Archive for Personal Finance

Reduce Your Mortgage Payment With $0 Down and No PMI


Whether you’re looking to get up to 100% financing* for a primary home purchase or up to 95% for refinancing* your current home mortgage, NASA FCU can save you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars with no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) required!

A NASA FCU Mortgage Loan Specialist will help take the stress out of getting your home loan, and assist you in choosing the mortgage that best suits your needs and budget. Plus, you’ll receive the friendly, reliable service you’ve come to expect from your Credit Union.

If you want to save money on your mortgage this year, look no further than NASA FCU! Stop by any branch, call 1-888-NASA-FCU (627-2328), ext. 207, or visit us online.

equal-housing-lender*Special loan programs offered to well-qualified applicants. Some restrictions may apply. Offers valid for primary residences only. Speak with a NASA FCU First Mortgage Loan Specialist for loan details and rates.

When does home remodeling make financial sense?


Here are a few considerations to weigh before you decide to remodel:

Wishes vs. Needs

How necessary are the improvements you want? The days when many improvements paid for themselves in increased home value are over for now, especially such strictly cosmetic upgrades as new kitchen cabinets or a bathroom skylight. That doesn’t mean certain projects aren’t worthwhile. For instance:

  • Repairing a leaky roof or faulty plumbing might spare you from water or mold damage.
  • Installing attic and wall insulation and energy-efficient windows or replacing older appliances and light fixtures will lower utility bills and may be tax-deductible (visit for information on tax credits and rebates).
  • The IRS allows tax deductions for certain home improvements to accommodate medical conditions or disabilities with a doctor’s recommendation. The rules are complex, so read IRS Publication 502 at and consult a tax advisor before proceeding.


Gather cost estimates for each job or item and create a chart with columns for high-, medium- and low-cost options. Don’t forget supplies for do-it-yourself projects and always add an extra 20 percent or more for unexpected expenses. If contracted labor is involved, gather three estimates and carefully check references and business licenses. Also, ask about discounts for grouping multiple projects together.

Choosing a Car That’s Right for You


Choosing a car is a little bit like dating. There are so many different cars out there. What do you need in a car? What do you prefer in a car? Is there that special connection when you’re driving it?

But unlike dating (or just like dating, depending on your outlook), you can settle for a vehicle that fits your needs right now, even if you can’t see yourself in it long term. And as long as you’re smart about the financing, it’s easy enough to trade it in for a newer model when it no longer suits your needs.

Make an inventory of your needs:

  • What will you use the car for most? If you’re just driving back and forth to work, all you need is a dependable car with good gas mileage. If you have to haul around kids, you need it to be roomy. If you entertain clients, it needs to have some style and class. You get the idea.
  • Where do you live? You may need four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. It needs to be able to withstand some major wear and tear if you live on a bumpy gravel road.
  • Do you drive in stop-and-go traffic often? That may make an automatic transmission a necessity.

Comparing Vehicles
Now that you have a list of your needs, it’s time for more research. There is an awful lot of research, isn’t there? There are thousands of models to choose from. But your needs should help narrow them down fairly quickly.

Auto magazines are a great place to get less biased information about particular models and the advantages/disadvantages associated with them. Consumer Reports is a very thorough publication with a reputation for bias-free reporting.

Dealerships are often the worst place to get information. They have a lot of material, but it is very heavily biased and you may have to endure a strong sales pitch just to get simple information. If you visit the dealership when they are closed, you can look at the cars and read the information on the vehicles without worrying about the salespeople. You can also get a lot of information from the manufacturer’s Web site and literature, but stick to the facts they provide since much of the material will be heavily biased.

Great sources of information are your friends and family or even strangers. Find others who have owned the model you are interested in. Ask about their experience with it.

Take special care in buying a first-year model, meaning the first year a manufacturer produces a certain model of car. The first year is a time to iron out the kinks and you may become an unwilling guinea pig and have unforeseen problems that the manufacturer will correct for the next year’s model.

The Test Drive
You’ve compared numbers and features. You’ve checked into the gas mileage. Now it’s time to put away all the theory and speculation and get to the point of choosing a car – how it drives.

You have to be able to focus when test-driving a car. If you go to a dealership to test-drive cars, make sure the salesperson gives you some space to make your decision. As a matter of fact, tell the sales team you have no intention of buying on that day. They should leave you alone long enough to test-drive without distraction. If they don’t, be sure to avoid them when you’re going to actually buy a car. If they get too pushy, go to another dealership for your test drives.

