15 Work Out Anywhere Bodyweight Exercises

Scient FCU is committed to helping you stay financially and physically healthy during these difficult times. We have a few tips for you on ways you can still workout at home during the quarantine.* 

With gyms and fitness centers closed and social distancing in effect, you may be looking for effective exercises that you can do at home. Bodyweight exercises, exercises that don’t require weights or machines, can be done anywhere and are some of the best exercises to keep you fit and healthy.

These also are fun for kids if you want to get your family involved. Do one to three sets, completing 10-15 reps per exercise.

Glute bridges

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and keep your feet on the floor.
  • Place your hands on the ground with your palms facing downward.
  • Lift your hips up and off the floor, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds and repeat.

Planks (regular plank, side plank)

  • Press your hands flat on the floor, shoulders aligned directly above them, and keep your back and bottom in a flat position, as you press your belly button toward your back. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds, or as long as you can.
  • For a side plank, lie on one side with your feet stacked. Press your bottom hand flat into the floor (or rest on your elbow), keeping it aligned with your shoulder, and press your body up, keeping it as straight as possible from your ankles through your shoulders.

Plank heeltaps

  • Start in a plank position – pressing your hands flat on the floor, shoulders aligned directly above them, and keeping your back and bottom in a flat position.
  • Keeping your legs straight, raise your bottom until you’re in a pike position.
  • Lift one hand, reach underneath and try to tap your opposite ankle.
  • Come back to starting plank position and repeat with opposite hand and ankle.

Push-ups

  • Start on your hands and knees or in a plank position, keeping your shoulders aligned directly above your hands.
  • Push against the ground as you push your body up, keeping your back and bottom in a flat position.
  • Lower and repeat.

High knees

  • Run in place, keeping your knees high in front of you (not kicking your butt).

Crunches

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your back pressed against the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head to support your neck or place them on your thighs.
  • Keeping your chin in a neutral position, lift your shoulders up and off the floor, and crunch your body up, pressing your belly button toward the floor.

Lying Leg Lifts

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight and flat against the ground.
  • Place your hands on the ground with your palms facing downward or with your hands placed underneath lower back/bottom for support.
  • Hinging at the hip, lift your feet up as high as you can, while keeping your back on the floor and legs straight.
  • Lower back down to starting position, but don’t let feet touch floor.

Calf Raises

  • Stand and place your hands against a wall or stand with your hands on your hips.
  • With your feet hip-width apart, raise up onto your toes. Hold for a few seconds or come right back down to the starting position and repeat.

Bodyweight squats

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • With your hands either on your hips or held comfortably in front of you, extend your hips back as you bend your knees (like you’re sitting in a chair).
  • Make sure that your knees stay behind your toes, as you keep your chest lifted and your shoulders back.
  • If you want to challenge yourself, you can add a jump as you return from the squat to standing.

Seated squats

  • These are performed like bodyweight squats except you can place a chair behind you or use the sofa for support.

Lunges (forward, backward, and side)

  • Start with your hands on your hips and your feet together.
  • Step forward with one foot, making sure your knee stays behind your toes, as your other knee bends toward, but doesn’t touch, the floor; both knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your back straight so you aren’t hunched or bending over.
  • These can also be done by stepping your foot back or stepping your foot to the side.

Wall sits

  • Stand and press your back against the wall with your hands facing the wall.
  • Walk your feet out a few inches from the wall.
  • Keep your body flat against the wall as you slide your bottom down the wall until your knees are in a 90-degree position. Draw in your belly button and hold that position for 30 to 60 of seconds, or whatever amount of time you can hold it.
  • Slide back up the wall and repeat.

Dead bugs

  • Lying on your back, lift your knees and feet off the floor until they’re at a 90-degree angle.
  • While pressing your lower back against the floor, extend one leg out straight before returning to start position.
  • For more of a challenge, you can extend one leg out and extend your opposite arm over your head.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg (and arm).

Mountain climbers

  • Starting in a plank position, bring one knee into your chest and then return to plank position.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • For a greater challenge, increase your speed.

Supermans

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • With your hands extended out in front of you, simultaneously lift your arms and legs and hold that position for a few seconds.
  • Return to starting position.

