FFCYou Blog

Choosing the Right Realtor and Mortgage Partner

Posted by Jen Laud on Apr 28, 2017 10:57:22 AM

Home is where the heart is, but the process of buying a home can be far from a lovely experience. Choosing the right partners really sets the tone for your home buying and selling journey. We've broken down some key things to look for, ask about or consider when you're trying to choose a real estate agent and a mortgage lender. 


The very first thing to do, even before jumping into property searching, is to check your credit score. Once you know your score, you'll know if you need to do a little work or if you can continue what you're doing to maintain it. When you're financing a major expense like a home, even a small change in your interest rate can have major consequences over time. And with just a little tweaking, you can adjust your score for the better. Want more tips on building credit? Take a look at our previous post on boosting your credit score. 


Choosing a Real Estate Agent.

Phone a Friend

When you're looking for an agent, testimonials are a goldmine of information. If you have friends or family in the area that have recently purchased or sold a home, ask them who they worked with and if they had a good experience. Online reviews are another great source to check out. Look on reputable sites like Google reviews, Yelp or even the business page on Facebook to see what clients have to say. The agent may also have some testimonials on their site or can give you a list, but keep in mind that they have more control over those resources. 

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Topics: Home Financing

Wills and Trusts for Parents

Posted by Jen Laud on Apr 24, 2017 11:29:27 AM

Especially for parents, there are many benefits to having a will and trust established. With just a little planning, you'll gain peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will always be cared for and your wishes are known. And, with the help of your credit union, it no longer takes a lot of time or money to create a will or a trust.

When is it a good time to do a little research and decide if these are right for you? We recommend creating your documents and accounts when you're a new parent, growing your family, or have money you'd like to be designated for your children or other beneficiaries. 

Here we'll share what is a will, living and trust; why you should consider having them; and the best way to get started.

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Topics: Saving & Budgeting

Save Your Tax Return Check

Posted by Edward Sablan on Apr 17, 2017 5:30:00 PM

Your tax return is coming (or is here), do you know what to do with it?

As tax season comes to an end, people across the country are frantically working to meet the April 18th deadline.  While it's mostly viewed as an unavoidable part of life, it does provide a glimmer of joy in the form of a tax return check.  However the question arises, what do you do with your tax return?  One idea would be to place the funds into some type of savings. 

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Topics: Saving & Budgeting

Level Up: Talking to Your Kids about Money, Part 2.

Posted by Edward Sablan on Apr 13, 2017 12:15:00 PM

Help Your Kids Develop their Money Skills with some Advanced Training.

Being able to manage personal finances is one of the best things we can teach our kids. Last week, we discussed some basics. This week, let's take our training up a notch with some additional lessons you can teach your kids who are older or who have already mastered the basics.


Using the Save, Spend, Give method, we'll offer some additional discussions, broken down into intermediate (Green Belt) and advanced (Black Belt) levels to help continue the training.

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Meet the Team - Irene Aguilar

Posted by Edward Sablan on Apr 11, 2017 1:15:00 PM

The Chicago Cubs built a World Series champion team by finding the right talent for every position. At First Financial Credit Union, we like to take the Theo Epstein approach of building a successful organization by finding people dedicated to delivering quality service for all of our members. While it's not pitching in Game 7 of the World Series, we pride ourselves on coming through in the clutch for all our members.

Each month we want to highlight the great people that work at FFCU. This month we highlight our 2016 Employee of the Year, Irene Aguilar. Irene is one of our Member Service Representative and has been with FFCU for over a year.  Her continuous hard work over the past year has been a great benefit to our members.  We took a moment to ask her some fun questions to get to know her better.

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How to Teach Money Lessons to Your Kids

Posted by Jen Laud on Apr 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5 tips for starting or continuing the discussion about money with your kids.

Being able to manage personal finances is one of the best things we can teach our kids. Money and credit impact so many things we do, making it an important topic to discuss with children early and often. If developed correctly, a young-saver's money skills can turn into a strong foundation to stand on later.


But many parents are unsure how to discuss money with their kids. We've put together some helpful tips to use when you're developing your teaching style.


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Topics: Saving & Budgeting, Youth Services

5 Tips to Travel Safe & Travel Smart

Posted by Edward Sablan on Mar 16, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Time for that trip?  Plan ahead for safer travels.

Sunglasses? Check. Flip flops? Check. You can almost feel that sun or hear those waves as you're getting ready for your upcoming vacation. Before you take off, make sure you've given your financial safety and spending plan as much consideration as your destination. Whether it's the sandy beaches of the Bahamas or the Gold Coast of Australia, traveling can pose some challenges and you don't want to have your good time dampened by unnecessary money hassles.

1. Tell Your Credit Union and Credit Card companies that you are Traveling

Prior to heading to the airport, it's wise to give the credit union and other credit card companies a call to let them know where you're heading and how long you will be there. The safety measures that identify and stop potentially fraudulent activity on your account may accidentally cancel a real transaction if the location isn't recognized. Your accounts can be updated so you can confidentially use your card in a new location.

2. Use Credit Cards and Bring a Backup Card

It is a good point to leave most of your cards at home with the exception of a couple: one main and one backup. Carry one card with you to use on your travel expenses and keep one safely stored as a backup just in case. This strategy will also help you track your purchases while making sure no fraudulent charges are made. Cards for department stores, shops, and other non-essentials should be left behind at home as they just become a liability on a trip.

When you're deciding which cards to take, keep in mind that some may charge foreign transaction fees that can add up. Also, come banks or credit unions won't charge fees on their cards, but you may still get a fee from Visa or Mastercard for the currency conversion. For example, FFCU does not charge for foreign transactions, but you may see a surcharge up to 1% of your transaction from Visa.

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Topics: Saving & Budgeting, Identity Protection

Save for Emergencies Before They Happen

Posted by Jen Laud on Mar 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Be Prepared, Because Life Happens

An emergency fund is an essential part of your personal finances. Its importance is stressed in almost every personal finance book and budgeting blog, and yet 26% of Americans currently have no emergency fund in place. Of those who do have an emergency fund, up to two-thirds do not have the often-recommended six months’ worth of expenses saved up.


 If an emergency fund is, in fact, so important, why doesn’t it seem that way? Why is it so easy to procrastinate on emergency-fund saving?

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Topics: It's a Money Thing

Lessons in Car Buying - Part 2

Posted by Edward Sablan on Mar 14, 2017 1:36:52 PM

You picked the right car, now it's time to make the right deals to drive it off the lot.

If buying a car was like playing football, choosing the right model would be like a long drive to the red zone. It is in this moment you can play like Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler depending on how prepared you are inside the business office. From my personal buying experience, the business manager threw things such as GAP Insurance and extended warranties at me with lightning speed. This made me scramble, trying to decide what was worth the price and what was not. In part 2, I will try to be your coach in successfully closing the deal.

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Topics: Borrowing Advice & How to Build Credit

Lessons in Car Buying - Part 1

Posted by Edward Sablan on Feb 21, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Recently my faithful old car started showing signs of its age by having multiple mechanical issues at the same time. With skyrocketing maintenance cost and the threat of more major repairs it was finally time to replace the old ride. Being a lifelong fan of automobiles, I had a good a starting point on my car buying journey. Even with my knowledge of cars there were still many lessons I picked up about the whole buying process.

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Our blog features articles for our members, the community and anyone looking to gain information that can help them achieve financial success.

As a cooperative, we're here to share our financial expertise. Can't find the answers to your questions? Request a one-on-one with a member of our team so we can help you feel confident in your money choices!

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