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On Monday, January 21, all Meriwest Financial Centers will be closed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Federally Observed Holiday)

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Financial Education Resources

Understanding our finances is a first step toward financial independence.

Personal Finance and Education – With the support from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Financial Education, 22 federal entities joined together to build a website to bring financial literacy and education and to provide free, reliable financial information to the American public through the MyMoney.gov Website, and the toll-free 1-888-MyMoney hotline. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) was created by Congress in 2003 through the passage of the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act under Title V of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-159). Congress designated the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Financial Education to lend its expertise and provide primary support to the FLEC, which is chaired by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and composed of 22 other Federal entities.

Preparing a Budget

A budget is an important financial planning tool. It serves as a roadmap for you either to avoid debt or get out of debt. It is hard to plan your finances if you don't know where your money goes.

  • Budget and Taxes - U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission - Providing financial education resources for all Americans.
  • How to Budget and Save - A budget is a guide like a road map. It tells you if you and your money are going in the right direction. A budget lets you control your money rather than your money controlling you. With the pdf documents listed below, you will access Meriwest Credit Union's own curriculum on creating a budget. In addition there is another pdf that is a very useful budget worksheet that you can print and start completing to create your personalized budget.

Managing Credit

Meriwest Credit Union encourages all of its members to be credit aware and to access their credit report once annually to check for credit errors and identity theft. The following links may be helpful to you if you have questions about your credit situation.

  • Annualcreditreport.com – AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report. This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.*
  • Debt in Focus - This free and anonymous service will help bring your debt into focus. After answering a few questions about your income and current debts, a simple financial analysis will provide a wealth of information – debt to income ratios, debt payment schedules, and suggested personal action strategies to help keep your finances moving forward. This service is completely anonymous. You will not be asked for your name, social security number, email address, physical address, or any other identifiable information.
  • Credit Disputes – The Federal Trade Commission has a tremendous amount of resources for consumers and business people in regard to credit. This webpage focuses on disputing an error in your credit report and even provides a sample dispute letter.
  • Identity Theft – This site from the Federal Trade Commission provides consumers with several resources in regard to Identity Theft. Their motto is, "Deter, Detect, and Defend." It is what all of us need to do to protect our identities and our credit.

Life Events and Financial Decisions

What would you do if your spouse or your parents suddenly passed away? How would you handle being laid off from your work? What would you do in these emergencies? Life is constantly changing. We can seldom predict what will happen the next day, the next month, or the next several years. Proper financial planning helps smooth out the bumps in our financial highways.

  • Smart About Money – SmartAboutMoney.com provides consumers with information on a variety of economic subjects. This website features articles and information on how finances are effected by graduating from college, marriage, retirement, a new baby, divorce, and many more of life's little happenings and surprises.

College Savings Plans

Every parent wants to see their child enter and graduate from college. The 529 College Savings Plans were created to help families save for college without having to pay taxes on the earnings. If 100% of the funds deposited in a 529 College Savings are used for any type of post secondary school education (colleges and trade schools) the earnings are tax free.**

  • College 529 Plans - This is a U.S. Government sponsored website featuring general information on College 529 Savings Plans. Will you have the money ready when your child is ready for college? Learn how a 529 Plan can benefit your child's future education.

Estate Planning

In a way, estate planning is like fishing in the backwoods. You would not go into the backwoods without a professional guide to lead you to the best streams where you find the best fishing. In the case of your estate, your investment advisor is your guide to protecting your family and the nest egg you have grown over the years. A professional investment advisor will be able to direct you to the best products that meet your investment objectives and estate planning needs.

  • Meriwest Wealth Advisors*** - Estate planning is not simple or planned for overnight. Good estate planning can save your family time and money when you pass. With a good estate plan, you can save money on your taxes and pass along more of your estate to the ones you love. You can even establish charitable giving with your plan or a charitable trust or foundation. MW Wealth Advisors can help you.
  • Meriwest Wealth Advisors is the investment company serving the members of Meriwest Credit Union. You need someone who can distill your financial information and investment goals into an investment portfolio customized to your lifestyle and needs. You can discover your options by meeting with one of the registered representatives by calling (408) 363-3300. A simple call can make a big difference for you and your family.
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You can also call us at 877-MERIWEST (877) 637-4937

*Please feel free to bring your credit report to your local Meriwest Credit Union Financial Center for a review by one of our Financial Services Representatives.

**Consult a tax advisor regarding your individual situation.

***Security and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGA Insurance Agency), member FINRA / SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. The products offered are not insured by the NCUA, NCUSIF or any other regulatory agency, are not deposits or obligations of, nor guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity, and may lose value. Cetera Advisors LLC, is not affiliated with the Credit Union or Meriwest Wealth Advisors, LLC.