Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

4 Money Moves for Young Adults


university students on a work placement .Whether you’re entering the workforce as a full-time employee at age 18 or 22, if you’re done with school, then you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Unless you’re a professional athlete, you’re probably going to work for the next 40 years. So, what should your first steps as a “grown-up” be? Here are four easy money moves you should make as soon as you start working full-time…

Look way ahead: You may be in your early 20s now, but at some point, you’re going to blink and you’ll be almost 40. You don’t want to have to play catch-up with your retirement savings, so start saving for those days as soon as you can. If your company has a 401k match, take advantage of that free money. If not, seek out a financial advisor and find out what your best options are.

Plan for emergencies: You can’t foresee losing your job or your car’s engine dying, but you can expect the need for a wad of cash to come out of nowhere. Having a savings account that’s dedicated to emergencies will prepare you for whatever life throws your way.

Get out of debt: If you’ve got student loan debt, pay it off as quick as you can after you’re done with school. Before you decide to get a new ride or buy your first house, use that money to knock your debt down to zero. Once you’re debt free, you can start making decisions about those larger purchases.

Find a side hustle: Another way to be prepared for those money emergencies is to find another source of income. Whether that’s working a weekend job or selling stuff on the internet, having a second source of income will come in handy if something happens to the first one.

 

Source: CUInsight.com


Let Members 1st help you achieve your financial goals with our Goal Savings accounts. Use these accounts to save for different wants and needs. Choose what you are saving for and name your account. Set the dollar amount and target date for your goal. Save, track and reach your goals!

For more information or assistance with any financial need, please call Customer Service at (800) 237-7288, visit our website, or visit one of our various branch locations.

m1-red-and-black-horizontal-logo

How to Help Aging Parents Without Going Broke


The stress involved in being a care provider for your parents is twofold: You want to make sure they’re not in pain, while making sure that you don’t hurt yourself financially. The balance is a delicate one.

Almost a third of adults ages 40 to 59 have provided financial support to a parent in the previous year, according to a recent Pew Research report. If you’re in that situation, see what you can do to help without burning through your savings or going into debt.

Understand your parents’ finances 

If you’re not used to asking your parents about their money situation, this can be a hard topic to broach. But it’s necessary. You want to know upfront about how far their funds will take them, including retirement savings, pensions and Social Security payments. A more important question is: Can they afford assisted living or a nursing home, should that become necessary, and for how long? Also check their insurance coverage should they need expensive drugs or extended hospital care.

Evaluate health coverage

Make sure your parents will have a way to handle future health costs. Although Medicare can cover hospital, medical and prescription drug costs, there are limits, and some expenses may need to be paid out of pocket. Look into options like the Medicare Savings Program for your state, and also use the National Council on Aging’s free service, BenefitsCheckUp.org, to see what other help may be available to your parents.

Get professional advice

Once it’s clear that your parents will need more help soon, get a geriatric care manager to assess the situation. These professionals work with families to determine the best course of action for quality of life in terms of housing, legal services, home care and other assistance. Who is best fit to hold a power of attorney for your parents, for instance, is an issue they can help you sort out.

Get family involved

If you’re not an only child or if you have family members who can help, don’t try to do it all on your own. It can burn you out, and sharing the financial costs with other relatives can help ensure that it’s a family effort.

Consider hospice care

Sending your parents to a nursing home might not be the best option. If a parent has a terminal illness, hospice can be a good alternative, and Medicare or Medicaid may cover all the costs, including care, medicine and other supplies. You’ll have to make sure the arrangement is approved through your parent’s health coverage. Also note that any conditions unrelated to a covered illness may not come under hospice benefits.

By checking on programs and services that can help your parents, you can make supporting them financially a last resort instead of your first.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


Worried about not having money set aside as an emergency fund or for medical expenses? Consider looking into a Members 1st Goal Savings Account! Goal Savings Accounts allow you to choose what you are saving for and name your account. Set the dollar amount and target date for your goal. Save, track and reach your goals!

12 Tasks to Tackle Before Fall Arrives


Cooler weather is nigh — prep your home for its arrival while it’s still nice outside.Woman on a ladder

The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler. The kids are trudging off to school again with their backpacks, and leaves are falling from the trees.

