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. 

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Credit union informs: Creating an Emergency Fund for #FirstTimers

shutterstock_225610684-smallWhat is an emergency fund exactly? Why do I need one? Those may be two of the questions any #FirstTimer may have once they are financially independent. 

An emergency fund is the cash you've saved up for the sole purpose of helping you through an emergency. You shouldn't touch the emergency fund at all until you actually need it, so place it into a separate savings account and watch it grow while earning a bit of interest.   

Here are a few tips from The Simple Dollar that can help #FirstTimers make the act of creating an emergency fund less daunting: 

  1. Set your initial target low. Most people start with a goal that seems impossible to reach. An emergency fund can have any amount of money; even $250 can make a huge difference during an emergency. The smaller your weekly savings goal, $10-$20 a week, the easier it is to build the fund.
  2. Request a rate reduction on your credit cards. Many credit card companies will honor requests made to lower your rate. You just have to make the call! Ask to speak with the supervisor and simply request a rate reduction. 
  3. Shop around for better auto and home insurance. Visit insurance companies' websites, get some quotes and shop around. Unity One members are eligible for discounted insurance through Liberty Mutual. Call Tracy McNeil at 817-337-3606 ext. 08650 to receive your free quote. 
  4. Install a programmable thermostat. The key here is to actually use it. Set it so the air conditioner and/or heater doesn't run when your not there. This can cut your bill by 20-30 percent. 
  5. Make a list for grocery shopping. Ten minutes of planning could easily save you money by keeping you focused on the stuff you actually need. 

Follow Unity One on Twitter @UnityOneCU for more updates to our #FirstTimers series. 

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Credit union informs: Investing for #FirstTimers

You’ve probably been told at least a few times in your life that you should be putting money aside “for a rainy day”, but perhaps it hasn’t yet crossed your mind to begin planning, specifically, for your future retirement. If you think it’s too early, or if you feel you’re not yet ready, financially … think again. Even with a certain amount of debt from car payments, student loans, and living expenses, there are several different ways that a young person can invest their money (and their time) wisely.

While it’s true that some people begin investing later in life and still manage to enjoy comfortable returns on their investments, one only needs to see a few friends have financial troubles to realize that things don’t always work out that way. Investing earlier in life can sometimes make the difference between retiring when you are ready and retiring when you are able; while you may be healthy well into your senior years, that’s not always guaranteed.

401(k)s and Roth IRAs. Many employers offer 401(k) plans, which are retirement savings accounts. You may be fortunate enough to find a job where the employer offers matching contributions to the plan. 401(k) plans are fairly versatile and, since the contributions are generally not taxed until disbursement, your take home pay may not seem quite so diminished.1

Another investment which can go a long way is the Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Since the money is taxed before deposit, the funds can be enjoyed tax-free upon retirement. One other feature is flexibility: you have the option to withdraw the money you have deposited (though not the earnings) without penalties, making the Roth IRA a potential source of emergency funds.2

A powerful force. Perhaps the greatest advantage to investing at an early age is the effect that compound interest can have on your savings. A long disputed quote has Albert Einstein claiming that compound interest “is the most powerful force in the universe.” Regardless of who actually said it, there is some truth to the joke.

What makes compound interest special?  It is interest based not only on the principal, but from previously accrued interest. In the short term, it’s not terribly impressive, but over thirty years or more, it can produce a handsome dividend.

Great minds have been fascinated with compound interest for generations. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who liked to posit that a penny saved was a penny earned, decided to put it to the test. At his death in 1790, he bequeathed £1000.00 each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, with intent to build trade schools and public works projects in one-hundred years’ time. Compound interest did the trick, netting $572,000 for those cities in 1891.  The fund was closed in 1990, with institutes named for the statesman and scientist earning a $7 million dollar bounty.3

Making it work for you. If you were to place a small sum of money into a bank account that offers compound interest and leave it alone for a long period of time as Franklin did, your money would grow. For example: $100.00 left alone in the bank for thirty years at a 10% annual compounded interest rate would multiply to $1,744.94.4 

However, if you were to add money to the account over time, the compounded interest would only grow and could create a very healthy supplement to whatever other retirement plans you may have in place.  Say that you started with $1000.00 in an account offering 15% interest; an account you added $600.00 to per year ($50.00 a month). In 40 years, if you kept up your deposits, the account would hold $1,495,435.86.4

Things to consider. These are hypothetical situations; you may be able to contribute more or less money as time goes on. You may find an account that earns a different level of interest. Inflation needs to be considered as well; just as a million dollars today doesn’t get you as far as it did forty years ago, it may not seem like a lot of money once you’re ready to retire.

There is no guaranteed path to financial security, but a young person has advantages that shouldn’t be squandered. A combination of investments, with an eye to the long-term, can make all the difference.

Bill Fairley

Sean Weaver

This article was presented by Bill Fairley and Sean P. Weaver of WWK Wealth Advisors. Bill Fairley & Sean P. Weaver, CFP® are Investment Advisors with WWK Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor and may be reached at 817-336-6300 or www.wwkllc.com

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*The views and opinions expressed at this event are those of WWK Wealth Advisors and not necessarily of Unity One Credit Union. 

