Shred Day

It is long over due for cleaning out your paperwork! We will be holding a shred day on December 29, 2022 at our Pasadena branch. You can find all of the details listed below.

  • 10lb limit per member
  • No paper clips
  • No hanging files

Drop off will be located on the left side of the building near the drive thru. We will have employees there ready to assist you with shredding your sensitive documents.

 

pasadenaThursday, December 29, 2022
9:00am – 12:00pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

 

 

Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design a Christmas Card FinalSandy Saver members, now is your chance to win big! Enter your drawing to win GCEFCU’s Design A Christmas Card Contest. The grand prize winner will receive $50!

You may submit your artwork by dropping it off at any GCEFCU location, or by mailing it to the address listed below. Please include the child’s name, parent’s name, child’s member number, and a good phone number. You can download and print the form here.

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union
ATTN: Marketing Department
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

Credit union members age 12 and under are eligible. Must have a Sandy Savers account to enter. Please turn in by November 19, 2022.

Pictures with Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be visiting our Pasadena branch to take pictures and visit with our members on Friday, December 16, 2022. Remember to bring your own camera!

 

pasadenaFriday, December 16, 2022
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

 

 

 

Three Holiday Fraud Threats

Watch Out For These Three Holiday Fraud Threats

It’s no coincidence that the busiest season for shopping coincides with the highest period for fraud. Every day, fraudsters target consumers with an array of legitimate seeming propositions. But during the holidays, fraudsters make extra efforts to trick and defraud consumers. Here are the top three fraud threats coming this holiday season.

Fake Retails Sites

Identity Theft: Protect Yourself
Are you seeing a deal that’s too good to be true? That might be because it isn’t. Fake retails sites are websites set up to look like real merchants (including well-known brands), but actually leads to a fraudster-held account. Fake retail sites have become especially popular in the age of social media, where posts and accounts look legitimate but are not.

What to Watch Out For?
Domain name and/or website copy contains misspellings, IP address is non-U.S., website doesn’t have a HTTPS (secured) URL, or generally looks off.

Mystery Shopping

Everyone is looking to pick up a little extra cash this time of year. Mystery shopping scams (or secret shopping scams) take advantage of that desire by luring victims into job opportunities where they ‘test’ products and services but are first required to pay the employer for a fee or license. In reality, the job doesn’t actually exist.

What to Watch Out For?
Shopping or dining-related job opportunities that require you to pay the employer first, wiring money to your employer or depositing a check into your bank account on their behalf.

Charity Scams

Scammers are always finding new lows. Charity scams take advantage of our generosity. Fraudsters pose as a legitimate charitable organization and steal donations before they’re discovered.

What to Watch Out For?
High-pressure pitches through phone, email, or in-person; to donate, go to accredited charities.

Believe you’ve become a victim of identity theft?

Notify your financial institution(s) and go to www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 877-438-4338 or TDD (202) 326-2502 to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).


This info was compiled by Advanced Fraud Solutions, the leader in payments fraud detection.

Sleigh the Gift Giving Season

Sleigh the Gift Giving Season

The holidays are approaching, and all year long, you’ve heard your parents talk about wanting a certain something. You know they’d never go out and buy it for themselves, so it’s the perfect present to surprise them with this year. Unfortunately, the price tag is a bit frightful.Family Presents

This year, go in on gifts with others and split the cost of the bill!

Using Zelle® to Get Paid Back is so Delightful

Splitting the cost of a big gift with your siblings is easy with Zelle®. Use Zelle® to easily send a request1 for the money you’re owed, and your sibling can quickly and safely send you money directly from their mobile banking app, even if you bank at different places2. And the best part is, the money will be available to you in minutes2.

How to Request Money for the Group Gift

Step 1: Log into the [FI Name] app.

Step 2: In the main menu, select “[Location of Zelle®]”.

Step 3: Select “[Request money with Zelle®]”.

Step 4: Enroll your U.S. mobile number or email address.

Step 5: Once you’ve enrolled, select your recipient (by entering their phone number or email address), then type in the requested amount, add a little note such as “Mom and Dad’s Gift,” and click “Request”.

Pro-tip: For an even easier experience, have them enroll with Zelle® [Link to https://www.zellepay.com/get-started] before sending your first request. You can send money to someone not yet enrolled, and they’ll get an email with instructions on how to do so.

That’s it! No need to ask your siblings to run to the ATM or search for that checkbook they
never use.


1Payment requests to persons not already enrolled with Zelle® must be sent to an email address.
2U.S. checking or savings account required to use Zelle®. Transactions between enrolled consumers typically occur in minutes.

