Author Archive for Scient

Personal Loan or Personal Line of Credit?

cash fanned out across a grey background

When it comes to Personal Loans and Personal Lines of Credit, the options for how to use the funds are endless. However, while both offer flexibility in all the different ways you can use the funds, there are certain instances where choosing a Personal Loan would be a better fit than a Personal Line of Credit and vice versa. Let’s explore your options and help determine which is the best choice for you and your budget.

Consider the nature of the expense.

Personal Loans are distributed in one lump sum and are typically best for large, one-time expenses. Examples include back-to-school costs, paying off high-interest debt, and higher education costs are a few examples. In contrast, Personal Lines of Credit are revolving and operate similarly to a credit card where you only pay on the amount you use for a specified term. This credit line is consistently available – once you pay off the money you have borrowed, the funds open up again.

A Personal Line of Credit can be optimal if you aren’t sure how much money you will need to borrow or for how long. Examples of ways to use a Personal Line of Credit are: supplementing irregular income, home improvements, and backup for when unexpected expenses arise. Therefore, if you’re looking for a shorter-term solution, a Personal Loan might be the better option if you’re also considering a Personal Line of Credit.

Evaluate the terms and how it fits with your budget.

An easy way to remember the difference between a Personal Loan from a Personal Line of Credit is a loan has a fixed interest rate and a line of credit is based on the prime rate and can change over the term. Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to budget a certain amount each month, a Personal Loan ensures you pay a set amount each month for the life of the loan. With a Personal Line of Credit, while the term is longer and you only pay on what you use. For example, if you are extended a $10,000 credit line and only use $2,000 of the money, you will only have to make payments on the amount you’ve used. Alternatively, if you have a Personal Loan, you make payments on the total amount of money borrowed, whether you’ve used the funds or not.

Qualifying for a Personal Loan vs. a Personal Line of Credit

Typically, receiving approval for a Personal Line of Credit is more challenging to obtain than a Personal Loan. Why? Due to the flexible nature of a Personal Line of Credit, having a healthy credit score plays a significant factor in the decision to approve funding. Whereas, a Personal Loan with its fixed term and amount borrowed, allow for easier approvals.

Making the decision

Why is it important to know the differences beyond the interest rate when it comes down to Personal Loans and Personal Lines of Credit? While often confused, these loan types have distinct differences that, if not chosen wisely, you could end up paying more. If you’re looking to fund your next step, Scient Federal Credit Union can help you achieve your goals. Talk to us today about your options and how to choose the right solution for you.

What Are Your Financial Vices Costing You?

2 cheeseburgers, fries and onion rings on a tray

What is one thing you just cannot live without? You know, those little indulgences that help us make it through the day? For some of us, it’s a jolt of caffeine. For others, Netflix and Hulu offer a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What we sometimes don’t think about is that these things can be a constant drain on our wallets. Here are some things that we could be spending more money on than we intend to and ways you can cut those costs.

Coffee/Energy Drinks

The mid-morning slump, the mid-afternoon slump, and the post-mid-afternoon slump. Ok, we made that last one up, but sometimes the day seems to drag on for way longer than seemingly possible. Some people reach for the nearest Starbucks to replenish their energy reserves. Some crack open an energy drink in the hopes of pushing them through the rest of the day. What neither often consider is that these sources of liquid energy can add up. The average price of a cup of regular (non-latte) coffee from Starbucks is $1.89. That may not seem like much but consider this: an American who drinks coffee at home will save approximately $427 over those who regularly visit coffeeshops. When we look at energy drinks, on average, they cost anywhere between $2-$4. It can be almost double the cost of coffee. A cheaper alternative – green tea! If saving money is high on your priority list, put your at-home barista skills to work.

Subscription Services

From exotic snacks to pet toys, a new wardrobe, and everything in between, there is a subscription service for everything these days. Many, in fact, sometimes forget how many we have subscribed to, leading to a big bill each month. Arguably the most common subscription is Netflix, which will cost you $12.99 a month (if you only want the standard package). Add in Hulu ($5.99), BarkBox ($22), and StitchFix ($20), and you now have a monthly subscription bill of slightly over $60. See how fast that adds up? Not to mention the ever-popular meal subscription services can run about $200 a month. While these modern conveniences are well…convenient, they are also pricey. Most of us don’t want to give up our Netflix, and that’s fine. Take a hard look at your subscriptions. Are you getting your money’s worth? Do you eat all the meals from the meal kit? Do you keep enough from StitchFix that the $20 a month fee is worth it? Odds are, you’ll find one or two subscriptions you can live without. Your quality of life will stay the same, and you’ll save money.