Yep, it’s official: Fall is almost here. Now’s the time to finish up any last-minute maintenance projects and get your home and yard ready.

Take care of these 12 tasks to get your home clean, warm and ready for the cool days to come.

Exterior prep

1. Fix cracks in concrete and asphalt

Depending on where you live, these may be the last weeks this year when it will be warm and sunny enough to repair driveway and sidewalk cracks.

2. Clean out the gutters

No one loves this job, but we all need to do it annually. A few hours of work can prevent big problems later on.

While you’re up on that ladder, visually inspect your roof for damaged shingles, flashing or vents. You can also inspect the chimney for any missing mortar and repair it by tuck-pointing, if needed.

3. Turn off outdoor plumbing

Drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.

4. Start composting

If you don’t already have compost bins, now’s the time to make or get some. All those accumulated autumn leaves will bring you gardening gold next summer!

5. Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools

It may not yet be time to put them away, but go ahead and clean your outdoor furniture and gardening tools so they’re ready for storage over the winter.

6. Plant bulbs for spring-blooming flowers

Plant bulbs in October, as soon as the soil has cooled down, to reap big rewards next spring. If you’ve never planted bulbs before, select a spot in your yard that gets full sun during the day.

Interior prep

7. Prepare your furnace for winter duty

If you didn’t already do it last spring, consider getting your furnace professionally serviced in time for the cold season. At the minimum, though, visually inspect your furnace and replace the furnace filter before turning it on for the first time.

8. Clean the fireplace and chimney

Clean out the fireplace, inspect the flue, and ensure the doors and shields are sound. Have the chimney professionally swept if needed. Now’s also the time to stock up on firewood!

9. Keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside

Inspect your windows and doors. Check weatherstripping by opening a door, placing a piece of paper in the entryway and closing the door. The paper should not slide back and forth easily. If it does, the weather stripping isn’t doing its job.

Also, now’s the time to re-caulk around windows and door casings, if needed.

10. Light the way

Bring as much light into your home as you can for the colder, darker months. To accentuate natural light, clean your windows and blinds, especially in rooms that get a lot of sunlight.

11. Create a mudroom

Even if you don’t have a dedicated mudroom in your home, now’s a good time to think about organizing and stocking an entryway that will serve as a “mudroom” area for cold and wet weather.

Put down an indoor-outdoor rug to protect the floor. A fun and rewarding weekend project is to build a wooden shoe rack, coat rack or storage bench for your entryway.

12. Home safety check

Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. A good way to remember to do this is to always replace the batteries when you change the clock for daylight saving time.

Create a family fire escape plan, or review the one you already have. Put together an emergency preparedness kit so that you are ready for winter power outages.

Once you finish with your autumn home checklist, you will be ready to enjoy the season in your warm, comfortable home.

Content: Zillow.com


Need some extra funds for fall home repairs or a furnace replacement?

Our Home Equity Freedom product may be just what you need.

Click here for more information or give us a call at (800) 237-7288.

m1-red-and-black-horizontal-logo-1

4 Things to Do Before Buying a Home


As exciting as it is to buy a home, the lead-up can be a dizzying experience, especially for first-time buyers. But don’t fret. Breaking down the process into smaller steps can help ease your anxieties. Here’s a look at the kinds of questions you’ll want to ask yourself, as well as a few other practical tips.

Judge readiness for responsibility

Although the thought of home-ownership is generally a pleasant one, the reality can be much more stressful. That’s why it’s crucial to ask yourself whether you’re really ready for the hassles of buying and owning a home. Gone will be the days when you could simply call the landlord to fix a leaky faucet. Those chores will become your responsibility once you own your castle.

You’ll also want to think about how long you plan on living in the home you’re interested in, which will help determine the best mortgage for you. A fixed rate loan offers predictability: Once you take out your mortgage, your monthly payment will not change until you pay off the loan or refinance. An adjustable rate mortgage typically offers a lower starting interest rate if you plan to sell in a few years.

Determine what you can afford

Use a mortgage calculator to figure out how much home you can afford. It’s one of the most important steps to take. To start, think about your down payment, as well as the transaction costs. Although experts recommend having 20% of the price for a down payment, you may be able to put down as little as 3%, assuming your credit score is good and you’re willing to accept a higher interest rate and pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI. To give you a better sense of what you might owe, consider that the median sales price of an existing home was about $270,000 in 2018. So 20% down amounts to $54,000.

Don’t forget the transaction costs, which can amount to 5% of the price, to cover things such as appraisal, title search and lawyer’s fees. When coming up with a home-ownership budget, factor in the monthly mortgage payment, maintenance costs and energy bills.

Clean up your credit

If you’re applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to clean up your credit to get the best possible interest rate on your loan. To lock in the best ones, shoot for a credit score of 700 or above. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, higher rates stemming from a low rating when you borrowed can cost you thousands of extra dollars.

For starters, reduce your debt as much as possible. That includes slashing your credit card debt as well as any remaining student loans. To see what else needs fixing, order a copy of your credit report.

Stick with your current job

Financial planners agree that people should spend 28% or less of their gross monthly income on housing payments. The key to that, of course, is having a job. If you’re in between work, lenders are likely to view you as a greater risk when it comes to making mortgage payments. As such, the months leading up to purchasing a home are definitely not the time to make a sudden job or career change.

There’s little denying that the process of buying a home can be stressful. In fact, that may serve as good preparation for some of the hassles related to actually owning a home. In both cases, though, the benefits of home-ownership tend to outweigh the occasional headaches.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


Members 1st is here to help you through all of life’s most important moments and milestones. For more information about buying a home, visit our Mortgage Services website.

Three thoughts for Car Buyers


Couple shopping for carIf you or someone you care about is looking to buy a car, there are probably a hundred things you should consider. Below are three things that you may want to think about before you sign your name for a new (or just new to you) automobile.

Needs vs. Wants: What are you going to be using your new ride for? A long commute? Weekend trips to the mountains? These are just a couple of questions you should consider. A smart car might get incredible gas mileage during your 40-minute commute, but that little fella is pretty much worthless when it comes to cargo space. Sure, you may be able to get a bag of groceries home, but what about that 30-gal trash can or 6-foot step ladder you wanted to get at Lowe’s? And a jeep might be a cool ride for a trip to the beach or mountains, but the sound of a soft-top rattling in the wind is going to get old quick if you have to spend time on the highway on your way to work every day. And don’t forget about things like Bluetooth connectivity and heated seats. You really need to sit down and weigh your options before getting too excited about which car looks the coolest.

Monthly payments vs. Total price: So, you love the monthly payments, but are you really considering how much a new car is going to cost you by the time you’ve paid if off in six years? And maybe you’re a big fan of the total price you’re getting, but you know the monthly payments are going to take some sacrifice in your budget. Is that something you really want to deal with? And have you factored in other costs like insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and preventative maintenance? Take your time and make a list so you can get a better idea of the true cost of your new ride.

Know your car before you buy: The best advice I could give you before buying a new car is to get to know it before it’s yours. Do some research and see how other owners are feeling about their purchase. And always take a test drive. Don’t just ride up and down the boulevard. Put a few miles on it. Ride through parking lots. How does it ride? Is it only smooth on smooth roads? What’s it like going over a speed bump? Some cars let you feel everything, and that’s not ideal. When it comes time to buy, you shouldn’t be buying a mystery. It should feel like you’re bringing an old friend home.


Looking to purchase a car? Members 1st offers Auto & Motorcycle loans, and whether it’s a new or used car, truck or bike, we can finance your wheels. We also allow you to apply for a vehicle loan from us while you’re at the dealership, check our list of participating dealers.

m1-red-and-black-horizontal-logo-1

How to Be a Money-Smart Graduate Student


Whether you’ll be pursuing a master’s degree in English literature or a Ph.D. in chemical engineering this fall, life as a graduate student likely will require a good deal of thriftiness. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to a steady diet of instant noodles and cereal for the foreseeable future.