Credit union informs: Shining a light on auto insurance

shutterstock 144040552 smallWhen it comes to protecting your car, you want to make smart choices - but researching and purchasing auto insurance can sometimes be a daunting task if you don't know much about it. To help make understanding auto insurance a little easier, we asked Liberty Mutual representatives what the most frequently asked questions were that they get about auto insurance policies every day - and how they would answer them:

Q: What is a deductible?
A: A deductible is the financial responsibility that you have if you are to file a claim. For example, if you were to get in an accident and you were at fault, the damage to your car may cost $2,000. If you selected a $500 deductible, you'd be responsible for paying that amount and the insurance company would pay the difference - the remaining $1,500.

Q: What is collision coverage?
A: Collision coverage protects you during an event where your car is damaged and you are somehow at fault. For example, if you hit a parking barrier in the parking lot and dented your car bumper, collision coverage would take care of the repair costs, minus your deductible. 

Q: What is comprehensive coverage?
A: Comprehensive coverage is sometimes known as 'other than collision' - it's comprehensive to damages that fall outside of collision coverage. Common examples of damage covered under comprehensive coverage are fire, theft, vandalism, less your deductible. 

Q: What does liability insurance cover?
A: If you're at fault for an accident and someone is injured or their property is damaged, liability insurance covers the other person to take care of their costs (for example: medical bills) and helps protect you and your assets by covering those expenses. Many states require a minimum amount of liability insurance in order to register your vehicle, so check your specific state's regulations for proper coverage.

Q: Does my driving record affect my premium?
A: Your driving record can affect your premium. Insurance companies try to predict what may happen in the future by looking at past behaviors. Your driving record - including speeding tickets, previous accidents - could indicate that you are a higher risk for having an accident, which may contribute to determining your rates. Maintaining safe driving habits is always a good idea.

insurance agent tracy mcneil  164x164Tracy McNeil, Liberty Mutual Sales Representative, will be at our Fort Worth branches during the month of May to help answer any more questions you may have about insurance. 

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Credit union informs: Combining finances for #FirstTimers

shutterstock 151832219 smallMoney can either bring couples together or tear them apart. It has often been cited as the No. 1 reason for divorce. But it doesn't have to be that way.  

Here are a few tips for newlyweds to launch a healthy financial future: 

  • Get a financial snapshot - Talk to each other about your past financial history. Show your partner your pay stubs and financial accounts. Pull each of your credit scores. It's important to know about each person's past so you know what you will be dealing with as a couple. 
  • One, two or three accounts - Deciding whether to combine all of your accounts into one or each maintaining your own personal finances is a big decision. Many financial experts advocate for the three-account system. Each partner maintains their own savings and checking account and they both contribute to a joint third account. There is no right or wrong way to handle this, the important thing is to talk about it and make a decision as a couple. 
  • Create a budget and talk about it regularly - Understanding how your money is spent and talking about it frequently is the first great step to building a financially sound life together. 
  • Have an emergency fund - Whether it's three or six months' worth of daily living expenses, start saving as soon as possible. Make sure the funds are in a liquid account (like a savings account, not a 401(k) account) so you can access them in case of an emergency. 
  • Share your goals - Do you want to buy a house? Retire early? Have a large family? Sharing financial goals and deciding on how to achieve them can bring you together more as a couple.

Remember, communication is the key to a healthy marriage. Talking about your finances early on in your relationship will save you from heartbreaking discussions later. For more financial tips for newlyweds, visit The Real Deal.

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Credit union informs: Introduction to Investing Class


describe the imageStocks? Bonds? Money Market accounts? How do you know which option is right for you? 

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about the different retirement savings options available. Join us on Tuesday, April 21, at our North Tarrant branch as we discuss ways to save for your dream retirement. We will have representatives from WWK Wealth Advisors on-site to teach you tips and tricks to make the most out of your retirement money. 

This class is perfect for both beginners and seasoned investors. All ages are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Attendees will be entered to win great door prizes!

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ABOUT UNITY ONE CREDIT UNION

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org

 

Credit union informs: Building credit for #FirstTimers

Youth with credit cardHow do you get a loan or a credit card? By showing prospective lenders that you're responsible enough to pay your loans and credit cards on time. 

Therein lies the catch-22 of credit. How are you supposed to get approved if you've never had a credit card or loan before?

Here are a few simple steps to begin building credit:

1. Sign up for a loan with a co-signer who already has good credit. A co-signer is simply someone who agrees to be responsible for the loan if you are unable to pay for any reason. Financial institutions are more likely to approve a loan for somebody with no credit history if there is a responsible co-signer. 

2. Get your own starter credit card. Many financial institutions offer secured credit cards. These cards allow you to put money in your account on hold to be used as collateral. So if you want a card with a $500 limit, you would need $500 in your bank account to cover that. Keep in mind while secured cards sound similar to debit cards, they are different. Secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus; debit cards do not. 

3. Only charge what you can afford to pay off. Building good credit means demonstrating the ability to pay back the money you owe. By charging small amounts and paying them back in full and on time, you're proving that you can manage credit responsibly. 

