IN THIS ISSUE
• What’s Your Investment Style?
• How You Drive = How Much You Spend on Gas
• Smart Uses for a Home Equity Line of Credit
• Meriwest in the Community
• Call for Entries: 2008 Holiday Art Contest and
2008 Essay Competition
How You Drive =
What’s Your How Much You Spend on Gas
Investment Style? Depending on the type of vehicle
you drive, today’s high gas prices
The word “style” describes how people could potentially break your bank
dress, wear their hair, and even walk and account. Unless you can afford to
talk. It also plays a role in how you invest. buy a less-thirsty car, you need
only look in the mirror to see your
The first step to securing your future is to best option for improving gas
identify and adopt an investment style mileage: you.
that’s in sync with your financial situation.
An investment style lets you to take a To overcome high gas prices and maximize your vehicle’s mileage
planned approach to investing, and the performance, Meriwest suggests modifying your driving habits –
right style boosts your chances of getting especially in highway travel.
what you want out of your investment.
Whatever your driving habits are now, here are some tips on how to
Here are some basic distinctions between different investment styles: save gas:
Growth – Investors using a growth style put their money into securities – Slow down – Cut down your speed from the mid-70s to 65
typically stocks – that are growing in earnings. These stocks are growing – or mph, and avoiding lane changes and bursts of acceleration.
are expected to grow – faster than the stock market average. The growth Use cruise control – As an alternative to aggressive lane
investor aims for big gains over the long term, but also faces risks as growth- changing, set your cruise control for the flow of traffic.
oriented companies go through their ups and downs. In fact, short-term Don't tailgate – Not only is it dangerous to drive close to the
losses can be substantial and severe during down cycles. car ahead of you, the frequent braking and accelerating also
decreases gas mileage.
Value – In the value style, investors look for stocks that are comparatively Don't put luggage on top of the car – Those roof-top
low-priced, but the price doesn’t accurately reflect the company’s potential
luggage carriers are tempting for family vacations, but the
and current assets. Thus, value investors are betting that the company’s stock
increased air resistance can significantly cut gas mileage.
will rise again to reflect its true value.
Avoid idling – When you sit with the motor running, you're
Income – Investors using an income style choose securities that produce getting zero miles per gallon; shut off the engine if you're
regular – but modest – earnings, such as government-issued bonds or money stopped for more than a minute.
market mutual funds. Though income investments do not bring as much Check tire pressure – Having tires inflated 25% less than the
potential for gain as growth investments, they also carry less risk for loss. pressure recommended by the manufacturer – usually displayed
Thus, income investors aim for fairly stable earnings over time. on a plaque on the driver's door – can cut gas mileage 3% to
Blended – The blended style combines both growth and income investments, Be cautious – Don't fall for advertisements promoting devices
to strike a balance between the potential for gain and the risk of loss. or additives that promise big fuel savings. If those devices really
worked, their promoters would have sold them to car companies
Your investment style depends on your goals, resources and risk tolerance. Other instead of pitching them directly to consumers.
factors to consider are your age, financial goals and investment time frame. If you still
have a few decades before retirement, you’ll have ample opportunity to regain
Of course, when it comes time to buy a new vehicle, look for something
whatever short-term losses you might incur. Thus, a growth investment style may
that offers mileage improvement while still meeting your needs. When
serve you well. But if retirement is a few years away, or you’ll be sending a daughter
you're ready to shop, Meriwest Credit Union can help with all your
to college in five years, you can’t afford to take a severe hit. You’d be better off with
financing and auto shopping needs. Call us today at 877-MERIWEST
the less risky income investment style.
or visit us online at www.meriwest.com for details.
Discover your style today by calling 877-MERIWEST or by meeting with a Register
Financial Service Representative. We’re here to help!
Smart Uses for a Home Equity Line of Credit
For decades, homeowners across the country have reaped the benefits of a variety of home equity loans. In
general, interest rates on these loans are lower than those attached to most credit cards and unsecured personal
loans. At tax time, home equity borrowers often enjoy a substantial break by deducting the interest paid on their
loans, up to $100,000 (consult your tax advisor regarding your individual situation).
Home Equity Loan basics
There are two types of home equity loans. The most conventional (sometimes called a “second mortgage”) is paid
in a lump sum, with a fixed interest rate and set monthly payments. The Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is
an account from which the borrower can make withdrawals as frequently as they like, provided they don’t exceed
their credit limit. HELOC interest rates are usually variable, meaning your monthly payments will adjust, depend-
ing on federal rates. Loan payments are based on the amount withdrawn, not the total amount you can borrow.
Lump-sum home equity loans are usually a good choice if you have a specific project or purchase in mind, such
as renovating your bathroom or replacing a car. Since HELOCs work more like credit cards, they are well-suited
to an ongoing expense like college tuition, and provide the convenience of multiple withdrawals. In each case,
the most important consideration when borrowing against your home’s equity is that you use the money wisely.
Be sure you’re improving your immediate financial situation without jeopardizing the future. After all, your home
is probably your biggest investment, and any loan could, potentially, lead to the loss of that investment.
Smart ways to use a HELOC
• Consolidate debt – By combining all your payments, consolidating gives you one payment and possibly reduces the overall Annual Percentage Rate
(APR) paid. It may also help you pay off your debts at a faster pace.
• Build your dreams – Whether you’re updating your kitchen or adding a bedroom, these projects can increase the value of your home at resale time.
The interest you pay could also provide a tax deduction. There are also government-backed financial incentives for homeowners who install
environmentally-friendly features like insulated windows and energy-efficient heating systems.