Take Out

Do you look at a recipe and instantly get woozy? We get it; cooking isn’t for everyone, and take out can taste so good. Before you pull up DoorDash or GrubHub, consider that the average household spends 3,000 dollars a year dining out. That’s no small amount. On a closer look, a prepared meal at a restaurant costs, on average, $13. Compare that to the average cost of groceries per person for an at-home meal…$4. Yes, that is a $9 savings just from eating at home. The good news is, you don’t have to stop eating out altogether. If you cook at home twice a week, you’ll save a little over $900! More good news is that anyone can cook. All it takes is a little preparation. Plan your meals, choose easy recipes, and don’t expect every meal you prepare to be a Michelin-star experience. Casseroles are an easy meal that is also cheap and tasty, even if they won’t be winning any fancy food contests. If you are completely opposed to cooking, be responsible with your take out. Choose locally-owned businesses and restaurants so that your money is stimulating the local economy. When you use a big delivery service, you aren’t just paying for the food. Your total also includes a service fee, tax, a delivery fee, and a tip. Many times your order total will be doubled. A recent study showed that your meal will cost you 32.8% more when you order food from DoorDash vs ordering directly from a restaurant.

Online Shopping

“Add To Cart.” The temptation is always just a click away. Surfing the net can bring some expensive side effects as we see a constant flood of targeted ads. It is like they know exactly what you’re looking for! Uncanny, isn’t it? When someone meets our wants and needs (and at such deal), we have a hard time passing it up. AND free shipping? It can lead to financial death by a thousand cuts. Sure, you are getting good deals on your online purchases, but this can also make us feel like we can buy just one more thing. Soon, our whole budget has been blown on online shopping. There are many ways you can curb this habit. For starters, make sure to delete your payment information from auto-populating in services like PayPal. Secondly, set strict limits on yourself. In your budget, set aside some funds for “Online Shopping.” If you know this is the only money you have to splurge, you might think twice before clicking “complete purchase.” 

If you do any of the things above, the first thing to remember is not to get discouraged. A cup of coffee or a new shirt never hurt anyone. With most things in life, our financial vices are all about moderation. We wouldn’t expect you never to visit a Starbucks or eat out again. Set realistic goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable; you’ll be amazed at the savings. To easily keep a pulse on your finances and manage your money, you can use one of our convenient options: Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Audio Banking, surcharge-free ATMs, and Shared Branching.

At Scient Federal Credit Union, we are here to help you reach your goals and gain financial stability. Give us a call or visit our website to find out how. 

Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Your debt feels impossible. New bills and past-due notices are showing up daily. Creditors won’t stop calling. Just as you feel like throwing your hands in the air, you come across a solution that might be the best for you: filing bankruptcy.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a reality many Americans are facing. Millions of Americans across the country have been unemployed since earlier this year. It’s incredibly easy to get behind on bills when the money isn’t coming in, but the bills are still showing up. It’s an overwhelming feeling. Seeing a new bill arrive each day, knowing you can’t cover it. Combine this with the question of, “How can I pay this bill with no job?” and it’s easy to see why the COVID-19 pandemic could be the cause of millions filing bankruptcy.

The longer this pandemic continues, the more likely it is that you’ll see some attorney in a TV commercial asking if you’re in thousands of dollars of debt, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by creditors and looking for a solution. While you’re thinking that sounds exactly like your life, this attorney is going to present the option of filing for bankruptcy because it’s the easiest way to get out of debt and the best way to get your life back.

It sounds great, right? Getting your debt forgiven and finally being out from under the stress and anxiety it carries.

To quote ESPN College GameDay analyst Lee Corso, “Not so fast.”

Filing bankruptcy might help you get rid of your debt, but it’s important to understand the serious, long-term effects it has on your credit. When you file bankruptcy, it remains on your credit report for 7-10 years as a “negative remark,” and it affects your ability to open credit card accounts or get approved for loans with favorable rates.

What exactly is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help individuals and businesses eliminate all or part of their debt or, in some cases, help them repay a portion of what they owe.

There are several types of bankruptcy, but the most common types are Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11.

Chapter 7 forgives most of your debt and allows you to keep all of your assets with a few exceptions depending on state and federal laws. During the process, you and your creditors are invited to a meeting where they are allowed to make a case as to why a federal bankruptcy court shouldn’t forgive your debt. Once your case is approved, your debt will be forgiven, and none of your creditors are allowed to hassle you over the forgiven debts.

Chapter 13 is different than Chapter 7 in that it requires you to come up with a plan to repay your creditors over a 3-5-year period. After that, your debt is forgiven.

Chapter 11 is generally for small business owners. It allows small business owners to retain their business while paying back debts according to a structured plan. With this option, business owners give up a certain amount of control to court officials, debtors, or counselors assigned to help you rebuild your credit. Despite losing some control of your business, owners are able to keep their business running while working on the financial future.

Things to consider if you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy

It’s important to note the serious impact bankruptcy has on your credit report. Bankruptcy effectively wipes out everything on your credit report – the good and bad remarks – and it stays on your credit report for 7-10 years.

Which means, any account you’ve paid off or left in good standing that could positively impact your credit score is wiped out. All the hard work you’ve put into building your credit is basically nonexistent once you file bankruptcy. True, all the negative remarks are gone, your debt is forgiven and you might even see your credit score go up, but you’ve pretty much labeled yourself high-risk when it comes to lending.

Bankruptcy seriously affects your ability to open lines of credit – credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, etc. Because you are now labeled high-risk, most – if not all – banks will likely deny any application you submit for a line of credit – even though your credit score might have gone up. There are a number of factors that determine your credit score, but payment history, access to credit and derogatory remarks have the highest impact.

When you file bankruptcy, you wipe out all of your past payment history, eliminate your access to credit and end up with a derogatory remark regarding the bankruptcy left on your credit report. If you are approved for a line of credit, you’ll likely get a much higher interest rate which will make any monthly payments higher.

Take a car loan, for instance. The average APR for a car loan for a new car for someone with excellent credit is 4.96% while the average APR for someone with bad credit is 18.21%. If you’re able to get a car loan, you’ll likely get an APR closer to the high end because of filing bankruptcy. The same will be true for credit cards (forget getting a great credit card with rewards or a good rate), personal loans or mortgages.

Should you file for bankruptcy?

When it feels like your debt is caving in on you, bankruptcy might seem like the only way to reach financial peace. Don’t jump to that as a first option. Check out other, less painful options that don’t have nearly as many negative consequences in the long run.

Here are a few steps to consider taking first:

  • While it’s easier (and let’s be real, more pleasant) to ignore your creditors, take a moment to talk to them. Negotiate and see if there are options to make your debts more manageable. Can you lower the interest rate? Is it possible to settle for less than you owe? Can you set up a payment plan?
  • Talk to us about your financial picture. Let us help you find options to dig your way out of the hole you’re in while also keeping you from getting back in a difficult situation. We might have options that will allow you to consolidate your debt into one, more affordable payment.
  • Go through your house. Do you have things you don’t use or need that you can sell? If so, sell off those items and apply that money to your debt.

Also, it’s important to note that not all debt is eligible for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can eliminate a lot of your debt, some types of debt cannot be forgiven.

  • Most student loan debt (although some members of Congress are working to change this).
  • Court-ordered alimony.
  • Court-ordered child support.
  • Reaffirmed debt.
  • A federal tax lien for taxes owed to the U.S. government.
  • Government fines or penalties.
  • Court fines and penalties.

Ask anyone who understands finances and most of them will tell you that bankruptcy should be an absolute last option. It might sound like a really good idea and filing for bankruptcy does end up being the best option for some people. But it should be the last option you consider because of the long-term damage it does. Look through your debt, see what you owe and carefully consider all of your options. Again, come in and talk to us. Let us see if we have better options that can help you. We’re your credit union, and we’re here to help you.