Six Keys to More Successful Investing

Six Keys to More Successful Investing

A successful investor maximizes gain and minimizes loss. Though there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful, and all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, here are six basic principles that may help you invest more successfully.

Long-term compounding can help your nest egg grow

It’s the “rolling snowball” effect. Put simply, compounding pays you earnings on your reinvested earnings. The longer you leave your money at work for you, the more exciting the numbers get. For example, imagine an investment of $10,000 at an annual rate of return of 8 percent. In 20 years, assuming no withdrawals, your $10,000 investment would grow to $46,610. In 25 years, it would grow to $68,485, a 47 percent gain over the 20-year figure. After 30 years, your account would total $100,627. (Of course, this is a hypothetical example that does not reflect the performance of any specific investment.)Invest

This simple example also assumes that no taxes are paid along the way, so all money stays invested. That would be the case in a tax-deferred individual retirement account or qualified retirement plan. The compounded earnings of deferred tax dollars are the main reason experts recommend fully funding all tax-advantaged retirement accounts and plans available to you.

While you should review your portfolio on a regular basis, the point is that money left alone in an investment offers the potential of a significant return over time. With time on your side, you don’t have to go for investment “home runs” in order to be successful.

Endure short-term pain for long-term gain

Riding out market volatility sounds simple, doesn’t it? But what if you’ve invested $10,000 in the stock market and the price of the stock drops like a stone one day? On paper, you’ve lost a bundle, offsetting the value of compounding you’re trying to achieve. It’s tough to stand pat.

There’s no denying it — the financial marketplace can be volatile. Still, it’s important to remember two things. First, the longer you stay with a diversified portfolio of investments, the more likely you are to reduce your risk and improve your opportunities for gain. Though past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, the long-term direction of the stock market has historically been up. Take your time horizon into account when establishing your investment game plan. For assets you’ll use soon, you may not have the time to wait out the market and should consider investments designed to protect your principal. Conversely, think long-term for goals that are many years away.

Second, during any given period of market or economic turmoil, some asset categories and some individual investments historically have been less volatile than others. Bond price swings, for example, have generally been less dramatic than stock prices. Though diversification alone cannot guarantee a profit or ensure against the possibility of loss, you can minimize your risk somewhat by diversifying your holdings among various classes of assets, as well as different types of assets within each class.

Spread your wealth through asset allocation

Asset allocation is the process by which you spread your dollars over several categories of investments, usually referred to as asset classes. The three most common asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash or cash alternatives such as money market funds. You’ll also see the term “asset classes” used to refer to subcategories, such as aggressive growth stocks, long-term growth stocks, international stocks, government bonds (U.S., state, and local), high-quality corporate bonds, low-quality corporate bonds, and tax-free municipal bonds. A basic asset allocation would likely include at least stocks, bonds (or mutual funds of stocks and bonds), and cash or cash alternatives.

There are two main reasons why asset allocation is important. First, the mix of asset classes you own is a large factor — some say the biggest factor by far — in determining your overall investment portfolio performance. In other words, the basic decision about how to divide your money between stocks, bonds, and cash can be more important than your subsequent choice of specific investments.

Second, by dividing your investment dollars among asset classes that do not respond to the same market forces in the same way at the same time, you can help minimize the effects of market volatility while maximizing your chances of return in the long term. Ideally, if your investments in one class are performing poorly, assets in another class may be doing better. Any gains in the latter can help offset the losses in the former and help minimize their overall impact on your portfolio.

Consider your time horizon in your investment choices

In choosing an asset allocation, you’ll need to consider how quickly you might need to convert an investment into cash without loss of principal (your initial investment). Generally speaking, the sooner you’ll need your money, the wiser it is to keep it in investments whose prices remain relatively stable. You want to avoid a situation, for example, where you need to use money quickly that is tied up in an investment whose price is currently down.

Therefore, your investment choices should take into account how soon you’re planning to use your money. If you’ll need the money within the next one to three years, you may want to consider keeping it in a money market fund or other cash alternative whose aim is to protect your initial investment. Your rate of return may be lower than that possible with more volatile investments such as stocks, but you’ll breathe easier knowing that the principal you invested is relatively safe and quickly available, without concern over market conditions on a given day. Conversely, if you have a long time horizon — for example, if you’re investing for a retirement that’s many years away — you may be able to invest a greater percentage of your assets in something that might have more dramatic price changes but that might also have greater potential for long-term growth.

Note: Before investing in a mutual fund, consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, all of which are outlined in the prospectus, available from the fund. Consider the information carefully before investing. Remember that an investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.

Dollar cost averaging: investing consistently and often

Dollar cost averaging is a method of accumulating shares of an investment by purchasing a fixed dollar amount at regularly scheduled intervals over an extended time. When the price is high, your fixed-dollar investment buys less; when prices are low, the same dollar investment will buy more shares. A regular, fixed-dollar investment should result in a lower average price per share than you would get buying a fixed number of shares at each investment interval. A workplace savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan that deducts the same amount from each paycheck and invests it through the plan, is one of the most well-known examples of dollar cost averaging in action.

Remember that, just as with any investment strategy, dollar cost averaging can’t guarantee you a profit or protect you against a loss if the market is declining. To maximize the potential effects of dollar cost averaging, you should also assess your ability to keep investing even when the market is down.

An alternative to dollar cost averaging would be trying to “time the market,” in an effort to predict how the price of the shares will fluctuate in the months ahead so you can make your full investment at the absolute lowest point. However, market timing is generally unprofitable guesswork. The discipline of regular investing is a much more manageable strategy, and it has the added benefit of automating the process.

Buy and hold, don’t buy and forget

Unless you plan to rely on luck, your portfolio’s long-term success will depend on periodically reviewing it. Maybe economic conditions have changed the prospects for a particular investment or an entire asset class. Also, your circumstances change over time, and your asset allocation will need to reflect those changes. For example, as you get closer to retirement, you might decide to increase your allocation to less volatile investments, or those that can provide a steady stream of income.

Another reason for periodic portfolio review: your various investments will likely appreciate at different rates, which will alter your asset allocation without any action on your part. For example, if you initially decided on an 80 percent to 20 percent mix of stock investments to bond investments, you might find that after several years the total value of your portfolio has become divided 88 percent to 12 percent (conversely, if stocks haven’t done well, you might have a 70-30 ratio of stocks to bonds in this hypothetical example). You need to review your portfolio periodically to see if you need to return to your original allocation.

To rebalance your portfolio, you would buy more of the asset class that’s lower than desired, possibly using some of the proceeds of the asset class that is now larger than you intended. Or you could retain your existing allocation but shift future investments into an asset class that you want to build up over time. But if you don’t review your holdings periodically, you won’t know whether a change is needed. Many people choose a specific date each year to do an annual review.


©Copyright 2021 Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CUSO Financial”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CUSO Financial: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CUSO Financial. The Credit Union has contracted with CUSO Financial to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc. (“Atria”) is a modern wealth management solutions company and is not a Registered Investment Advisor or broker-dealer. Investment products, services and advice are only provided through CUSO Financial, a subsidiary of Atria.

Time Can Be a Strong Ally in Saving for Retirement

Time Can Be a Strong Ally in Saving for Retirement

Father Time doesn’t always have a good reputation, particularly when it comes to birthdays. But when it comes to saving for retirement, time might be one of your strongest allies. Why? When time teams up with the growth potential of compounding, the results can be powerful.

Time and money can work together

The premise behind compounding is fairly simple. Your retirement plan contributions are deducted from your paycheck and invested either in the options you select or in your plan’s default investments. Your contribution dollars may earn returns from those investments, then those returns may earn returns themselves — and so on. That’s compounding.

Compounding in action

To see the process at work, consider the following hypothetical example: Say you invest $1,000 and earn a return of 7% — or $70 — in one year. You now have $1,070 in your account. In year two, that $1,070 earns another 7%, and this time the amount earned is $74.90, bringing the total value of your account to $1,144.90. Over time, if your account continues to earn positive returns, the process can gather steam and add up.

Now consider how compounding might work in your retirement plan. Say $120 is automatically deducted from your paycheck and contributed to your plan account on a biweekly basis. Assuming you earn a 7% rate of return each year, after 10 years, you would have invested $31,200 and your account would be worth $45,100. That’s not too bad. If you kept investing the same amount, after 20 years, you’d have invested $62,400 and your account would be worth $135,835. And after just 10 more years — for a total investment time horizon of 30 years and a total invested amount of $93,600 — you’d have $318,381. That’s the power of compounding at work.Retirement Savings

Keep in mind that these examples are hypothetical, for illustrative purposes only, and do not represent the performance of any actual investment. Returns will change from year to year, and are not guaranteed. You may also lose money in your retirement plan investments. But that’s why when you’re saving for retirement, it’s important to stay focused on long-term results.

Also, these examples do not take into account plan fees, which will impact total returns, and taxes. When you withdraw money from your traditional (i.e., non-Roth) retirement plan account, you will have to pay taxes on your withdrawals at then-current rates. Early withdrawals before age 59½ (age 55 or 50 for certain distributions from employer plans) may be subject to a 10% penalty tax, unless an exception applies. Nonqualified withdrawals from a Roth account may also be subject to regular income and penalty taxes (on the earnings only — you receive your Roth contributions tax free).


