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Never too early for college planning

If you have a college-bound student, you know that a college education is one of the important factors to a successful life. At the same time, you may be worried about how you’re going to help pay for it and whether you’ll have anything left over for your retirement.

That’s a legitimate concern because today the cost of a college education is between $16,000 and $50,000 per year! Every dollar used to pay education costs is a dollar that is not going toward your retirement.

Collegiate Funding Solutions (CFS) has developed a comprehensive set of analysis tools, information, and insight to help make the daunting task of planning for college expenses manageable. As a member of Pittsford FCU, this service is now available to you free of charge!

Here’s a secret that most families don’t know: the uninformed “buyer of a college education” often times spends thousands of dollars more than the informed. Planning ahead is essential, and this service is valuable whether your children are 8 months or 18 years of age.

Helping you become an informed buyer of a college education – and saving thousands of dollars in the process – is the mission of CFS. Pittsford FCU is thrilled to be one of the exclusive credit unions in the country able to offer this unique and much-needed online service. We are committed to educating and helping parents of college-bound children understand their options for college planning and ways to leverage these options for their maximum benefit.

To take advantage of this free service, log into Internet Banking, select the eStatements link, then the Collegiate Funding Services link to retrieve a four-digit special promotion code. If you’re not a user of our Internet Banking Service, please contact our member service team for special instructions at (800) 836-8010. After you have completed an online data form, you will be prompted for the special promotion code, which will give you access to your report.

It’s never too early to begin the planning process. Invest a few minutes of time with CFS’s online college planning service to become informed and save potentially thousands of dollars on the cost of a college education.

 

 

Congratulations, PFCU scholarship winners!

Six college-bound seniors have each won scholarships totaling $1,000 in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement and community involvement. This year, one recipient was selected as part of the Rochester Chapter of New York State Credit Unions Scholarship Program, while Pittsford FCU funded an additional five scholarships.

This is the seventh year that Pittsford FCU members were awarded scholarships, with a total of $31,500 distributed to outstanding Pittsford FCU members.

Scholarship winners are:

  • Curtis Bloomer
  • Alec H. Greaves Tunnell
  • Meghan M. Green
  • Casey J. Thomas
  • Sarah H. Thomas
  • Catherine Tuttle

 

 

How the stimulus bill will help you

The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the “stimulus bill,” contains several measures designed to help individuals. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • In 2009 and 2010, workers will receive a tax credit equal to 6.2 percent of their earned income, up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples. Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement, and Veterans’ Disability Compensation recipients will receive a $250 credit.
  • First-time home buyers that purchase a primary residence on or after Jan. 1, 2009, and before Dec. 1, 2009, can claim a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000. Unlike the previous first-time home buyer tax credit, this one does not need to be repaid, as long as you keep the home as your personal residence for at least three years.
  • If you purchase a new car this year, you can deduct the sales tax on your federal income tax return. If the car costs more than $49,500, you can only deduct the sales tax paid on the first $49,500 of the purchase price.
  • For workers who are involuntarily terminated between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, and choose to continue health insurance coverage under COBRA, the government will subsidize 65 percent of the premiums for up to nine months. Those that turned down COBRA coverage before Feb. 17, 2009, can enroll within 60 days of receiving notice from the former employer of the new regulations.
  • Unemployment benefit amounts are temporarily increased by $25 a week. Additionally, the first $2,400 received in unemployment benefits will not be taxed this year.
  • Computers are now a considered a qualified expense for 529 plans. (529 plans are tax-advantaged saving plans that can be used to pay for higher education expenses.)
  • The American Opportunity tax credit (which amends the Hope Scholarship tax credit and is available in 2009 and 2010) provides a credit of up to $2,500 for college tuition and related expenses.

Most of the benefits are phased out at specific income levels. To find out more, visit www.irs.gov or consult with a qualified tax advisor.

Reprinted with permission from Balance. Copyrighted © 2009.

 

 

Trees planted for Go Green campaign

One year ago, we launched the “It Pays to Go Green with eStatements” campaign to encourage members to stop receiving paper statements. The goal was to reduce waste and consumption of resources while also minimizing the risk of lost or stolen personal financial information.

Many members were attracted by our promise to plant a tree for each member making the switch. We were unable to find a local opportunity to plant seedlings, so we instead found alternative local planting opportunities. We are pleased to report that in the Fall of 2008, we partnered with the Town of Pittsford and co-funded the planting of 13 trees at the King’s Bend Park in Pittsford. Additionally, we provided support for a DEC Region 8 (Avon, N.Y.) reforestation project.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Go Green campaign. For members who still receive paper statements, we want to remind you that “It Pays to Go Green with eStatements” – please visit www.PittsfordFCU.org/gogreen and stop your paper statements today.

Pictured: Town of Pittsford employees plant a tree in King’s Bend Park in October 2008.

 

 

Feeling financial strain?

As a benefit of Pittsford FCU membership, you have access to BALANCE Financial Fitness Program. Free budget and debt counseling is available Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Relieve the pressure. Call BALANCE toll-free at (888) 456-2227 or visit www.balancepro.net.

 

 

Credit Union mail not forwarded

Each month, Member Service Representative Kathy Klueber receives a mountain of returned mail. One reason is many members assume that a post office forwarding order will keep their Credit Union mail coming.

However, due to the sensitive nature of Credit Union mail, the post office is directed not to forward it; instead, it is all returned to us. Please help Kathy reduce the amount of returned mail by keeping your contact information up-to-date. We encourage you to always keep us informed of your current mailing address, as well as home, work, and cell numbers, to avoid unnecessary delays in service. We will always respect your privacy and only use your private information in connection with servicing your account. You can update this information anytime via Internet Banking forms, mail, or by phone with positive identification.

 

 
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