Archive for the ‘ debt ’ Category

Tips to Fix Your Finances


Unless you’re born into it or inherit it, most of us have to work for the money we need. Some of us work more than one job to make it all come together. Sometimes we have to borrow money for the things we want or need like a home, car, wedding, or to finance an education. Sometimes people take on more debt in terms of credit cards and loans than the amount of money they bring in to make the payments.

Bob Marquette, our President & CEO, was recently featured on FOX 43’s “Fixing Your Finances“. He discussed how credit score works, why a good credit history impacts your ability to obtain a loan, and provided tips on how you can improve your own credit score.

Looking to fix your finances? Check out Bob’s segment by clicking below:

FOX43 Blog Post

Friendly reminder – Check Your Credit Report Annually

You are entitled to a free copy  of your credit report every year. It’s important to check your credit report regularly for accuracy, discrepancies, fraudulent activity, and identity theft. And federal law requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the big three consumer credit reporting companies, to provide you  with a free credit report every 12 months if you request it. Get your free credit report today.

Need additional help? 

We offer our members access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath Financial Wellness.  As a member, you can receive assistance with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

greenpath-new-logo

Think of what you spend in a day


Have you ever wondered during your daily routine if there was something you could be doing to save you money?  Every day, you make simple decisions that can cost you a good chunk of cash that could be saved and used for weekend fun.  Often times you make these decisions without even thinking of the quick and easy alternative rather than spending money.  Luckily for you there are plenty of simple and cheap swaps you can make to have more money at the end of the day.

In this quick video, you’ll see multiple ways that you can save money that are easy to change in your daily life.  You will see how simple it really can be for you to save money, which will make you and your wallet much happier!  Not only could these cheap swaps save you money each week, but they could also result in saving you time.  Begin applying these easy changes to your daily routine, and start saving some serious cash.

swaps graphic-blog

Members 1st Federal Credit Union can help you manage your money. Click here to learn more.

 

Written by guest blogger Zach Heckert, Marketing intern

2015 Financial Resolutions – There’s still time


couple with billsWe’re one month down, 11 more to go and 2015 will be a wrap. It’s still early enough in the year to review your finances and set goals. If you haven’t made your financial resolutions yet, here are seven tips that can help you achieve financial success.

  1. REVIEW YOUR BUDGET. List your recurring monthly expenses and compare them to your monthly income. Make adjustments or cuts where necessary to prevent dipping into your savings or using your credit cards. For helpful hints on budgeting basics, download our free brochure on budgeting.
  2. COMMUNICATE. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but it’s very important to talk with your partner about where you stand financially (debt included). Knowing where you are helps you know where you want to be. Learn how to manage money as a couple or when you find yourself suddenly single by reading our free brochure, “His, Hers, Mine & Ours.”
  3. PAY DOWN DEBT. If you have numerous credit card balances, tackle the one with the highest interest rate first and pay the minimum amount required on all of your other balances. Also consider transferring your higher rate card balances to your Members 1st VISA®, which could save you money.
  4. BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND. Most specialists suggest saving three to six month’s salary in case of an unexpected setback or job loss. Start by putting aside a little from each paycheck now.
  5. AUTOMATE YOUR LIFE. Utilize the Bill Payer feature of Members 1st Online. It’s simple to set up recurring payments to ensure that you’re always paying your bills on time, every time.
  6. THINK BEFORE YOU BUY. Do you really need that item or is it something that you simply want?
  7. MEET WITH A FINANCIAL PLANNER. Our team of Investment Services representatives can help you develop a customized financial plan that will help you feel confident in your goals.* You may schedule a free consultation at any of our branch locations.

If you need additional assistance, we offer free access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath, a financial management program. Through comprehensive education and exceptional service, GreenPath has been assisting individuals for more than 50 years. As a member, you can receive assistance with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

 

 

 

*Registered Representative of INVEST Financial Corporation (INVEST), member FINRA/SIPC. INVEST and its affi liated insurance agencies offer securities, advisory services and certaininsurance products and are not affi liated with Members 1st Federal Credit Union or Members 1st Investment Services. INVEST does not provide tax or legal advice. Products are: • Not FDIC or NCUA insured • Not Bank or Credit Union Guaranteed • May lose value including loss of principal.

