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Wilson Elementary School 4th graders sitting on the floor at the kindness retreat

Affinity Plus Proudly Sponsors Youth Frontiers

Have you showed kindness today? More than 100 4th graders from Wilson Elementary School gathered at Anoka Covenant Church on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, to learn all about spreading kindness. It’s part of a partnership with Youth Frontiers for a Kindness Retreat.

Founded in 1987 and based in the Twin Cities, Youth Frontiers is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to building the character of young people.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a proud sponsor.

What does the Kindness Retreat entail? Kids met in small groups, played games, learned the importance of kindness, and built a sense of community. Students had the opportunity to safely and publicly express how they will show more kindness to their teachers and classmates every day.

"The students raved about the Kindness Retreat and how much fun the day was. The retreat was action-packed and filled with energy,” said Britt Prokop, School Social Worker at Wilson Elementary School. ”I couldn't believe the level of engagement from start to finish. Students who attended the retreat are brainstorming ideas of how to inspire kindness throughout the rest of the school and I have no doubt they will come up with something brilliant."

 


Thank You, Members, For Your Support of Food Fight

We cannot ignore that this is the season for giving. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union teamed up with KARE 11 and CH Robinson to participate in a special food fight in support of Second Harvest Heartland. And guess what? Members, you’re amazing – your help with food donations and monetary donations paid off.

The KARE 11 Food Fight took place on November 26, and was a huge success, thanks to the generosity of people (like you!) throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. More than 1.4 million pounds of food was collected, all of which went to Second Harvest Heartland.

Four KARE 11 anchor teams (#TeamRandy, #TeamJulie, #TeamBel and #TeamPerk) competed to raise the most food, and money, for Second Harvest Heartland. The final totals showed KARE 11 sports director Eric Perkins as the winner, after collecting a whopping 609,000 pounds of food. #TeamPerk was helped along by a giant $50,000 donation courtesy of Cub Foods, which also hosted Eric Perkins' team at its Oakdale location.

 

#TeamJulie was second, with 350,000 pounds of food, followed by #TeamBel at 221,000, and #TeamRandy at 210,000.

At Affinity Plus branches alone, more than $11,000 was raised for the KARE 11 Food Fight. Affinity Plus also matched branch donations up to $10,000, and donated an additional $11,000; that is well over $32,000 in total donations.

Thank you for your generosity!

 


End-of-the-Year Money Moves

Here are some things you might consider before saying goodbye to 2019.

 

What has changed for you in 2019? Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and 2020 begins.

Even if your 2019 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can manage your tax bill and/or build a little more wealth.

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Please consult your tax, legal and accounting professionals before modifying your tax strategy.

Do you practice tax-loss harvesting? That is the art of taking capital losses (selling securities worth less than what you first paid for them) to offset your short-term capital gains. You might want to consider this move, which may lower your taxable income. It should be made with the guidance of a financial professional you trust.1

In fact, you could even take it a step further. Consider that up to $3,000 of capital losses in excess of capital gains can be deducted from ordinary income, and any remaining capital losses above that can be carried forward to offset capital gains in upcoming years. When you live in a high-tax state, this is one way to defer tax.1

Do you want to itemize deductions? You may just want to take the standard deduction for 2019, which has ballooned to $12,200 for single filers and $24,400 for joint filers because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. If you do think it might be better for you to itemize, now would be a good time to get the receipts and assorted paperwork together. While many miscellaneous deductions have disappeared, some key deductions are still around: the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, now capped at $10,000; the mortgage interest deduction; the deduction for charitable contributions, which now has a higher limit of 60% of adjusted gross income; and the medical expense deduction.2,3

Could you ramp up 401(k) or 403(b) contributions? Contribution to these retirement plans may lower your yearly gross income. If you lower your gross income enough, you might be able to qualify for other tax credits or breaks available to those under certain income limits. Note that contributions to Roth 401(k)s and Roth 403(b)s are made with after-tax rather than pre-tax dollars, so contributions to those accounts are not deductible and will not lower your taxable income for the year.4,5

Are you thinking of gifting? How about donating to a qualified charity or non-profit organization before 2019 ends? Your gift may qualify as a tax deduction. You must itemize deductions using Schedule A to claim a deduction for a charitable gift.4,5

While we’re on the topic of estate strategy, why not take a moment to review your beneficiary designations? If you haven’t reviewed them for a decade or more (which is all too common), double-check to see that these assets will go where you want them to go, should you pass away. Lastly, look at your will to see that it remains valid and up-to-date.

Can you take advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit? The AOTC allows individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less (and joint filers with MAGI of $160,000 or less) a chance to claim a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified college expenses. Phase-outs kick in above those MAGI levels.6

See that you have withheld the right amount. If you discover that you have withheld too little on your W-4 form so far, you may need to adjust your withholding before the year ends.

What can you do before ringing in the New Year? Talk with a financial or tax professional now rather than in February or March. Little year-end moves might help you improve your short-term and long-term financial situation.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

Citations.
1 - investopedia.com/articles/taxes/08/tax-loss-harvesting.asp [2/26/19]
2 - nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/itemize-take-standard-deduction/ [9/6/19]
3 - investopedia.com/articles/retirement/06/addroths.asp [7/28/19]
4 - investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/041315/tips-charitable-contributions-limits-and-taxes.asp [6/5/19]
5 - marketwatch.com/story/how-the-new-tax-law-creates-a-perfect-storm-for-roth-ira-conversions-2018-03-26 [2/24/19]
6 - irs.gov/newsroom/american-opportunity-tax-credit-questions-and-answers [6/28/19]

 


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Coins for a Cause

Wondering what to do with foreign coins left behind from your trip overseas? Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has teamed up with Special Olympics Minnesota on all things coins, and it’s all for a good cause. Currently, there is no foreign currency exchange for Affinity Plus members when it comes to foreign coin.

All 28 Affinity Plus branch locations across the state of Minnesota will accept foreign coin with all proceeds going to Special Olympics Minnesota.

“Coins for a Cause is another way we are able to show our continued support in a very unique way,” said Jessica Volkmann, Director of Compliance at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. “This exciting new initiative came from listening to our members and employees who had limited options for what to do with unwanted foreign coin. Our members travel all over the world and often come back with coin they are unable to use or exchange. We are thrilled to continue our partnership and support of the Special Olympics of Minnesota and all of the amazing things they are doing for people with intellectual disabilities.”

“Special Olympics Minnesota is truly fortunate to have such a great partner in Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union,” said William Fish, Executive Vice President of Development, Special Olympics Minnesota. “The funding, awareness and volunteerism provided is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of our athletes & families thru traditional sport, youth, health, and unified programming in their communities.”

Stop by one of the branches and donate your foreign coins today!

 


Annual Scholarship

Time is running out to apply for the Affinity Plus Foundation Annual Scholarship. Now is the time to apply and make smart financial decisions early on.

The application deadline is January 31, 2020. This is open to students throughout the U.S. Winners will be announced by the end of March 2020. Through the Annual Scholarship Program, the Affinity Plus Foundation awards eight $5,000 scholarships to students in four categories:

  • Incoming Freshman – defined as incoming freshmen directly out of high school
  • Upperclassman – defined as sophomore/junior/senior following the traditional path of college directly out of high school
  • Non-traditional – defined as students who had a break in their education between years or before pursuing college
  • Master's or Doctorate – defined as students who are pursuing a degree beyond their undergraduate studies

 

To learn more, please visit: www.affinityplusfoundation.org/scholarship/annual-scholarship.

 


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Insurance is part of a solid financial plan. From finding a policy that fits your budget to making sure your coverage is adequate, dependable insurance can help give you peace of mind today and financial relief when you need it.

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To get quotes or just explore your options, visit TruStage.com.

© Copyright 2017, TruStage. All Rights Reserved.

TruStage® insurance products and programs are made available through TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC. Life insurance and AD&D insurance are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Auto and Home Insurance Program are issued by leading insurance companies. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold or guaranteed by your credit union.

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