While we’re all making temporary sacrifices to protect each other and our community, we don’t have to sacrifice our fitness. There’s no better time to get active and break a sweat.

 

Originally posted on Virtua.org By Paige Kondrak, Fitness Specialist—Virtua William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness

 

*Please consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Scient FCU is federally insured by NCUA. 

6 Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Responsibly

Have you received your COVID-19 stimulus payment or are you expecting it soon? Have you started thinking about how you would spend it?

It’s tempting to think about all of the ways you could spend an extra $1,200 or $2,400 – depending your filing status and the number of dependents you claim. Before you get that list finalized, we want to give you some tips to help your money stretch as far as possible.

1. Prioritize.

Look at your bills. What are essential – rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities – and what bills are non-essential – entertainment, streaming services, unusable memberships? Make a list of what you need and what you can live without. Focus on paying the essential bills first.

2. Save. Save. Save.

Don’t miss an opportunity to pad your savings account with some of your stimulus money. It’s a one-time payment so think of your stimulus as a mini emergency fund. You may want to set aside some of the payment as “in case” money.

3. Divide and conquer.

You only get one stimulus payment, but your bills will still come monthly. If you’re currently unemployed, it’s especially important to be strategic in how you spend your stimulus payment. Take this opportunity to divide it up into smaller chunks to help cover some of the essential bills you pay each month. Also, talk to your landlord or mortgage lender, your utility company and internet service provider if you’re having trouble meeting your monthly obligations. A lot of companies are finding ways to help their customers during this unprecedented situation.

4. Don’t hoard cash.

Hoarding cash is a bad idea in general. Your money is much safer at your credit union than it is in your home. The National Credit Union Administration insures amounts up to $250,000. So, bring it to us and let us keep an eye on it. Plus, if you have a checking account that has a cashback option, you could make money on it while it sits in your account.

5. Pay down debt.

Paying off debt is almost never a bad financial move but think about it and prioritize carefully. Even in these uncertain times, paying off your highest-interest debt isn’t a bad idea. But, don’t feel like you need to be in a hurry to spend all your stimulus money on paying off debt. Look at your options for forbearance, payment deferrals or even the option to skip a monthly payment. If you can get some relief on your debts in the coming months, let that stimulus payment sit in your savings account.

6. Splurge Smartly.

We’re all feeling the weight of stress, grief and uncertainty as we wonder when this pandemic will end, and life will return to normal. No matter how you decide to spend your stimulus check, set aside a little bit to spend on something fun for yourself. Maybe even shop at some of your local businesses to offer support. Remember: the government is hoping these stimulus payments will put some cashflow back into the economy to stimulate it.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve faced a situation no one could’ve possibly prepared for. We know that our members have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the stimulus payments will certainly help and offer some relief to most, please know that Scient Federal Credit Union is here for you. We want to help you stretch your stimulus payment as far as it will possibly go. Maybe you need to skip a monthly payment or you’re looking for a relief loan. Regardless of your needs, give us a call at 877-860-6928 and let us figure out how to help.

Stimulus Payments Are On The Way

Economic Impact payments are on their way, and most Americans have already received their money. 

But, what does it mean for you if you haven’t?

Where is my stimulus check?

The IRS began sending out stimulus payments in April. But if you haven’t received yours yet, there’s no reason to panic. Retirees, senior citizens, and taxpayers who filed income taxes in 2018 and 2019 and included direct deposit information were the first groups to receive their payments. 

If you’re not in one of those categories, you’ll still receive a payment, but it’ll arrive by mail instead of being directly deposited into your checking or savings account. Taxpayers who didn’t include direct deposit information will receive a paper check sometime in May.

 The IRS does a feature on its website that will allow taxpayers to provide direct deposit information if their check hasn’t yet been mailed. However, the feature isn’t slated to be up and running until mid-April.

What you need to know about payments

Most taxpayers are eligible to receive a stimulus payment. The payments are automatic, and no further action is needed to receive the payment. 

The amount, however, will vary based on filing status, the number of dependents and adjusted gross income (AGI). Individuals or head of household filers will receive $1,200, while married taxpayers filing jointly (if they aren’t a dependent of another taxpayer) will receive $2,400. Taxpayers will receive up to $500 per dependent claimed on their federal tax returns in 2018 and 2019.