10 Tactics Scammers Use to Trick You

Scammers are known for preying on victims’ vulnerabilities, such as financial hardship, fear, and confusion. Given the particularly challenging circumstances surrounding COVID-19, people who believe they are savvy enough to avoid scams may fall victim, nonetheless. Proactive education is the best way to not only protect members but also help your credit union staff be prepared to assist members who have been targeted by scammers. In fact, a recent Javelin study found 80% of people in the U.S. who are informed about a scam will disengage from it. 

 
Here are 10 common practices scammers keep in their arsenals to attempt to fool your members and commit fraud. 
  1. Faking an emergency. Scammers pretend to represent an official organization (like the IRS) and call, text, or may email you to demand immediate money for bogus issues. They use threatening phrases such as, “Your 401k plan will be frozen,” “Your passport will be seized,” or “The maximum sentence for this crime is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine,” to catch potential victims off guard and create a sense of urgency.
  2. Expressing that resistance is ineffective. Once the scammer has created the emergency and instilled panic, they reinforce there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation. In the case of an IRS scam, they may say you must cooperate or face arrest and/or fines.
  3. Rewarding cooperation with encouraging comments. Scammers sometimes try to play the part of a trusted friend, offering help and a way out of the emergency that would provide you relief. They might even tell you that you seem like a good person and offer to help you with the situation at hand.
  4. Not allowing victims to hang up until they pay up. Phone scammers say it is a one-time opportunity for the member to take action to avoid further consequences, and if you hang up the phone, you will not be offered another chance to resolve the problem.
  5. Using official-sounding titles and names for ordinary things. Scammers try to sound impressive to gain your trust. They use official-sounding titles and names for merchants and everyday items. Examples include referring to a gift card as an “electronic federal tax payment system,” or instead of using the name of a store, they call it a “government-affiliated payment processor.”
  6. Stating they are not asking for personal information up front. Scammers know asking for personal information should raise alarm bells. Instead, they may say they are not looking to obtain this information, or they are not looking for an exchange of funds over the phone, which is design to make you let down your guard. This is why scammers often use gift cards to extract payment.*Scient will never call you and ask for personal information. If a caller does, please hang up and call us so we may help monitor your account.
  7. Signaling to members they are being recorded. In an attempt to sound legitimate, scammers say the call is being recorded and monitored by the IRS.
  8. Threatening to alert the media. Scammers go to great lengths to keep suspicious or wary potential victims on the phone, and even go so far as to threaten to contact the media on behalf of the IRS if you do not comply with what is being asked. This is used as a last resort to salvage a conversation that might not be going well.
  9. Exploiting member engagement. Once scammers have members hooked, they may transfer the call to another fake agent in an attempt to further legitimize the call. Often, these scamming “call centers” employ multiple scammers who work together to make the initial call and then close the scam. Scammers are highly organized: some are responsible for getting potential victims hooked, while others focus on closing the deal by extracting payment. They may say, “Please hold on the line, I am transferring the call to my senior treasury specialist,” or “Thanks for waiting, this is senior officer Matthews from the accounting department. My badge ID is…”
  10. Insisting members keep quiet about special offers. If a scammer offers a special tax break, for instance, they will often demand that you not discuss it with anyone, as it would prevent them from getting the settlement. 
If you feel that you may have been a victim of one of these scams, please contact us immediately so we may help in protecting your funds and your peace of mind.  Please remember we are always here for our member’s benefit and safety.  
 
*Information from CUInsight.com

Check Yourself Before You Rec (Loan) Yourself

It is fair to say that summer 2020 is shaping up to be…unconventional. We all want to have as much fun as possible, but we also want to stay as safe as possible. It may seem as though your summer fun is quickly becoming summer none, but a solution is in reach.

Enter: a recreational vehicle. Whether it be a boat, an RV, or even an ATV, summer excitement is just on the horizon.

With these extremely cool, yet different options, it may be hard to decide which one is right for you and your family. Do you want to take to the road, the water, or forested trails? You’ve come to the right place. We can help you prepare for this thrilling (but important) decision.

