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If this is the screen you see when you boot up your computer (nearly a quarter of computer users do), April 8, 2014, is a very important date for you. The image above is from Windows XP, which Microsoft released with much fanfare in October 2001. They tried to replace it with Windows Vista in January 2007, but due to problems and bad initial reviews, most people did not upgrade. So, 12 years after its release, over 29% of computers are still running Windows XP. By comparison, only about 3% of all computers are using Vista even though it was released five years more recently. Continue reading

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We’ve always heard that owning a home is a great investment. The problem is, barring a plumbing catastrophe, that investment is not liquid. Your home’s value is locked up and hidden deep inside those four walls. Before 1997, due to stringent homestead protections, Texans weren’t able to tap the equity in their home, but since then the laws have changed and you can gain some liquidity from your most precious investment, with some limitations.

Texas protects homeowners

In an effort to protect homeowners, the Texas Constitution lays out some stringent rules for lenders in regards to home equity loans and lines of credit. Continue reading

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Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published its yearly list of the most prolific tax-related scams. The 2014 list contains a number of scams including some that taxpayers attempt to use to evade taxes. But the list also includes several that criminals use to try and scam taxpayers out of money. Here, you’ll find summaries of those scams. You can also view the full list on the IRS website.

Identity Theft

Identity theft, where thieves use stolen personal information to commit crime, is a year-round problem. During tax season, thieves use this information to file fraudulent tax returns and claim refunds. This will create problems when you go to file your legitimate tax return. See the identity theft section of the IRS website for tips and assistance related to identity theft issues. Continue reading

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Googolplex, an organization of the Credit Union National Association, is seeking responsible young people with diverse backgrounds for 12 paid positions on its youth editorial board. No travel is necessary, and applicants are welcome from all over the country.

Board membership requires a one-year commitment, beginning in June 2014. Payment is based on age level. Openings are available in three age brackets for the 2014-2015 school year:

5-Spot Clubhouse Crew, elementary school (grades 3-5)
AJ’s Super Youth Team, middle school (grades 6-8)
C-Note Teenage Panel, high school (grades 9-12)

Googolplex editorial board members gain benefits including payment, writing experience and evaluating consumer-related articles, and opportunities to play online games to learn about money while having fun.

If young people are interested in the position, or want more information, have them contact Laurel Purves, Googolplex youth editorial board liaison before March 7, 2014:

email: lpurves@cuna.coop
Subject: Googolplex Youth Board Application

At EECU, we’re committed to your financial success. That’s why we offer affordable products and services along with financial tools to help you reach your goals. To make things even easier, we’ve included several useful tools in Online Banking to help you keep track of your money.

Track your spending with FinanceWorks™

EECU’s Online Banking comes with money management software built in. With the FinanceWorks™ dashboard, you can monitor all your checking, savings, credit card and loan accounts, whether they’re with EECU or another institution. You can also track your spending and set up a budget to make sure you know where your money is going each month.

Find It: Manage Money > Account Overview Continue reading

We know how exciting it is to receive a tax return from the IRS. Having some of your hard-earned money returned to you can be a huge relief. But if you don’t need the money to pay bills right away, the temptation to spend it on things you might not need can be strong. Who wouldn’t like a new TV? If you feel like putting your funds toward something more financially rewarding, however, here are a few options to help you make the most of this year’s tax return. Continue reading

As you have no doubt heard by now, Target was the victim of a major data breach that exposed 40 million credit and debit card numbers used at their stores from late November through mid-December. Most card issuers, including EECU, have already notified cardholders affected by the breach and have reissued cards to those people. EECU members affected by the breach have already received their cards, and the old cards have been disabled.

But there was another element to the breach to be aware of. In addition to the card numbers that were compromised, personal information for up to 70 million people was also stolen, including things like names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. This aspect of the breach may actually be of bigger concern. Card numbers that are stolen can simply be cancelled, and you have protection from liability for unauthorized transactions performed on the compromised accounts. Once your card has been cancelled and you have received a new card number, the stolen card number is of no use to the fraudsters. But compromised personal information is a different matter. Continue reading

As your credit union, EECU is committed to helping you reach your financial goals. And, with the new year about to begin, we want to help you achieve your financial resolutions. During the coming weeks, we will be looking at ways to help you become financially fit. But don’t let us do all the talking! Stop by our Facebook page or tweet us with your own money tips using the #FinanciallyFit hashtag.

One of the hardest, but most important, components of financial fitness is saving money. It’s important that you keep some funds set aside to cover unexpected expenses. If you’re not already putting money into a savings account regularly, start out with just a little and add more as you move along.

Make 2014 the year to establish your savings with this 52-week savings challenge. Put a little bit of money aside each week, and come 2015, you’ll have a nice amount earning interest to help cover expenses when you need it. Continue reading

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In today’s unsettled economy, many people are looking for ways to stretch their money and sometimes this includes altering insurance coverage to dangerously low levels or eliminating coverage entirely. If you’re thinking about changing your coverage to save money, consider these key issues below and give us a call. We can help make sure you have the right protection at a price you can afford. Continue reading

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Shopping on the big three sales days, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, can get mind-numbing. How do you know what to buy, when? The worst feeling is buying an item on one of these big shopping days only to find the deal got better later on.

Here is a run-down on some best bets based on the past two Black Friday seasons. Use these rules of thumb while crafting your perfect, personalized Black Friday shopping game plan. Continue reading