• Finance an education – With college costs rising, using a home equity loan to pay for your child’s education could be the smartest move you make.
• Grow your business – Access to cash is a crucial step in starting your own business. Used wisely, a home equity loan can be a convenient source of
A few “not-so-smart” ways to use a HELOC
• Ransoming your future – A second mortgage is just that: an additional loan with monthly payments. Borrowing more than you can afford to pay is
worse than foolish; it’s potentially disastrous to your finances.
• Paying for frivolous expenses – Designer shoes? A 70-inch flat-screen TV? Probably not the best uses for your HELOC.
• Falling back into the debt trap – One of the risks of using a home equity loan to consolidate debt is that, unless your spending habits change
radically, you could wind up in even worse debt than before – and lose your home. As a one-time strategy for taking control and paying off credit
cards, a home equity loan is beneficial only if your household spending habits undergo a radical transformation.
Call us today at 877-MERIWEST to learn more about the benefits of home equity loans and lines of credit.
Sorting and Packaging at Second Harvest Food Bank
On September 10, 18 Meriwest employees dedicated two hours after work to sort canned and packaged
foods at Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose. The Meriwest crew sorted carrots that would be distributed
to some of the 177,000 families who are assisted by the Food Bank.
In a span of two hours, volunteers from Meriwest processed approximately 6,000 pounds of carrots, a
second-best all-time total in carrot packaging, according to the Food Bank. In fact, only one organization
with twice the number of volunteers packaged more carrots than the crew from Meriwest.
The Food Bank appreciated the helping hand from Meriwest. Officials explained that the need to help feed
Meriwest’s cheerful and dedicated volunteer people has been greater this year. They have been serving people in their food lines they have not seen
food sorters at Second Harvest Food Bank. before – individuals and their families who suddenly are struggling to buy life’s essentials.
High School Students: Meriwest Employee Group Banking:
Enter Meriwest’s Annual Essay Competition Free On-Site Visits to Your Company
for a Chance to Win Cash
A no-cost employee benefit is available to your
High school students are encouraged to enter employer or your own business. Our Employee Group
Meriwest’s 2008 Annual Essay Competition, and Banking Membership Program helps businesses and
earn a chance to win up to $1,000 in cash. Submit their employees by bringing on-site credit union
a 1,000-word essay that answers the questions: presentations and educational sessions.
“How have the recent turmoil in the housing
market and rising consumer prices affected This free program brings Meriwest Credit Union directly to you and your
your generation? What can a credit union do to employees. We help you explore financial product options, learn essential
help prepare your generation for the future?” personal financial skills, and take advantage of special offers. Our
Employee Group Banking team is available for on-site presentations and
This competition is open to students in 9th-12th supplies materials your employees need to get started.
Grades, ages 13-18, and who have a grade point
average of 2.0 or higher. Participants also must Become an approved employee group of Meriwest Credit Union and
live, attend school, or work in Santa Clara, San offer your employees – and their family members – access to a wide
Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa or San range of products and services, all at your place of business:
Francisco counties, or in Pima County, Arizona. Students who do not reside, attend
school, or work in these counties – but are existing Meriwest members or children • Complimentary On-Site Presentations
of members – are also eligible to enter the competition. • Free “How-To” Seminars
• Free Checking with Free Online Banking and Bill Pay
The deadline for essays is 6:00 p.m. PT on Monday, December 22, 2008. • Direct Deposit
Winners will be notified in early February. • Certificates and IRAs
• Auto Loans – New & pre-owned
Visit www.meriwest.com/essay to access the application, competition • Home Loans – Purchase and refinance
rules, and prize information. You may also call 408-365-6328 for full details. • Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit
• Investment Services
• Relationship Advantage® Rewards Program
Hey Kids: • Conveniently Located Financial Centers and ATMs – 19 financial
centers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona;
Show Your Holiday Spirit and Win Cash access to more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs on the
CO-OP ATM Network
Fall is officially here and the
holidays are just around the Call us today at 408-363-3226 for more details – and feel good about
corner. This time of year also providing the benefits of a Meriwest membership to your employees.
means Meriwest Credit Union
is holding its Annual Holiday
Art Contest, open to members “Did You Know?”
and their children. Direct Deposit Lets You Cross Off
One Errand from Your List
The Annual Holiday Art Contest
awards cash prizes to the top With our busy lives, we seem to always be
three finishers in two age running here, there and everywhere. With
groups: Ages 3-10 and 11-17. Direct Deposit from Meriwest, you can cross
The two first-place winners also will have their artwork featured as off one errand from your list.
Meriwest’s 2008 holiday cards. Children must live, attend school, or work in
Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa or San Francisco counties, or Save precious time from having to go to a financial center or
in Pima County, Arizona. Participants who do not reside, attend school, or an ATM by having your paycheck, Social Security check or
work in these counties – but are existing Meriwest members or children of annuity checks automatically deposited into your Meriwest
members – are also eligible to enter the competition. checking or savings account.
The deadline is 6:00 p.m. PT on Wednesday, October 31, 2008. Winners If your employer provides a Direct Deposit form, simply fill in
will be notified by November 15, 2008. the routing number and submit it to your Human Resources
Department. The Meriwest routing number is: 321176833.
Visit www.meriwest.com/holidaycontest for rules and prize information,
or by calling 408-365-6328. Sign up today to start enjoying the convenience of Direct
Deposit. Call 877-MERIWEST for more details.
Meriwest Credit Union • 5615 Chesbro Avenue • San Jose, CA 95123 • 877-MERIWEST • Routing Number: 321176833
Your savings federally insured to at least $100,000
and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government
National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency