Archive for debt

7 Banking Tips for Young Millennials

Just received your first few pay checks? Here are the 705 suggestions for success!

Banking Best Practices

Once you start receiving your first paychecks after graduation, knowing how to spend or save your money wisely can be tough. While you may be able to do your banking with just a few taps on your phone, managing money well is much more complicated. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. BUDGET USING APPS

Tracking how much you spend weekly and monthly shows you where your money goes and how you can save more. You can use a budgeting app that tracks your cash automatically or one where you enter information manually. Choose an app that lets you spend as little or as much time on budgeting as you want. From there, you can identify your total fixed expenses, such as rent and car payments, and more-flexible costs such as shopping and dining out.

2. SET UP AUTOMATIC TRANSFERS TO SAVINGS

When you have a rough idea of how much you can save regularly, create a recurring transfer from your checking account to a savings account. By making savings automatic, you can get used to spending “below your means” and never have to worry about remembering to transfer.

3. AVOID OVERDRAWING YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT

Before you pay rent or spend any other big chunk of money, take a look at your checking account’s available balance. This can prevent you from spending more than you have in your account. If you overdraw, you may be charged a fee.

4. ESTABLISH CREDIT

Student loans and credit cards can help you build good credit — as long as you stay current on monthly payments and don’t overuse your cards. Your credit score, which shows how responsible you are with credit, is an important factor that lenders check before approving car loans and mortgages. The better your score, the lower the interest rate you may be eligible for.

5. REPAY DEBTS STRATEGICALLY

If you have debts from multiple credit cards and student loans, pay the minimum on each and then contribute more to your higher-interest debts. By making those a priority, you can reduce how much interest you’re paying faster than by treating all debts the same.

6. START AN EMERGENCY FUND

Being financially prepared in case of health emergencies or unexpected unemployment can save you from going into debt. Have a separate savings account just for this purpose; don’t mix it up with your regular savings. A good rule of thumb is to save enough to pay three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

7. SET LONG-TERM SAVINGS GOALS

Consider saving for retirement in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan or individual retirement account. When you start saving early, you take advantage of compounded returns to make more money off your contributions overall.

From smart budgeting to setting goals, make good money choices now. Since time is on your side, you can benefit from building credit and saving early to be ready for big financial decisions in the future.

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Help! I Overspent On Christmas!

Buyer’s Remorse after Christmas?

It’s easy to go overboard for Christmas. Giving extravagant gifts to your family members seems like a great idea…until you’re facing a huge credit card
bill in January.
 
However it happened, approach this problem rationally. Blaming yourself is pointless; the important thing now is to right yourself financially.
Fortunately, you’re not facing this alone. Section 705 Federal Credit Union is here to help. Check out these four ways you can patch up your finances and have things right before summer.

1.) Budgeting adviceYour CU: personal loans, budgeting advice, debt counseling, and refinancing major purchases.

It’s very tempting to make only the minimum payments on the credit card you used to buy Christmas. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to ensure you’re in debt for every Christmas to come.
 
Making minimum payments on credit cards prolongs the length of time you’re in debt and spikes the total amount you pay, adding an extra $175 to a $10,000 balance at 21% APR.
 
What you need is an aggressive debt repayment plan. Instead of looking to pay the smallest amount possible, identify the most you can afford to pay. Section 705 FCU can help with informative guides and worksheets on household budgeting.
 
Commit to an extreme budget until you make headway on the debt. Coming up with an extra $35 or $50 a month is tough, but it’s the easiest way to get things moving.

2.) Refinancing major purchases

If you splurged on one or two major purchases, it may not be credit card debt you’re facing. Slick car dealers offer crazy-sounding incentives to entice people to give cars for Christmas. Unfortunately, when you realize you’re in over your head with a car payment, there’s no undoing the deal.
 
Section 705 Federal Credit Union can help. Our auto and other major purchase loans often feature rates that are better than dealerships. You may need to finance the purchase over a longer term, or you may need to restructure the loan to pay less now. Either way, you’ll find more favorable and flexible terms at with us than you will at the dealer.

3.) Debt counseling

Does reading those credit card statements fill you with despair? The credit union can help you make sense of them.
 