Stimulus payments are based on the AGI claimed by the filer. Taxpayers will receive the amounts listed above if they have a work-eligible Social Security number and adjusted gross income up to: 

  • $75,000 for individuals
  • $112,500 for head of household filers
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint tax returns

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is:

  • $75,001 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • $112,501 and $136,500 for head of household
  • $150,001 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

Can I track my payment?

You may track the status of your payment here

The website is open to non-filers. If you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax or you weren’t required to, you can enter your information on the IRS website and select the preferred method of payment.

We’re facing an unprecedented situation that seems to be changing daily. Please know, Scient Federal Credit Union is here for you during this time. If you’re facing an uncertain financial situation, talk to us. Let us help you find a solution that works for you while you’re waiting for your stimulus payment. We have several options available to our members because we want to help them come through this stronger. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, call us at 877-860-6928 and let us know how we can be there for you.

Coronavirus Update

As we continue to make every effort to support our members and assist with their financial needs, we are experiencing a higher than usual call volume in our contact center.  Members may experience longer wait times. We appreciate your patience. 

If you are looking for the status of your Stimulus Payment, please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment for an update.

UPDATED: May 20, 2020 

While Connecticut starts Phase 1 of re-opening businesses, here at Scient, we have not yet determined a branch lobby re-opening date. Our most important consideration is the health and safety of our employees and members.  

We continue to monitor the situation and prepare for a lobby re-opening. When a re-opening date for our lobby has been decided, you will be one of the first to know! 

We are here – always committed to working for you, our members. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate our new normal. To access your account, please see the below information.

UPDATED: April 15, 2020 

New Hours effective April 20, 2020

Colver Ave. Branch Drive-up 

Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 12:00pm

New Haven Postal Branch Lobby

Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 3:00pm
Friday 7:00am – 4:00pm

 

Scient is here for our members who may be experiencing financial difficulties due to Covid -19 and are looking for temporary payment relief  from home mortgages and equities. Please review the mortgage and equity options here.  We are also offering a special low rate personal loan to assist during this time. 

The following are additional options available to assist you:

  • Effective March 30, 2020 and until further notice,  a maximum of three (3) skipped payments per loan, per year and no more than three (3) consecutive skipped payments are allowed.  Information regarding skipping a qualifying loan can be found on our Skip a Pay page.
  • Fast Pay is available to make a quick, secure auto or other loan payment. To make a payment to your Scient credit card visit here
  • Secure messaging in Online Banking is available to send a secure email message thru your online banking account to a service representative for reply. You can also check your balances, transfer funds, make loan payments, and more, within online banking, from your desktop or mobile device 24 hours a day.  

 

Your financial safety is our main concern. Be aware, scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. 

  • Remember, Scient Federal Credit Union will NEVER request sensitive information from you through email. And, if you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of a request, please contact us for verification before providing any personal or account information.
  • Stay informed by following The Federal Trade Commission page regarding Coronavirus scams.
  • Visit our Blog page for up to date articles relating to potential scams.

 

Please note:  Delays may be experienced during the mortgage loan process.  Currently, there is limited access to the necessary resources to process these loans.  We are diligently working to process all applications and appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times. 

 

Please be assured that Scient like so many other companies, is taking extra precautions to keep our staff and members safe during this Coronavirus (COVD-19) national emergency. 

What you can do

Use our electronic services whenever possible.  We ask that if you are sick and still need to visit a branch that you use the drive up instead of the lobby.  If you are not sick, you can avoid potential contact with people who may be sick by considering alternatives to visiting our branches at this time.  Note – our Pfizer campus building 220 branch has been deemed non-essential by Pfizer, and accordingly will remain closed while the emergency continues.  Here are a few banking suggestions to consider:

  • Use Online Banking. It’s a free and easy way to check your balances, transfer funds, make loan payments, and more, from your desktop or mobile device 24 hours a day. With our mobile app, you can even electronically deposit checks. You can download our app here.
  • Use Fast Pay to make a quick, secure auto or other loan payment. To make a payment to your Scient credit card visit here.
  • Use our network ATMs. We have an ATM at both our Colver Ave. and New Haven Postal branches, where you can withdraw cash, transfer funds, and make cash or check deposits. Transactions are posted the same business day. We’re also a member of the Co-Op Network, which allows you surcharge-free access to nearly 30,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • Use our Colver Ave. HQ branch night drop to make your deposit. It will post the following business day.
  • Use our Audio Banking System to check balances, transfer funds, and make loan payments. Dial 877-860-6928 and select option 1 to begin. Directions on how to enroll in audio banking can be found here.
  • Some of you may have your work income disrupted by the emergency, you may want to use our Skip-a-Pay service to skip your loan payment for a month or apply for our loan assistance program. If making payments becomes very difficult, please contact us at 877 860 6928.
  • Call us at 877 860 6928. Our Contact Center can handle almost any banking need, or will transfer you to someone who can.

 

What we’re doing:

To start,  we’re actively monitoring the emergency and following all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in term of staff hygiene at work.  In addition, we ‘re increasing our electronic channel transaction limits to give you more flexibility in remote access, and will make sure our ATMs stay up to meet your cash withdrawal needs.  For our branch users we have enhanced our daily cleaning procedures with an end-of-day disinfectant wipe-down, including our Colver ATM. 

We will of course continue to closely monitor the situation and updates will be posted on this page. We appreciate your patience and cooperation with our changes as we do our part to keep our staff, members, their families and our communities as safe and healthy as possible during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Your Scient Family

What You Should Know About the Stimulus Checks

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion economic relief plan set to provide aid to millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The package includes stimulus payments for individuals, additional unemployment coverage, student loan relief, and more.

But, what does that mean for you?

Stimulus Payments

Most adults will receive a check or direct deposit. The amount will vary based on adjusted gross income, filing status, and the number of dependents you claim. The amounts will break down as follows:

  • Single adults who made $75,000 or less annually will receive $1,200. If you have qualifying children 16 or under, you will receive an additional $500 per child.
  • Married couples with no children who made $150,000 or less will receive $2,400.
  • Taxpayers who file as the head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.
  • For single adults who make more than $75,000, the payment gradually decreases until it stops all together at $99,000.
  • For married people with no children who make more than $150,000, the stimulus payment gradually decreases until it stops all together at $198,000.

If someone claims you as a dependent – even as an adult – you will not be eligible for a relief payment. To see your adjusted gross income, look at Line 8B on your 2019 or 2018 1040 federal tax return.

Most people will receive their payments within three weeks. However, according to the bill, you’ll receive a paper notice in the mail a few weeks after your payment has been distributed. That notice will also contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made.

Additional Unemployment Coverage

Under the stimulus package, additional unemployment benefits will be extended to people who wouldn’t typically be eligible for unemployment.

Typically, self-employed and part-time workers, gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, but under the stimulus package, those groups will be protected. Benefits will be calculated based on previous income using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

Under the plan, eligible workers will get an extra $600 per week in addition to the state unemployment they are currently receiving. The state unemployment and extra coverage is designed to replace the paycheck that has been lost due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Student Loan Relief

The federal government has already waived two months of interest and payments for student borrowers. There will be an automatic payment suspension until Aug. 30 for any student loans held by the federal government. Older Federal Family Educational Loans, Perkins loans or loans from state or private agencies are not eligible. However, if you have a private student loan, it’s worth asking to see what options are available to you.

Retirement Accounts

The stimulus package has also suspended certain retirement account rules for the calendar year 2020. No one will have to take a required minimum distribution from individual retirement accounts or workplace retirement savings plans.

If you have an IRA or workplace retirement plan, you can withdraw up to $100,000 without the usual 10 percent penalty as long as the withdrawal is because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The withdrawal qualifies if you, a spouse or dependent tested positive for the virus or you experienced other negative economic effects related to the pandemic. You’ll also be able to spread out any income taxes you owe as a result over a three-year time period from the date of the distribution.

You can also borrow from your 401(k) and can take out twice the usual amount. For 180 days after the bill passes, if you provide certification that you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can withdraw up to $100,000. If you already have a loan and it’s supposed to be repaid before Dec. 31, you get an extra year.

