Author Archive for Morgan Daniels

FREE APPS FOR KIDS!

Scholastic The leading educational company has set up a “Learn From Home” website with free daily courses for kids ages K-12.

Zoom The popular video conferencing app is offering free service during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also lifted its 40-minute limit on conferences, making the app a perfect choice for hosting your child’s classroom learning, or even a video chat with friends.

Neoufitness Help your kids stay fit through the pandemic with this super-fun fitness app for kids ages 4-12. The app offers a selection of 10-20 minute exercise classes and is free for the first 30 days.

Issasedibleadventures If your child is an aspiring chef, they’ll love this free cooking app, in which gamers race to collect ingredients from around the world and use them to create a requested cross-cultural dish.

SmartMusic The popular music practice app is offering free service through June 30 for all schools impacted by COVID-19. The app includes practice tools like a tuner, metronome and fingerings, along with an extensive music library and immediate assessment of pitch and rhythm.

DuckDuckMoose The adorable educational app for kindergartners and preschoolers makes learning super-fun! The app is always free and features a delightful array of characters, a brightly colored interface, and a special focus on maps and puzzles.

World of Cents The NCUA’s free money app is the perfect way to teach your kids about personal finances. They’ll learn all about earning, spending, saving and more through the app’s fun games designed for kids ages 5-10.

HOW TO WORK FROM HOME

The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world as we know it and turned it upside down. Hospitals are scrambling to meet the needs of their patients as the federal and local governments are issuing stricter guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus.

Shopping malls that were filled with crowds just a week ago now stand vacant. Universities and schools have emptied out and students are continuing their education online to diminish the spread of the virus. Small businesses have shuttered their doors as they choose their health and the health and safety of their customers over profit.

As part of this upheaval, millions of Americans have been sent home from work with laptops in hand and strict instructions to remotely tend to their usual workload. Unfortunately, this can prove to be a lot harder than it sounds. If you find yourself struggling to complete your workload from home during the outbreak, we can help!

Here are some tips on how to stay focused, on-task and productive as you work from home.

Create a workstation.

Propping up your pillows and working in bed can sound like a good idea until you find yourself nodding off in front of your computer screen. To keep your brain focused and in “working mode,” it’s best to designate one area of your home to serve as your workstation as you wait out the outbreak. Keep the area clean and stocked with all the supplies you may need during your work hours.

Set your hours.

A major boon of working from home is choosing your own hours — but this can backfire quickly. Lack of a proper schedule is the biggest enemy of the procrastinator. To keep from finding yourself with a huge amount of work to complete in an impossibly short amount of time, set up working hours and stick to them. If there are children home with you, work around their routine by scheduling your work hours during naptime or late at night when they’re asleep.

Collaborate.

For most of us, home is where we unwind and kick off our shoes after a long day of work. Keeping focused and staying on task when working in your own comfortable surroundings can be super-challenging. Bring home some of the motivational work atmosphere by collaborating with your colleagues as much as possible. Utilize video conferencing to swap ideas, plan long-term projects and communicate on platforms like Slack, which is created just for this purpose.

Get rid of all distractions.

It can be hard to keep your mind on work when each beep of the phone brings more horrific news and updates about the spread of the coronavirus. If you can, hide or shut off your phone during your work hours. If that’s not possible, consider turning off your notifications and social media apps. You can also use an app, like ColdTurkey, which makes it easy to minimize distractible apps and websites on your phone.

Student Loan Interest Suspended; Here’s What it Means

On Friday, March 13, President Donald Trump announced he would be freezing student loan interest as part of a package of emergency executive actions designed to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The unprecedented move will provide relief to the 42 million-plus Americans who owe more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding federal student loans.

Since this announcement, there has been much confusion about what this freeze actually means for student loan borrowers. To help clear up some confusion, CSE has answered some of the most common questions about the freeze.

What does a student loan interest freeze mean?

With the president’s student loan freeze in effect, no further interest will accrue on certain federal student loans until further notice. Borrowers will only be responsible for paying the principal payments due on the loan for as long as the freeze is in effect.

Which loans are included in the freeze?

The interest freeze only applies to student loans that are “held by federal government agencies,” such as the U.S. Department of Education and its contracted student loan servicers. Loans issued by private borrowers are not subject to the federal interest freeze (unless indicated by the lender). In addition, some federally guaranteed student loans, including federal Perkins loans and FFEL-program loans, may not be subject to the interest freeze if they are not held by a federal government agency.

How long will the freeze be in effect? 

