It’s time to get fit… Financially Fit! Brought to you by American Eagle Financial Credit Union.
You know DJ Buck, he’s always having problems with his money. What to do with it, how to save it, checking credit scores… where do you even start? American Eagle Financial Credit Union is here to help us all get Financially Fit!
Do you know what your credit score is, and how to improve it?
Or what you need to know as a first time home buyer?
Or why it makes sense to bank with a credit union?
Find out now, and listen to more expert advice from AEFCU every Monday morning at 7:45am only on Hot 93.7!
Join us for a Financial Fitness 101 Seminar and Expo! Financial Fitness 101, The Basics of Credit, Saving, and Budgeting is taking place on Tuesday, September 12th from 6 to 8pm at Goodwin College, River Room, One Riverside Drive, East Hartford. CLICK HERE to register NOW!
Financially Fit Part 18:
Building Blocks For Great Credit
As a kid, it’s important to make sure you understand what you’re spending. This should start as early as 11-12 years old. It’s easy at that age to say “I want this,” but it’s very important to comprehend whether or not you actually HAVE that money. When you get older and start establishing credit, making sure you understand where you are with your credit score is the first step in knowing how you’re going to progress. Your credit score is very important, especially paying bills on time and not over-extending your credit line.
Financially Fit Part 17:
Protecting Your Credit
How can we conduct business online, while still protecting ourselves? A lot of financial institutions and credit card companies offer fraud protection for free. Whenever you apply for credit, a credit card, or new financial account, there will be communication back to you and be made aware of anything happening in your name, with your credentials. It’s very important to set up these protections!!
Financially Fit Part 16:
Planning Is Everything
Dream of starting a small business? Want to become a landlord? Figuring out how to send your kid to college? Having a good financial plan is the key to success, for any of these goals.
Small business loans can be a way to make your dream a reality, but there’s a lot of work that goes in to applying for one. Not only do you have to have a strong, well crafted business plan, but it also helps to be financially fit. Work with a professional to set yourself up for success; they can show you where the tools are to get started in terms of your finances and your business plan.
Some of Buck’s friends have become interested in buying houses to rent out, as a way to step into the real estate market, and if done right, this can be a great source of revenue… but it takes a lot of planning. Being a landlord takes a lot of work, and generally if you’re buying a home as an investment property, you need to put more money down. But if you prepare ahead of time and stick to your plan, it can work out great.
It’s almost September, and Buck’s kid is getting ready to go off to college… so what’s the best way to handle tuition? The best bet for school is usually student loans, though if you own a home you can also take out a home equity. Both of these options generally have lower rates than a personal loan, meaning you’ll be paying way less back in interest.
Speak with a professional, come up with a plan, and stick with it… these are the main keys of success!
Financially Fit Part 15:
How Important Is a FICO Score?
FICO scores are incredibly important. Financial institutions and insurance agencies use you FICO score to help determine your risk rating, when they want to lend money to you. There’s a major difference between your FICO score and just monitoring your credit profile through places like Credit Karma. That will take a soft look at your credit, and it’s more instantaneous, but your FICO score reflects what financial institutions report to the three agencies– Experien, Trans Union, and Equifax. That is the pure score that most financial institutions use to determine how big a loan you can get and what your rate would be.
Credit Karma can be a really helpful guide, but it’s not a true FICO score.
Financially Fit Part 14:
Are “Stupid” Loans A Real Thing?
There are loans that might not be in your best interest at certain points in your life. It’s pretty common– say, a car loan– where you want to get a really nice car for their first car… instead of buying something affordable that can get you from “A” to “B.”
You really need to figure out what you’re trying to do. What kind of loan do you need for home repairs? If you have the equity, maybe it makes sense to take out a second mortgage, or a new line of credit? Say you get a $50,000 line of credit but only need $10,000 of it… you can pay off what you owe without using it for other things, and pretty soon you have the full credit line available again.
Even if you have the cash, it often makes more sense to take out a loan and pay it back slowly. Use your home as equity, and as time goes on and you pay it back, you’re still going to be building more equity. And as you do home repairs, the equity of your house will increase even more!
Financially Fit Part 13:
How Do I Get Out of a Financial Hole?
Life can throw you some curve balls, and sometimes we all wind up in a hole we have to find a way out of. And no matter what else is happening, we have to send the kids to school, buy groceries, and pay the car note. So how can you dig yourself out at the same time?
The most important thing is to have a plan. Look at where you are with your debts and obligations, and then talk to a professional. They have the skills and qualifications to dig through your credit report. Then you can figure out what has to be paid, when it needs to be paid, and from there you can reach out to institutions to see if you can make arrangements. It’s important, because they want to work with you– they understand that things happen, and more often than not they will work with you, not against you, because that doesn’t benefit anybody.
Financially Fit Part 12:
Rock Bottom Isn’t The End of the Road
When you hit rock bottom, can you get back up? Absolutely. But it takes discipline, hard work, and a lot of focus on your end game. When Patty got divorced, she was in bad shape financially. But she was smart– she didn’t go out a lot, she started saving some money, fixed her credit, and found a job that worked for her… and the whole time she focused on her endgame. Sometimes, you have to go back to go forward, and you need to realize there is light on the other side. There’s always a way out, you just have to sit down, figure it out, and move forward!