We’re facing unprecedented times; the pandemic has touched everyone’s lives in some way. Please know, Scient Federal Credit Union is here for you during this time. If you’re experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic, reach out and talk to us at 860-445-1060. Let us help you find the option that works best for you. We can get through this together; one step at a time.

Coronavirus Concerns? Consider Past Health Crises

touching a touch screen

Putting current market volatility into historical perspective can help you stay the course during turbulent times.

 

stock price spike

Dollar-cost averaging does not ensure a profit or prevent a loss. Such plans involve continuous investments in securities regardless of fluctuating prices. You should consider your financial ability to continue making purchases during periods of low and high price levels. However, this can be an effective way for investors to accumulate shares to help meet long-term goals.

Asset allocation is a method used to help manage investment risk; it does not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss.

 

During the last week of February 2020, the S&P 500 lost 11.49% — the worst week for stocks since the 2008 financial crisis — only to jump by 4.6% on the first Monday in March.1 By all accounts, the drop was largely driven by ever-increasing fears about the potential effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its ultimate impact on the global economy. Although many market observers contend that the market was overvalued and due for a correction anyway, the unpredictability, strength, and suddenness of the historic tumble was unnerving for even the most seasoned investors. If recent volatility is causing you to consider cashing out of your stock holdings, it may be worthwhile to pause and put recent events into perspective, using history as a guide.

A look back

Since the turn of the millennium, the market’s negative response to health crises has been relatively short-lived. As this table shows, approximately six months after early reports of a major outbreak, the S&P 500 bounced back by an average of 10.47%. After 12 months, it rebounded by an average of 17.17%. Although there are no guarantees the current situation will follow a similar pattern, it may be reassuring to know that over even longer periods of time, stocks typically regain their upward trajectory, helping long-term investors who hold steady to recoup their temporary losses, catch their breath, and go on to pursue their goals.

Epidemic Month end* 6-month performance, S&P 500 12-month performance, S&P 500
SARS April 2003 14.59% 20.76%
Avian (Bird) flu June 2006 11.66% 18.36%
Swine flu (H1N1) April 2009** 18.72% 35.96%
MERS May 2013 10.74% 17.96%
Ebola March 2014 5.34% 10.44%
Measles/Rubeola December 2014 0.20% -0.73%
Zika January 2016 12.03% 17.45%

Source: Dow Jones Market Data, as cited on foxbusiness.com, January 27, 2020. Stocks are represented by the Standard & Poor’s 500 price index. Returns reflect the change in price, but not the reinvestment of dividends. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index that is generally considered to be representative of the U.S. stock market. Returns shown do not reflect taxes, fees, brokerage commissions, or other expenses typically associated with investing. The performance of an unmanaged index is not indicative of the performance of any particular investment. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index. Actual results will vary.

*End of month during which early incidents of outbreak were reported.

**H1N1 occurred during the financial crisis, when, as during other periods, many different factors influenced stock market performance.

What should you do?

First, keep in mind that market downturns sometimes offer the chance to pick up potentially solid stocks at value prices, which could position a portfolio well for future growth. Again, there are no guarantees that stocks will perform to anyone’s expectations — and decisions could result in losses including a possible loss in principal — but it may be helpful to remember that some investors use downturns as opportunities to buy stocks that were previously overvalued relative to their perceived earnings potential.

Moreover, if you typically invest set amounts into your portfolio at regular intervals — a strategy known as dollar-cost averaging (DCA), which is commonly used in workplace retirement plans and college investment plans — take heart in knowing you’re utilizing a method of investing that helps you behave like the value investors noted above. Through DCA, your investment dollars purchase fewer shares when prices are high, and more shares when prices drop. Essentially, in a down market, you automatically “buy low,” one of the most fundamental investment tenets. Over extended periods of volatility, DCA can result in a lower average cost for your holdings than the investment’s average price over the same time period.

Finally and perhaps most important, during trying times like this, it may help to focus less on daily market swings and more on the fundamentals; that is, review your investment objectives and time horizon, and revisit your asset allocation to make sure it’s still appropriate for your needs. Your allocation can shift in unexpected ways due to changes in market cycles, so you may discover the need to rebalance your allocation by selling holdings in one asset class and investing more in another. (Keep in mind that rebalancing in a taxable account can result in income tax consequences.)

Questions?

