Credit union informs: Foolproof tips for #firsttime car buyers

Are you getting ready to purchase your first car? Here are 8 foolproof tips that can help you make the best deal possible:

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  1. Slow down! There are many emotions involved when you purchase a new car. By slowing down, you'll save money and hassle. 

  2. Don't depend on the car dealership to "educate" you on receiving the best deal. Car dealerships are in business to make a profit, not teach you how to get the best deal. Don't go near the car lot until after you've done your homework.

  3. Don't think you have to spend a fortune to get a good car. Buying used can save you thousands; just make sure to have it checked out by a mechanic prior to purchasing. 

  4. Check the price of insurance before you purchase. Did you know that in many states it can cost you five times as much to insure an eight-cylinder 2 door sports car than it does to insure the same car with a four-cylinder engine?

  5. If this is going to be your first major credit purchase, don't blow it! How you pay your first loan will determine the rate and terms on future purchases for decades. 

  6. Never purchase your car on the first visit to the dealership. All dealerships want to sell you the first time you visit because they make more money on the sale. Why? Because you haven't had the opportunity to compare their deal.

  7. Most dealerships make their profit on add-ons, not the purchase price of the vehicle. Make sure to explore all add-on options, especially GAP and Extended Warranty, through the credit union as our plans are often much cheaper.

  8. Talk to us before you shop. The minute you start thinking about purchasing a new or used car, stop by one of our branches and talk to us. We can provide you with valuable information about car buying prior to visiting the dealership. 

I would like to speak with a loan officer.

 

A credit union CEO shares. . .

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By Gary Williams, President & CEO of Unity One Credit Union

Pictured left: Gary at a young age. Ready to tackle the world.

I read an article recently entitled “Millenials are Slackers? No – They’re Just Struggling and Scared”.  As I look back to the year 1977 when I became an adult (at least by the legal definition), I think this article captured my feelings at the time exactly.  I was about to enter my last year in college, I still wasn’t sure of my career path and I was about to be thrown out into the cold, cruel reality of life on my own.  At the time I was still totally dependent upon my parents for everything.  They paid my tuition, housing, insurance and took care of all of my needs. But in just two short years I would be married, looking for my first “real” job and trying to figure out how to pay for all of these things on my own. I was struggling and scared.

So what advice would I give myself if I had a chance to press the Do-Over button?

 #1: Learn Everything About Personal Finance Before You Really Need It

Like most kids, the only thing I knew about handling finances I learned from my parents. And frankly, I didn’t learn much.  When I was faced with finding a place to live, paying for everything on my own and launching a career – I had no idea about all of the many decisions and choices I had to make.  If I had a better understanding of what I would face and what I needed to know, I think I would have made better choices and avoided a lot of the mistakes that set me back as I was getting started.  So, young Gary – read up on budgeting, how to build credit, investing for the future, shopping for insurance, housing and taxes.  Be better prepared as you have to make those decisions and set priorities.

#2: Build and Maintain An Excellent Credit Rating

Let’s face it, unless you are fortunate enough to land a high-paying job right out of school, most of us live from paycheck to paycheck in our early years.  Unfortunately, most paychecks don’t leave us much to cover emergencies or to buy needed big-ticket items such as cars, furniture, appliances or a vacation.  Without credit, most people would never be able to purchase those necessities of life.  So, I would tell my younger self to have Dad co-sign for a car loan or credit card so I could build some credit and learn how to manage credit.  But I would also warn young Gary to use credit wisely, don’t get over-indebted and to always pay my debts on time.  A good credit score is a precious commodity that will always provide avenues for obtaining a loan when you really need it.

#3: Join A Credit Union

Yes, I’m a little biased – but I can truly say that one of the wisest decisions I did make early in life was to open an account at a credit union.  Not only have I saved thousands of dollars over the years on lower fees and better loan rates, but I always felt like I was part of a family rather than just a faceless account number at the big banks.  My first credit union was willing to take a chance on me for my first car loan.  I also received a lot of my early personal finance lessons from the credit union.  Now, I would tell young Gary to open an account at Unity One because of the wonderful Lifeline account that we offer which combines financial education with the basic accounts needed to get started in life – a savings account, checking account and credit card.  Plus, I would know that young Gary would get a better deal throughout his life with a credit union than he would ever get with a big bank.

So take my advice young Gary, and you’ll struggle less and have no reason to be scared about your future.

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