RVs

For many people, the thought of an RV vacation conjures images of your in-laws, asking if they can link up to your power supply. However, maybe your in-laws are on to something when it comes to money-saving, yet wholly enjoyable vacations.

Picture this: you and your family are on the open road. Your destination is ahead of you. Your children laugh as they play a card game at the table behind you. Best of all, you don’t have to stop for bathroom breaks.

A recent study found that RV vacations cost much less than other travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and RV ownership cost. According to the study, there are cost savings of 21-64 percent for a four-person travel party, while a two-person travel party saves 8-53 percent. That’s some serious cash. You can spend that money on food, experiences, and the all-important souvenirs. Why yes, you do need that airbrushed t-shirt.

Before purchasing an RV, be sure to do your research. Not all RVs are created equally. There are multiple packages and floor plans that may not be right for every family. Be sure to shop around to find the RV that fits your needs the best.

Keep in mind that, like most motor vehicles, an RV will require maintenance and upkeep. This is an expense that must be factored into RV ownership.

Boats

Did you know, Vitamin D deficiency affects 50% of the population worldwide? You know what is an excellent source of Vitamin D? Sunlight.

There are many ways to get under the sun, but one of the most fun is boating. Yes, this proves that being on a boat is beneficial to your health. Not only that, but taking to the water can be as relaxing or as exhilarating as you want. Gently float along soaking up that Vitamin D, or test your balance on a wakeboard. The possibilities are virtually endless.

You may find yourself asking, “who owns a boat?” To that we say, 2019 saw a six percent increase in the number of people who purchased personal watercraft, bringing the total to approximately 73,000 new boats on the water.

The next logical question, “what type of boat is right for me?” This is a good question as there are so many options you can choose. Do you want a sailboat or one with a motor? If you opt for a motor, what horsepower should you choose? What size boat is perfect for your needs? Am I going to take my boat to the lake? A river? The ocean? All of the above? It would be best if you considered all of these factors before purchasing a boat.

Those people with “Salt Life” and “Lake Life” stickers? That could be you.

Four-Wheelers 

Gritty. Dirty. Fun. Four-Wheelers can be a major source of excitement, but they can also be dangerous in reckless hands. Before purchasing an ATV, be sure to research all of the safety required. There are other things to consider, like your four-wheeler brand, size, and tire size. Fun fact: at low speeds, a four-wheeler’s wheels move in opposite directions to make parking and maneuvering easier.

What will you do with your Recreational Loan?

There are so many things to consider when purchasing a recreational vehicle, and we are here to help with one of the most important, finances. We offer recreational loans that make financing your summer fun (and beyond) more accessible than ever, no matter which you choose. We’re your credit union. Contact us today to see how we can help 877 860 6928 x1904.

Is Pet Adoption for You?

You finally decided to bring home a furry friend. You’ve done your research, you’ve figured out what type of pet you want, and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line.

But, have you thought about the ongoing cost(s) associated with getting a pet?

There are two main areas regarding costs to consider when it comes to owning a pet. There are initial costs (adoption fees/breeder fees, first vaccinations, training, etc.) and the general costs over your pet’s lifetime (food, toys, routine vet visits, grooming, etc.).

Of course, there are a dozen other ways pets can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to prepare for several different types of costs.

Adoption fees vs. Breeder fees

One of the first expenses pet owners experience is adoption fees or purchase price. Typically, adoption fees are going to be less expensive than breeder fees.

Most shelters and rescue organizations will provide medical care, vaccinations, and maybe even spaying or neutering animals. If you decide to go the shelter route, it’s essential to ask the volunteers what services your adoption fees include.

Did you know that according to the ASPCA, about 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters nationwide each year? Of those 6.5 million animals, only about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year. So, if you’re thinking about adoption, you could be saving a life!

It’s also a good idea to find out what the adoption process looks like. It could be different depending on the shelter or rescue organization you choose, but usually, the basics are the same. Once you select your fur-ever friend, you’ll have to fill out paperwork to be approved. The shelter or rescue organization will want to know where you live, whether or not you have other pets, if there are kids in your home and they may even do a home visit before you’re allowed to take your new friend home. Once you pay the fee and your application is approved, then the real fun begins!