After considering the points here, if you still have questions about how changing market dynamics are affecting your portfolio, you may contact our CFS financial professional, Brendan McMurtrie, at bmcmurtrie@cusonet.com or 860-441-0909. Often a third-party perspective can help alleviate any worries you may still hold.

1Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center, February 28, 2020, and March 2, 2020. Performance reflects price change, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources belived to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: 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 CFS. The credit union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

 

New Spending Package Includes Sweeping Retirement Plan Changes

The $1.4 trillion spending package enacted on December 20, 2019, included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which had overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in the spring of 2019, but then subsequently stalled in the Senate. The SECURE Act represents the most sweeping set of changes to retirement legislation in more than a decade.

While many of the provisions offer enhanced opportunities for individuals and small business owners, there is one notable drawback for investors with significant assets in traditional IRAs and retirement plans. These individuals will likely want to revisit their estate-planning strategies to prevent their heirs from potentially facing unexpectedly high tax bills.

All provisions take effect on or after January 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

Elimination of the “stretch IRA”

Perhaps the change requiring the most urgent attention is the elimination of longstanding provisions allowing non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit traditional IRA and retirement plan assets to spread distributions — and therefore the tax obligations associated with them — over their lifetimes. This ability to spread out taxable distributions after the death of an IRA owner or retirement plan participant, over what was potentially such a long period of time, was often referred to as the “stretch IRA” rule. The new law, however, generally requires any beneficiary who is more than 10 years younger than the account owner to liquidate the account within 10 years of the account owner’s death unless the beneficiary is a spouse, a disabled or chronically ill individual, or a minor child. This shorter maximum distribution period could result in unanticipated tax bills for beneficiaries who stand to inherit high-value traditional IRAs. This is also true for IRA trust beneficiaries, which may affect estate plans that intended to use trusts to manage inherited IRA assets.

In addition to possibly reevaluating beneficiary choices, traditional IRA owners may want to revisit how IRA dollars fit into their overall estate planning strategy. For example, it may make sense to consider the possible implications of converting traditional IRA funds to Roth IRAs, which can be inherited income tax free. Although Roth IRA conversions are taxable events, investors who spread out a series of conversions over the next several years may benefit from the lower income tax rates that are set to expire in 2026.

Benefits to individuals

On the plus side, the SECURE Act includes several provisions designed to benefit American workers and retirees.

  • People who choose to work beyond traditional retirement age will be able to contribute to traditional IRAs beyond age 70½. Previous laws prevented such contributions.
  • Retirees will no longer have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and retirement plans by April 1 following the year in which they turn 70½. The new law generally requires RMDs to begin by April 1 following the year in which they turn age 72.
  • Part-time workers age 21 and older who log at least 500 hours in three consecutive years generally must be allowed to participate in company retirement plans offering a qualified cash or deferred arrangement. The previous requirement was 1,000 hours and one year of service. (The new rule applies to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2021.)
  • Workers will begin to receive annual statements from their employers estimating how much their retirement plan assets are worth, expressed as monthly income received over a lifetime. This should help workers better gauge progress toward meeting their retirement-income goals.
  • New laws make it easier for employers to offer lifetime income annuities within retirement plans. Such products can help workers plan for a predictable stream of income in retirement. In addition, lifetime income investments or annuities held within a plan that discontinues such investments can be directly transferred to another retirement plan, avoiding potential surrender charges and fees that may otherwise apply.
  • Individuals can now take penalty-free early withdrawals of up to $5,000 from their qualified plans and IRAs due to the birth or adoption of a child. (Regular income taxes will still apply, so new parents may want to proceed with caution.)
  • Taxpayers with high medical bills may be able to deduct unreimbursed expenses that exceed 7.5% (in 2019 and 2020) of their adjusted gross income. In addition, individuals may withdraw money from their qualified retirement plans and IRAs penalty-free to cover expenses that exceed this threshold (although regular income taxes will apply). The threshold returns to 10% in 2021.
  • 529 account assets can now be used to pay for student loan repayments ($10,000 lifetime maximum) and costs associated with registered apprenticeships.

