Branch lobbies are closed effective Friday, March 20. See the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak. READ NOW.

×
Routing Number: 307070050
Search
Search Our Site
Type a word or phrase in the search field below. If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, please contact us.
Kirtland Federal Credit Union logo

Welcome To The Insighter!

Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland FCU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight!
To learn about retirements, investments and financial planning, check out Invested now.


News

This is no ordinary band of superheroes.
 
The newly formed Scam Squad, a cooperative of agencies and community partners formed by the Albuquerque Consumer Financial Protection Initiative (CFPI), has a mission to educate the public about the threat of scams and help those who have been targeted by scammers.
 
CFPI Director Karen Meyers, who joined the City to head consumer protection efforts after stints with President Barack Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the office of New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, said, “Scams can happen to anyone, but knowledge is the best way to avoid losing money or becoming a victim. The Scam Squad will work to improve information on how to avoid scams through cross-agency collaboration, targeted outreach and more effective response to consumers seeking help.”
 
The Scam Squad recently released tips and tricks to avoid becoming a victim of scams:
 
  • BEWARE IMPOSTERS Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, or a company you do business with.
  • DON’T SEND MONEY OR GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email.
  • DO AN ONLINE SEARCH. Google a product name or company with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam”. You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
  • DON’T BELIEVE CALLER-ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
  • DON’T PAY UPFRONT FOR A PROMISE. Someone might ask you to pay in advance or send a fee for things like credit and loan offers, prizes or a job. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear. Hang up. Don’t engage. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you and play on your fear. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, talk to someone who might know. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust.
  • CONSIDER HOW YOU PAY FOR SOMETHING. Credit cards are safest. Wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Venmo or Zelle is safe ONLY IF YOU KNOW THE PERSON. To be safe, do not use a Debit card with an unknown person or company.
  • HANG UP ON ROBOCALLS. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list.
  • DON’T TRUST FREE TRIAL OFFERS. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy.
 
No matter the medium for the scam—phone, text or e-mail—these signs should send up ALL your red flags:
  • Person claims to be from the government and asks for money. 
  • Person asks you to pay upfront to get a prize or gift. 
  • Person asks you to wire money, put money on a prepaid card or gift card and send it to them. 
  • Person asks for access to your money, through ATM, bank accounts. 
  • Person asks you for personal information, like your social security number or bank account number. 
  • Person pressures you to “ACT NOW’ or threatens jail or arrest.
 
Knowing the signs is one thing. But just how are you supposed to respond? What’s the right thing to do? Let’s look at a couple situations:
 

The Scam: Your phone rings. The Caller ID says IRS, but you’ve never had dealings with the IRS before.

How To Avoid:
  • Ignore the phone call. The IRS will never call you unprompted (they’re mail people).
  • If you do answer the call, feel free to HANG UP AT ANY TIME if any of the above red flags appear.
 

The Scam: You check your e-mail and see a new message that appears to be from the Social Security Administration. They’re informing you of an issue with your SSN and tell you to click a link or call a phone number to solve the issue.

How To Avoid:
  • Click on nothing and delete the e-mail! Just like the IRS, the Social Security Administration will never send you an unprompted e-mail. The mention of an urgent issue is a big red flag.
 
SCAM SQUAD SAYS: Bottom line, if you don’t know the sender or caller, ignore it. If you believe you have been targeted by a scammer, contact the FTC to report the scam.

Need to report a scam? Learn how!


 


“It’s 1,112 square-feet of pure awesome!” says Sarah Horten, Kirtland FCU Chief Retail and Lending Officer.

This spring, Kirtland Federal Credit Union’s newest branch—and the first on the Westside in more than 15 years—will open in the Coors Pavilion at the northwest corner of Coors Blvd. and St. Josephs Drive.

This modern, full-service branch will put Kirtland FCU’s banking and loan services right where our members need them—on the growing Westside of Albuquerque! The branch will be located at 4101 Coors Blvd. NW, Suite B, right next to Starbucks and across the street from St. Pius High School.

“This is our second micro-branch,” said Tom Shoemaker, President and CEO of Kirtland FCU. “It’s an intimate space that our members are going to love. We put our efforts not into building a gigantic space but into providing a better, more personalized experience for every member.”

