Month: March 2021

Pack it Up: How to Save When You Move

No matter what your plans are, when you move it will always come with a price. If you do it yourself, it’s going to cost a lot more time. When you hire professionals, it means spending more money. It’s important to determine what’s of value to you. Regardless of the method you choose, here are some ways to save.

Getting Movers

Create a budget beforehand. Figure out all the pre-moving expenses and what it will take to get your new place up and running. Check prices online and get quotes from at least three companies. Be sure to clarify if they charge extra for long hauls, packing, assembly, stairs and storage. Talk to friends in the neighborhood and speak with folks at your destination about who they use.

Choose the off-season if possible. Most people move in the spring and summer months, since school is out and the weather is nice. However, some movers charge less between September and May. Scheduling for weekdays can also bring savings, since the demand is higher on the weekends.

Taking it on Yourself

First, figure out how much stuff you want to take. Sell things you don’t want to bring along to help offset the cost. Or use what you earned from a yard sale to help pay for furniture or electronics at your new home. Of course, it’s also less expensive to move fewer items—you won’t need an extra-large truck for a more modest set of belongings.

Carefully select the vehicle’s size. A larger one may come with a higher rate, but it will be less expensive than multiple trips with a smaller van. You can also rent helpful items, such as dollies or furniture pads, instead of buying them. And try to time your move directly from one location to another, instead of renting a storage shed.

Search for free boxes at local stores. You can also go online and look around your neighborhood for packing materials from those who have recently moved. And while you’re at it, ask friends & family to help. After all, you can usually pay volunteers in pizza.

If you’re changing cities for a new job, some employers will cover the relocation. Also, you can deduct certain expenses, so keep all related receipts. Please consult your accountant or a tax professional for details. Moving is never a fun experience, but careful planning and budgeting can ease your financial burden.

Five Steps to Take Before Buying a Used Car

It’s an exciting experience to buy a used car—especially when you finally find the make, model & color you want—at a price that looks like a good deal. However, before you get caught up in the process and sign the paperwork, here are five steps you should take.

Do your research

Don’t make a final decision the first time you visit a dealership or private seller. First, look up the vehicle online and, if applicable, the dealer. Use NADA or similar guides to check the value and read what others who own the same type of car are saying. You can even find repair records if you have the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Take a test drive

The best way to get to know a used car or truck is to drive it. Create a checklist beforehand so you don’t overlook anything. And don’t just take it around the block, either; see how it handles at various speeds on different roads. Use each of your senses by looking for excessive wear and tear, listening for strange rattles, knocks and squeaks and determining if the heater or air conditioner is generating odd smells. Press all the buttons, flip the switches, and turn on the lights to be certain everything is in working order.

Get a second opinion

While you’re out test-driving, take it to a friend or family member’s house. Talk to them about the mileage, the seller, the price and anything else that’s on your mind. This will give you the valuable perspective of an outsider who might be able to uncover red flags you can’t.

Visit the mechanic

If you’re not well versed in vehicle maintenance, you might consider going to an auto repair shop and getting a pre-purchase inspection. The mechanic can likely discover things you wouldn’t find just from looking under the hood. These normally run around $100, but spending a little upfront could save you from expensive repairs in the future.

Get preapproved

Never wait until the last minute to think about financing. Getting preapproved for an auto loan will help ensure you get the lowest possible rate. Plus, you can choose your lender instead of relying on expensive dealer offers. This will speed up the buying process when you’re ready. America First even delivers instant online approvals so you can get an idea of what you can afford before you even set foot on a used car lot.

Charitable Contributions: Financially Sound Generosity

We all know it is better to give than to receive. And, of course, the point of giving to a worthwhile cause is not expecting anything in return. Nevertheless, there are financial benefits to charitable contributions when you file your taxes. Here are a few tips & guidelines regarding taxes and charity.

WHAT IS DEDUCTIBLE?