Here’s a look at several sustainable ways that grad students can maximize their stipends or other income and cut costs in the process.

Find a roommate

Sharing a house or an apartment with others may have taken some getting used to as an undergraduate. By now, though, you’re probably a seasoned veteran. And that’s a good thing, since finding a roommate is still one of the best ways to save money.

As well as being able to write a smaller rent check every month, you may also want to divvy up utilities and split groceries. Consider using an app like Roomi to find someone who has similar attitudes toward noise and cleanliness, which can reduce tension down the road.

Catch the bus

Unlike your first college stint, you probably won’t be running back and forth between the far corners of your school’s campus to get to class. In grad school, you’ll probably spend most of your time in one or two buildings. A car, therefore, may not be essential. Instead, use a bike or hop on public transportation. Many schools offer subsidized transit passes to lighten the load on students’ finances.

Use student discounts

It can be disheartening to create a budget only to find that there isn’t much money left over for meals out or nights at the neighborhood bar. But if you take advantage of student discounts — and memorize that bar’s happy hour schedule — having a good time doesn’t have to put a major dent in your wallet.

From movie theaters to museums, many places offer student discounts. Although saving a couple of bucks may not seem like much, it’ll make a difference over time. This extra cash can then be put toward your future, either by eliminating debt or saving for retirement.

Tackle debt, save what you can

Only about 1 in 10 millennials say they feel “very confident” that they’ll have enough cash for retirement, according to a recent survey. If you’re worried about running out of money during your later years, consider starting to set aside some of your income now. A good amount to shoot for is about 10% of your monthly earnings.

You’ll also be doing your future self a huge favor by slashing as much credit card or student loan debt as possible. Also, do your best not to rack up any new consumer debt. Use your plastic only in emergencies.

The bottom line

Pursuing an advanced degree can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but not financially, at least not right away. It’s therefore essential to take advantage of all the breaks you can get, such as subsidized transportation passes and other student discounts. That way, the only thing you’ll graduate with is more knowledge, and not mountains of credit card debt.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


For more information about Graduate Loans and other student loans, visit the our student loans web page or our Student Choice website.

4 things you Need to be Ready to Replace


Woman Looking At Foam Coming Out From DishwasherIt seems like nothing is cheap these days. Dinner and a movie is probably close to a hundred bucks (if you’re eating a nice meal), a brake job can cost $350, and even mailing a letter costs much more than it did 20 years ago. If you’re not prepared for the rising cost of “stuff,” you need to be. According to Wise Bread online finance forum, here are four things that you need to be prepared to replace:

Tires: Replacing the tires on your car(s) can definitely do damage to your wallet. Those four tires probably will cost you between $900-$1,000. If you’re not ready when the time comes, you’re definitely going to feel the sting.

Major appliances: Fortunately, most appliances have a pretty decent lifespan, but when that clock runs out, it’s a good idea to be prepared. When was the last time you price-checked refrigerators, washers, or dryers? Sometimes, you can troubleshoot an appliance and fix it yourself for $50. Other times, you’re dropping a grand on a new appliance(s) that you weren’t planning on replacing.

A mattress: Most mattresses will last longer than the recommended 8 years to be replaced, but if your mattress starts causing you pain, there’s really only one way to fix it. You’ll have to open up your wallet and get a brand new one.

A vehicle: While replacing a blown-out tire can be painful, replacing a blown engine is way worse. If you find yourself on the side of the highway in a car that has given up on you, you don’t have too many options. Walking isn’t realistic for the vast majority of us, so a new (or used) replacement will have to be found.

No matter what you’re having to replace, it’s important that you have an emergency fund that is stocked and ready to go. You may not enjoy saving the money now, but you’ll be glad you did when your car is broken down on the side of the road.


Let Members 1st help you save for the unexpected with our Goal Savings accounts. Use these accounts to save for different wants and needs. Choose what you are saving for and name your account. Set the dollar amount and target date for your goal. Save, track and reach your goals!

For more information or assistance with any financial need, please call customer service at (800) 237-7288, visit our website, or visit one of our various branch locations.

m1-red-and-black-horizontal-logo

%d bloggers like this: