Thursday, January 12, 2017

17 Tips for Saving Money in 2017

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Financial resolutions are popular in January. Right now, you might be recovering from holiday spending or looking towards building a more positive financial future in 2017. Let Financial One Credit Union help you plan for healthier finances this year. Take a look at 15 tips to help you save and make money in 2017.

1. Be realistic. Can you realistically pay your student debt off this year or rid yourself of all credit-card debt? Visualizing realistic goals will make them more feasible. Make them challenging, but ultimately achievable to reach your financial ambitions.

2. Make your goals specific. Planning specific goals will help you envision the finish line more clearly. Think about the exact amounts of debt you want to pay off or how much you want to save each month to make your goals clear and attainable.
3. Make your savings automatic. Designating a portion of your paycheck to your savings account automatically will take away any temptation for you to spend that money. After a few withdraws, you won’t even miss the funds. Think of it as a payment to yourself.

4. Budget. Setting a realistic budget will help you cut down on wasteful spending. Think of it as the outline of your financial future. Prioritize your bills and goals in order to grow your savings.

5. Track your progress. Keep tabs on your personal finances. How much do you spend on average on each expense? Are you meeting your goals each month or do you need to readjust? This is crucial in maintaining good financial habits, illuminating financial mistakes, and achieving your goals.

6. Shop smart. When you do take out your wallet, learn to shop savvier. Use rewards programs, buy in bulk, comparison shop, shop sales, and clip coupons. These practices add up to plenty of savings.

7. To subscribe or not? Online movie and music streaming channels, gym memberships, monthly subscription boxes, and more can rack up a large bill. Review which services you use and drop those you don’t.

8. Use apps to help you save money when shopping. The Target Cartwheel app, for example, is excellent for shaving dollars off of your grocery bills, while Mint is excellent at helping you budget and be more aware of your expenses. For more apps that can help you save, visit here.

9. Refinance. Can you refinance your mortgage, student debt, and insurance rates in order to potentially save thousands of dollars a year? Research your options. Good credit and historically better rates can help.

10.  Aim for a raise or new job. Take a look at your resume. Are you recognized fairly for your work? If not, take some time to works towards a promotion and re-negotiate with your boss. Look at these tips for negotiating a raise.

11.  Exercise. Get fit to help your finances. Spend less on junk food, transportation costs, and the expenses associated with poor health. This can also help you stay disciplined and motivated for all of your goals.

12.  Invest now. Don’t wait to pay off debt before investing especially if your employer matches your contribution. Take this big step to secure your future.

13.  Seek small financial opportunities. Make the best of the financial opportunities that head your way. Look for opportunities in tutoring, babysitting, or selling plasma.
14.  Offer a skill. Freelancing, teaching a skill, or offering manual labor can also help you find some additional money to pad your budget.

15.  Sell your unwanted treasures. In addition to taking control of your finances, uncluttering your home of unwanted possessions can help you make money. Unburden your shelves and rooms of unused electronics, clothes, movies, books, and tools for extra cash.

16.  Go secondhand. Visit thrift stores, search garage sales, and scour online deals for treasures and necessities that cost next to nothing.

17.  Network. Keep your resume updated and network regularly. You never know which opportunities await to build skills, connect with professionals, and offer higher opportunities.

Financial One Credit Union offers free financial counseling sessions that will help you develop a financial plan that is best suited for your lifestyle, goals, and needs. For more information on these free financial counseling courses, visit our Financial Education and Contact pages.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Financial Statistics That Will Shock You

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Financial One is experienced with providing solutions for our members, especially those suffering from debt. Though our economy has shown some improvement over the last few years, many people still struggle financially. These statistics highlight the trends and troubles with the way people in our economy use their money. Some of these financial statistics should certainly shock you!

The student loan debt in the US increases at a rate of $2,853.88 per second
According to, “The average student loan is $23,186. Americans collectively owe more than $875 billion on student loans – which is more than the nation’s credit card debt.” As our nation’s next group of leaders, this statistic is particularly troublesome.

Only 58% of Americans Have a Credit Score Over 700
The national average credit score is 692. This is a problem because your credit score needs to be good enough if you want to acquire a home loan, car loan, or new credit card. Having a score over 700 is the cut-off for many industries.

You can save $112,000 over a lifetime by bringing your lunch to work
And that amount could be substantially more if you saved that money in an investment vehicle, like the stock market. Those little purchases really add up! What would you do with an extra $100k?

61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
That is up from 49 percent last year, according to Money magazine's audience poll. But what is most alarming: more than one in five of those living paycheck to paycheck earn a salary of $100K or more.

