College is in your rearview mirror, and you're about to enter the working world. Although snagging a job certainly calls for a celebration or two, it is also time to start tackling the various financial responsibilities that await you, like saving for retirement and improving your credit score.
Are your kids on the right track to financial independence?
For many of today's young adults, the weakest link lies in learning the basics. According to a 2014 survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Junior Achievement USA (2014 Teens and Personal Finance Survey), 40% of teens do not have a savings account, checking account, or debit or credit card, and 59% of teens do not have money management classes offered at their schools.
April is National Youth Savings Month! To celebrate, First Financial Credit Union is hosting a Youth Savings Challenge to help our young savers become Credit Union strong.
Less than half of households ages 55 to 64 have retirement savings, and of those, half have less than $120,000.1 The overall trend of Americans not properly saving for the future in combination with the uncertainty of future Social Security payouts, retirement saving is now more important than ever.
IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account, which is an ideal savings account to have in order to save up for retirement. IRAs often come with tax breaks and offer higher than average interest rates. Two of the primary types of IRA accounts are Traditional and Roth IRAs.
Topics: Saving & Budgeting
Over the past few years, the average federal tax refund has come to about $3,000. That's not exactly chump change. With the filing deadline approaching, it's not too early to begin thinking about how you'll use a refund this year. Here are five pointers to keep in mind.
1. Pay down debt
It's not as much fun as booking a trip to the Caribbean, but cutting down the amount of debt you owe is one of the best money moves you can make. Outstanding loan and credit card balances can hurt your credit score, making it more difficult to get the best rates on new borrowing. If you're saddled with credit card debt, consider paying off the balance with the highest interest rate first.
The holidays have passed, the New Year is well underway, and you're looking for new ways to budget better and consolidate debt. If you’re like most people, your credit card balance is probably a lot higher than you would like it to be right about now. Coming out of the highest spending season can leave you panicked about how to pay down credit card debt or wondering how to even begin paying off all of those bills. While there is no perfect solution, there are several ways to help accelerate paying down balances and set priorities that give you real beneifts.
Focus on the card with the highest interest rate
The national average interest rate on a credit card is 15.2 percent1. If you currently have a card with a higher rate, a great strategy is to focus on paying down that balance first. Even if this card is not carrying the largest balance of all your cards, it can cost you the most in interest payments because of its higher rate. By only making the minimum payment for this card every month, the interest can add up a lot quicker than you would think.
The New Year's resolution for many of our members is to budget and save money in the coming year. This seems like a feasable task at first, but the hardest part is deciding where to trim your annual budget and which expenditures you are able to cut out or reduce from your daily life.
First Financial's goal is to help our members achieve financial success. However, financial success can mean something different to each person. Whether it be achieving financial freedom from your debts, or saving and investing in something for your future, it all needs to start with a solid plan and some reserved capital.
First, it is important to understand how a savings or deposit account works, and in this case how the benefits of investing with a Credit Union are two-fold . Let's use this seasonally appropriate clip from It's A Wonderful Life as an example.
Topics: Saving & Budgeting
This holiday season may be the best time to buy a car. It’s no myth that dealerships offer better prices at the end of the month and end of the year to reach sales goals and clear out inventory. December is an ideal month to invest in your new vehicle as it is a slower time for dealers. Because of this, shoppers can get more face time with representatives and often negotiate better prices. For consumers, some of the best deals this holiday season are available on 2015 models, as dealers aim to clear out their older inventory. Statistics show the winter months offer the greatest potential discounts1.
While we all have an eye out for deals during the holiday season, predators are on the lookout for holiday steals. Help ensure your safety when shopping, both in stores and online, with these simple steps:
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card for online and mobile purchases. Credit cards from financial institutions like First Financial Credit Union usually provide more fraud protection than debit cards do.
- Change account passwords frequently, and keep them protected. Use a variety of lower- and uppercase letters, numbers, symbols and different words. Don’t use the same one across your email, bank, credit card and other online accounts (such as Amazon, Facebook, etc.).