Make an appointment to speak with a debt counselor through Section 705. You’ll learn about your rights and responsibilities and create a realistic plan to pay off your debt and avoid falling into the same trap next year.

4.) Personal loans

Instead of making dozens of minimum payments, focus your debt into one manageable plan through a debt consolidation. Amazingly, taking this step can save you money in the long run by lowering your interest rate and monthly payment commitment.
 
Collateral isn’t necessary. All you need is some basic personal information and a willing partner. Our loan specialists can help you organize and simplify your payments, working toward a debt-free life.
 
 
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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions? We Have Some Easy Suggestions!

fireplace with candles around itBy the end of January, many of us will have forgotten all about our New Year’s resolutions. It can be difficult to change our lives, even when it’s for the better.  Knowing this, we want you to know that, in your financial life, there are changes you can make today that will last the entire year.  Here are three resolutions you can set today and some follow-up goals for the rest of the year. 

Today:  Save money automatically.  If you want to improve your net worth, build financial security or make a big purchase at this time next year, the easiest way to do so is simply to automate your savings.  You can set up an automatic transfer to savings so you won’t be tempted to spend it.  With many of our savings products, you can even access the money if an emergency arises.  Check out our savings accounts and automatic transfer options for those savings accounts.

Later:  Set up an emergency fund.  How much do you have set aside for a rainy day or to cover the unexpected?  If an emergency came up, would you have to sell investments, cash in your retirement or borrow from family?  Make this the year for setting up your emergency fund.  You’ll eventually want to have at least six months of income put aside where you can get to it. for now, start with $1,000, a month’s income, or whatever feels realistic.  It might be difficult to get in the habit of saving money, but this is the resolution you’ll be really happy you kept if something unexpected happens.

Today:  Pay down your debt.  If you’re struggling with debt, there are three basic solutions for paying it down, getting your payments under control and getting ahead of debt.  You can make more frequent payments, pay more each month or lower your interest rates.

Paying more frequently makes sense if you get paid every two weeks: You might already know about the advantage of bi-weekly payments, which let you make the equivalent of an extra monthly payment every year.  If you’re already doing that or you don’t get paid on a weekly schedule, you can also increase the amount you pay every month.  Even an extra $25 per month is $300 per year, and you can set up those payments automatically.  Make sure you increase your payments the most on the bills with the highest interest rates first, even if they don’t have the largest balances.

Finally, you can get ahead of your debt by lowering your interest rates.  You can call the creditors who are charging you the highest interest rates and pay the bill, transfer the balance to a credit card or loan with a lower interest rate, or see if they’ll offer you a lower rate due to improved credit.  One way to make this work is to arrange a home equity loan at a lower fixed rate, then move your balances with the highest interest rates to the loan.  You can apply for a loan here!

Later:  Get control of your spending.  It’s time to make a budget and stick to it.  Build rewards into the budget so you’ll actually be happy to follow it.  Take a look at what you use your credit cards to buy, then budget at least some money for those items or activities.  You’ll never keep a resolution like “stop eating out,” but you have a good chance of keeping a resolution like “don’t go over the eating out budget.”  This also gives you 12 chances to succeed:  Every month you can do better than the month before.

Today:  Make a drawer.  Many of us who have had the misfortune to act as the executor on a loved one’s estate have had the terrible task of finding all the savings, debts, insurance policies and other financial parts of their lives.  Don’t do this to whomever is taking over your life.  Empty a drawer in your kitchen or study and put as many relevant documents in it as you can find.  Make a list of everything in the drawer and everything that’s missing.  Put a copy in the drawer and another with your will so it’s as easy as possible for the grieving individual in charge.  As with any sensitive, personal data, keep this information in a safe place that only you and the likely executor(s) of your estate will have knowledge.

Later:  Fill the drawer.  What’s missing from the drawer?  Do you have a will?  How much life insurance do you have?  Do you have enough savings to take care of your children?  What about a plan for how they will receive that money?  

Talk to a financial planner and insurance specialist to make sure you’re set.  With any luck, 2016 won’t be the year you need it, but if it is, it’ll be better for everyone involved if there’s a plan.

And that’s it … three things to do today and three projects to complete during the year.  None of them are out of reach, so you’re setting yourself up for success by making resolutions you can keep.

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