©Copyright 2021 Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CUSO Financial”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CUSO Financial: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CUSO Financial. The Credit Union has contracted with CUSO Financial to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc. (“Atria”) is a modern wealth management solutions company and is not a Registered Investment Advisor or broker-dealer. Investment products, services and advice are only provided through CUSO Financial, a subsidiary of Atria.

Annuity Basics

Annuity Basics

An annuity is a contract between you, the purchaser or owner, and an insurance company, the annuity issuer. In its simplest form, you pay money to an annuity issuer, and the issuer pays out the principal and earnings back to you or to a named beneficiary. Life insurance companies first developed annuities to provide income to individuals during their retirement years.

Annuities are either qualified or nonqualified. Qualified annuities are used in connection with tax-advantaged retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, Section 403(b) retirement plans (TSAs), or IRAs. Qualified annuities are subject to the contribution, withdrawal, and tax rules that apply to tax-advantaged retirement plans. One of the attractive aspects of a nonqualified annuity is that its earnings are tax deferred until you begin to receive payments back from the annuity issuer. In this respect, an annuity is similar to a qualified retirement plan. Over a long period of time, your investment in an annuity can grow substantially larger than if you had invested money in a comparable taxable investment. Like a qualified retirement plan, a 10 percent tax penalty on the taxable portion of the distribution may be imposed if you begin withdrawals from an annuity before age 59½. Unlike a qualified retirement plan, contributions to a nonqualified annuity are not tax deductible, and taxes are paid only on the earnings when distributed.

Four parties to an annuity contract

There are four parties to an annuity contract: the annuity issuer, the owner, the annuitant, and the beneficiary. The annuity issuer is the company (e.g., an insurance company) that issues the annuity. The owner is the individual or other entity who buys the annuity from the annuity issuer and makes the contributions to the annuity. The annuitant is the individual whose life will be used as the measuring life for determining the timing and amount of distribution benefits that will be paid out. The owner and the annuitant are usually the same person but do not have to be. Finally, the beneficiary is the person who receives a death benefit from the annuity at the death of the annuitant.

Two distinct phases to an annuity

There are two distinct phases to an annuity: (1) the accumulation (or investment) phase and (2) the distribution phase.
The accumulation (or investment) phase is the time period when you add money to the annuity. When using this option, you’ll have purchased a deferred annuity. You can purchase the annuity in one lump sum (known as a single premium annuity), or you make investments periodically, over time.

The distribution phase is when you begin receiving distributions from the annuity. You have two general options for receiving distributions from your annuity. Under the first option, you can withdraw some or all of the money in the annuity in lump sums.

The second option (commonly referred to as the guaranteed income or annuitization option) provides you with a guaranteed income stream from the annuity for your entire lifetime (no matter how long you live) or for a specific period of time (e.g., 10 years). (Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.) This option generally can be elected several years after you purchased your deferred annuity. Or, if you want to invest in an annuity and start receiving payments within the first year, you’ll purchase what is known as an immediate annuity.

You can also elect to receive the annuity payments over both your lifetime and the lifetime of another person. This option is known as a joint and survivor annuity. Under a joint and survivor annuity, the annuity issuer promises to pay you an amount of money on a periodic basis (e.g., monthly, quarterly, or yearly). The amount you receive for each payment period will depend on how much money you have in the annuity, how earnings are credited to your account (whether fixed or variable), and the age at which you begin the annuitization phase. The length of the distribution period will also affect how much you receive.

When is an annuity appropriate?

It is important to understand that annuities can be an excellent tool if you use them properly. Annuities are not right for everyone.

Nonqualified annuity contributions are not tax deductible. That’s why most experts advise funding other retirement plans first. However, if you have already contributed the maximum allowable amount to other available retirement plans, an annuity can be an excellent choice. There is no limit to how much you can invest in a nonqualified annuity, and like other qualified retirement plans, the funds are allowed to grow tax deferred until you begin taking distributions.

Annuities are designed to be long-term investment vehicles. In most cases, you’ll pay a penalty for early withdrawals. And if you take a lump-sum distribution of your annuity funds within the first few years after purchasing your annuity, you may be subject to surrender charges imposed by the issuer. As long as you’re sure you won’t need the money until at least age 59½, an annuity is worth considering. If your needs are more short term, you should explore other options.

©Copyright 2021 Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.


Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CUSO Financial”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CUSO Financial: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CUSO Financial. The Credit Union has contracted with CUSO Financial to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc. (“Atria”) is a modern wealth management solutions company and is not a Registered Investment Advisor or broker-dealer. Investment products, services and advice are only provided through CUSO Financial, a subsidiary of Atria.