Archive for Saving

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Making A Large Purchase

Considering a Large Purchase? Make a Plan!

You’re convinced: You really want that Coach handbag. Or maybe you just know that gigantic entertainment center will transform your weekends. So you swipe your card and the dream item becomes yours. You’re thrilled! 

That is, until a few weeks later when the credit card bill comes, and buyer’s remorse hits. You can’t help wondering: Was it really worth the price? 

Don’t get sucked in again! Before you say “yes” to a large purchase, ask yourself these 7 questions: 

1. Do I have cash to pay for this item? 

woman coming out of a store after purchase a television

This question will help you determine if you can really afford the purchase. You need to have liquid funds that can cover the cost of your item. Putting it on credit means you’ll be hiking up the price once interest is tacked on, and you’ll be reminded of a possibly regrettable purchase for a long time to come. 

2. Is this the best price? 

 

When making a large purchase, it’s important to comparison-shop by checking several online listings and some brick-and-mortar shops as well. Visit coupon sites like CouponCabin.com for automatic savings. Also find out the best season for buying this particular item and wait for a sale if it makes sense to do so. Finally, consider purchasing a previously owned item for less.  

3. How many hours of work will you need to do in order to pay for this purchase? 

 

Calculate the total number of hours you’ll need to work to pay for this “must-have” item. Is it really worth the price? 

4. How else can I spend this money? 

Think about the money you’re about to spend on this single item. What else can that money buy? A few weeks’ worth of groceries? A year’s worth of monthly dinners out? Take some time to think of other ways you can spend this money before making a final decision. 

5. Have you splurged recently? 

 

If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional pricey indulgence. But, when luxury purchases become a habit, it can spell disaster for your finances. If you picked up a designer handbag just last week, you may be best off waiting a bit before buying the one that’s caught your eye today. 

6. How often will I use this item? 

Yes, it seems essential today, but looking ahead, how often do you think you’ll really use this item? If you can see yourself only using this purchase a few times a year, you may want to re-think your decision. 

7. How much will this money be worth if I put it into savings? 

You have the funds for this purchase, but how much would that money earn if you saved it? Check out this investment calculator to get that magic number. The results might leave you pleasantly surprised. 

Here at Section 705 FCU, we have several long-term savings accounts that can help your money grow. Give us a call or stop by, and we’ll help you choose one that’s perfect for you! 

SOURCES:

https://www.frugalrules.com/questions-to-ask-before-a-large-purchase/ 
https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/08/what-to-do-before-a-large-purchase.html 
https://www.thebalance.com/before-you-make-large-purchases-2385817 
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/sc/things-to-consider-before-major-purchase-2016-10 

Don’t Bet Your Retirement On An 8% Return

Planning for Retirement

Planning for retirement can seem overwhelming. Here are Section 705’s suggestions for a successful future! In investing, time in the market is crucial. If past growth rates continue, the time you leave your savings alone actually matters more than the amount you save. Retirement Planning: IRA, 401K, and Stock Market

The problem with that, though, is that past growth rates probably won’t continue. Over the last 30 years, the stock market has averaged 7.8% growth, a rate that is the foundation of many retirement plans. If you’ve invested your whole 401(k) in total market index funds hoping for that growth, you may be unpleasantly surprised.

The 7.8% growth is a historical anomaly driven by demographic factors. Because of slowing industrial growth, decreasing population growth, and competitive overseas markets, that rate is projected to slow to 2% in the next year, and possibly past that.

This drop has significant ramifications. For 25-year-olds saving for retirement, a two-point drop over the next decade could necessitate saving twice as much before they retire.

Dealing with macroeconomic trends can be overwhelming. These steps can prepare your portfolio for struggling gains.

1.) Max out employer match

About 31% of American workers with access to a 401(k) don’t use it. Beyond the missed savings, employees are losing out on matching funds programs.

Matching funds programs are essentially interest payments. Your company will pay 100% interest on your 401(k) deposits. Increasing your 401(k) contributions to the maximum match level will minimize the impact of slow growth within your portfolio.

2.) Watch the fees

Ask your HR representative for a breakdown of your company’s investment management fees.

Review your fees and gauge if they’re reasonable. Most large companies have fees of 0.5%, with the numbers increasing for smaller companies to about 1.4% If you’re paying more, consider switching the funds you’re using.

3.) Revisit the Roth question

With the assumption that taxes usually increase over time, a Roth 401(k) generally makes sense for young people. However, with returns expected to drop and savings amounts likely to be a larger determinant of total wealth accumulation, it’s time to rethink this conventional wisdom.