The IRS doesn’t allow deductions for funds given to specific individuals or families. Meaning, if you give a friend in need some money to help them pay for a medical issue, it doesn’t apply. The contribution has to be to a qualified organization, such as the Red Cross, public schools, churches and many other non-profit organizations. If you have a question a group’s tax-exempt status, contact the IRS online or call 1.877.829.5500.

KEEP DETAILED RECORDS

If you deduct charitable donations on your return, you’ll need more than just a scribbled note on a napkin. There should be a written communication from the organization, including its name, the date and the amount you contributed. Detailed receipts will ensure you have accurate data and are invaluable in case of an audit.

HOW MUCH CAN I DEDUCT?

You can actually deduct up to 50% of your adjusted gross income when it comes to charitable contributions. It’s one of the few itemized deductions that doesn’t have a floor, or lower limit, meaning you get to deduct every dollar that you give to qualified organizations until you reach half of your income level. Every dollar that you donate to charity beyond that 50% of your income will still give you warm fuzzies, but you don’t get to deduct it on your taxes.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY

Cash contributions aren’t the only things that can lower your tax bill. You can also deduct the value of donated clothing, furniture, vehicles and more. To do this right means you have to get a receipt when you donate and determine fair market price of the item — which is, essentially, a reasonable price if you were selling it. There are also cases when you can deduct the cost of travel to and from a place where you volunteer your time, the price of a volunteer uniform and other endeavors.

Please remember that this article is for information only. We recommend consulting your tax advisor with questions regarding specific deductions and charitable donations. However, if you want to start donating today, the America First Community Assistance Program is a wonderful — and tax-deductible — effort you can join. Simply log in to your online banking account and make your contribution.

Free financial literacy program designed for K–12 children launched by America First Credit Union

 

People in a broadcast

America First Credit Union is thrilled to announce the launch of FUNDamentals, a new, free financial literacy program designed for K-12 children. It helps youth become financially savvy and empowers educators with customizable, quality content. FUNDamentals is designed to make learning about finances fun and engaging. By teaching youth about money matters it puts them on the path to financial success.

The program includes various full-lesson plans that address ten critical life skills, including spending, saving, getting a loan, and other financial subjects. Each subject includes engaging animated videos, handouts, presentations, lesson plans, printable certificates, and other useful resources to inform students while keeping them entertained. Understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever, the program, including scheduling virtual guest speakers who can teach the curriculum, can be done online.

Teachers can request access by visiting www.education.americafirst.com.

Once access has been granted by credit union staff, school districts and teachers can log into the online portal to use and customize the content. Teachers can rest assured our lessons are aligned with Utah State Financial Literacy graduation requirement; Common Core Math, and Common Core English Language Arts requirements.

Those wanting additional financial instruction for students can request a free virtual or in-person visit from an America First Credit Union guest speaker by completing the form at America First Credit Union Education.

Source

3 helpful tips to protect yourself against fraud, scams, and identity theft

People in a broadcast

America First Credit Union is celebrating National Consumer Protection Week by giving you the best tips on avoiding scams. America First Credit Union is dedicated to the financial well-being of their members and they want to help protect you from fraud, scams, and identity theft. National Consumer Protection week is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money.

Here are three helpful tips to help you protect yourself against fraud, scams and identity theft:

Privacy

Before submitting your email address or other personal information online, you need to be sure that the privacy of that information will be protected. To protect your identity and prevent an attacker from easily accessing additional information about you, be cautious about providing your birth date, Social Security number, or other personal information online.

Avoiding Scams

Do not give sensitive information to others unless you are sure that they are indeed who they claim to be and that they should have access to the information. Keep your personal information to yourself. Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Next week is a good time to review and remind yourself and loved ones of how to protect themselves from fraud, scams, and identity theft. Be sure your children, parents and grandparents have all the information needed to protect themselves.

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2021 Annual Meeting Update

In accordance with America First bylaws, the Board of Directors Nominations Committee has identified three members who will stand for election by acclamation at the credit union’s Annual Meeting. This meeting will take place at 1344 West 4675 South, Riverdale, UT 84405 on April 20 at 3 p.m. MDT.

After thorough interviews and qualification screenings, the incumbent Board candidates are:

  • David McConkie
  • Cathy Person
  • John Spease

Please join us in congratulating these volunteers, who selflessly give of their time, talent, expertise, and experience to enhance the financial well-being of America First members.

Raiders and America First Credit Union Announce Contest to Help Small Businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Raiders and America First Credit Union Announce Contest to Help Small Businesses

Winner of “Small Business Showcase” will receive a single-season sponsorship

 LAS VEGAS – March 7, 2021America First Credit Union (AFCU) is enlisting the Las Vegas Raiders’ support to help one deserving small business thrive. The credit union and the Raiders are giving small businesses in Nevada and Utah the chance to secure a single-season sponsorship agreement valued at approximately $100,000.

As part of the Small Business Showcase, the winner will receive signage inside Allegiant Stadium, radio spots, digital promotions on the Raiders’ website and mobile app, tickets to a home game, and more.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the community,” said AFCU president and CEO, John B. Lund. “Many mom-and-pop shops have been rocked by the pandemic. They deserve to be highlighted now more than ever. AFCU is honored to team up with the Las Vegas Raiders to recognize the contributions of small businesses through this innovative, entrepreneurial-themed program.”

 “Many members of Raider Nation operate small business and we are grateful for their entrepreneurship,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “The showcase will not only support a winner but will also bring focus to the importance of small businesses in Nevada & Utah”

The contest is open to Nevada and Utah-based for-profit small businesses with an annual revenue of less than $10 million. To enter, participants must visit www.americafirst.com/raiders, and provide their contact information and a short profile about why a sponsorship would help their business.

All entries must be submitted by March 31, 2021. The selection committee comprises AFCU and Raiders representatives as well as community/business leader(s). The selection committee plans to notify selected finalists by May 2021. Businesses will be evaluated on how they represent their city, how they currently give back to the community, and how this opportunity will assist in the successful execution of their business plans. If COVID-19 limitations and operational protocols provide, Finalists will be invited to showcase their businesses at a private event held at Allegiant Stadium for final consideration. Following the judging period, winners will be announced on www.americafirst.com/raiders.

All participants will be subject to the Official Rules. Click here for official rules.

In 2019, there were over 270,000 small businesses in Nevada and more than 287,000 in Utah, according to the Small Business Administration economic profiles (click for Nevada and Utah).

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,171,373 members.

ABOUT THE LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

The Raiders began play in the American Football League in 1960 and are in their 62nd year of professional football competition, including the last 52 years as a member club of the National Football League. Over seven memorable decades, the Raiders won one AFL Championship, three NFL Championships, and four American Football Conference Championships; participated in five Super Bowls; played in 14 Championship games; won or tied for 17 Division titles; reached the playoffs in 22 seasons; played in 44 postseason games; and finished 37 seasons at .500 or better. With their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders became the first NFL team to play in Super Bowls in four different decades. In addition, the Raiders are proud to contribute to community engagement, youth initiatives, environmental and multicultural awareness, and global outreach. The Raiders played in Oakland from their inception through 1982, relocated to Los Angeles in 1983, and moved back to Oakland in 1995, and made Las Vegas its home in 2020. The Raiders base training and business operations in Henderson and play home games at Allegiant Stadium, a fully enclosed, state-of-the-art facility with a capacity of 65,000 located adjacent to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The Raiders maintain a global presence and communicate with the worldwide Raider Nation through the team’s official website and social media channels. For more information, please visit www.raiders.com or follow @raiders on Twitter and Instagram.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jennifer.lopez@rrpartners.com

Mike Taylor
Raiders
725.780.3235
mtaylor@raiders.com

America First Credit Union partners with Las Vegas Raiders to present SafeNest with a $20,000 check

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union partners with Las Vegas Raiders to present SafeNest with a $20,000 check

Las Vegas – March 11, 2021 – America First Credit Union, in collaboration with the Las Vegas Raiders and the Raiders Foundation, is donating $20,000 to support SafeNest, Nevada’s largest nonprofit dedicated to ending the epidemic of domestic violence.