Lose Some Debt Weight in 2015


So many bills!

 

Do you have multiple department store or gas cards that you never use? Do you pay annual fees for cards that never see the light of day?  Maybe it’s time to clean out your wallet and lose a little debt weight this year. Here are some tips:

PAY. If you have numerous credit card balances, tackle the one with the highest interest rate first and pay the minimum amount required on all of your other balances. When that one
is paid off, consider rolling that amount into the next highest credit card balance (old amount plus the minimum payment required).

TRANSFER. Consider transferring your higher rate credit card balances and loans to a Members 1st VISA®, which could save you money! Take advantage of our 1.90% APR VISA® Balance Transfer option. Call (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040, visit a branch or log into Members 1st Online » Card Services » VISA® Balance Transfer. This offer is available on balance transfers received through June 30, 2015.*

CHOOSE. Figure out which card you’ve had for the longest amount of time. Make sure to keep this card open, since lenders often see borrowers with short credit histories to be riskier than those with long credit histories. Determine one or two cards to utilize regularly and leave the rest at home. If you have a card that has a low-interest rate or offers rewards, it may be best to keep it open. It’s alright to close those credit cards that you’re no longer using, as long as they don’t have balances and you have other cards.

FOLLOW UP. If you choose to close a credit card, make sure to send a letter to the issuer sharing your decision. Double check your credit report to see if the card is reported as “closed.”

*The 1.90% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Balance Transfers using the specific form or online submission is a “Discounted” rate that will be in effect from the time of the posting of the balance transfer to your card account for six consecutive billing cycles afterwards, which will be considered the promotional period expiration date of that specific balance transfer. After the expiration of your “Discounted” rate the remaining unpaid portion of the original balance transfer request will be subject to your normal APR as outlined on your monthly statement based on the specific Members 1st FCU credit card selected. Consumer Cards (Business Cards are ineligible) may have up to 10 individual balance transfers open at any given time period. If you default through becoming 60 days or more delinquent we may increase your APR on the balance transfer and other balance amounts as defined within the cardholder agreement and disclosure, which is provided upon card issuance and available online at http://www.members1st.org. All payments received on your account in excess of your minimum payment requirement will be applied first  to the highest rate balances, secondly to the lowest rate balances and finally  to new purchases. All rates are effective as of January 1, 2015 and this offer may be withdrawn at any time. Other restrictions or conditions may apply. You may not pay off your current Members 1st loans or lines of credit by using this balance transfer option. For current rates, fees and other cost information, please reference the Visa Balance Transfer disclosure or contact the Members 1st FCU Card Services Group at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6035. We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

 

5 Reasons to Get an Auto Loan from Us


car
Although the thought of finally having a dependable set of wheels can be thrilling, a car’s price tag can quickly quell that newfound excitement. Financing your car through a financial institution can therefore be incredibly helpful. Credit unions are particularly popular among consumers who want hassle-free loans with excellent rates and member (customer) service. So don’t panic when you see your dream car’s price tag – here are five reasons why it’s a good idea to get an auto loan from Members 1st.

1. Stellar rates and flexible terms
Credit unions offer lower rates and more flexible payment schedules than many big banks. Rates for new cars are often under 3%, which comes in under the national average of about 4%. If, for example, a car is financed at $30,000 over the course of a 60 month loan, that seemingly small difference will save you around $1,000. What’s more, at Members 1st, we will finance cars with terms ranging from 12 to 84 months depending upon the model year, thereby allowing you to set a payment schedule that best suits your needs and budget.

2. Good odds of having your loan approved
If you have a poor credit score because of past credit problems, credit unions are a great place to look for auto loans. Unlike bigger financial institutions that have more rigid policies and requirements in place, we’ll do our best to help get you the money you need and discuss your credit history and any issues you may have had so we have an understanding of your particular financial situation. If, on the other hand, you have a good credit score and also happen to be a loyal member of a particular credit union, you might qualify for especially low rates or other perks.

3. Great member (customer) service

Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives. What does this mean for you? Essentially, it means that it’s in our best interest to offer you loans that you can actually pay off, and that you won’t have to worry about being ripped off or taken advantage of.