As part of the administration’s relief efforts during the coronavirus outbreak, the interest freeze is temporary. It will be implemented automatically and continue until the policy is officially changed. The end date for the freeze has not yet been determined.

Does the interest freeze include any student loan payment relief? 

The student loan interest freeze does not include any student loan payment relief. College graduates who are paying off their student loans must continue to make their monthly payments as usual. The move only affects the interest on qualifying federal student loans going forward.

How does the freeze affect borrowers who have already accrued a significant amount of outstanding interest?   

All outstanding, non-capitalized interest must be paid before payments made during the freeze will apply to loan principal.

If the borrower has defaulted on their loan, the “forced collections” implemented in case of default will continue as usual. This includes the borrowers being subject to wage garnishment, offset of Social Security payments and automatic confiscation of federal and state tax refunds.

Trump’s interest rate freeze will halt balance growth and reduce the cost of repayment for some borrowers; however, it will not provide direct student loan relief for borrowers who are struggling to meet their loan payments due to lost income because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tax Deadline Delayed

As part of the government’s efforts to help avoid a recession, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the tax deadline would be pushed off by a full 90 days.

Here’s what this announcement means for taxpayers:

Under normal circumstances, taxes are due by April 15. If tax filers cannot complete their taxes in time, they can request a 6-month extension without getting a failure-to-file penalty. Tax extensions are granted easily, but they don’t buy the filer more time to pay any taxes due to the IRS. The extension is only for submitting their returns. Any tax money that is paid after the 15th is generally subject to penalties and interest.

This year, things have changed. Taxes must still be filed by April 15 unless an extension is requested, as usual; however, the IRS will not be requiring taxpayers to pay their 2019 taxes until July 15. There will also be no penalties or interest for this delayed payment.

The administration believes this move will be a welcome relief for the millions of taxpayers whose income streams have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. They are also hopeful that this delay, which will leave an estimated $300 billion in the battered economy, will give it a better chance at recovery.

For tax filers who are anticipating a refund this year, it may not pay to request an extension and file late. An extra pile of cash, no matter how small, can really come in handy for those who are out of work. Signing up for direct deposit of refunds can help struggling taxpayers get that much-needed money as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to note that, while the federal government has granted this nationwide extension on tax bills, state taxes remain subject to the deadlines of their own governments. In light of the upheaval caused by the coronavirus outbreak, many states are offering their own extensions.

Please watch this space for important updates about CSE’s COVID-19 prevention and response measures.

Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. CST

The following modifications to our operations have been made as of Tuesday, March 31st.

Jennings Branch will be closing temporarily as of April 1, 2020, until further notice.

Lake Charles, Sulphur and Moss Bluff branches will remain open with financial services currently limited to drive-thru only; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Updated: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. CST

The following modifications to our operations remain in place as of Tuesday, March 24th.

-Financial services are limited to drive-thrus only at all of our branch locations. All CSE lobbies will be closed until further notice.

-We’ve prepared our employees and re-emphasized existing sanitation and illness policies, including frequent and proper handwashing.

– We’ve emphasized what employees can do to keep themselves and others safe, including not touching one’s face, and staying home if sick.

-We encourage and remind you to utilize the digital resources available to you through CSE Online and the CSE Mobile App, available 24/7 to Members.

We are prepared to provide financial guidance and discuss solutions that may be available to you during this unprecedented hardship. Please click here for more information regarding our Financial Hardship Assistance Program for those financially impacted by COVID-19.

Should you find yourself in need of financial assistance, please contact us directly at 337.477.2000 to discuss your options.

Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. CST

At CSE, the health and wellness of our members and employees remains at the top of our priorities. With this in mind, we have been closely monitoring the rapidly-changing situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus), responding to new information as it arises and preparing for all possible scenarios, with the goal of continuing to safely serve our Members.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken the following steps based on the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19:

-We have modified operations to be able to continue to serve Members. As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020 we are limiting our financial services to drive-thrus only at all of our branch locations. All CSE lobbies will be closed until further notice.

-We’ve prepared our employees and re-emphasized existing sanitation and illness policies, including frequent and proper handwashing.

– We’ve emphasized what employees can do to keep themselves and others safe, including not touching one’s face, and staying home if sick.

-We encourage and remind you to utilize the digital resources available to you through CSE Online and the CSE Mobile App, available 24/7 to Members.

-We are prepared to provide financial guidance and discuss solutions that may be available to you during this unprecedented hardship. Please click here for more information regarding our Financial Hardship Assistance Program for those financially impacted by COVID-19.

