How Can You Get The Most Out Of Your Investment In Your Home?

Date February 13, 2017

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I want to increase the value of my home.  What can I do?

  • Regular home maintenance is essential to protecting your largest investment. Before you worry about luxury amenities like a swimming pool or marble counter tops, go through the house and do some preventative maintenance.  You can start by printing out a home walkthrough sheet from an article on buying a home – after all, that’s what the next buyers are going to do. Make sure everything on the list is up to snuff.  If anything needs work, now’s the time to do it. Remember:  If it costs a dime today, it may cost a dollar after it breaks.
  • You’re not renting your home from the next owners. It’s a great idea to invest money in improving your home:  You can increase the value while getting to live in a nicer house.  But it’s also easy to go too far down the path of building for the next buyer.  Don’t pay for a patio, pool or three-car garage you don’t need because you think it’ll improve the value of the house. The next buyer might not want to barbecue, prefer a big yard to a pool, or not own cars.  Build what you want, so that even if you don’t get all of your money back, you get to enjoy your house.
  • Don’t pay for home improvements by using your credit card. That will get expensive fast. Instead, see if you can secure a home equity loan or line of credit.  The rates on those tend to be much lower than credit cards because you have collateral to secure the loan.  You can get started here!

How To Get By In An Emergency: Personal Loan Or Credit Card?

Date February 10, 2017

Unexpected expenses are, by nature, unplanned … and costly.

While it’s best to have a rainy-day fund, for many this is just a dream. If you’re unsure how you’d survive a financial emergency, you’re not alone. A survey found that 47% of Americans would borrow for a $400 emergency.

As a credit union member, you have borrowing options. Two popular choices for emergency funding are personal loans and credit cards.

Here are several pros and cons to each.

1.) Limits.

Credit cards have credit limits in the thousands, enough to cover a small emergency. The value of credit cards is their convenience; there’s no need for a new loan each time you incur an expense.

However, many people don’t have sufficient credit to cover major financial emergencies and instead choose to utilize a personal loan.

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Private Mortgage Insurance – What You Need To Know

Date February 8, 2017

Mortgage or PMI Questions? Contact one of our mortgage advisors today!

Whether you’re a long-time homeowner or you’ve just started shopping for your dream house, you’ve seen stacks of papers full of acronyms. Buried amid the dense undergrowth of legalese are three letters that could be costing you more than you think. Be on the lookout for PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance.

PMI in a nutshell
Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a venture capitalist, like those you may have seen on “Shark Tank.” An inventor comes to you and says they’ve got a killer new product. They need $300,000 now and they’ll repay it with 4% interest over the next 30 years. If they don’t, you can take the manufacturing equipment they’re going to buy with your loan, which is worth about $250,000.

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Put Your Trust In A Trust: 4 Reasons Trust Accounts Make Sense For You

Date February 6, 2017

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No one wants to think about estate planning, but you’ll need to make a plan for when the end comes. You owe it to the people you love.

One way to establish a plan for your estate is through a will, which is a contract between you and your heirs that is enforced by the state. There are several problems with that. First, in most states, your will must go through probate, or a hearing in front of a probate judge. Hiring attorneys is expensive and administrative costs can eat 2-4% of your assets.

Second, wills can be costly to set up. You’ll need an attorney’s assistance to create and ensure the legality of a will, and these fees can accumulate if someone challenges your will.

Finally, wills can be challenged in court. A will can be thrown out on “testamentary capacity,” or another argument by a slighted heir. These challenges aren’t always successful, but they can drag the inheritance process on for years, draining your estate’s final value.
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Don’t Sleep On Your Savings: Avoiding Dormant Accounts

Date February 1, 2017

The best things to do with a savings account is to forget about it and let it earn dividends.

However, don’t forget about it so long that it becomes dormant. A dormant savings account is one with a low balance that has had no deposits in a while. While exact criteria varies by state, generally accounts with less than $50 that have been inactive for more than two years are considered dormant.

All dormant accounts cost financial institutions money; they’re required to keep records of the account and send statements. Often, those statements are returned due to incorrect addresses and then require additional effort from the institution. These minimal costs add up when involving hundreds of accounts.

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Rising Interest Rates: What Do They Mean For You?

Date January 30, 2017

 alt=You’ve probably seen the financial headlines announcing that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. These headlines are either accompanied by devastating or optimistic predictions, which can be confusing. What does this news really mean for you?

The prime interest rate is the rate the Federal Reserve charges financial institutions to borrow from it. It influences numerous financial prices, many of which only concern economic enthusiasts. Here are some ways the prime rate hikes can affect you!

 

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How Much Should 20-Somethings Save?

Date January 26, 2017

Your 20s may seem like an odd time to think of saving for retirement, but it’s actually the perfect moment to start planning for your later years. That’s because the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.

Savers who begin setting aside 10% of their earnings at 25, for example, could amass significantly more by retirement age than those who wait just five more years to start saving. You can use a retirement calculator to see how much you should start saving now to reach your retirement goal.

Building a nest egg on a starter salary and a shoestring budget can seem daunting, though. Focusing on the incremental savings, rather than the goal, can help your savings objectives feel more manageable.

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Winterize Your Car for the Season Ahead

Date January 23, 2017

 alt=With auto manufacturers making cars more dependable every year, we tend to think our vehicle is continuously in good shape for driving conditions all year-round. But, the reality is that normal wear and tear from daily driving can hinder a car’s performance. Driving during the winter season can be especially hard on your vehicle which makes a little extra attention to maintenance essential for winter driving and avoiding costly repairs.

Here are a few tips that can be done at little to no cost to keep your car in balance this winter:

  • Make sure that your antifreeze or coolant level is at the correct level in your car’s reservoir. This can be done quickly and easily, because most coolant reservoirs are transparent. Coolant should be checked on a weekly basis to ensure proper temperature control. The proper level of transmission fluid is also important to keep your car running smoothly in winter. Check this fluid monthly to ensure correct levels are maintained.

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Key Tax-Preparation Tips to Cut Stress

Date January 19, 2017

Save up to $15 with TurboTax now!

Although it comes around every spring, tax season tends to inflict the same headaches year after year. To reduce your stress — and maximize your refund — it’ll help to stay organized and be aware of recent changes to the tax code.

For additional motivation to get on track, keep in mind that the average refund has been about $3,000 in recent years. Even if you don’t expect to get that much back, there are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. But first, you’ll have to file your returns properly, taking advantage of any deductions you might qualify for. Here’s a look at where to get started.

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Raise Money Smart Kids

Date January 17, 2017

 alt=Financial matters can be complicated, and we don’t always feel qualified to teach our children about money. But, the truth is, we’re the best teachers they’ll ever have on the subject.

As parents, we can interject valuable money lessons into everyday life. The same way you teach your children to say “please” and “thank you,” you can teach them to be savvy savers and smart spenders by your example, by repetition, and through conversations.

One of the first and best lessons you can teach your children is that money comes from work–not your pockets. If they contribute to the household chores, they get paid. The more they work, the more they can earn. A few items should be personal responsibility chores, like cleaning up their rooms or sorting their own laundry. Other chores that benefit the whole household should be paid, like emptying the trash, caring for pets, or cleaning the yard.

While there are many lessons that will help pave your child’s financial path, earning money for work they perform will start them on their way.

Want a great way to teach your kids about saving money? Open up a MCCU Kid’s Club Savings account! It’s only $5 to open and start earning interest! Most savings accounts require at least $100 before you can earn interest. Find out more today!