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Smart Money

Here are some basic money-related matters we want to suggest as shoulds!
—like in “you should definitely do these!”

You should save money! Holding on to a portion of one’s earnings is a very sensible thing to do! Once you begin a saving routine, it will be a habit that will benefit you throughout your life.

You should start saving early! Even just saving a small amount, an early start can result in a doubling of your cash wealth. Let us show you how this works.

You should “pay yourself first!” Save a reasonable amount on a steadily repeated basis…like from every paycheck! Let us set this up for you. And when you get a promotion or raise– let us increase the amount transferred from your checking into your savings.

You should hold some money (the experts say as much as 2-to-3 months income?) in “ready-cash reserve” savings account. This will become your cash cushion for emergencies or special, maybe unexpected needs. If your spouse also draws a paycheck, have him/her also save something every payday into a ready-cash savings account.

You should take full advantage of any retirement plan offered by an employer, especially if your employer matches any of the amount you withhold. These accounts generally offer the added advantage of growing on a tax-deferred basis.

You should definitely protect your credit status. Don’t ever let yourself get behind on loan payments! Especially your credit cards. Be sure to least pay something every month…don’t ever miss!

You should pay off your charge cards– reduce or eliminate any monthly balance as soon as you possibly can. According to current data, the average person carries more than $8,000 in credit card debt (usually at a relatively high rate of interest!). This can easily add up to well over $1200/year in interest expenses. PS: Compare our credit card rate with any other you might have…then call us!

You should keep yourself up-to-date regarding matters of personal finance…(hint: use this website!).

You should view money not as a goal in itself, but as a means of getting more of what you want out of life. So again…what are your life plans!

You should obtain copies of credit reports (once each year!) and make sure the information is both valid and favorable. We can help you with this.

You should take definite steps to fix things the right way when you do get behind or find yourself in credit trouble. (Call us!)

You should plan and budget your spending. Take time to list your expenses for the month/year, and then watch how you actually do alongside what you intended to do. One easy way to do this…download your monthly checking statements into a running spreadsheet, then at the end of the year, sort by category (food, gas, utilities, rent/mortgage, etc.). You’ll get a realistic picture of your spending.

You should look into refinancing any loans when interest rates drop. Same terms but lower rates mean you’ll pay less, over time, for the cost of the loan. If you extend the length of the loan (of a mortgage, for instance), you could be looking at much lower monthly payments. In this case, arrange to have the difference pumped into your savings. You won’t miss it, and you’ll be increasing your net worth, even while borrowing.

You should buy/own your own home. For most of us, buying a house is the biggest financial step we’ll ever make, and your home is likely to be your greatest financial asset. The experts call this “required savings”— as you are enjoying your own home and paying your mortgage, you are increasing your personal net worth.

You should, whenever you can, make a once-a-year extra payment on your house mortgage. Because of how interest compounding works, the dollars you pre-pay (on the loan principle) can save you significant amounts you won’t have to pay in interest over the course of the loan. For instance, if you make one or even two extra mortgage payments each year (besides the regular monthly ones) you can cut down the amount you’ll pay, maybe by as much as half!

You should develop personal/family goals… and then structure your financial plans accordingly. And– use this website to help you do it!

You should plan ahead (way ahead) for retirement. Get serious about this. Anticipate your future financial needs—work up a spreadsheet of what you have saved, what you might have coming in (Social Security), what your savings “nest egg” might earn on an annual basis, what your annual living expenses might be. Also, begin to think about what you might need in the way of down-the-road assisted living arrangements, etc.

You should buy wisely… assess the value of your purchases…look for best price/quality deals…(and read books on “Simple Living”!)

You should consciously develop and maintain good money-management habits—like keeping your checkbook balanced, paying bills on time, using debit cards rather than credit cards, paying credit card balances down, etc.

You should use credit skillfully— to enhance your life situation or advance your financial circumstance. Don’t be afraid to borrow! Borrowing makes good financial sense when you do it right.

You should invest money! Once your basic savings accounts have grown to certain levels, look for ways to get additional funds invested for “the long haul”.

You should take advantage of tax breaks and rulings that work to your advantage.

You should buy autos with pre-approved financing (in order to make the best deal, in other words, arrange for your loan first! call us.

You should have an up-to-date will. A first step is to write a letter (to anyone), listing what you hope will happen to all your things (and financials!) if/ when you are gone. Then, click here!

…and the credit union will help you with all of this!

We look forward to helping you bank like you won't believe!