In conclusion, we will always follow the guidance of local, state and national officials. Should you find yourself in need of financial assistance, please contact us directly at 337.477.2000 to discuss your options.

Updated: Monday, March 16, 2020 at 1:40 p.m. CST

 
At CSE, the health and wellness of our members and employees remains at the top of our priorities. At this time, we are monitoring and following all guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and our local government leadership, as well.
 
If you are experiencing any illnesses or have been in contact with illnesses, we request members to utilize the Drive-Thru access only, at this time to ensure the safe and healthy working conditions for both member and staff. Please remember these convenient ways to connect with us in order to avoid public spaces and direct contact with others.
 
Digital Resources
Log in to CSE Online via desktop or our free CSE Mobile App to:
-Check your account balance(s)
-Transfer money between accounts
-Deposit checks remotely
-Pay your monthly bills with Bill Pay
-Pay other people directly with Popmoney
-Report credit or debit card fraud, or a lost or stolen card
-Set up card fraud alerts and customizable account alerts with CardValet
 
Learn more about CSE Online at https://www.csefcu.org/e-services/cse-online/
 
ATM Access
CSE has more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.
Find ATMs near you at https://www.culiance.com/atmlocator/?charterNum=05086
 
Debit & Credit Cards
Your CSE Visa® Debit and Credit Cards give you immediate access to your money. Your cards are safer and more convenient than carrying cash or checks.
 
Member Services
Contact us at 377.477.2000 during normal business hours if you have additional questions regarding your account. If you need after hours online/mobile access support call us at 337.477.2000 and select option 6 Monday-Friday from 5:00 p.m. to midnight or weekends/holidays from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
 
Drive Thru Hours:
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. M, T, Th, F
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday
 
Member Hotline:
888.699.3499

Friday, March 13, 2020: Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As fellow members of the communities we serve, we understand the concerns and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. At CSE, the health and wellness of our members and associates remains at the top of our priorities. At this time, we are monitoring and following all guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and our local goverment leadership, as well.

At this time, our branches remain open and ready to serve you. We encourage and remind you to utilize the digital resources available to you through CSE Online and the CSE Mobile App , available 24/7 to Members.

We continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation and are here to assist our Members as needed. Should you find yourself in need of financial assistance, please contact us at 337.477.2000 to discuss your options.

For additional information about COVID-19, visit the CDC at cdc.gov

 

Waging War Against Porch Pirates

Ahoy, mateys!

Holiday shopping season is upon us and your (not-so) friendly neighborhood porch pirates are gearing up to pilfer the holiday treasures being delivered to your doorstep.

The season can be stressful enough. You don’t need the extra burden of some crooks stealing your joy.

Here are some ways to conquer the porch pirates and lay claim to the best holiday ever.

Have your packages delivered elsewhere

Having your packages delivered to your office is one of the best options, especially since you can hide the gifts from your family. If this isn’t an option, have orders shipped to a neighbor or family member who’s home during the day.

FedEx packages can be picked up at one of their offices or participating Walgreens locations.

UPS packages can be received at a local UPS Store, CVS or Michaels, or you can arrange to have them delivered on a day when you are home.

Let the delivery person in

A total of 17 percent of respondents to a recent PCMag survey of 1,500 people said they have a smart lock allowing them to unlock their door by smartphone or computer. Video allows you to see who is at your door and instruct delivery people where to drop the packages and then lock up after they leave. Smart locks range in price from $100-$300.

Have packages delivered to your car

Key by Amazon allows Amazon Prime members to have their packages left in their home, garage or even their cars.

Download the app to have your items shipped to your car within hours. Check the app or website to see if your product, vehicle and address of the vehicle are eligible for delivery. Pick a delivery time and you’re set. You will receive notification when your package is out for delivery and when the driver is en route.

The Amazon website says select makes of vehicles, model years and an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar and On Call are required. Key In-Car Delivery cannot handle heavy or bulky items weighing more than 50 pounds.

Track your packages

If high-tech gadgets aren’t your thing, simply use your low-tech skills to track your packages. UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon and FedEx all offer tracking online.

Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery; UPS offers the My Choice or FedEx’s Delivery Manager to keep track of deliveries. Tracking information for Amazon packages can be found in your order details.

CSE wishes you a safe and happy holiday shopping season.

