit card will also have perks such as double-mileage deals and free baggage checking.

Understanding Tax Withholdings

Sometimes it’s confusing to know which is the right W-4 withholding for you. Here are some guidelines that can help you explain what might be best for you:

The average tax refund is more than $2,000, but if you’re getting that much back every year then you may be overwithholding by giving the federal government an interest-free loan for the year. Underwithholding is when you file taxes, you owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) money.

Withholdings

If you’re getting money back, ask yourself two questions:

1.  Do you have credit card bills?
2.  Do you have an emergency fund to tide you over for a few months if you become unemployed?

If you answered “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second one, getting a tax refund is not such a good deal. The refund is money you could have used all last year to pay off bills and to beef up your emergency fund.

The good news about your refund is that you can use it right now to address those issues. So, tempting as it is to treat yourself when that check comes in from Uncle Sam, use it to relieve some financial stress instead.

To break even, Bankrate.com advises looking at last year’s tax bill. If the amount you had withheld was close and you haven’t had major lifestyle changes, such as getting married or having a baby, then you’re probably safe to leave your payroll withholding the same. If you owed a lot or received a large refund, then you might want to adjust your withholding.

Adjusting your W-4

The more allowances you claim on your W-4, the less income tax will be withheld. The fewer claimed, the larger the withholding amount.

If you’re getting a large refund, visit your employer’s payroll or human resources department and change your W-4 form, which establishes how much your employer withholds for taxes each paycheck. Use the IRS’ tax withholding calculator at irs.gov and the tax form you just completed to answer its questions, and see how adjusting your withholding affects your take-home pay. You could see a few hundred dollars more each month by increasing your allowances.

Now it won’t help much if that extra money just slips through your fingers. So take one more step, and set up direct deposit of that newfound cash to your White River Credit Union emergency fund account every payday. Trust us—a full rainy day fund feels a lot better than a once-a-year tax refund.

Keep in mind that everyone’s tax circumstances are different. Work with an independent professional tax adviser or a tax specialist before making tax-related decisions.

Don’t Fall for These 6 Retirement Scams

Seniors older than 60 lose nearly $3 billion a year to financial abuse, a recent MetLife survey found.

Seniors are lucrative targets, in part, because crooks know that they likely have money socked away for retirement—money just waiting to be tapped and fleeced.

Here are some of the most common scams.

* Lottery scam. In this scenario, someone contacts you to pay for something you never ordered. Maybe it’s a large prize you need to pay fees to receive or a product they said you purchased. Regardless, never give out any personal information to strangers asking for financial account details, your Social Security number, and so forth, and definitely don’t pay them anything.

* Grandparent scam. The fraudsters will call posing as either a relative or someone representing a relative, usually a grandchild, and claim this person is in danger in a foreign country. Of course, to get the relative out of trouble, they’ll want you to wire them money immediately.

* Cash scams. Around the holidays, a lot of fake charities target seniors. Avoid them by donating only to charitable organizations you are familiar with. In sweetheart scams, a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance gets close to a senior in order to gain access to his or her accounts. Check statements regularly for unknown charges.

* Computer scams. This one usually involves someone stealing your computer to access your financial information. To prevent this, password protect your computer.

* Time-share scam. If you own a time share and are trying to sell it, thoroughly research any company offering to sell it on your behalf—especially if the company wants money upfront.

* Homeowner scam. This one involves people who come to your door saying they were driving by and noticed something wrong with your house that needs immediate attention. They are selling home repairs you don’t need. Tell them you’ll have your lawyer—or son or daughter—get back to them. Even better—don’t answer the door.

If you’ve been scammed, contact Yvette at White River Credit Union and the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

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