If a tax deduction now in the form of a traditional 401(k) contribution would enable you to save more, it might be worthwhile. Growing your nest egg is essential; you can find ways to manage taxes once you’ve got enough saved for retirement.

4.) Look for predictable returns

As interest rates rise, growth slows as a result of decreased credit availability. That same force makes savings through other instruments more valuable.

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can hold savings certificate funds, like those available at Section 705 Federal Credit Union. These offer a predictable rate of return that isn’t dependent on macroeconomic forces, thus minimizing risk.

The principles of smart retirement planning don’t change. Spend less than you earn. Avoid debt. Invest as much as you can, as often, and as cheaply as possible. With a bit of planning, you’ll enjoy a prosperous retirement.

SOURCES:

Share Certificate: Keep Your Money Spinning

What IS a Share Certificate?

coinsA share certificate is much like the familiar certificate of deposit (CD) offered by banks. It acts like a traditional savings account in that you deposit money to collect dividends over time. It differs from a traditional savings account, though, because you cannot withdraw or deposit money at will.

Instead, you agree to place your money on deposit for a preset period of time, called the “term length,” during which you may not make withdrawals without a penalty. Because you trust your money with the credit union for a longer period of time, longer term CDs are likely to have much better rates than a savings account.

You can deposit your money for as few as several months or as long as several years, but the longer you keep it on deposit, the better your rate will be (in most instances). For example, the average rate on a three-year deposit is, at the moment, 0.49%. Also, this rate is usually locked in, meaning it is not subject to change based upon how well the economy is doing at any given moment. In general, share savings certificates offer a much higher return than savings deposits, if you’re willing to wait the time it takes to get your money back.

What are the risks involved?

First, if you decide to withdraw your money earlier than the term you’ve chosen, a penalty typically applies. On average, these will cost you between three and six months of earned dividends. Depending on when you decide to withdraw, this can cost you more than you’ve made in dividends if you deposit in a certificate and then immediately withdraw it.

There’s also the risk of inflation. Should you choose to keep the money in the account for years at a time, you could actually end up losing money when taking inflation into account. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid that is to withdraw your money and take that penalty. Of course, inflation applies to all savings strategies, even the “tin can buried in the yard” approach. Other than inflation and penalties, your money is safe.

What insurance do I have against loss?

At for-profit banks, all certificates of deposits are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC insures them for up to $250,000. At a credit union, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) or a private insurance corporation (sometimes both) will insure your share certificate for the same amount. The insurance works the same way, for the same amount, regardless of who provides it. This insurance for your money happens automatically and requires no action on your part.

If you’re unsure, look for stickers near the teller windows with the letters FDIC or NCUA. If you see these letters, your deposit is secured. If you don’t, be sure to ask the representative assisting you with your account about insurance for your deposit. They’ll be able to tell you the name of the institution that provides it. The FDIC and the NCUA will automatically back you and keep you covered through the worst of economic disasters.

What are some different options of certificates I can have?

Though people tend to stick with the traditional certificate option, there are many more to choose from.
  • A high-yield certificate is more or less an advertising gimmick for one institution competing with another one for higher rates. Sometimes, they do have the higher rates promised, but they usually come with loopholes or very high minimum deposit requirements to secure the higher rates. Rates also change frequently, so be sure to ask your representative what the current rates are.
  • A bump-up certificate allows your rate to rise. This means that, if the institution offers a higher rate after you’ve purchased your certificate of deposit, you can request to change your rate to the higher one. The downside is that they may offer lower initial rates.
  • A certificate sold through a brokerage is called (as one might guess) a brokerage certificate of deposit. These are less like traditional CDs or certificates and are more like stocks. These notes can be bought and sold on a secondary market.
  • A liquid certificate allows you to withdraw money at any time without penalty. Unfortunately, the rates are often much lower than the rate on a traditional certificate of the same value would be.
  • One to watch out for is the callable certificate. In this, the institution can “call” your deposit back. Typically these have much higher interest rates, which is a positive. On the flip side, your institution retains the ability to shorten the term and give you your money back without the interest you would’ve earned.

Is a share certificate right for me?

There are many good reasons why a certificate would be the right choice. Certificates usually have minimum deposit amounts, so be sure you’ve got enough savings to spare that you can lock away a few hundred dollars, at least. If you’ve got trouble with impulse spending, certificates can be a great choice to lock your savings away from yourself. They also make an excellent vehicle for an emergency fund. Using a technique called “laddering,” you can take advantage of the higher rates offered by longer-term certificates while preserving the flexibility of shorter-term ones. If you’ve got the discipline to keep your money locked in a certificate for its term, you can seriously muscle up your savings. Stop by Section 705 to get the details on the account that’s right for you!
 

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