If you’re not comfortable with visiting dealerships just for a test drive, try renting the cars you are interested in. It may cost you $100 to try out your top favorites, but you’re paying for the freedom of driving a whole day without listening to any sales pitches.

Compare the Dealerships
Shopping for a dealership is just as important as the other comparisons you have been doing. It can help you save a lot of money AND ensure that you have some customer support while you’re still under warranty.

All dealerships pay the same price for the cars in the beginning. But don’t let them fool you. Dealerships with better CSI ratings (Customer Satisfaction Index ratings) often get better bonuses that allow them to offer you a better price.

Tax Preparation Discounts for our Members


This year, accomplish something you never thought possible – do your own taxes. With TurboTax®, you can be confident they’ll be done right. Plus, NASA FCU members can save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products. Start now and get your guaranteed maximum refund!*

Jackson Hewitt logo

Jackson Hewitt® offers members two ways to save big on tax prep.

Members are eligible to save either $30 on their individual income tax preparation at participating Jackson Hewitt Tax Service® locations nationwide or pay $50 less than last year** when you switch to Jackson Hewitt from a competing tax preparer.  Let Jackson Hewitt estimate your refund, FREE! Meet with a one of their tax pros today to see what Jackson Hewitt can do for you. No appointment necessary.

Print your Jackson Hewitt coupon and locate a Jackson Hewitt office near you!

TurboTax Disclaimer:

*Maximum (Biggest) Refund Guaranteed or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax or SnapTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Online Federal Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.99 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. Claims must be submitted within sixty (60) days of your TurboTax or SnapTax filing date and no later than 6/15/14. Efile, Audit Defense, Ask a Tax Expert, Refund Transfer and technical support fees are excluded. This guarantee cannot be combined with the TurboTax Satisfaction (Easy) Guarantee.

© 2013-2014 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2013. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice.  Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.

Jackson Hewitt Disclaimer:

Offer valid on tax preparation fees only and on no other product or service. May not be combined with any other offer, discount, or promotional price. Valid at participating locations only.  Most offices are independently owned and operated.  Your Credit Union does not determine fees charged by Jackson Hewitt or its franchisees. If you are not satisfied with the fees quoted you are not obligated to complete your return with Jackson Hewitt and may decline their services any time prior to filing. Most offices are independently owned and operated.

**Offer valid for tax prep fees paid of $150 or more. Proof of last year’s tax prep fee required.

Offer expires 4/30/14.

^Fees apply for several services.

There’s still time!

…to contribute to an IRA for tax-year 2013.

Above view of consultant analyzing data with her client

Still haven’t made your IRA contribution for tax-year 2013? No worries. You have until April 15 to make contributions to either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, so there’s still time to set aside up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re age 50 or older) in one of these popular retirement savings vehicles.

With a Traditional IRA, if you’re not covered by a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, you can typically deduct the full amount of your contribution and enjoy the immediate benefit of a tax deduction. Otherwise, your ability to deduct some or all of your contribution depends on your filing status and income.

A Roth IRA is a little different. Whether or not you can contribute depends upon your filing status and income. If you do qualify, Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible, so there will be no immediate 2013 tax benefit. However, distributions are generally free from Federal income tax when withdrawn after age 59 ½, which could serve you well if you expect your future tax rate during retirement to be higher than your current rate.

Regardless of which IRA option you choose, we can help you make sense of it all. But hurry—April 15 is fast approaching! Speak with a CFS Financial Advisor* at NASA FCU today by visiting us at, or by calling 301-249-1800 or toll-free at 1-888-NASA-FCU (627-2328), ext. 314.

*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. NASA Federal 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) and its Registered Representatives do not provide tax advice. Clients should obtain their own independent tax advice from a qualified tax professional.

College Scholarship Deadline


Applications must be postmarked by February 7, 2014.

The NASA FCU Scholarship Committee is now accepting applications for the 2014 Mitchell-Beall-Rosen Scholarship Contest. Scholarships in amounts up to $7,000 may be awarded to one or more contest winners to assist with the costs of tuition, books and living expenses.

Applicants must be:

  • The primary owner of a NASA FCU account
  • A high school senior with an average grade of C or above
  • Under the age of 21

Scholarships are awarded based on the evaluation of a 1,000 word essay and a personal interview conducted by the Scholarship Committee. For more details and an application click here.