Author: Bruce Lund

Since 2007, America Saves Week has been an annual celebration as well as a call to action for everyday Americans to commit to saving successfully. Compass is pleased to provide financial tips to our members. Our goal is to encourage individuals to better understand their finances, set savings goals, and create a plan to achieve …

America Saves Week

Since 2007, America Saves Week has been an annual celebration as well as a call to action for everyday Americans to commit to saving successfully.

Compass is pleased to provide financial tips to our members. Our goal is to encourage individuals to better understand their finances, set savings goals, and create a plan to achieve them. This week, our topics include:

  • Monday, April 8, 2024 – SAVING AUTOMATICALLY
  • Tuesday, April 9, 2024 – SAVING FOR THE UNEXPECTED
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024 – SAVING FOR MAJOR MILESTONE
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024 – PAYING DOWN DEBT
  • Friday, April 12, 2024 – SAVE AT ANY AGE

Discover some helpful resources to help you get financially ahead. Ready?

To get started, click here.

Watch out for Charity Fraud

According to the Giving USA Foundation’s annual report on U.S. philanthropy, Americans contributed nearly $485 billion to charity in 2021. Unfortunately, this willingness to donate money opens a door for scammers, who capitalize on donor’s goodwill to steal money. Charity fraud scammers succeed by mimicking the real thing.

This fraud is an example of Relationship and Trust Fraud under the Fed’s FraudClassifer model.

HOW TO IDENTIFY THREAT: Scammers solicit “donations” by contacting victims using the same channels as legitimate charities, such as telemarketing, direct mail, email, door-to-door solicitations, social media, crowdfunding platforms, and cold calls. Scammers may also use natural disasters or other emergencies to commit fraud. For instance, scammers may commit insurance fraud against natural disaster victims, re-victimizing people whose homes or businesses were damaged by the disaster.

HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST THIS THREAT: Real charities will accept donations using any method available to the donor, such as ACH debit, check, or credit/debit card. Scammers will request payments immediately using payment methods that are difficult to trace and provide the scammer guaranteed funds such as cash, gift card, virtual currency, Instant Payment, or wire transfer. Donors should verify the charity’s names and web addresses before donating. Consumers should also keep records of their donations and view their bank accounts regularly to ensure they weren’t charged the incorrect amount or unknowingly signed up for a reoccurring donation. Consumers who find incorrect or unauthorized entries on their accounts can dispute entries with their financial institution.

The Internal Revenue Service maintains an online database where consumers can check whether an organization is a registered charity and whether their donation is tax-deductible. Click here.

A victim of charity fraud can report it to the FTC and the government agency in their state that regulates charities. The consumer can further report a charity fraud to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit for more information.

Coaching kids to stretch a buck on spending

By getting your kids more involved with understanding money, many of us could not only reduce expenses but also help our children learn a life lesson. Here are some ways you can involve your kids.

  1. Coach your kids on the concept of budgeting. You might take a couple of dollar bills out of your wallet and explain that spending too much now means there may not be enough later for something else they want (say, a winter trip or summer camp)—a concept a schoolchild of any age can grasp.
  2. Set a budget that encourages them to plan. For example, some parents pay for all academic supplies, then provide each child $100 for other back-to-school needs. The kids are free to stretch the $100 using money they’ve earned or saved. If they’re alarmed about this budget, brainstorm with them about ways they can earn more. (See #5.)
  3. Help them inventory what they already have. Can they reuse backpacks or sports equipment? If there’s peer pressure to have something “new,” how about personalizing those possessions with stickers or stencils?
  4. Ask them to make a list of what they really need. Have their needs really changed? If new clothing is essential, can they mix in clothes from their closet later on?
  5. Hold a yard sale of outgrown or unneeded stuff to raise money. While you’ll probably want to oversee the sale, encourage your kids to get involved in the pricing, set-up, and selling. They’ll value the profits more, having worked for them.
  6. Avoid paying full retail. Start with discount stores and other nearby consignment shops. Teens who like to dress distinctively may find bargains at resale shops, outlet stores, and vintage clothing emporia. If you do need to buy “new,” peruse sale flyers and search for online coupons first. Above all, stick to your shopping list.
  7. Consider sharing with the less fortunate. Many communities have an organization that provides items to truly needy kids. If you come upon a great deal, buy a little extra and donate it. You won’t save money, but you’ll gain rewards of another kind. Your children will, too.

Five simple moves after New Year’s Day can make tax filing easier

There’s nothing fun about paying taxes. But by taking these five steps in January to organize your paperwork, you could avoid getting frustrated, frazzled, and perhaps befuddled come tax time.

1. Make a copy of your 2020 tax return and attachments. With this to guide your 2021 tax prep, you’re less likely to forget a source of income or a deduction.

2. Collect the tax IDs you’ll need. You’ll want your dependents’ Social Security numbers and the SSN of anyone you employed (e.g., a babysitter, housecleaner, or nanny).

3. Start a file folder labeled “Income.” Put in it the following tax forms you’ll receive in January:

  • W-2s and 1099-MISCs from employers
  • 1099-INTs reporting interest income
  • 1099-DIVs reporting mutual fund or stock dividends
  • 1099-Bs reporting brokerage transactions

4. If you itemize, start another folder labeled “Deductions.” Some of the information that goes here will come by mail; the rest you may have to dig up yourself.

  • 1098s reporting interest you paid on mortgages and equity loans (also real estate taxes, if included in your monthly mortgage payment)
  • A receipt for real estate taxes if you paid them yourself
  • A copy of your W-2s showing state and local income taxes you paid
  • A receipt for personal property tax from your town or the taxing authority
  • Receipts for charitable donations and document your mileage
  • Receipts for medical expenses and document mileage
  • Receipts for bills incurred while job-seeking

5. Rev up your retirement saving. There’s still time before April to contribute to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA. For details, search “IRA Contribution Limits” at Don’t have an IRA yet? Ask us about our insured IRA choices.

Compass has partnered with TurboTax, which guarantees 100% accurate calculations so you can be confident your taxes are done right and get your biggest possible refund. With TurboTax Live, you can even talk with a tax professional onscreen for unlimited advice and a final review of your return. To learn more, visit

In short, a credit union is a cooperative financial institution where people work together to make everyone’s lives better. Everyone who has an account here is a member. And every member is an owner.

Rather than making profits to send to far-off shareholders, Compass CCU reinvests in our credit union. Which means we reinvest in YOU. That’s why we say that, at Compass Community Credit Union, we guide you to better banking.