Don’t let the size fool you; this new location is a full-service branch. You can do it all—open an account, apply for a loan, make deposits and withdrawals, investment services and get help with all of your account needs—six days a week.

This newest addition to the Kirtland FCU branch family will also be the first to be 100% coinless. That’s right, no dropping coins on your way out the door! This feature saves us a whole lot of space, but it does mean that you cannot deposit or withdraw coin at this new branch. Need to cash a check with cents? You’ll have two options.
  1. SAVE THE CHANGE! Just add the extra cents to your checking or savings account. You’ll have saved for an extra coffee next door in no time at all!
  2. ROUND UP! Take a few extra cents from your checking or savings account to make your withdrawal a whole dollar amount.
The Coors Pavilion branch features updated décor, the latest in banking technology, and an easy and enjoyable experience for members.
 
Look for our progress as you traverse Coors this spring—we can’t wait to welcome you to our new Westside location! Doors will open this April with a grand opening celebration planned a few weeks later. Stay tuned for more information!

WHO CAN JOIN? 
Kirtland FCU welcomes members from all over Albuquerque! There are more than 200 ways to qualify for membership at Kirtland FCU. Stop by any branch to find yours or visit KirtlandFCU.org/Join to get started! 
 

Fraud

Hey Siri, will they never stop inventing newer, trickier scams to steal our identities and information?
 
No, probably not. Because it works! We’ve written about check scams, ATM scams, grandparent scams, love scams, e-mail and text phishing, and more. And the more trust you have in the purported sender, the easier it is for a thief to victimize you. When you receive an e-mail from a company you’ve never heard of, you’re naturally skeptical. But, get a call or an e-mail from Apple on your iPhone alerting you that your Apple ID is compromised—that’s a different story.

Tim Cook, The CEO of Apple, announced early in 2019 that there were currently 1.4 billion active Apple devices. Each of those devices requires a unique Apple ID to access features such as the App Store, iTunes, and more. And even on non-Apple tech, an Apple ID may be required to use iTunes and other proprietary Apple apps and software. That’s a deep pool to fish in, and thieves are increasingly setting the bait by targeting the owners of the sleek Apple-emblazoned devices and apps. If you own one of these devices, you need to be aware of a popular phishing tactic in 2020—the Apple ID scam.

Apple has set the bar high when it comes to customer service and support, and the integrated nature of Apple products makes their owners feel as if they’re more than customers—they’re family, connected by common technology and language. So when a phone call comes through, “Apple, Inc.” on the caller ID screen, we pick up. And we listen to the voice telling us that our Apple ID has been compromised and to not use our device until we call this number. And we may even call back—many do! The “Apple Support” representative will ask the victim to confirm their Apple ID and password and may even request additional information or payment to release the ID. 

This scam really isn’t new, having been floating around for a few years in different forms. E-mail phishing (e-mails that are spoofed to appear as legitimate communication from a company) has been a popular tactic. But the phone calls, with a seemingly real phone number identification, are scary in their level of accuracy. The scammed calls appear to come from Apple , Inc., show the real support number and a real address. The screenshot below shows just how legitimate these calls can appear.


Source: Krebs On Security

So, fellow Apple owner, how can we keep ourselves safe? Here are some things to remember and look out for.

SUPPORT WON’T CONTACT YOU
The biggest sign that a call is fake? You didn’t request it. When was the last time a piece of tech wasn’t working right, you needed support, and THEY called YOU. It just doesn’t happen. If you have issues with your devices or logins, you have many options for reaching out to Apple yourself. You can absolutely log in to Apple Support and request a call, and that request will generate a case number. When the call comes, that case number will be provided at the very beginning of the call.

PASSWORDS ARE PRIVATE
No real support call will involve you turning over a password. Apple Support has no ability to set your passwords and has no reason for ever requesting that information in a phone call. If you’re on a call—especially if you didn’t initiate the call—and the person on the other end of that call requests a password, hang up immediately.
 
DON’T TRUST THE CALLER ID
It’s easy to spoof numbers to a high degree of accuracy. Pay attention to the call itself and the events leading up to it. If you didn’t request a call and had no other indication of a problem, the call is suspicious. Hang up and call Apple Support yourself. 