9 Ways to Thank a Veteran this Veterans Day

Our service members past and present are the true heroes of our nation. U.S. veterans selflessly served our country, spending months or years away from home, undergoing grueling training and often putting their lives at risk, just to keep us safe. It’s time to say thank you!
Take a few minutes to show your appreciation for our country’s veterans on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
Join CSE FCU as we thank the members of our military this Veterans Day! Here’s a list to get started to celebrate our nation’s heroes.

1. Fly a flag-the right way

Veterans Day offers a wonderful opportunity to fly Old Glory. Just make sure you’re observing the proper rules for its display this time of year. Read up on all you need to know about flying the flag on the military’s guide to the flag.

2. Visit a VA Hospital

Call the closest Veterans Administration hospital to ask about their policies for interacting with patients or volunteering. Once you have that down pat, you can spend Veterans Day visiting a recovering vet or volunteering your services at the hospital. Lots of VA hospitals will host special events on Veterans Day, which are usually open to volunteers. It’s a wonderful way to give back to our service members.

3. Send a care package

Security measures make sending a care package to an anonymous soldier a near impossibility in our hyper-vigilant climate, but you can still show your gratitude. There are several organizations that will enable you to safely send a care package. Instead of putting the goodies together yourself, you’ll make a donation to one of these recognized organizations and they will assemble and send the package for you. You can find a list of these organizations and contact them directly here.
Lots of these funds are 501(c) (3) organizations, which makes your donation eligible for a tax deduction. To find out whether a charity is qualified charity, check out the IRS’ list of federally recognized organizations.

4. Make a donation

Sometimes, a monetary donation is the best way to show where your true values lie. There are loads of nonprofit organizations out there that offer a plethora of services to members of the military and gladly accept donations. Look through this list to find the one that’s right for you.

5. Donate your car

If you’ve just bought a new set of wheels and you’re looking for a way to get rid of your old vehicle, consider donating it to the military. There are lots of organizations, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, which will happily take your old car, truck or RV and donate its value to the military. These services are free of charge, highly convenient, and many are federally recognized charities that can net you a tax deduction for your donation. Let your vehicle serve our country even after it’s retired!

6. Attend a Veterans Day event

Find out about the Veterans Day events and parades being hosted in your town and attend at least one of them to show your support for the military.

7. Bake some cookies

Sometimes, a homemade gesture is the best way to express your gratitude. Whip up a batch of your favorite cookies to share with a service member you know on Veterans Day. You’ll be showing the veteran how much you appreciate their service in the sweetest way possible.

8. Send a card or email

If you personally know a veteran, take this opportunity to send him or her a postcard or email that recognizes their contributions to the country. If you don’t know any current or past service members, you can look up the closest military station and simply send one there. An anonymous soldier will be gratified to know that the people of this country appreciate all they have done to keep us safe and protected.

9. Run for our veterans

If you like to get up and move it, consider running or walking for our vets. You can join a sponsored race that donates its proceeds to the military almost anywhere in the country. Get some friends to join you and work up a real sweat while supporting our vets. There are lots of organizations, like Veterans Day 10K, which will help make your race possible by providing you with logistics and fundraising web pages for your run. Look up more information about races around the country on Militarybenefits.com.
Veterans Day is about a lot more than a day off from school and awesome sales at your favorite store. This Veterans Day, make sure to thank a vet and show your appreciation for our country’s true heroes.

Beware of Natural Disaster Scams

When disaster strikes, so do the scams. If you live in an area that’s prone to storms and flooding, or you volunteer to help victims of natural disasters, beware of these post-disaster scams so you’re not taken for a ride.
1. Bogus charities
As soon as a natural disaster hits, fake charities spring up everywhere. Unfortunately, these scams are often successful at swindling victims out of thousands of dollars.
Never take a request for monetary aid at face value. Check out the charity’s authenticity at Charitynavigator.org and on the Better Business Bureau website. If you find the charity does exist, and is a reliable organization, make sure the website address (URL) is correct and you’re not working with a copycat site. Or, contact the charity on your own.
2. FEMA imposters
After a natural disaster, scammers impersonate FEMA representatives to collect victims’ personal information and/or their money.
If you applied for FEMA and you receive a phone call from someone claiming to represent the federal organization, only share your FEMA claim number over the phone. If the caller is legitimate, they’ll already have any other information they need.
If a FEMA representative shows up at your home, ask to see a FEMA-issued photo ID badge. Do not give the “FEMA rep” any of your money – or any of your personal information.
3. Shady contractors
Many so-called contractors scour storm-damaged neighborhoods to offer their services to homeowners who are seeking repairs. They may ask for upfront payment and then do a sloppy job or never complete it. Carefully research any contractor you’d like to use before hiring, and never agree to pay for all or most of the repairs before the work is done.
4. Damaged cars
Sometimes, a car that’s been in a flood or hurricane can be fixed up so to look fine on the outside despite a heavily damaged interior. Shady car salespeople might try to sell these vehicles to unsuspecting consumers who have no idea the car has been in a storm.
If you’re shopping for a car in an area that has recently been hit by a natural disaster, check out the car’s history on Carfax.com.
If you suspect fraud of any kind, let the FTC know at FTC.gov.

Empower by Fashion: Clothing for a Cause

Get ready to clean out your closets because CSE is hosting a clothing drive September 3rd-10th! Our mission is to help people build financial success, so we’re partnering with Louisiana Workforce Commission to help empower men and women by providing them with professional attire so they can thrive in their work life.

How can you help? Go through your closets and help us spread the word; encourage your friends to do the same! Keep in mind that not every job requires a suit and tie—some places of employment want their employees to wear jeans or scrubs. Our goal is to help men and women dress for the job they’re interviewing for! Please consider donating the following:

Apparel

  • Suits
  • Dresses
  • Blazers
  • Skirts
  • Pants
  • Polos
  • Jeans
  • Dress shirts and blouses
  • Cardigans
  • Scrubs
  • Slacks
  • Sports coats

 

Shoes

  • Pumps: peep-toe, closed toe or sling-back
  • Flats: ballet, loafers
  • Men/Women’s boots
  • Men’s dress shoes: oxfords, loafers

 

Toiletries

  • All toiletries must be new and unopened. We encourage donating hygiene and grooming products, cosmetics and cologne or perfume.

 

Accessories

  • Brief cases
  • Handbags
  • Belts

 

Clothing should be career appropriate, new or gently used and should not have holes, stains or require repairs.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A MILLIONAIRE?

How long does it take to save a million dollars? How much must you sock away each month to reach it? Is achieving millionaire status even a possibility for most Americans? 

If you’ve ever considered these questions seeking to implement the answers in your own life, or you’re just curious, we’ve got the inside scoop. Read on to learn exactly how long it takes to become a millionaire. 

Who wants to be a millionaire? 

A million dollars is approximately four times the median net worth of retirement-aged people in the U.S. However, a net worth of a million dollars is well within the reach of most Americans, as long as they have enough time and a sound investment strategy. 

How long does it take? 

The amount of time it will take you to become a millionaire depends on the following factors: 

1.    The amount of money you invest

2.    The rate of return on your investment 

The table provided here gives you an idea of how much you’d need to save, and how many years it would take you to reach $1 million, at various rates of return. 

Monthly Savings

Years to $1 million with 10% annual returns

Years to $1 million with 8% annual returns

Years to $1 million with 6% annual returns

Years to $1 million with 4% annual returns

$100

44.5

52.9

65.7

88.6

$500

28.8

33.4

40.1

51

$1,000

22.4

25.5

29.9

36.7

$1,583

18.4

20.7

23.8

28.4

$2,083

16.2

18

20.4

23.9

$3,166

13

14.2

15.8

18

$4,166

11

12

13.2

16.8

Getting started 

If you’ve made this your goal, don’t waste any time getting started. The sooner you begin investing, the less money you’ll have to put away each month and the sooner you’ll reach $1 million. 

The easiest starting point for your million-dollar prize is to maximize your contributions to your employer’s 401(k) and your own IRAs.

Two neglected factors 

One crucial factor most people forget about when trying to invest their way toward a million dollars is the rule of inflation. Simply put, a million dollars today does not have the same value as a million dollars in 30 years. When you adjust for inflation at 3 percent a year, $1 million in 2020 would need to grow to $2,427,262 to have the same purchasing power in 2050. 

Another point that is often overlooked is that no one can accurately predict the future. There’s no way to know what life events you’ll have over the next three decades, some of which can significantly affect your finances in either direction. 

If you’re ready to start investing your way toward $1 million, speak to a representative at CSE to ask about our investment and savings products or view our rates! You can be a millionaire!

 

SOURCES:

https://www.fool.com/amp/retirement/2019/07/14/how-long-does-it-take-to-become-a-millionaire.aspx

https://www.moneyhelpcenter.com/how-close-are-you-to-being-a-millionaire/

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-become-a-millionaire

https://www.financialsamurai.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-become-a-millionaire/

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/05/19/how-long-it-will-take-you-to-become-a-millionaire.html

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