Benefits to employers

The SECURE Act also provides assistance to employers striving to provide quality retirement savings opportunities to their workers. Among the changes are the following:

  • The tax credit that small businesses can take for starting a new retirement plan has increased. The new rule allows employers to take a credit equal to the greater of (1) $500 or (2) the lesser of (a) $250 times the number of non-highly compensated eligible employees or (b) $5,000. The credit applies for up to three years. The previous maximum credit amount allowed was 50% of startup costs up to a maximum of $1,000 (i.e., a maximum credit of $500).
  • A new tax credit of up to $500 is available for employers that launch a SIMPLE IRA or 401(k) plan with automatic enrollment. The credit applies for three years.
  • With regards to the new mandate to permit certain part-timers to participate in retirement plans, employers may exclude such employees for nondiscrimination testing purposes.
  • Employers now have easier access to join multiple employer plans (MEPs) regardless of industry, geographic location, or affiliation. “Open MEPs,” as they have become known, offer economies of scale, allowing small employers access to the types of pricing models and other benefits typically reserved for large organizations. (Previously, groups of small businesses had to be affiliated somehow in order to join an MEP.) The legislation also provides that the failure of one employer in an MEP to meet plan requirements will not cause others to fail, and that plan assets in the failed plan will be transferred to another. (This rule is effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2021.)
  • Auto-enrollment safe harbor plans may automatically increase participant contributions until they reach 15% of salary. The previous ceiling was 10%.

The SECURE Act may have the largest impact on retirement planning since the Pension Protection Act of 2006.


Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources belived to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: 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 CFS. The credit union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

 

3 Keys to Keep Your Money Safe From Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission is taking extra measures to warn people of scammers that will use tactics to try and take your personal information. It’s important to remain aware of the current scams and schemes in order to protect yourself from fraudsters looking to take advantage of your vulnerability.

In order to stay vigilant and less susceptible to fraudsters, we want to share this information to help you avoid getting taken advantage of. The most current scam fraudsters are capitalizing on are the checks the U.S. might be sending American taxpayers. These scammers are looking to trap people into giving their information in order to take your money and capture your sensitive information such as social security numbers as well as card and account information.

To help combat this, we’ve put together a few tips to help you identify and fight these fraudsters should they try and take advantage of you:

  1. Any money from the government will be in the form of a check and will not be immediate. Anyone who claims this money will be made immediately available is a scammer.
  2. If you have to pay anything upfront before you receive anything, it is not legitimate. There are no fees and no hidden charges. Anyone who says otherwise is a scammer.
  3. The government won’t call and ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card information. Anyone who does is a scammer.

If you receive any communication from someone with the above claims, The Federal Trade Commission urges you to report it and provides guidelines on how to do so. The FTC is also an invaluable resource to stay informed and knowledgeable of current scams and schemes. If you stay informed, you can combat fraudsters trying to steal from you.

Your privacy and protection are important to us. Feel free to reach out to us if you receive communication from an entity claiming to be from our credit union to verify its legitimacy. Thank you for all you do to make our organization great and we wish you all physical and financial wellness. If you need assistance, please feel free to reach out to us to discuss your options.

Remember: Scient Federal Credit Union will NEVER request sensitive information from you through email. And, if you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of a request, please contact us for verification before providing any personal or account information.

6 Reasons Your Money Is Safe

Along with the mad dash to buy all the toilet paper stores can stock, some members have asked about the need to withdraw cash from the credit union.

The fact is, the need for cash withdrawals during this crisis has no basis in fact. Unlike overextended banks that caused the Great Recession, the current financial crisis was caused by the reaction to the Coronavirus outbreak, not a systemic banking problem. 

There is a perception and rumors churning within social media that there could be an issue with the credit or debit systems, but there is no validity to that concern. Putting it under your pillow at home is not safe. It’s more prudent to take it as you need it.