Financially Fit Part 11:
Sticking To a Budget
It took Patty a long time to become financially fit and responsible, but she has reminders– like her kids– which help keep her on track toward her goals. One of the biggest things is making and sticking to a budget. A budget doesn’t mean you need to suffer right now, you just need to be clever about what corners you’re going to cut. Do you really need a Starbucks coffee 5 days a week, or can you get coffee at work for less? Lunch is ten dollars minimum, so if you bring it from home you’re saving at least $50 per week. Those little savings add up fast!
Financially Fit Part 10:
What Are You Saving For?
It’s easy to think we have it made, especially when we have money at the moment… but it’s important to save and put money away for the future. The most important thing is to figure out what you’re saving for. Retirement is right around the corner, and the best thing you can do is invest. You can start by meeting with a financial advisor, who will strategize your money for long-term growth. And you don’t need to be financially well off to meet with an advisor… many banks and credit unions have people in the organization to help you out and maximize your money.
Financially Fit Part 9:
How To Get Financially Educated
DJ Buck is an adult now, and he’s got a mortgage… but when he first went into the bank, he herad lots of words he wasn’t familiar with and it made him uncomfortable. He’s not alone, and the entire experience can be very scary. But there are great tools out there to educate you!
There are first time home buyer seminars, which provide an opportunity for the community to hear and learn the language you need to know to buy your first home. These seminars will get you up to speed with the entire process, and all the various people you will need to work with throughout the process.
Set a plan, arm yourself with an education, and buying a home will be WAY less scary!
Financially Fit Part 8:
When Should I Start Thinking About Saving For The Future?
What age should you start thinking about saving for retirement? Right out of school! Set the building blocks early because as you stumble through life you can create a foundation. Start small; save $20 a paycheck or whatever you can. And parents can open savings account for younger kids. Give them chores and teach them the benefits of saving money.
Financially Fit Part 7:
The Right Way To Buy A House
One of Nancy’s proudest achievements was buying a house, and the power of home ownership can be great. But people can be so intimidated by the process… there’s so many questions. How do you get started? The best thing to do is start with a plan, and figure out your finances. Talk to a mortgage professional (you can likely get a referral of a trusted mortgage lender from a friend or family member who’s been through the home buying process). They can help you set up a budget and figure out your finances, which will let you know what kind of house you can afford. Start by figuring out your finances, get a budget, and THEN it will be time to find a real estate agent and find the best house available to you. And remember– a mortgage can be the same amount of money as rent, so if the time is right for you to buy, invest in yourself!
Financially Fit Part 6:
Why 401k’s Are Important
If your job offers it, you should always go into your company’s 401k. Many companies will automatically sign you up after 30 days, which is great. It’s essentially FREE MONEY– even if you make the minimum contribution, many companies will match what you put it. It’s never too early to start– if you’re 18 and just starting at a job, by the time you’re 65, you will be astonished how much money has compounded over time!
Financially Fit Part 5:
What is a FICO Score?
What is a FICO Score? It’s designed to compile all of your credit information to spit out information about your credit risk. Your score is made up of payment history, the amount of money you owe, length of history, the amount of new credit you get, and the types of credit you have. You can improve your score just by focusing on the first two categories, just by paying all your bills on time and making a concerted effort to keep those balances down. That will drive your score up tremendously!
Financially Fit Part 4:
Is Refinancing a Bad Thing?
Refinancing is not always a bad thing. As rates go down, you can always try to get the best rate. The tricky part here is figuring out what your property worth. Property values in CT are up and down, so your neighbors can have an effect on what your home is worth. Remember, taxes in the town where you live can be an important thing to consider… they can be $3,000 to $12,000 dollars! Thankfully, many lenders allow you to simply roll these taxes into your mortgage payment, meaning you don’t have to pay a special bill and can get it all taken care of together each month.
Financially Fit Part 3:
Set It & Forget It Savings
One of the best things to do with a savings account is, don’t touch it! If you want to get serious about saving, set up part of your paycheck to be automatically deposited into your savings account, and don’t link it to your checking account. This will help you avoid the temptation to spend that money… like the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind! Before long, that savings account will get bigger and bigger!
Financially Fit Part 2:
Don’t Be a Creature of Credit
Patty Mason joins DJ Buck to look at some ways to build and improve your credit score! Some of the highlights– pay your bills on time, and understand when your dues dates are. And don’t put your credit cards at their maximum, that can hurt your credit score… plus you’re going to have to pay interest on those cards. Don’t be a creature of Credit, remember– Cash is always King!!
Financially Fit Part 1:
Timing Is Everything When It Comes To Credit
Patty Mason is here to coach us on how to do better with credit and managing our money. This time out, Buck and Patti talk how and when to check your credit scores, when it’s a good idea to sign up for a new credit card, and why having a good credit score is important over your entire life… You have to set yourself up for success!
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Presented by American Eagle Financial Credit Union