Bills are a lot like bad weather. They’re going to come anyway, so you might as well not try to fix them, right? For some bills, that’s the case. For others, though, you can make a big difference in your monthly budget with a little legwork.
One of the bills you can change is your car payment. Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter term, or both! It depends on a wide range of factors, including the value of your vehicle, how much you owe on your current loan, and your credit standing.
If any of these factors have changed since you bought your car, you owe it to yourself to check out your refinancing options. Let’s look at some common life changes and when they might be cause to look at refinancing. Read on to learn about three scenarios where refinancing makes sense for your car or truck:
There’s that old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Turns out, it’s not just lunches that aren’t free. Pretty much everything costs money, and it’s often more than you’d expect it to be.
You can easily plan and save for some expenses, while some come up out of nowhere. For those things, you need to borrow, and a great way to borrow is with a personal loan. Consider these uses for a personal loan. If you have one of these events coming up, you may want to consider a personal loan to finance them.
Love knows no season. When the time is right to get married, it doesn’t matter if a few more months of saving would make a difference. Timing is everything! If you or your child is dedicated to hosting a spring wedding, it’s just not possible to pay for it with a Christmas bonus.
The average wedding costs just over $30,000, which makes it too much for a single credit card, and the interest you’d pay would make it incredibly more expensive. Even single vendor costs, like event space or catering, may require separate financing. A personal loan will net you a better repayment plan and a better interest rate.
You may even be able to bring the price of those transactions down. Rather than putting a deposit down with a credit card, you can offer to pay more of the total cost up front in exchange for a reduced bill. Caterers, tailors and other small business owners are likely to appreciate the simplification of their cash flow. They can pay their employees and purchase supplies without going into debt themselves. They may be willing to pass those savings on to you.
Adopting a child is a fantastic way to show your love to the next generation. It can also be very expensive due to screenings and fees that stand between you and your child. Realistically, costs could be as high as $50,000 to adopt a child in the US, and even more to adopt an infant from overseas.
Obtaining financing for this process can be very difficult. Unlike traditional big expenses, there’s no collateral. No one can repossess your child if you fall behind on your loans. Traditional sources of financing are out the window.
Fortunately, a personal loan can make this process a reality. Because the terms tend to be short, you can have your loan paid off long before you start thinking about college costs for your new bundle of joy!
3.) Short-term house sales
The success of shows like “Love it or List it” and other fast-paced remodeling displays has inspired a new generation of people to pick up properties, fix them up and sell them for a profit. For those who are handy and love remodeling, it can be a dream hobby. It can even turn into a full-time job! There’s just one problem: capital.
When you buy a house to sell again, it’s likely that you’re borrowing as much as you can to pay for the property. That doesn’t leave much left over for new fixtures, paint, or repairs. Some of that can be done cheaply enough, but much of it will require capital. Since you don’t have much equity in the property, borrowing against it isn’t a real possibility.
A personal loan can be the answer. With affordable rates and flexible repayment terms, a personal loan can help you finance those value-boosting improvements. Best of all, when you sell the house, you can repay the personal loan early without a penalty!
4.) Launching a small business
They say all you need to make it is a great idea. That’s about half right. What you really need is a great idea and enough money to get it off the ground. Even the most thrifty of business owners will still face start-up costs in materials, license fees and equipment purchases. While these costs may not be much, it will be a while before your business turns enough profit to recoup these expenses.
A personal loan can broaden your timeline to profitability. Rather than being pressured to start turning a profit immediately, you can take your time and develop the business. Since your debt servicing is a fixed cost throughout the course of the loan, it’s easy to plan for repayment. You can give your business the boost it needs to get firmly established, setting you up for future prosperity.
5.) Extra education expenses
Depending on your personal financial situation, your student loans may be insufficient to cover the actual whole cost of your education. Sure, you can get loans to cover tuition, but what about books or a computer to handle schoolwork? If you’re going back to school later in life, many traditional funding opportunities may not be open to you.
In these instances, taking out a personal loan to cover the extra costs of your education can be a life-saver. Instead of paying for those costs out of pocket or with a credit card, you can pay for them up front with a loan you can budget for going forward. Many parts of life as a student are unpredictable; it’s nice to have one constant month-to-month.
YOUR TURN: What would you do with a few extra thousand dollars? Would you fix up a car? Take a dream vacation? Cover an unexpected bill? Let us know how you’d use a personal loan!
Unexpected expenses, by nature, can come out of nowhere. Your check engine light comes on, and your car demands you put another thousand dollars into keeping it on the road. That cough that just won’t go away turns out to be more serious than you thought. Your air conditioner gives up during the longest heatwave you can remember. No matter what causes these personal catastrophes, they all have one thing in common: They’re expensive.
The best financial advice suggests a rainy day fund for situations like these. However, for many people, that’s just not practical. Just getting to the end of the month can sometimes feel like an emergency. An emergency fund is one of those things it’d be nice to have, but there’s just no room for it after the bills have been paid.
Your education increases your net worth, even though it may not look like it. Very few investments offer the rate of return that continuing education does. Those who finish their college degree earn, on average, about twice as much as those with a high school diploma over the course of their lifetimes, and the gap has been widening for at least 35 years. Still, your future earning potential doesn’t show up on your net worth, even though your student debt does. If you’re trying to decide whether to go back to school, take a few extra classes or get a new certification, the cost may seem intimidating since there’s no immediate benefit. Don’t let that fool you.
An education can also increase the value you get out of your life, helping you find a job that makes you happier or getting that promotion you’ve been wanting at your current employer. Outside of work, going back to school can help you learn a new language or skill you’ve always wanted to learn, get you up-to-date on current technology and trends in your field, and model good life choices for your children. Just wait until they see you doing homework on a Friday night!
It also doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and you don’t have to try for federal financial aid. We have a variety of products designed to put some money in your pocket now, whether it’s a home equity loan, a personal loan, or any of our other financial plans. If you’re thinking to yourself, “But I’ll be 40 (or 50, or 60) by the time I finish,” remember, you’ll be 40 (or 50, or 60) anyway.
After you finish your house hunting, you’ve got three options: If you saw a house that you like as much as the one you’re in now, but it’s going for less money, you could think about moving there. After all, mortgage rates are incredibly low for the time being, and if you could be just as happy in a less expensive house, then that’s money you could use on something else. If your house is as good or better as the others in the neighborhood, but could use a facelift, you might want to think about remodeling. Remodeling your home can increase its value and make it easier to find a buyer, so part of what you spend now may come back to you when you sell, with the added benefit of living in a nicer house in the meantime. Finally, if your house is still the best around, think about refinancing while rates are low. You’re probably not going to find fixed rates this low for a long time (if ever), so locking in that lower rate now can save you tons of money going forward, while cashing out some equity can help knock down any pesky credit card debt you need to take care of, so you only need to write one check every month, while paying far less in interest.
Brought to you by Destinations Credit Union
By the end of January, many of us will have forgotten all about our New Year’s resolutions. It can be difficult to change our lives, even when it’s for the better. Knowing this, we want you to know that, in your financial life, there are changes you can make today that will last the entire year. Here are three resolutions you can set today and some follow-up goals for the rest of the year.
Today: Save money automatically. If you want to improve your net worth, build financial security or make a big purchase at this time next year, the easiest way to do so is simply to automate your savings. You can set up an automatic transfer to savings so you won’t be tempted to spend it. With many of our savings products, you can even access the money if an emergency arises.
Later: Set up an emergency fund. How much do you have set aside for a rainy day or to cover the unexpected? If an emergency came up, would you have to sell investments, cash in your retirement or borrow from family? Make this the year for setting up your emergency fund. You’ll eventually want to have at least six months of income put aside where you can get to it. for now, start with $1,000, a month’s income, or whatever feels realistic. It might be difficult to get in the habit of saving money, but this is the resolution you’ll be really happy you kept if something unexpected happens.
Today: Pay down your debt. If you’re struggling with debt, there are three basic solutions for paying it down, getting your payments under control and getting ahead of debt. You can make more frequent payments, pay more each month or lower your interest rates.
Paying more frequently makes sense if you get paid every two weeks: You might already know about the advantage of bi-weekly payments, which let you make the equivalent of an extra monthly payment every year. If you’re already doing that or you don’t get paid on a weekly schedule, you can also increase the amount you pay every month. Even an extra $25 per month is $300 per year, and you can set up those payments automatically. Make sure you increase your payments the most on the bills with the highest interest rates first, even if they don’t have the largest balances.
Finally, you can get ahead of your debt by lowering your interest rates. You can call the creditors who are charging you the highest interest rates and pay the bill, transfer the balanceto a credit card or loan with a lower interest rate, or see if they’ll offer you a lower rate due to improved credit. One way to make this work is to arrange a home equity loan at a lower fixed rate, then move your balances with the highest interest rates to the loan.
Later: Get control of your spending. It’s time to make a budget and stick to it. Build rewards into the budget so you’ll actually be happy to follow it. Take a look at what you use your credit cards to buy, then budget at least some money for those items or activities. You’ll never keep a resolution like “stop eating out,” but you have a good chance of keeping a resolution like “don’t go over the eating out budget.” This also gives you 12 chances to succeed: Every month you can do better than the month before.
Today: Make a drawer. Many of us who have had the misfortune to act as the executor on a loved one’s estate have had the terrible task of finding all the savings, debts, insurance policies and other financial parts of their lives. Don’t do this to whomever is taking over your life. Empty a drawer in your kitchen or study and put as many relevant documents in it as you can find. Make a list of everything in the drawer and everything that’s missing. Put a copy in the drawer and another with your will so it’s as easy as possible for the grieving individual in charge. As with any sensitive, personal data, keep this information in a safe place that only you and the likely executor(s) of your estate will have knowledge.
Was there a credit union at the first Thanksgiving?
Over the last 30 or so years, only a handful of people have entered pop culture simply because of their wealth. We know Warren Buffett, although he’s more famous for investing than he is for being rich. Bill Gates is famous for being rich in many ways: He’s referenced online in various scenarios revolving around the mathematics of his wealth — people calculate how much money he’d have to find on the street to make it worth his time to pick it up. But Bill Gates is rich because he co-founded Microsoft and his philanthropic efforts ensure he will be remembered forever in a way that someone famous solely for being rich would not. Therefore, there are only a couple of pop culture figures who truly are famous because of their riches: Paris Hilton and Donald Trump.
This article is about the financial lessons of famous individuals, so we’re going to ignore Paris Hilton, if only because the first rule would be “be born rich” and rule two would involve sacrificing every part of your humanity for fame. Trump, however, is currently running for president of the United States, and the reason he has become part of the national conversation about the most important office in our country is the notoriety he has earned in the last 30 years for being rich. So, what lessons can we learn from Trump’s personal biography that can help the rest of us reach our goals?
With “Straight Outta Compton” being the box office surprise of the summer and a new studio album filling America’s iPhones for the first time since before iPods were invented, Dr. Dre is experiencing a late-career renaissance. While rappers’ careers are notoriously shorter than almost any other group of musicians, Dr. Dre is relevant for the fourth consecutive decade. Perhaps even more surprising than his prolonged musical success is his financial success. With the 2014 sale of his iconic Beats headphone company for $3.2 billion, his share of the company vaulted him into uncharted territory: He claims to be rap music’s first billionaire.