During this time, please keep these things in mind when it comes to your money: 

  1. Our credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. All deposits are insured up to $250,000. This means that you will not lose a dime of money that is federally insured. 
  2. The Federal government has declared credit unions an essential business. While we’ve had to adjust our standard operations, our credit union is ready and able to assist you with whatever needs you may have. It’s our priority to ensure you receive the level of service you’ve come to expect from our credit union; even in an ever-evolving capacity.
  3. You incur more risk if you withdraw your money. Cash is much harder to recover if at all in the event of loss, theft, or any other unfortunate circumstance. Keeping your money in the credit union to withdraw as needed is much safer than keeping in your home or carrying on your person.
  4. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that frequently handled items be cleaned as a precautionary way to help ward off the virus. Cash cannot be easily washed and has passed through many hands which makes it less than optimal to have in abundance on your person.  
  5. If you do not pay your bills through automatic draft, you will have to find alternative ways to ensure your payments are satisfied. 
  6. With our online services, you are able to keep a pulse on your account and an eye on your money digitally from wherever you are. With these digital offerings, you don’t have to be tied to keeping your money on your person at all times to ensure its safety. We have many services available to you.

During this time of uncertainty, it’s natural to feel pressure to make quick decisions. We’re here to help you maintain a sense of peace regarding your money. It’s tough to know what is coming, but you can rest assured that we have your best interest in mind and will do anything we can to help you during this time. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. We wish good health and financial wellness for you and your loved ones as we navigate this together. 

Remember: Scient Federal Credit Union will NEVER request sensitive information from you through email. And, if you’re ever concerned about the legitimacy of a request, please contact us for verification before providing any personal or account information.

COVID-19 Scams

No question – the past few weeks have been insane as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’re seeing things unfold that most of us haven’t experienced before. Entire cities have shut down, people are being quarantined, and credit unions are being forced to find different ways to serve members.

While we’ve seen the best in humanity from Dollar General setting aside the first hour they’re open to serve the elderly to multiple restaurants providing meals for kids who are out of school, we’ve also seen scammers who are exploiting people’s Coronavirus fears.

Scams you should be aware of

Android malware and ransomware

Android devices in particular have been left vulnerable to malware attacks allowing scammers to spy on you through your smartphone camera, listen to you through the microphone and go through your text messages. The scammers, suspected of operating in Libya, send out text messages with a link promising an app that will allow you to track the Coronavirus. Once you click on the text message, the malware installs itself on your phone.

DomainTools, a Seattle-based security research team, has discovered that Android users are also the target of ransomware that threatens to erase their phone. Much like malware, users are promised an app with a real-time COVID-19 tracker. The app is actually poisoned with ransomware called CovidLock that denies users access to their phone by changing the locked- screen password. It requests $100 in bitcoin within 48 hours or the phone’s contacts, pictures and videos will be erased. It also threatens to publicly leak social media accounts.

Scammers impersonating organizations

The FBI, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO) are investigating multiple claims of scammers who are sending out emails impersonating these organizations and spreading incorrect information about COVID-19. The WHO is among the most-impersonated organization in the scam campaigns. Fraudsters pretend to offer important information about the virus in an attempt to get potential victims to click on malicious links. Typically, such links can install malware, steal personal information, or attempt to capture login and password credentials.

Exploiting charitable giving

Another common type of scam going around is an attempt to tug on the heart strings and attempts to get the recipient to help fund the vaccine for children in China. Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. Officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have served cease-and-desist letters to retailers who are trying to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic by selling fake or misbranded products claiming to combat the disease directly.

How to protect yourself

Even though there are lots of ways to get taken advantage of, there are also lots of ways to protect yourself.

  • Don’t click on links from any sources you don’t know. It could download viruses on your computer or device.
  • Be aware of emails claiming to be from a government organization. If you receive an email from the WHO or CDC, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, go to the website to verify the information.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
  • Be wary of giving your personal information. Legitimate organizations will not ask for any of the following:
    • Full social security number
    • Account or card numbers
    • One-time password
    • PIN information
    • Usernames or passwords
    • Payment through Bitcoin, money cards, gift cards, etc.

While it seems that this unfortunate epidemic has come upon us most unexpectedly, there are fraudsters out there quickly taking action and prepared to hustle unsuspecting, innocent people. If you aren’t sure of the legitimacy on a certain request, take extra steps to verify to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself, your sensitive information, and your money. You can also keep yourself updated by following the Federal Trade Commission’s page here.

Your privacy and protection are important to us. Feel free to reach out to us if you receive communication from an entity claiming to be from our credit union to verify its legitimacy. Thank you for all you do to make our organization great and we wish you all physical and financial wellness through this trying time.