September 2019 Newsletter

The Importance of Having an Emergency Fund

Whether it's an emergency room visit, a busted water heater, or even a costly auto repair, many people experience some type of financial emergency each year.  According to a recent Bankrate survey, only 40% percent of Americans would be able to pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense. That’s an alarming number and a great reason to consider starting an emergency fund, if you haven’t already done so. 

An emergency fund can keep you afloat in a time of need without having to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans. While the ideal amount saved should be six months’ worth of expenses, it’s ok to start small and gradually build from there. The trick is to find an account or product that offers high interest earnings that you can access quickly. While there are many ways to increase those funds, these Bellco accounts are a good foundation to start.

Money Markets
Bellco's money market accounts are variable rate accounts without the term limitations you'd find in a CD. 
• These accounts allow for deposits and withdrawals at a great rate (certain types of withdrawals are limited to 6 per month)
• As a tiered-rate account, the more money you deposit, the higher the yield you can get
• There are no minimum balance requirements 

Boost Checking
Our Boost Interest Checking account has all the accessibility of a typical checking account but with a higher interest rate than most standard CDs, money markets, or savings accounts (if certain conditions are met). Plus, there’s no minimum balance and no maintenance fees.

To achieve the highest interest rate of 2.25% APY* (which is good on balances up to $25,000), simply:

Make 15 debit card purchases each month (not including ATM transactions)
Have at least one direct-deposit per month
Log in to our online or mobile banking at least once per month

*Please speak to a Bellco representative for more information about applicable fees and terms.

iPhone Phishing Scam

As our personal technology becomes more sophisticated, so, too, do scammers’ techniques, as evidenced in a recent advanced phishing scam aimed at stealing iPhone users’ personal and financial information. In this trick, scammers are able to replicate the actual Apple, Inc., phone number (1-800-MY-APPLE) on their robocall, which makes the call seem legitimate and “safe” to answer. A recorded voice announces that the user’s device or computer has been compromised and advises the user to stop using the device and either press “1” or call a different number to speak with an Apple customer service rep. 

Any user who follows those instructions will speak with a live “representative,” who will insist that the device is at risk and that the user needs to take immediate action to preserve and/or fix it, including letting the representative access personal information or even take an over-the-phone payment. Once the deal is done, the scammers usually block that user’s number or simply refuse to accept any follow-up call. 

Of course, Apple does not inform users of a data breach with a phone call. However, because the iOS has been tricked into making this call look extremely genuine, non-tech-savvy users have been lured into the trap, often handing over their sensitive information.  

No matter the type of phone you use, you should always be on guard against frauds. Here are some tips to remember:
• Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers are able to replicate numbers that seem legitimate or from reputable, established companies. 
• Contact customer service directly. If you’ve taken a call or received notice of some sort of data compromise or if you’re simply unsure of whether something is fishy, go directly to the company’s official website to find the contact information so you can confirm whether there is actually a breach.
• Don’t give out your personal information to someone who has contacted you unsolicited. If they’re legit, they will have no problem with your hanging up and calling the official customer service number. 

As always, if you feel you’ve been the victim of this type of scam—or any other—be sure to report the scam to the FTC, and take action to protect your ID and credit information.

Helping Erase Market Volatility Fears

By CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS)*

It’s only natural for investors to experience some level of anxiety given the recent fluctuations in the stock market. But obsessing over market activity and its effects on investments can only make matters worse. The best approach to weathering volatility in the markets, which is largely beyond our control, is to have a long-term investment strategy. Most successful investing is goal-focused and plan-driven rather than reacting (or overreacting) to market news.

Long-Term Investing Requires a Plan
Stock markets often get rattled when the outcome of major events seems cloudy or unexpected—and sometimes volatility appears for seemingly no reason at all. The bad news is that this is bound to happen. The good news is if you have time to stay invested, and you are invested in a diversified asset mix that reflects your time horizon, financial situation, and risk tolerance, you can ride it out.

Putting together a personal financial plan that takes into consideration the fluctuations in the market, along with your short- and long-term goals, is a wise way to approach investing.

Financial Advice is Available Now
The CFS* Financial Advisors serving Bellco, available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P., can help explain how market fluctuations relate to your portfolio, and help you create an investment plan that is based on your time frame, financial circumstances, risk tolerance, and goals to help weather whatever the market throws at you.

If you have questions on investing and/or retirement planning, contact a CFS* Financial Advisor today. Call 303-728-3443, email cfsinvsrefs@bellco.org, or stop by any Bellco branch to schedule an appointment to review your options.

*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. Bellco Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS), does not provide tax or legal advice. For such guidance, please consult your tax and/or legal advisor.

Reach Out & Read Colorado

During September, Bellco will collect donations for Reach Out and Read Colorado, a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by partnering with doctors to prescribe books at pediatric check-ups and encourage families to read aloud together, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty. 

For ways you can donate to this worthwhile cause, visit Bellco’s Charity of the Month page. 

Bellco branches will also be hosting a Reach Out and Read Colorado book drive. Just stop by any Bellco branch during regular business hours throughout September to donate your new and gently used children’s books. 

To learn more about Reach Out and Read, you can visit them online at reachoutandreadco.org.