43% of those who lent money to family or friends were not paid back in full provides us with this statistic, explaining that a whopping 27% hadn’t received a dime in repayment after loaning loved one’s cash.

Everyone has made poor money decisions at some point or another in their lives. Of course, moving towards a solution is what matters most. Financial One can help! Please stop in and see us today to get yourself back on a comfortable financial track.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Be a Part of the Solution at Financial One Credit Union

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Financial One is your solutions credit union. We don't come forth with solutions just for our members, we want to be a part of the solution for everyone in our community. That is why we launched our 3 Essentials program earlier this year and continue to give back to those in need. The three essentials every person needs is food, shelter, and clothing. We have teamed up with some great organizations in our local community to make donations towards providing these three things. Here's how you can help:

Your Auto Loan Equates to 100 lbs of Food

For every new auto loan Financial One lends to a member, we donate 100 lbs of food to those in need. This is in an effort to “drive away hunger” in our local community. We donate to the organization SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store and NACE – North Anoka County Emergency Food Shelf. Our goal is to donate more than a million lbs of food over the next five years. You can help by choosing Financial One for your next auto loan and join us in driving away hunger!

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Your Home Loan Equates to 1 Night of Shelter

It is so exciting to purchase a new home, it can be easy to forget your community members who are not quite as fortunate. You can feel good about borrowing from Financial One when your mortgage pays it forward. For each home loan we give, Financial One will donate 1 night of housing to someone who is homeless. We work with Stepping Stone Emergency Housing and Hope for Youth to give back. So far, 157 nights of shelter have been provided.

Your Checking Account Equates to 1 Coat for a Veteran

Sadly, a lot of our community members in need are veterans suffering from the aftereffects of serving their country. When you choose Financial One for your checking line of credit, we donate 1 coat or article of clothing to a veteran in need. So far we have donated more than 150 items of clothing! Our goal is to donate 2,000 items of clothing over the next five years.

Trust Financial One Credit Union with your next auto loan, home loan, or checking line of credit and know you are making a difference. Your choice can improve the lives of others through our 3 Essentials program. Join us in being a part of the solution at Financial One!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nine Reasons to Pick a Local Lender

If you are looking for a lender who can offer you personalized assistance and has an outstanding reputation, look no further than Financial One Credit Union. Local lenders can provide you with better rates and better service than national and online lenders. Take a look our top nine reasons to pick a local lender:
1.     Develop a Relationship
Don’t be just another number in the system. Choosing a local lender that is a member of the community gives you the opportunity to develop a real relationship with your money-managing institution. With a local lender, you will have someone advocating for you that understands the history, members, and potential of the community.

2.     You Can Trust Your Local Lender
Especially with online lenders, there is a great risk of fraud, scams, and illegal business practices. Establishing a relationship built on trust and reliability will create a partnership that you would not receive from an online national lender. That trust and reliability will go a far way in ensuring a successful lending process.
3.     Get Reliable References.
From previous lenders to community partners, your local lender will be able to obtain personal testimonials for your consideration. With trusted references, you will have a sound mind knowing that your local lender has successfully helped other members of your community, not just nameless faces.
4.     They Get to Know You Personally
There are a variety of benefits that come with getting to know your lender personally. For starters, they know how to cater to your personal needs. They can also give you advice that pertains to your personal situation as well as prevent you from making financial mistakes. Local lenders can establish a personal repertoire and offer you superior customer service.
5.     Local Lenders Know the Rules
Local lenders in your state will know all of the regulations, rules, standards, and everything else involved in the process of procuring a mortgage. This can make the process go much more smoothly since they know what they are doing not just in reference to everyday banking, but specific to your community.
6.     Local Lenders Cause Less Stress.
With the assurance of a trusted and professional local lender, you can rest easy knowing that they will take care of all your questions and concerns personally. Having a relationship with your local lender will alleviate much of the uncertainty and stress that coincides with getting a mortgage, auto loan, student loan, and a variety of other financial transactions.
7.     They Can Get You A Better Deal
In advocating on your behalf, local lenders will often shop around for a variety of different lenders and loan programs to find the best deal. This can help you save money and enjoy the most appropriate plan for your needs.

8.     Benefit From Immediate Help
Rather than wait for email responses or be put on hold with 1-800 numbers, local lenders can provide immediate help. They will also be less likely to misinterpret your questions, and be better able to provide immediate answers to your concerns. Quick responses can also help you close deals rather than waiting and potentially losing out on special offers.
9.     They Care
When you work with a local lender, their work doesn’t stop at the application. Local lenders will personally follow-up on your process during and after to ensure you are receiving what you want.
For anyone in the process of lending, we recommend that you understand the importance of selecting the right lender. Find a knowledgeable and experienced lender that can cater to your needs. Credit unions like Financial One are not for profit, we’re for you and we’re for our community. For more information on our loan process, visit Personal Loans page at Financial One Credit Union.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What You Need To Know About Closing Costs

Closing costs are something that every home buyer has to face, but many don’t completely understand what they are when they first start shopping for a home. They can be quite expensive, and in past years, have increased on average. Here’s what you need to know about closing costs:
What are closing costs?
Closing costs are fees associated with the closing of a real estate transaction. Closing costs can be incurred by either the buyer or seller, and occurs when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
What charges are included in your closing costs?
Depending on where you live and what kind of property you own, your closing costs can include a variety of factors. These factors can include an appraisal fee, a fee for running your credit report, inspection fees, insurance fees, loan fees, deposit fees, and more.
How much are closing costs?
Home buyers can expect to pay between 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees with prices varying due to taxes and location. Lenders are legally required to provide a loan estimate which will help you determine a starting point for your closing cost. Often times, closing costs can include unnecessary fees, such as mailing and administrative costs. If you encounter a large number of unnecessary charges, you can walk away from the loan and search for other lenders who can offer lower closing costs.  
Can you avoid closing costs?
You can’t fully avoid closing costs, but it could be possible to transfer them. You could ask the seller to pay some of the closing costs if you are short on money. The worst response you could hear is, “no.” You could potentially ask the lender to pay the closing costs as well. The caveat with this is that while lenders may agree to pay part or all of the closing costs or roll it into your mortgage amount, you can typically expect to see a higher interest rate on the loan.
How can you get the most accurate closing cost estimate?
Your final closing costs shouldn’t be a surprise. Within three days of receiving your application, your lender must provide a good faith estimate—a ballpark figure—that lists your estimated costs and any anticipated factors. Prior to closing, you’ll get an HUD-1 settlement statement that itemizes an updated and final closing cost. If the final statement is nowhere near the original good faith estimate, question your lender about it.

To learn more about closing costs and how our professional lenders can help you close on the home of your dreams, visit Financial One Credit Union for more information.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Home Equity Line of Credit Frequently Asked Questions

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Getting in control of your finances doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can be hard to navigate through the vast amount of financial jargon. Take a look below at our frequently asked questions about home equity loans and lines of credit at Financial One.

General Information

- What is a home equity loan?
A home equity loan uses the equity in your home as collateral to secure the loan. The interest rate and monthly payments are fixed which guarantees you a steady and predictable repayment schedule for the remainder of the loan repayment.
- What is a home equity line of credit?
A home equity line of credit is a line of credit secured by your home with a variable interest. It is the maximum amount that you can borrow with a mortgage lender. When you borrow, you only pay interest on the amount of money you actually borrow—not the full line amount.

- Why should I choose a home equity loan or line of credit?
A home equity loan or line of credit with a fixed monthly payment will help your budgeting process for short-term and long-term needs much easier.
- Why should I refinance?
Refinancing loans can help you lower your monthly payment or interest rate on a current loan. You can also switch from a loan with an adjustable rate to one with a fixed rate to have a better idea of your monthly bills. Lastly, refinancing allows you to change the remaining term of a loan and refinance for a higher amount in order to pay off existing debt.

Loan Usage
- What could my home equity line of credit possibly cover?
A Financial One home equity line of credit (HELOC) is often used to cover education expenses, debt consolidation, home renovations and repairs. You can also use a HELOC to finance special life events, like weddings, a new baby, family vacations, and more.
- How can I protect my loan?
To provide the best possible coverage protection on your loan, Financial One offers a Payment Protection plan with Credit Life and Credit Disability insurance. The Payment Protection is available to safeguard your credit and collateral.

Rates and Repayments

- What rates are available?
Loan rates vary based on the loan, your mortgage history, and other factors. Visit our website to view a chart of available rates.
- What terms and repayment options are available?
Financial One Credit Union offers flexible loan plans. Our home equity installment loans feature a fixed annual percentage rate with flexible terms, ranging from 5 to 15 years. Home equity 5-year balloon installment loans feature a fixed annual percentage rate with a 5-year term and a repayment period of up to 20 years.
With loan amounts as small as $5,000, Financial One offers member-first, professional, and helpful service throughout your entire loan seeking process. Visit Financial One Credit Union for more information or apply online for a home equity loan or line of credit.