Westmark Credit Union
We are a full-service financial institution, owned by our members & committed to the development of their financial future. We have 12 convenient locations.

Making Changes to Your Budget After 60

Fitting your lifestyle to your budget—instead of the other way around—is an essential life skill that you’ve probably already mastered. But as circumstances change, so too should your budget. The most pressing concern for older adults is retirement. Since saving for retirement, budgeting during retirement, and figuring out when to retire are all complex issues, consider talking to a personal finance expert at your local credit union for personalized guidance.

Budget Reductions

Older adults are often surprised to discover that certain items in their budgets actually decrease later in life. Once you retire, you won’t have a morning commute. If you live in an area with a great public transportation system, you might consider getting rid of your car altogether to save on insurance and repairs. Housing costs often decrease as well, considering that many retirees have already paid off their mortgages. Even if you haven’t, your kids are likely out of the house and you have the option to downsize. Downsizing also reduces your utility costs and property taxes.

Budget Increases

Despite certain reductions in your budget, you’ll still need to be careful with your daily money management. Other areas of your budget will definitely increase. If you haven’t retired yet, talk to a financial advisor about making aggressive increases in your retirement savings. You should also start a health savings account, as healthcare costs will likely continue on their upward trend. You may need other insurance products as well, such as long-term care insurance, critical illness coverage, specialty cancer insurance, and life insurance.

Financial Considerations

In addition to these budget basics, consider how your lifestyle in retirement may affect your finances. During this stage of life, many people like to travel and pursue hobbies. Some provide financial assistance to their grandkids, such as by establishing a college fund. Others enjoy making charitable contributions. Make room in your budget for these extras, and stick to the limit you give yourself.

Westmark Investment Services at Westmark Credit Union is on a mission to help our members achieve their long-term personal finance goals. Our credit union in Idaho also provides a versatile range of competitive banking products, including IRAs. Call us at (208) 523-1071.

Answering Your Questions About Medical Savings Accounts

There’s no question that healthcare costs are on an upward trend, and the older you become, the more healthcare costs you’re likely to have. If you don’t yet have a medical savings account, consider visiting your credit union branch to open one today. The member representative can answer all of your questions about this financial tool.

Why should I open a medical savings account?

This type of account offers tax benefits. By directing funds to this account, you can shelter some of your gross income from state income taxes.

What if my medical expenses aren’t substantial?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you keep your healthcare costs low in the future. However, it isn’t always possible to prevent all major medical problems. There’s no way to know exactly how much money you’ll need for your future healthcare. With a medical savings account, you can get tax savings and set aside some of your income for your future medical costs. People often find that having medical savings accounts gives them peace of mind when facing an uncertain future.

Can I open a joint account?

Yes. If you’re married and you open a joint account, the amount you can claim as a deduction will double. Individuals can deduct $10,000 of medical savings account contributions each year, and married couples can deduct $20,000.

Are the deductions applicable to federal income tax?

No. A medical savings account will only reduce your state income taxes.

How do these accounts affect estate planning?

When you open your medical savings account, you can designate a beneficiary. Your beneficiary can withdraw the funds after your death, without incurring a financial penalty. However, he or she must include the funds as reportable income for tax purposes. Your credit union representative may encourage you to speak with your tax advisor for more information about the tax implications of opening this account.

As a member of Westmark Credit Union, you can open up a medical savings account at one of our branches. We’re proud to continue our tradition of providing excellent financial services to Idaho residents. Get in touch with a friendly representative at (208) 523-1071.

Making the Most of Apple Pay

Apple Pay is one of the new innovations we’ve embraced here at Westmark Credit Union. Apple Pay offers reliable security features and contactless payment technology, which means you won’t have to worry about inadvertently letting someone see your PIN when you make a purchase. Apple Pay is compatible with our credit union’s Visa and Mastercard, and you can use it with multiple devices, including your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Do your shopping safely by simply placing your fingers on the Touch ID, and holding your device up to the contactless scanner. You’ll know the transaction has been complete when your display shows “Done,” and your phone subtly vibrates and beeps. You can even use Apple Pay to make transactions within secure apps. During checkout, just select Apple Pay as your payment method, and put your finger on the Touch ID.

Westmark Credit Union in Idaho is committed to serving our members better by embracing new mobile banking technology that improves the security of sensitive information. Call a credit union branch near you at (208) 523-1071.

How Much Money Should You Put Down on a New Car?

With the affordable services a credit union provides, you should be able to finance a new or used vehicle at a low interest rate. A car loan can also help you build your credit history and earn a higher credit score, provided you consistently make timely payments. It’s sometimes possible for consumers to finance 100% of the cost of the vehicle, but even if you qualify for this option, do try to put together a down payment to stabilize your finances.

The Benefits of Down Payments

It might take a while to save up a substantial down payment, but doing so is a smart financial move. The less you have to finance, the lower your monthly payments will be. A large down payment may motivate the lender to offer a lower interest rate. In other words, you’ll save money in the long run.

The Amount of Your Down Payment

Just like a house, the standard down payment for a car is usually 20%, although many consumers put down 10%, plus tax and title fees. If your savings account is healthy enough, you might want to offer a larger down payment. However, make sure you do not compromise your ability to handle emergency expenses. It’s ideal to have at least three months of living expenses saved up, although some financial experts recommend six months. Avoid tapping into this emergency reserve to buy a new car.

The Mitigating Effect of Trade Vehicles

Unless you’re purchasing your first car, you probably have a trade-in vehicle. You can mitigate the total cost of your new vehicle by trading it in at the dealership, or by selling it yourself and using the funds for your new car purchase. Even if your current vehicle was in an accident and is a total loss, you should receive a check from your insurance carrier for that loss. This check can be used to bolster your down payment.

Members of Westmark Credit Union have access to flexible financing options at great rates, including car loans in Idaho for new and used vehicles. Our credit union may even help you finance 100% of the purchase price for your new car, depending on your credit history and income. Call us today at (208) 523-1071, and we’ll get you in the driver’s seat.

Tips for Budgeting for Groceries

Unlike rent and car payments, grocery expenses are tricky to budget for because they fluctuate from week to week. An easier way to evaluate it, according to the finance expert featured in this video, is to assess your monthly grocery spending habits. Use the online banking tools available from your credit union to add up your total grocery expenses for the last three months. Divide the total by three, and you’ll get your average grocery expenses for a month.

If you need to reduce your expenses, follow this featured finance expert’s suggestions for shopping once per month and batch cooking. Set aside a weekend to do all of your shopping for the month to minimize impulse spending. Then, do some batch cooking and freeze meals for the month.

Westmark Credit Union makes it easy to save for the future, with our no-fee savings and checking accounts available in Idaho. Call us at (208) 523-1071 or use our online banking services at your convenience.

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2520 Channing Way
Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Hours of Operation:

  • Closed Sunday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Wednesday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Thursday
  • 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Friday
  • 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday