It’s very easy to put off chores. But now that the year is nearly over, try to set aside some time to do some financial housekeeping. To help you get started, here are four questions that you will want to answer:
With the holiday season comes the temptation to spend more that we can afford resulting in debt that limits your ability to achieve other financial goals in the coming years, but with a little planning this doesn’t have to be the case.
For many parents, talking about money with their teenagers begins and ends with "How much do you need?" Kids want to learn, and they would like to learn from their parents and have them as role models. We realize that oftentimes parents are at a loss knowing what to teach their kids or how to go about it, so we've developed some helpful tips that will assist you along the way:
Summer vacation is almost over. While many of us are preparing last-minute getaways with family and friends—booking flights, reserving hotel rooms and renting cars—it is important to make sure that your personal information is protected from fraudsters. We take the security of your account information and personal information very seriously at BECU. That's why we use industry-standard encryption to protect your account and personal information.
As a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union your financial well-being is important to us. Each month we have some money saving tips and tricks to help you along the way.
1. Start An Emergency Savings Fund
- Go online or call your financial institution and find out where free ATMs are near your work and home.
- Use a debit card when making purchases and you can get cash back. Just swipe your card and select how much cash you want. Usually there’s a maximum of $100.
- If you find yourself having to continually use an ATM that is not free, could you withdraw more funds at a time so that you go to the ATM less often? For example, instead of going to the ATM three times a week and withdrawing $20 each time, could you go to the ATM once a week and withdraw $60?
Most experts would advise that in the long run buying is more economical than leasing. When you lease a car you are essentially paying for depreciation and financing the difference between what the car cost now, and what it is expected to be worth at the end of the lease—you won’t build equity.
And, when you turn the car in at the end of the lease you may be responsible for wear and tear or excessive mileage charges. You might want to take this in to consideration if you are chauffeuring kids to and from muddy soccer practices.
We all hear the distressing stories of identity theft. Fraudsters are getting cleverer but there are some simple things that you can do to help protect yourself.
What fraud-friendly information are you carrying in your wallet?
One of the most important things that you can do to protect your finances and your identity is to audit your wallet. Here are some key tips to help you keep your personal information safe and out of the hands of fraudsters:
If you have your social security card or number in your wallet, remove it immediately. It is just the ticket for identity thieves.
Make a list of all the items in your wallet. For debit and credit cards don’t include card numbers, rather just the name and phone number of the financial institution. If you have automatic payments associated with a card make a note of that as well.
Keep the list in a safe place at home. If your wallet or purse gets lost or stolen you now have a list of everything that you need to cancel and replace what was lost.
Don’t wait to cancel your lost or stolen card—most financial institutions have a 24-hour phone number just for reporting a lost or stolen card. You definitely want to do this before the fraudsters wipe out your accounts.
Prevent, Detect and Restore
BECU members have access to reliable identity theft services and resources. To learn more, visit www.becu.org/learn-and-plan/articles.aspx and select Security and Fraud.
A credit mishap abroad can ruin any good trip. Here's a few tips to avoid financial trouble while travelling outside of the country.
Before You Travel, Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
The 8th Wonder of the World
Is It Best To Pay Off Your Mortgage?
The 8th Wonder of the World
The Big Credit Score Myth
Paying down your credit card balance to zero every month may seem like the best way to boost your credit score…and we’ve all been told to pay our credit card debt in full each month, but this may not be completely accurate.
How does it impact your credit score?
While it may be a great money habit to pay off your credit card debt every month, it could impact your “utilization.” Most lenders report the balance on your monthly statement in relation to your credit limit. This is often referred to as your “utilization” and accounts for 30% of your credit score.
What should your utilization be?
If at all possible, you want to keep this below 25%. For example, if you have a $1,000 credit limit you want to make sure that the balance on your monthly statement does not exceed $250.00.
Pay attention to what is reported on your statement and if it is higher than what you would like consider making additional payments prior to your lenders billing cycle.
You can find additional details on how your cred score is determined by visiting www.myfico.com