4. Mutually beneficial relationships between credit unions and members (customers)
Our profits go back to members in the form of lower rates on financial products. Your needs are therefore always front and center. We are happy to work with you to ensure that you don’t encounter any problems while making payments.

5. Access to information
If you’re new to the world of auto loans and find yourself scratching your head trying to understand words like “loan rates” and “payment schedules,” don’t worry. We have a resource centers and tools to help members learn more about how auto loans work and we offer Car Loan Calculators aimed to help you determine what payment plan would work best for you. Taking advantage of these resources will help you make more informed decisions down the road, which will save you stress, time, and, most important of all, money.

Buying a car is a big investment, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting one. Whether you’re in the market for a brand new hybrid, a used car, or a truck, consider going to Members 1st to help you finance your new ride.

Note: With a Members 1st auto loan, we can help you Member Value Protection – optional coverage for an additional price that offers you peace of mind knowing that your monthly loan payment will be cancelled in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment. Ask us for details, (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040.

Members 1st also offers a first time car buyers program – just ask for details! We really do make car buying easy!

Need car insurance? Want a quote from Members 1st Insurance Services

 Guest Blogger: Tony Armstrong, NerdWallet

We’re Getting Married: Do We Need Joint Accounts?


bride & groom

Planning a wedding? Well then, you’ve got enough on your mind. But print out this article for after the vows. It’s about something you’ll need to discuss with your brand- new spouse once housekeeping begins: Do we need joint accounts?

A financial team
You are more than just roommates now; you’re a financial team. So it makes sense to combine assets and put everything in joint accounts, right? Perhaps. At least one joint account—for shared household expenses —can make sense. Both partners can contribute to the fund, either equally or on a ratio based on their earnings. Each can also maintain a separate account for personal expenses.

Maintaining a joint account can have its challenges, though —especially if each spouse is spending from it. Sharing details of every transaction is important, and having one spouse or the other in charge of “balancing the books”is a good idea. Of course, be prepared for the occasional, “Now, what is this $67 charge for?”

Joint savings and investment accounts are also a way for a couple to feel as if they are building a future together —though IRAs will remain separate, by law. Assets gained before the partners became a couple, such as inheritances, usually remain separate as well, with beneficiary designations in wills and retirement accounts easily changed to reflect the new relationship.

Dealing with debt
Debt can be another matter. Shared debt for a new sofa to replace that ragged futon is fine, but the financial baggage from the past should continue to be held separately — including such things as student loans, car loans and credit card balances. As debt is retired, new purchases can be combined for joint benefit.

It is often assumed that credit is automatically combined after marriage, but that is not necessarily the case. Separate credit cards can be maintained and paid individually, while a joint credit card can be issued for spouses to share. This is especially important if one or the other has a checkered credit history. Keeping that scarred score quarantined will allow the other partner to maintain their buying power.

Spouses are not generally responsible for the individual debts of their partner, unless payments are for “family expenses”—in that case, in some states, both spouses can be held responsible. Spousal debt can also be transferred to a marital partner in community property states.

By the numbers
In years past, it was common for married couples to enter into a total money merger upon marriage. These days, it’s more common for couples that have joint bank accounts to also maintain individual accounts. Combining assets into a joint account can allow for a higher balance, which credit unions often reward with premium perks and fee discounts.But keeping separate accounts can allow for a bit of independence.

The question of single or joint accounts —or both —may come down to a single question: Which one of you is the most adept at handling money? For some married couples, the answer can be obvious. He can’t add single-digit numbers in his head, while she can compute the tax on a purchase while reaching in her purse for the exact change.

Usually, the fewer the accounts, the fewer the fees —and perhaps the better the interest rate on deposits. And, if both spouses work, combining paychecks into joint accounts can enable a turbo-charged savings plan: pay bills with one salary; save the other.

As newlyweds, the possibilities are endless.

Note:  Members 1st FCU has partnered with GreenPath, a financial management program to help individuals and couples who may have budgeting, debt management and trouble managing their checking accounts.  In addition, stop by any branch location to pick up a copy of our brochure, “His, Hers, Mine, Ours” that offers additional insight when couples decide to marry.

 Guest Blogger: Hal Bundrick, NerdWallet

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