DON’T PAY TO PLAY
It’s a hallmark of a scam call or e-mail—the urgent request for money to resolve an issue. Any issue that Apple Support can help with will not require you to make a payment, transfer, purchase of gift cards, or any other monetary reimbursement over the phone. If a request doesn’t feel right, hang up and call back by dialing the official Apple Support number or utilizing chat services from official Apple websites.

Large, trusted companies aren’t immune from phishing attacks—quite the opposite! Be skeptical and if you’re in doubt, hang up the phone or delete the e-mail and reach out to the company yourself. 

 

Fraud

UPDATED, Originally posted on 1/31/2020

On January 30, 2020, a person misrepresenting himself as being affiliated with Kirtland Federal Credit Union visited a member who had recently refinanced his home with Kirtland FCU. This man went to the member’s home and attempted to sell the member mortgage insurance while purporting to have a business relationship with Kirtland FCU. 

If you’ve recently closed a loan with Kirtland FCU, here are a few things to keep in mind.
  • Liens against your home are public record. When you purchase or refinance your residence, that transaction is available as a matter of public record. Do not assume your address or situation is known only to you and your lender.
  • Kirtland FCU does NOT sell member information to third parties. Some lenders DO sell customer/member information to third parties, but this fact is required by law to be disclosed to you during the course of any loan or account opening. Kirtland FCU follows all local, state and federal regulations regarding the handling of your information. We do not sell your information to third parties.
  • Not sure of the person you’re talking to? If you were approached at your home by anyone claiming to be an employee of Kirtland FCU or affiliated with Kirtland FCU, that person is misrepresenting themselves. Whether a criminal attempting to perpetrate fraud or simply an unethical employee using dirty tactics to garner business, ask that person to leave. You can always call Kirtland FCU at 1-800-880-5328 to check the validity of any person who is claiming to be an employee of Kirtland FCU or with a company affiliated with the credit union.
It is possible for someone to obtain publicly available information and use that information to misrepresent himself/herself as being affiliated with the lender in order to gain business.

If you’re approached by anyone in a similar fashion, contact Kirtland FCU immediately. Do not sign any forms, turn over any money, or provide any other personal information to the individual - in case this more than just an over zealous employee.

Door-to-door scams are still out there. According the Federal Trade Commission, here are a few common scams from the to watch out for:

  • Home repair scams - Someone offers to do yard work or make repairs in or around your home. You want to save money and really need the work done so you give it a shot. He or she takes a cash payment from you upfront…and never returns.
  • Cable reconnect scams - Money’s been tight and your cable is off due to nonpayment. A flyer says you can get your cable reconnected for an unbelievably low price. You make an appointment, pay, and your cable may even reconnect — provided the scammers don’t skip off with your money first. But will your cable stay on? Probably not. And is this even legal? Absolutely not. Once the cable company catches on, you’re cable-less again, out of the money you paid, and you’re probably in trouble with the company and law enforcement to boot.
  • Utility cut-on scams - There’s a power outage. Someone claiming to be with your utility company offers to reconnect your service for, say, $50. You pay. You wait. Hours later you’re still in the dark and out of money. A scam artist has run off with your money.
Protect your money, property and personal safety by following a few tips:
  • Don’t let anyone come into your home unless you have a pre-scheduled appointment. You have the right to refuse to open your own door.
  • Don’t pay cash to anyone who comes to your home claiming to be with a utility company or other service provider.
  • Confirm any special offers with your service provider — using the number on your bill or their website. Also, be suspicious of a promotional flyer offering service from multiple providers. Competitors don’t typically advertise together.
  • If you’re struggling with your bill, most providers can make payment arrangements to restore your service legitimately.

If anyone promises a service, takes your money and doesn’t deliver, file a complaint with the FTC and your state consumer protection agency.

Stay safe out there.
 

 
Source: FTC.org

Taxes

When is the last time you looked at your W-4 form? 

If you just scratched your head and thought, “What’s a W-4 form?” then you are in good company. If you’re like many employed Americans, you likely filled out a W-4 as part of your hiring process, and you never saw it again. And if you haven’t made edits to your form lately, you could be in for a rude awakening on your tax filings next year after some major tax changes in 2018. With a brand-new W-4 form for 2020, now is the time to double-check your form and make any updates.
 
So let’s start with the basics. Your W-4 form lets your company know how much to withhold for state and federal taxes every paycheck. The old W-4 form asked you for a number of “allowances” to determine your withholding. The more allowances you enter, the less tax would be taken out of your paycheck. These allowances ostensibly matched up with the personal exemptions you’d be able to claim on your taxes—if you’d entered the proper amount of allowances, you’d neither owe or receive refunds come tax time.
 
But with the sweeping changes to the federal tax code in 2018, personal exemptions were done away with at the federal level in favor of nearly doubling the standard deduction and limiting certain itemized deductions, including applying a new $10,000 cap on state and local tax deduction. To catch up with this new tax reality, the new 2020 W-4 form is a lot more dynamic in terms of the information it takes into account. On the redesigned form, you’ll be asked for personal information, information about other jobs or your spouse’s job, dependent information, and other factors that could affect your tax situation.

To help filers gets ahead of these changes and take advantage of the new W-4 form, the IRS has answering some of your most taxing (hehe) questions about the redesigned W-4 form.
 
Why did the IRS put out a new form?
The new design reduces the form's complexity and increases the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. While it uses the same underlying information as the old design, it replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees.

Do I have to fill out a new form?
No. Employees who have furnished Form W-4 in any year before 2020 are not required to furnish a new form merely because of the redesign. Employers will continue to compute withholding based on the information from the employee's most recently furnished Form W-4.

Why do I need to account for multiple jobs on the redesigned form? I never had to before.
Tax rates increase as income rises, and only one standard deduction can be claimed on each tax return, regardless of the number of jobs. Therefore, if you have more than one job at a time or are married filing jointly and both you and your spouse work, more money should usually be withheld from the combined pay for all the jobs than would be withheld if each job was considered by itself. Adjustments to your withholding must be made to avoid owing additional tax, and potentially penalties, when you file your tax return. All of this has been true for many years; it did not change with the recent tax law changes. The old Form W-4 accounted for multiple jobs using detailed instructions and worksheets that many employees may have overlooked. Step 2 of the redesigned Form W-4 lists three different options you should choose from to make the necessary withholding adjustments. Note that, to be accurate, you should furnish a 2020 Form W-4 for all of these jobs.

When should I increase or decrease my withholdings?
You should generally increase your withholding if:
  • you hold more than one job at a time or you and your spouse both have jobs (Step 2) or
  • you have income from sources other than jobs or self-employment that is not subject to withholding (Step 4(a)).
  • If you do not make adjustments to your withholding for these situations, you will very likely owe additional tax when filing your tax return, and you may owe penalties. For income from sources other than jobs, you can pay estimated tax instead of having extra withholding.
 
You should generally decrease your withholding if:
  • you are eligible for income tax credits such as the child tax credit or credit for other dependents (Step 3), and/or
  • you are eligible for deductions other than the basic standard deduction, such as itemized deductions, the deduction for IRA contributions, or the deduction for student loan interest (Step 4(b)).

Where can I find the redesigned W-4 form?
You can download the new form here. You can also stop by your HR department and request to fill out the new W-4 form.

So, make visiting your HR department a priority in 2020 and be tax ready next year!
 
You can also take advantage of a handy tool from the IRS that can help you estimate your withholdings.

See a full list of FAQs and more resources from the IRS here!

 

Security Fraud

Puerto Rico. California. Florida. Australia.

What do all these places have in common? They’ve all experienced a disaster or event that prompted an outpouring of donations and an influx of charity involvement in the recovery efforts. And there’s no question as to the willingness of people to give. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey became the second-costliest storm on record in the United States, causing an estimated $125 billion in damages. In the three months following the storm, at least $1.07 billion is estimated to have been donated to U.S. nonprofit organizations in response, according to a study by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. More than 30 percent of U.S. households made a disaster-related donation in 2017 through a variety of sources.


Image from U.S. Household Disaster Giving Report, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. https://www.issuelab.org/resources/34757/34757.pdf

After a disaster, donations tend to explode. In fact, most donations are made in the first six weeks following a disaster and have all but tapered off six months later. The first few weeks after a disaster, especially one with high-profile news coverage, are prime season for fraudsters who capitalize on the disaster and peoples’ desire to make a difference by posing as a charity organization.

In August of 2019, as Hurricane Dorian approached the shores of Florida, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the Better Business Bureau offered advice on how to make the most of your donation in the face of a disaster and how to spot a fraudulent attempt to divert donations.



Hurricane Harvey relief workers hand out supplies. Photo courtesy of michelmond / Shutterstock.com

After a disaster, donations tend to explode. In fact, most donations are made in the first six weeks following a disaster and have all but tapered off six months later. The first few weeks after a disaster, especially one with high-profile news coverage, are prime season for fraudsters who capitalize on the disaster and peoples’ desire to make a difference by posing as a charity organization.

In August of 2019, as Hurricane Dorian approached the shores of Florida, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the Better Business Bureau offered advice on how to make the most of your donation in the face of a disaster and how to spot a fraudulent attempt to divert donations.

Give directly to reputable organizations
Well-established organizations are the most experienced in working with disaster relief and recovery. They often have strong local ties and will know how to work together with other agencies as well as governments.

Watch for look-alike charities
It’s not uncommon for organizations to pop up in an attempt to collect a portion of a massive volume of donations being made in the wake of a disaster. Many fraudulent organizations will create names that are similar to legitimate organizations. And even new, legitimate charities may be well-intentioned but not well-positioned to help immediately. Check with Give.org for a list of credible charities assisting with recovery efforts or with the IRS’ Tax-Exempt Organization Search to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate organization.

Understand crowdfunding
The explosion of online crowdfunding—the collecting of money for a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people—has made it very easy for fraudsters to cash in after a disaster. If you’re going to donate via a crowdfund, it’s best to makes sure you know the owner personally. The person running the crowdfunding campaign isn’t necessarily the person who you want your money ending up with, and you’re trusting that they’ll follow through on their promises.
 
Beware direct requests for money
If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know on social media or via e-mail in a direct request for donation funds, you should hear alarm bells in your mind. Legitimate organizations that you aren’t already affiliated with will likely not reach out to you directly to request help. Be even more concerned if that person is requesting gift cards or P2P payments (Apple Pay, Paypal, etc.) Likewise, do not click on links in unsolicited e-mails requesting donations. DO NOT give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution.

Do not send cash
A cash donation is a bad idea. Leave a paper trail for tax and security purposes by using a check or credit card to make a donation. If something goes wrong, you have avenues you can follow with your card company and documentation of the amount and where it was supposed to go. Checks have to be cashed somewhere. When you hand over cash or gift cards, the trail ends—and if you’ve given your donation to a fraudster, you have no path for recourse. 

Report suspected fraud
If you receive an e-mail requesting donations and suspect it may be fraudulent, report it to the IRS.

We know the desire to help is nearly overwhelming in the days and months following a disaster. But by being aware of the dos and don’ts of donation, you’ll be able to avoid fraudsters and make sure your donation provides the maximum amount of relief in the right hands.

 

Credit

You’ve certainly heard the term before. But what IS a balance transfer, and why should you consider taking advantage of one to help you manage your debt? Well, settle in—welcome to Credit Card Balance Transfer 101.

Let’s start by defining terms. A credit card balance transfer is a simple concept: moving balance of a credit card to another credit card. Usually, the new credit card is offering a promotional rate on the transferred balance, make it an attractive move for those with high balances on higher interest rate cards.
 
We’ve just wrapped up (haha!) the holiday season. If you signed up for a store-only credit card during your shopping in order to take advantage of that shiny promo rate, you will want to pay that balance off or transfer the balance to another card before the promotional rate ends. The average interest rate on a store-only card is a whopping 27.52% APR! Carrying a balance on a card with that kind of interest rate is bad news for your monthly budget.
 

THE PROS

A lower initial rate
Most credit card companies offering balance transfers will have a lower promotional rate for the transferred balance for a period of time. But these rates DO expire, so keep in mind how long you’ll be making payments based on that rate, and what your rate will be after the period is over.

Consolidation of payments
Transferring more than one balance to a single card can make it a lot easier to keep track of your credit card bills. Or should we say bill—singular—since you’ll have one balance and one payment to think about.
 
Long-term savings
The true benefits of a lower rate lay in the long-term reduction of interest fees. Take a look at the chart below. The credit card on the left—we’ll call it the ‘old card’—has a higher interest rate that equates to higher minimum payments and a much higher cost over the life of the balance when compared to the newer, lower interest rate card on the right. You can see that on a store card with a $1,000 balance, you’ll end up paying back $1,353.37! With a rate like the one you could get on the Independence Credit Card, you pay back only $1,069.02. And if you transfer the balance to a card below that is offering a promotional rate on the balance transfer, your costs are lowered even further.
 
  Old Credit Card Independence
Credit Card
Balance $1,000 $1,000
Interest Rate 27.52% APR 7.25% APR
Monthly Payment $50 $50
Time to Payoff 28 months 22 months
Interest Payments $353.37 $69.02
Interest Payment Savings $284.35
 

THE CONS

Fees
Many credit card companies offering balance transfers will charge fees for the transfer, usually a percentage of the transferred balance, so that needs to be taken into account when considering a balance transfer. For example, if you have a $5,000 balance, a 3% fee would add $150 to your balance right off the top. (The Independence Credit Card has ZERO balance transfer fees!)

The non-promotional rate
There is a lot more to consider about your new card than just the interest rate. How long does the promotional rate last and what is the interest rate after the promotional period ends? If you plan to pay off your balance before the promotional period ends, that would maximize your savings. But if you don’t, you risk being hit with a much higher interest rate again.
 
More fees
Many credit cards charge an annual fee, so be sure to read the fine print of any credit card before initiating a balance transfer. A few cards do have no annual fee (including the Independence Credit Card!) If your fees and new interest rate are going to cost you more money than you’ll save in a balance transfer, it’s probably not the right card for you.


KEEP IN MIND

Any new purchases you make on your new card will not be subject to the low promotional rate. And the rate you DO get will be based on your credit worthiness.

Think a balance transfer may be right for you? Consider the Independence Credit Card from Kirtland FCU! There are NO balance transfer fees, NO annual fees, and you can qualify for an interest rate as low as 2.99% APR on the transferred balance through December 31, 2020!
 
Apply before March 31, 2020, to get started! Unstuff your wallet and take control of your debt with a balance transfer!

Get started now!
 
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Annual percentage rate and balance transfer rate is based on credit history and other factors. If you do not qualify for the type of card for which you have applied, you may be offered credit under different terms and conditions. The special balance transfer promotion is valid on transferred balances conducted between January 15–March 31, 2020. Balances transferred to your credit card by March 31, 2020 and will remain at the introductory promotional rate until your December statement cycle. On your January statement, all remaining transferred balances will convert to your current Annual Percentage Rate. Membership eligibility required. See a representative for complete details. Chart above is for illustration purposes only.
 

Taxes

New year, new you!

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? We all have our tried-and-true avenues for becoming a healthier person in the new year—giving up the treats we spent the holidays indulging in or starting a new workout routine. This year, instead of just resolving to hit the treadmill more often, let’s commit to becoming financially fit!

Making smart financial decisions and changing bad habits may not be easy. Keeping track of your money, making and managing a budget, and setting and tracking goals are challenging in today’s fast-paced world. It’s just a $5 cup of coffee here and a forgotten gym membership there, but those little things add up. Do you know where your financial blind spots are? With the right technology, it’s easy to keep your thumb on the pulse of your financial well-being. Money Management IS that technology, and it’s FREE for Kirtland FCU members!

What is Money Management?

Money Management is mission control for your money! It’ a free budgeting and money management tool you can use to view and manage your complete financial picture. Accessible right from your Online Banking account and your Mobile App, Money Management allows you to:
  • View all your accounts, including those at other financial institutions, in one place for a truly 360-degree view of your financial situation.
  • See where your money is going with intuitive, easy-to-read graphs and charts.
  • Set and track goals and set alerts to keep you on the right path.
  • Make a budget (or let Money Management do it for you based on your spending history!)
Spotting trends and seeing places where you can streamline and improve? Invaluable, and Money Management can bring that to your fingertips.
 

What’s included?


BUDGET
Budgeting is KEY to financial wellness! Knowing how much money is coming in and going out on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is essential. What are your NEEDS versus your WANTS? And have you factored in debts and savings? Capturing every aspect of your finances can be challenging, but without it, you’re leaving a lot up to chance. There are many online budgeting tools, but none of them are as seamless as Money Management. With Money Management, you can custom-create budgets, or the system can generate one for you based on your spending history! However it works for you. And Money Management budgeting technology not only tracks your transactions, it will help you categorize to spot patterns and set goals. 



MANAGE SPENDING 
Okay, you know you need to see all that money moving in and out of your various accounts. But what do you DO with all that information? Taking into account every penny, trying to wrap your mind around your financial situation can be overwhelming. You could try to categorize transactions by hand, but that’s time consuming and the risk of missing something is high. Check out Money Management’s colorful, easy to read charts and graphs that make it easy to not only set your monthly budget but see how you’re doing at a glance. It’s not just seeing your transactions; you need reliable analysis that transforms your finances into understandable trends that you can use to make real change in your habits.



360-DEGREE VIEW
If you’re just taking a peek in your checking account once in a while to track spending, you’re missing a big chunk of your financial picture. If you have different accounts at different banks, different loans through different companies, and even investment and retirement accounts, you can see them ALL in Money Management, side-by-side. And on any device—desktop, mobile, tablet. 


 

And perhaps the best thing about Money Management? It’s FREE and accessible right from your Online Banking account! Experience your finances in full color, stereo surround sound. Make 2020 the year of 20/20 vision when it comes to your finances. New year, new you, a new path to financial wellness! No gym membership required. 

But if you get a gym membership—Money Management will help you budget for that, too. 

Learn more and get started now! 

 

Taxes

Well, hello, 2020! Right now, millions are heading back to work in the new decade after weeks of holiday splendor. That means one thing—W-2s are coming! Tax return preparers are also heading back to work, prepping for a busy season of tax filings. More than three-quarter of a million people are registered as tax preparers with the IRS, meaning they hold a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). But not every tax preparer is on the up-and-up. Along with these legitimate services, scammers are also busy at work, gearing up to take advantage of tax filers.
 
‘Ghost’ preparers, the IRS says, are preparers who use shady practices to take advantage of tax filers. They are usually not properly licensed as is required by the IRS of anyone who is paid to complete or assist in the completion of someone else’s tax return.

Dishonest tax preparers may also:
  • Promise a big refund.
  • Charge fees based on the refund size.
  • Require payment in cash only and will not provide a receipt.
  • Invent income to erroneously qualify their clients for tax credits or claim fake deductions to boost their refunds.
  • Direct refunds into their own bank account rather than the taxpayer’s.
Perhaps one of the scariest aspects of ghost filers is that if the IRS has issues with your return and you need help to handle it, the ghost filer has, well, ghosted! They’re nowhere to be found, and you could be on the hook for any errors and omissions in your return.

If you’re one of the 56% of Americans who use tax preparation services, the IRS has suggestions for making sure the service you use is trustworthy.
 
  • Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS, have a PTIN and include it on tax returns.
  • Inquire whether the tax return preparer has a professional credential (enrolled agent, certified public accountant or attorney), belongs to a professional organization or attends continuing education classes. Tax law can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. The IRS website has more information regarding the national tax professional organizations.
  • Check the preparer’s qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help locate a tax return preparer with the preferred qualifications.
The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of tax preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of:
  • Attorneys
  • CPAs
  • Enrolled Agents
  • Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents
  • Enrolled Actuaries
  • Annual Filing Season Program participants
 
  • Check the preparer’s history. Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory. 
  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund or boast bigger refunds than their competition. Don’t give tax documents, Social Security numbers or other information to a preparer when only inquiring about their services and fees. Unfortunately, some preparers have improperly filed returns without the taxpayer’s permission once the records were obtained.
  • Make sure the preparer offers IRS e-file and ask to e-file the tax return. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file electronically. The IRS has processed more than 1.5 billion e-filed tax returns. It’s the safest and most accurate way to file a return.
  • Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see tax records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to determine the client’s total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file a return using a pay stub instead of a Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  • Understand representation rules. Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Annual Filing Season Program participants may represent taxpayers in limited situations if they prepared and signed the return. However, non-credentialed preparers who do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program may only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared and signed on or before Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Never sign a blank return. Don’t use a tax preparer that asks clients to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.
  • Review the tax return before signing. Before a taxpayer signs a return, they should review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should ensure they are comfortable with the accuracy of the return and that the refund goes directly to them – not into the preparer’s bank account. Reviewing the routing and bank account number on the completed return is always a good idea.
Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Taxpayers can report abusive tax return preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a return preparer is suspected of filing or changing the return without the client’s consent, also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. Forms are available on IRS.gov.

Learn more about your tax filing options and why it’s a good idea to file early! 

Happy returns!

123456Next