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Ready Marine Corps

The theme for National Preparedness Month 2015 is Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency communication plan today. A different weekly theme, highlighting an aspect of preparedness or a hazard, will be featured each week in September. The month-long campaign culminates with America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action, when Marines and their families are encouraged to act on their communication plans and other readiness drills.

Learn more about Ready Marine Corps at www.ready.marines.mil and follow RMC on Facebook and Twitter @ReadyUSMC. Contact Mark Brown at 703-614-7928 for further information. For additional information, contact MCICOM Public Affairs, HQMC, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. at 703-692-1618.


Looking Back On The 2015 Teen Financial Boot Camps

This summer, Marine FCU conducted it's eleventh annual Teen Financial Boot Camp at our Corporate Branch in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and our Russell Road Branch aboard MCB Quantico in Virginia.

Each four-day session was a huge success. Teen Savers gained in-depth knowledge of how to successfully manage their finances. Topics included credit scores, car buying, investing, and real world expenses to name a few.

Pictured above: (left) group of teens in Jacksonville, NC; (right) group of teens in Quantico, VA


You Can Now Make A Principal Only Payment To Your Loans In MFCU@Home Online Account Access

As long as your loan is in good standing you can now enter principal only payments by clicking Make A Transfer, or by going to Move Money/Account Transfer. Currently you can only make a principal only payment within the account you are logged into even if you have established transfer access to or from another account.


 

Should You Downsize Your Home?

www.balancepro.net

Perhaps you’ve heard the call of coyotes from that den you don’t go into anymore, or you’ve seen tumbleweeds congregating in that extra bedroom. Or maybe you’ve just looked at your electric bill lately. No matter your reasoning, if you are a homeowner who feels like you have more space than you really need, you’ve probably considered downsizing into a smaller dwelling at some point. Here are questions to ask yourself when you are considering the change:

What is my equity position in the current home? Obviously, having a positive equity position in your home is a biggie, since it will make it a lot easier financially to get into a new place. If you sell the home and the amount you receive is less than what you owe on the mortgage(s), you will have to use your own money to make up the difference, or face the consequences associated with a short sale. In other words, if you are in a negative equity position, downsizing might not be the best option.

How much money will potentially be saved on monthly housing payments? If you’ve given serious thought to downsizing, you’ve probably looked at what it would cost to live in a new place. When you are comparing that number to what you currently pay for your house, don’t forget to include categories like taxes, maintenance and repairs for the future on the house side of the equation. Also, pay close attention to utilities since there can often be a dramatic difference in what you will pay in a larger home and what you would pay in a smaller home, apartment, or condo. Sometimes these expenses can tip the scales where downsizing is the better option.

Does my current neighborhood still fit my needs? It’s not just the house that should be weighed when making a decision on downsizing. If you moved into a neighborhood because it had great schools or lots of wide open space, as you get older those things may not matter anymore. Downsizing could mean being able to find an area that’s better for what you want now, while also saving you money.

Will I be able to maintain the property in the years to come? Maybe at one point you were gung-ho about climbing ladders to do fix-it projects or spending all day on a yard project. But as you get older, you may not be able to maintain the property like you once did. This could mean increased expenses in the future, or, if you can’t afford to hire someone to do these things for you, it could result in the property quickly losing value as it falls into disrepair. Sometimes it is best to sell a home when you are still able to keep it at its most attractive.

What’s my relationship with my stuff? Many people find getting rid of a good deal of their accumulated belongings liberating since they feel less controlled by their possessions. Others have sentimental or practical attachments to certain possessions that require a fair amount of space to store. Either way, think about what you would really need to have with you in the home and then decide how much space it will take to keep it.

What are your space needs for guests? You may enjoy having a larger space to host family members or friends who come to visit. Think about the maximum number of visitors you have at one time and if you can accommodate them in a smaller space. Many people find that even in a smaller place they are still able to have plenty of guests.


Personal Hygiene - of a Technical Nature

Dawn Jones, Chief Information Officer

As we think back over history we’re often amazed at the sanitary conditions, or lack of, that people lived through. I remember touring England and learning that in Shakespeare’s time people took baths once a year–hard to believe–think about all those germs, and the smell! And in the first half of the 20th century, grade school children were encouraged to change their underwear–twice a week!

My how times have changed! Personal hygiene evolved as people learned that cleanliness helped combat disease. Every fall we see media campaigns against the flu–the campaigns target everyone–why? Because it takes everyone to practice good hygiene and hand washing to limit the spread of viruses and germs. It just doesn’t work if only a handful of people do it.

The technical world is not much different. We’ve learned that we can combat some of the viruses and malware by using good technical hygiene. And just like in the physical world, we need everyone to do their part. You’ve seen and heard the stories about viruses and malware wreaking havoc on retailers, financial institutions, and corporations, and even individuals like you and me. You may think you’re not technical, so what can you do about it?

The whole idea is to help stop the spread of viruses and malware–so just apply the same concepts to the technical world:

  • Annual flu shot: Install and regularly update anti-virus software on your devices
  • Change underwear frequently: Change passwords frequently
  • One toothbrush for each family member: Unique user IDs and passwords for different sites and/or different apps

So, when’s the last time you changed your underwear … um, password?


The FAQs on EMVs

Beth Howell, Vice President of Lending

Large-scale data breaches have become the new norm, and now it’s not a question of if it’s going to happen to you, but when. Thus, the transition to the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip is underway nationwide.

What is EMV and how does it affect you? Plain and simple … these new and improved cards are embedded with chips that create unique data for each transaction performed at a merchant. This provides better protection for you and reduces the cost of fraud incurred by your credit union.

What does the chip look like and how does it work? It’s a small, gold or silver metallic square. Current credit and debit cards have magnetic stripes on the back. They retain unchanging data about the cards and cardholders that allows consumers to make a purchase. When the card is compromised in a data breach, thieves and hackers copy the data stored on the magnetic strip allowing them to use it over and over again.
The EMV chip creates a unique transaction code every time the card is used. The unique transaction code can’t be used again and will be denied if a hacker tries to use it.

How effective is the EMV chip? Prior to 2012, this type of technology was only used overseas and significantly reduced card fraud (when cards were used in person at a merchant.) Because of this, criminals started targeting the U.S., increasing fraud two-fold over the past seven years. While the EMV chip will not prevent data breaches, it’s proven to make it much more difficult for thieves and hackers to steal information and use it to profit.

Keep in mind that the EMV chip protection does not apply to online purchases … only those made in person, at a merchant.

How will purchasing change when I use my new EMV chip card? It’s the same two-step process as with the magnetic-stripe; your card is read and the transaction is verified. The one major change … instead of quickly swiping your EMV chip card, you’ll insert it into a card terminal and wait for the unique transaction data to process the purchase. It’s called card dipping. If you try to swipe instead of card dip, then the transaction will most likely be rejected.

Will I still have to sign my name or enter a PIN for my card transaction? Yes. That doesn’t change. It’s up to you or the merchant on how the purchase will be processed … debit (PIN) or credit (signature).

Who will be responsible if fraud happens with my new EMV chip card? Right now, with the magnetic stripe cards, any in-store purchases using stolen or compromised card data are absorbed by the payment processor or the financial institution that issued the card.

October 1, 2015, the liability of such losses from fraud will shift to whichever party has not converted to the chip. Example: When Marine FCU converts to the EMV chip, but your favorite grocery, clothing, etc. store hasn’t changed its equipment to accept the chip, the cost of the data breach will be on that store, not members of Marine FCU.

Can I use my EMV chip card even if a merchant hasn’t switched to the EMV technology? Absolutely. Marine FCU will be issuing cards with both the chip and the magnetic stripe. However, until merchants have the EMV technology in place, you won’t have that extra layer of security the chip offers.


Plug Spending Leaks: How to Save Hundreds, One Dollar at a Time 

balancepro.net

Most of us give in to temptation from time to time. Whether its buying on impulse, choosing name brands rather than generic, taking a taxi instead of a bus, or splurging on an expensive meal, indulging is fun and even healthy in moderation.

But watch out. Not enough attention paid to the small purchases will result in big money lost. The path to savings (for things that you really do want) is paved with pennies. It starts with awareness. Each time you make a purchase, consider the cost. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Brown bag your lunch. $7 per day totals $140 a month.
  •  Substitute water for juice. A family of four can save over $500 a year by cutting just one glass of juice per person per day.
  • "Health" bars run about $2 apiece, and are often no more than glorified candy bars. Switch to a banana and whole-wheat bagel for half the price.
  • Use coupons at grocery stores and buy house brands instead of name brands whenever possible.
  • Prepare meals in advance and freeze them to avoid the temptation of ordering pizza at the end of a long workday. Cooking at home will make your food budget go much further.
  • Throw pocket change in a jar and cash it in when it's full.
  • Review your phone bill and drop unnecessary services like Caller ID and Call Forwarding.
  • Cut your cable television down to basic. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.

Chances are you can spot - then stop - spending leaks simply by paying closer attention to everyday expenses.


Our New Location In Richlands, North Carolina Is Now Open And Has Extended Hours

Marine FCU's branch at 178 Kinston Hwy. has moved to its new location inside Walmart in Richlands, North Carolina. The hours for this branch are Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. 


Specially Adapted Housing Program

U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program offers grants to certain Servicemembers and Veterans with severe service-connected disabilities to assist them in building, remodeling, or purchasing an adapted home.

What Is A Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant?
The SAH grant is designed to help disabled Veterans by providing a barrier-free living environment, such as a wheelchair accessible home, that affords Veterans a level of independent living they may not otherwise enjoy. Veterans and Servicemembers with specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant for the purpose of constructing or modifying a home to meet their adaptive needs, up to the current maximum of $70,465.

The SAH grant is available to certain Veterans and Servicemembers who are entitled to disability compensation due to:

  • Loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair, or  
  • Blindness in both eyes, plus loss or loss of use of one lower extremity, or 
  • Loss or loss of use of one lower extremity together with (1) residuals of organic disease or injury, or (2) the loss or loss of use of one upper extremity, affecting balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair or,
  • Loss or loss of use of both upper extremities at or above the elbows, or
  • A severe burn injury.

What Is A Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant?
The SHA grant can be used to increase the mobility of eligible Veteran and Servicemembers throughout their residences. Veterans and Servicemembers with specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to this type of grant, up to the current maximum of $14,093. The SHA grant is available to certain Veterans and Servicemembers who are entitled to disability compensation due to:

  • Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less in the better eye with the use of a standard correcting lens or,
  • The anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands or extremities below the elbow, or
  • A severe burn injury.

What Is A Temporary Residence Assistance (TRA) Grant?
A temporary grant may be available to SAH/SHA eligible Veterans and Servicemembers who are or will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member. The maximum amount available to adapt a family member’s home for the SAH grant is $30,934 and for the SHA grant is $5,523.

What Is A Home Improvements And Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant?
Veterans and Servicemembers may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. A Veteran may receive a HISA grant in conjunction with either a SAH or SHA grant. The HISA program is available for both Veterans with service-connected disabilities and Veterans with non-service-connected disabilities.

  • Home improvement benefits up to $6,800 may be provided to Veterans with service-connected disabilities.
  • Home improvement benefits up to $2,000 may be provided to Veterans with non-service-connected disabilities.

How Can You Apply?
Apply by completing VA Form 26-4555, Veterans Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant, and submitting it to your local VA Regional Loan Center.

Find your local VA Regional Loan Center by visiting this website. You may also apply online; please visit the Veteran’s portal to register and submit an application for Specially Adapted Housing benefits.


SUCCESSion

The Board of Directors of Marine Federal Credit Union announced on 19 May 2015 that Jeff Clark, Chief Operations Officer of the credit union, has been selected to succceed Craig Chamberlin as President/CEO. Mr. Chamberlin retires on 31 December 2015.

Mr. Chamberlin, President/CEO of Marine Federal Credit Union, is retiring after 45 years in the credit union industry. Mr Chamberlin began working at Marine Federal Credit Union on September 16,1985. In March,1988 he was promoted to President/CEO. Mr. Chamberlin is a great leader with a giving heart, and his support of the community is second-to-none. He has been bestowed with the following accolades/awards:

  • The NCCUL Ronald Hutchins Outstanding CU Professional of the Year 2006
  • The NCCUL Mark of Excellence and Professional of the Year in 2007
  • The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award from the Governor of North Carolina in 2012

Mr. Chamberlin has been married to Debby for 44 years. They have two children, Kim and Skip, and three grandchildren … Byrd, Moose, and the Lizard … his pride and joy.

Mr. Clark has spent the last 30 years in the financial arena. He has worked in collections, branches, indirect lending, direct lending, mortgage and commercial loans. He currently serves as the COO for Marine FCU. His past community involvement includes President of the Jacksonville Breakfast Rotary, and two time Chair of the Military Affairs Committee. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman on the Jacksonville/Onslow Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is married to the former Ms. Debra Trott. They have two grown children, Stetson and Kirsten, and one grandson, Cameron.


Are You Retiring Within The Next 5 Years?
What Should You Focus On As The Transaction Approaches?

You can prepare for your retirement transition years before it occurs. In doing so, you can do your best to avoid the kind of financial surprises that tend to upset an unsuspecting new retiree.

How much monthly income will you need? Look at your monthly expenses and add them up. (Consider also the trips, adventures, and pursuits you have in mind in the near term.) You may end up living on less; that may be acceptable, as your monthly expenses may decline. If your retirement income strategy was conceived a few years ago, revisit it to see if it needs adjusting. As a test, you can even try living on your projected monthly income for 2-3 months prior to retiring.

Should you try to go Roth? Many pre-retirees have amassed substantial retirement savings in tax-deferred retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and traditional IRAs. Distributions from these accounts are taxed as ordinary income. This reality makes some pre-retirees weigh the pros and cons of a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) conversion for some or all of those assets. You may want to consider the “Roth tradeoff” – being taxed on the amount of retirement savings you convert today in exchange for the ability to take tax-free withdrawals from the Roth IRA or 401(k) tomorrow. (You must be 59½ and have owned that Roth account for at least five years to take tax-free distributions.)1

Should you downsize or relocate? Moving to another state may lessen your tax burden. Moving into a smaller home may reduce your monthly expenses. In a perfect world, you would retire without any mortgage debt. If you will still be paying off your home loan in retirement, realize that your monthly income might be lower as you do so. You may want to investigate a refi, but consider that the cost of a refi can offset the potential savings down the line.

How conservative should your portfolio be? Even if your retirement savings are substantial, growth investing gives your portfolio the potential to keep pace with or keep ahead of rising consumer prices. Mere gradual inflation has the capability to erode your purchasing power over time. As an example, at 3% inflation what costs $10,000 today will cost more than $24,000 in 2045.2

In planning for retirement, the top priority is to build savings; within retirement, the top priority is generating consistent, sufficient income. With that in mind, portfolio assets may be adjusted or reallocated with respect to time: it may be wise to have some risk-averse investments that can provide income in the next few years as well as growth investments geared to income or savings objectives on the long-term horizon.

How will you live? There are people who wrap up their careers without much idea of what their day-to-day life will be like once they retire. Some picture an endless Saturday. Others wonder if they will lose their sense of purpose (and self) away from work. Remember that retirement is a beginning. Ask yourself what you would like to begin doing. Think about how to structure your days to do it, and how your day-to-day life could change for the better with the gift of more free time.

Many retirees find that their expenses “out of the gate” are larger than they anticipated–more travel and leisure means more money spent. Even so, no business owner or professional wants to enter retirement pinching pennies. If you want to live it up a little yet are worried about drawing down your retirement savings too fast, consider slimming transportation costs (car and gasoline expenses; maybe you could even live car-free), landscaping costs, or other monthly costs that amount to discretionary spending better suited to youth or mid-life.

How will you take care of yourself? What kind of health insurance do you have right now? If your company sponsors a group health plan, you may as well get the most out of it (in terms of doctor, dentist and optometrist visits) before you leave the office.

If you retire prior to age 65, Medicare will not be there for you. Check and see if your group health plan will extend certain benefits to you when you retire; it may or may not. If you can stay enrolled in it, great; if not, you may have to find new coverage at presumably higher premiums.

Even if you retire at 65 or later, Medicare is no panacea. Your out-of-pocket health care expenses could still be substantial with Medicare in place. Long term care is another consideration–if you think you (or your spouse) will need it, should it be funded through existing assets or some form of Long Term Care insurance?

Give your retirement strategy a second look as the transition approaches. Review it in the company of the financial professional who helped you create and refine it. An adjustment or two before retirement may be necessary due to life or financial events.

Gale Gourley and Don Swingler are Financial Advisors with Marine Federal Financial Group located at Marine Federal Credit Union. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback regarding the information presented in this article, you may contact Gale or Don at 910.577.7333, extension 5284.

To learn about Social Security attend Marine FCU's no-cost workshop on September 9.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations. 1 - turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Retirement/The-Tax-Benefits-of-Your-401-k--Plan/INF22614.html [5/7/15] 2 - investopedia.com/articles/markets/042215/best-etfs-inflationary-worries.asp [4/22/15] 05112015-WR-1277


Apply For A Loan Through MFCU@Home Online Account Access

After you log in, click on Additional Services. Look for Apply for a Loan. It’s easy, secure, and convenient to apply for a vehicle or personal loan, as well as a credit card.


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 "I enjoy going to my credit union, where I know most of the employees and they know me. I trust them and they are always willing to help!"
-Cape Carteret, NC

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