As part of the inaugural First Downs for the Hometown, for each Raiders’ first down at Allegiant Stadium, America First Credit Union is donating $100 to the Raiders Foundation — the charitable arm of the Las Vegas Raiders organization. During the 2020 season, the Raiders secured 193 first downs at home, resulting in $19,300. Rounding up, the credit union will now donate the money to SafeNest to help with the organization’s commitment to providing vital crisis services and shelter residents and anyone else who may be experiencing abuse during this time of uncertainty.

“America First Credit Union’s comprehensive partnership with the Raiders will make a huge difference across this organization and the more than 20,000 clients it serves annually in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite, and surrounding rural areas,” said AFCU president and CEO John B. Lund. “With our First Downs for the Hometown, cheering on the Raiders as they got first downs at Allegiant Stadium became a doubly satisfying experience.”

”We are grateful to America First Credit Union for using the “First Down for the Hometown” program to make a positive impact off the field through a donation to support the great community work being advanced by SafeNest,” said Las Vegas Raiders President Marc Badain.

First Downs for the Hometown

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,171,373 members.

ABOUT THE LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

The Raiders began play in the American Football League in 1960 and are in their 62nd year of professional football competition, including the last 52 years as a member club of the National Football League. Over seven memorable decades, the Raiders won one AFL Championship, three NFL Championships, and four American Football Conference Championships; participated in five Super Bowls; played in 14 Championship games; won or tied for 17 Division titles; reached the playoffs in 22 seasons; played in 44 postseason games; and finished 37 seasons at .500 or better. With their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders became the first NFL team to play in Super Bowls in four different decades. In addition, the Raiders are proud to contribute to community engagement, youth initiatives, environmental and multicultural awareness, and global outreach. The Raiders played in Oakland, Calif., from their inception through 1982, relocated to Los Angeles in 1983, and moved back to Oakland in 1995, and made Las Vegas its home in 2020. The Raiders base training and business operations in Henderson, Nev. and play home games at Allegiant Stadium, a fully enclosed, state-of-the-art facility with a capacity of 65,000 located adjacent to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The Raiders maintain a global presence and communicate with the worldwide Raider Nation through the team’s official website and social media channels. For more information, please visit www.raiders.com or follow @raiders on Twitter and Instagram.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jennifer.lopez@rrpartners.com

Mike Taylor
Raiders
725.780.3235
mtaylor@raiders.com

 

America First Credit Union Awarding Scholarships to High School Seniors and College Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Awarding Scholarships to High School Seniors and College Students

Riverdale, Utah – March 3, 2021 – America First Credit Union is calling for submissions for its America First Charitable Foundation Scholarship Program. The credit union will be awarding ten $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors and undergraduate students at two- and four-year technical colleges or universities who share our passion for helping others.

This will be the third year of America First’s scholarship program. Josh Rawlings, who will be attending Brigham Young University, was one of the recipients from 2020.

“I was applying for scholarships and I heard about it from my mom who said it would be a really good one to apply for,” said Rawlings. “ I really like America First and I am a member so I thought it would be worth applying for. I will have to work through college, but this will give me some more time to focus on schoolwork and hobbies rather than having to work crazy hours.”

The America First Charitable Foundation is looking for candidates who embody a people-helping-people philosophy. Those who play an active role in giving back to their community, whether through volunteering or other meaningful contributions of time, effort, and care are encouraged to apply.

Applicants are required to submit their hours of community service, grade point average, and current transcript. They must also submit a short essay on how their community service exemplifies the credit union philosophy of people helping people.

The scholarship application can be found and submitted on America First’s website. Submissions are due by April 30 and winning members will be notified by May 29.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,171,373 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com