4. Stay well under your credit limit. You’ll be scored favorably if you keep below 30% of your total credit limit.

For more tips on establishing credit, check out our Twitter page. 

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ABOUT UNITY ONE CREDIT UNION

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org

Credit union informs: Filing taxes for #FirstTimers

filing taxesMany college students have grown up hearing their parents and the media complain about the headache of tax season. Now that many of these students are on the brink of adulthood, the time to start thinking about filing is sooner than they think.

Here are a few tips from NerdWallet, that can help #FirstTimers file their taxes:

1. Always file if you have had taxes withheld from your paycheck. The law states that a dependent student who earned an income less than $6,100 in a tax year is not required to file taxes. However, by not filing you are essentially giving the IRS a donation.  

2. You cannot claim tax exemptions if you are a dependent. Knowing your status as a dependent on your parents' tax returns is crucial to filing your taxes properly. Dependents cannot claim any exemptions when filing their own taxes, so check with your parents before filing your taxes. 

3. Take advantage of free tax assistance at your college. Many colleges offer tax assistance for their students. Call your counselor's office to find out if it is available at your school. 

4. Start preparing early. The deadline to file is April 15, but it is important to begin well before that date. Starting early allows you to seek guidance and acquire the required documents. 

5. Don't pay to file taxes. College students are eligible to use the IRS tax filing software at no cost. 

6. Do not overlook deductions for your education. Be sure to look into education tax credits and earned income tax credits. 

Follow Unity One on Twitter @UnityOneCU for more updates to our #FirstTimers series. 

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ABOUT UNITY ONE CREDIT UNION

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org


Credit union informs: Destroying the myths of leasing

shutterstock 194800994 smallYou probably have a good idea of the vehicle that you want to drive. Sometimes the hardest decision you have to make is which type of financing is right for you. Purchase or lease?

Our friends at Fairlease have provided the information below to help detroy the myths about leasing. 

Myth 1 - High mileage drivers should not lease. False! High mileage drivers can make great auto-leasing candidates! The number one way to depreciate the value of a vehicle is to drive high miles. That vehicle then becomes the most difficult vehicle to resell. Fairlease allows you to customize your lease agreement for over 15,000 miles a year so you won't have to worry about trading or reselling a high-mileage vehicle. 

Myth 2 - Wear, tear and mileage are penalties. False! Wear, tear and mileage expenses are an equalizer. When you agree to "lease" a vehicle from the the registered owner, the owner guarantees the residual value of the vehicle. If you drive more miles than agreed, you use more of the vehicle's worth, and therefore you will pay for those miles at lease end. If you own the car, you resell it for less and you still absorb the expense of the mileage and excess wear and tear. Whether you lease or own the vehicle, driving high miles or incurring excess wear and tear will affect the vehicle's value. 

Myth 3 - You don't own the car. True...but does that matter? In the lease relationship, the lessor owns the vehicle and you lease (or rent) the use of it. Therefore, at the end of your automobile lease term, the car is returned to the lessor who resells the vehicle. If you want to own the vehicle at the end of your finance term, you can continue to drive a used, depreciated vehicle or you can sell it yourself. You then own the depreciating asset and its value is worth far less than when you purchased the vehicle. 

Myth 4 - Automobile leasing is only for the wealthy. False! Automobile leasing is for anyone who has qualifying credit. You don't have to be wealthy to understand the value of leasing. Everyone has the same opportunity to minimize monthly expenses and maximize savings and investments. 

Myth 5 - Leasing requires more expensive insurance coverage. False! Many leasing companies may require higher limits of liability coverage causing your monthly insurance costs to rise. Not at Fairlease! We require the state minimums of liability, exactly like a conventional auto loan.

Ready to lease a new or used car?
Get a Quote! 

Credit union informs: Budgeting for #FirstTimers

Moving into apartmentWhen it comes to money, there's certainly no shortage on ways to spend it - food, rent, retirement savings, entertainment. In fact, there are so many ways to spend money it can become confusing. 

Following a simple budget now can help make sure you don't make a mistake that could drastically limit your financial options for years to come. 

1. Rent - 25-35%. Sean Weaver, certified financial planner at WWK Wealth Advisors, suggests spending "no more than 25-35% of your income on your rent or mortgage." What you spend on housing can easily upset your whole budget, so be careful to not overspend. 

2. Essentials - 15-25%. Depending on how much you spend on housing, this amount can vary. Essentials can include items such as insurance, utilities and loan payments. You should aim to spend no more than 50% of your total take-home pay on rent and essentials.

3. Goals - 20%. Consider putting at least 20% of your take-home pay towards your financial goals - saving for retirement, paying down credit card debt and building an emergency fund. Aim to automate your savings each pay period for an easy way to save consistently.

4. Lifestyle Choices- 30%. It doesn't really matter what you spend your money on in this category - latest fashion trends, newest technology gadgets, dining out with friends - as long as you're aware of what you are spending. The less you spend, the easier it is to achieve financial freedom.

Follow Unity One on Twitter @UnityOneCU for more updates to our #FirstTimers series. 

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ABOUT UNITY ONE CREDIT UNION

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org

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