The type of breed you’re interested in determines the amount you’ll pay in breeder fees and whether you’re buying from a reputable breeder. If you are buying from a reputable breeder, you’ll likely get a fair, competitive price, and most will have official paperwork on the animal you’re purchasing. Do your homework on the breeder. Make sure you’re buying from someone who isn’t buying animals from unethical institutions.

Medical costs

Vet bills are often the most expensive aspect of owning a pet. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a relatively healthy animal that only needs a vet visit once or twice a year. On the other hand, if your pet does need additional vet care, it can be pretty costly.

The average vet visit can cost a pet owner anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on the nature of the visit. If you’re trekking to the vet once a year, it’s not as challenging to work into your budget. However, if it happens every couple of months, you could find yourself in over your head with vet bills.

Eating right for less

For every question you have about pet ownership, there are a million different answers – and that includes what to feed them! Your new furry friend has to eat, but they don’t have to eat the most expensive food.

When you’re picking out what your pet eats, think about their size (are you feeding them once a day or do they require multiple feedings), how much they eat, and what they like. You might find that your cat loves a particular brand (let’s say it costs less than $20 for a 22-pound bag) or that your dog lives for a specific brand (let’s say that a 50-pound bag is less than $25). Don’t automatically buy the most expensive food. See what works for your animal and your budget.

Toys!

You can’t have an animal without toys. Every cat needs a scratching post, and every dog needs a good rope to play tug-of-war. The great thing about toys? You can spend as much or as little as you want. You might have a cat that would rather play with bottle caps than catnip mice. Before you spend your paycheck buying toys, get a few, and see which ones your furry companion likes. You might be surprised.

Training & grooming costs

Training and grooming are additional costs that you may not have to consider. If you’re getting a cat, you won’t have to worry about training classes or grooming (unless you choose to do so). Cats pretty much take care of themselves – and let’s be real, they train their owners. With a dog, however, training classes might be something you need to consider. Depending on the breed of your dog, grooming might be a necessity, too. Do your research. Look around and find the best deals on grooming and training.

Bringing home a furry friend is a huge commitment. It’s essential to evaluate your current financial situation before deciding to purchase a pet. Let us help. While we don’t offer a pet adoption loan or a pet expense loan, we have affordable personal loans or a low-interest credit card that meets your needs for multiple parts of your life. We’re your credit union. Let us see how we can help. 

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

UPDATED: June 25, 2020

We are pleased to announce the branch lobby at our Colver Ave corporate office will open Monday, June 29, and our Groton Pfizer campus will open on Monday, July 6.  We have always stated, our most important consideration is the health and safety of our employees and members.   With that in mind, below are the safety guidelines we will be implementing when our doors open.

Temporary New Lobby Hours

Colver Ave Branch – Starting June 29

Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Saturday: Closed

B220 Groton Pfizer Campus (Restricted Access) – Starting July 6

Monday, Wednesday & Friday   9:00am – 2:00pm

*The new hours made effective on April 20 for Colver Ave. Drive-thru and the Postal Branch will still remain in effect.

Please note all branches will be closed July 3 & 4 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.

The following New Safety Guidelines will need to be adhered to when entering a branch lobby.

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times. Due to this requirement, we may ask that you present your ID and remove your face covering when conducting business at the Teller line and Member Service Representative workstations.
  • Member occupancy in the lobby will be limited to meet social distancing restrictions. We will be monitoring occupancy and assist you with the flow of branch traffic.
  • We will be practicing social distancing and ask that you follow the floor markers when in line. We will be monitoring occupancy and assist you with the flow of branch traffic.
  • Please limit your time in the branch. The coin machine and computer station will not be available during this phase of opening.  The coffee station has been removed and the restroom is no longer available for member use.
  • Large protective plexiglass shields have been placed at the Teller stations and Member Service Representative workstations for everyone’s safety and protection.
  • We have installed a hand sanitizer station for your use upon entry and exit.
  • Please do not enter the lobby if you have a fever, are not feeling well, have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or are unable to wear a face mask.

We are here – always committed and happy to work for you, our members. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate our new normal. 

As a reminder, below is information regarding the 24/7 access to your money and options to help relieve financial distress.

  • 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.

UPDATED: May 20, 2020 

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.


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