7 Smart Ways to Take Advantage of Your Tax Refund

taxes08Tax season is often a time of stress for many, but it can be a joyful time for the roughly 75 percent of Americans who do receive income tax refunds.

While the refund really means you’re getting back money you loaned to the government at no interest, in practical terms it often means an unexpected infusion of cash into your wallet or bank account. It’s a great problem to have, but what should you do with your windfall?

The best choice for one person may not be the best choice for another. But experts agree on one thing – if you have debt, apply your refund to paying it off, whether it’s credit card debt, student loan debt, or other consumer debt.

If you’re getting a big refund ­– a check in the ballpark of $1,000 or more for taxpayers who don’t have a side business – consider adjusting your withholding so that you’ll have that money available to you during the year.

Here are the seven smartest things you can do with your refund:

Pay down debt. If you have any consumer debt – student loans, credit card balances or installment loans – pay those off before using your refund for any other purpose. Car payments and mortgages aren’t in this category, but you can also consider paying extra on your principal.

Add to your savings. Can you really ever save enough? You can use the money to build up your emergency savings, your kids’ college fund, or put it toward a specific goal, such as buying a house or a car, or financing a big vacation you’ve been dreaming about taking.

Add to your retirement accounts. If you put $2,500 from this year’s tax refund into an IRA, it would grow to $8,500 in 25 years, even at a modest 5 percent rate of return, TurboTax calculates. If you saved $2,500 every year for 25 years, you’d end up with more than $130,000 at that same 5 percent rate of return!

Invest in yourself. This could mean taking a class in investing, studying something that interests you, or even taking a big trip. Think about doing something that might add value to your life, such as taking a photography class or purchasing a special camera that could become a new hobby and potentially a side business in the future.

Improve your home. Consider putting your refund to good use by adding insulation, replacing old windows and doors, or other improvements that are more energy efficient. Or perhaps it’s time to remodel your bathroom or kitchen. You’re adding value to your home, and at the same time you’re improving your living experience too.

Apply your refund toward next year’s taxes. This is common among self-employed taxpayers, who are required to pay quarterly taxes since they don’t have taxes withheld. By applying any overpayment toward upcoming tax payments, you can free up other cash.

Splurge on something you’ve always wanted to do. If you’re out of debt and have substantial savings, this may be the time to take the cruise to Europe or trip to Thailand that you’ve always dreamed of taking. Such an experience can be life-changing, and you never know what impact it will have on your future until you actually do it.

Article Source: Teresa Mears for US News, http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/03/28/7-smart-ways-to-take-advantage-of-your-tax-refund

Help – I spent too much on the holidays and I’m still paying for it months later!

tighten belt on dollar conceptIf the holidays have left your budget overstretched, there are ways to recover (even if 3 months have passed) … you just need to act as quickly as you can.

While it might be tough to admit it (case in point: you’ve ignored the debt you racked up over the last few months), the first step to reducing your post-holiday debt is realizing and prioritizing it. 

Beverly Harzog, author of Confessions of a Credit Junkie, says the best way to start a re-payment plan is to go after the debt on the highest interest rate card first and once that is paid off, go after the next one and so on and so on.

If you overspent this holiday season and know you won’t be able to pay off your credit card bills when they arrive next month, you need to adjust your spending habits ASAP.

Consumers should look at their spending categories and aim to shave small amounts off of each area (even if it’s $5 or $10 to start). Making many small cutbacks will be less painful than trying to find an extra $1,000 all at once to help pay off the credit card balance.

If you put a lot of your holiday gift spending on a high-interest rate credit card, Harzog recommends transferring the balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. Even if you can reduce the interest rate just a little bit, it will help pay it down faster.

Did you know First Financial Federal Credit Union has a lower rate VISA Platinum Credit Card, great rewards, no annual fee, and no balance transfer fees? Apply today!*

If you are facing significant debt, it might be time to find new ways to generate extra income that is earmarked solely to paying off the debt. If you don’t want to get a traditional part-time job, review your talents and skill set to find alternative ways to make money, whether it’s giving piano lessons, fixing computers, catering, or doing web design.

Ed Gjertsen, Vice President at Mack Investment Securities, recommends the seven-day cash challenge to break an overspending habit. With this challenge, you estimate how much money you spend each week and then take out that amount of cash at the start of the week and see how long it lasts.

“When people do this, by Wednesday or Thursday they are usually out of money,” he says. “They don’t think of all the times they swipe that card. It gives them a reality check of how much they are spending.”

If you need an anonymous, online tool to help you get your debt in check – try Debt in Focus – First Financial’s free and anonymous online debt management tool. In just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including powerful tips by leading financial experts to help you control your debt, build a budget, and start living the life you want to live.

*APR varies from 10.90% to 17.90% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. No Annual Fee. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Platinum Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

Article Source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/12/24/help-spent-too-much-on-holidays/

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Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s and 30s

MED0000815When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you think you’ll have all the time in the world to save, plan for retirement, and worry about the future.  But the truth is, if you don’t set yourself up financially during this crucial time in your life – it may be too late by the time you realize that you should’ve started much earlier.  Read on to find out the important financial decisions you should start thinking about as soon as you land that first full-time job.

Mistake #1 – Not contributing to your retirement. Start saving for retirement when you start your first job. Don’t make the common mistake of thinking retirement is too far away and you only have to be saving for immediate needs at this point. The end result – you will often wind up spending your entire salary, if you don’t make payroll deductions going into your savings.  It’s important to start saving for retirement while you are young, so you can get ahead.  If your employer offers a retirement plan like a 401(k) – oftentimes you can make direct contributions (a percentage of your salary that you set right from your paycheck) to go into a retirement fund, and you won’t even know the money is coming out of your paycheck.

Mistake #2 – Buying more car than you can afford. Be careful about thinking that just because you are now working and have a full-time job in the real world, that you can afford to buy a luxury vehicle, take elaborate vacations, or purchase an expensive new wardrobe.  But they’re work clothes and will be put to good use, right?  Wrong.  Create a budget for yourself, buy only what you actually “need,” and stick to your financial plan.

Mistake #3 – Not starting an emergency fund. Do not put this off, because you think you won’t need it.  Always plan for the unexpected.  What would happen if you lost your job or an emergency situation occurred – would you have enough in savings to pay rent, make car payments, or pay your bills?  Saving for that rainy day is extremely important.

Mistake #4 – Living on credit cards. Many 20 and 30-somethings play the dangerous game of living high on credit cards and emptying any savings they have from the previous month to pay for it. Credit cards can cause someone to live paycheck to paycheck and rack up enormous debt if you aren’t careful.  If you do need to use a credit card, try to use it sparingly and pay the bill each month.  Don’t live outside of your means.

Mistake #5 – Not setting financial goals. Stop to think about what you might like to do in five or ten years. Do you want to own a home? You might not be thinking about it right now, but should you get married and decide to purchase a home, don’t you want to have some savings from your working years to contribute? Be sure to save something (even if it’s not a huge amount), and set some financial goals for your future. Your future home may very well be the biggest purchase of your life, so it’s definitely important to start saving as soon as possible.

Mistake #6 – Trying to keep up with the Joneses. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have the funds or budget of your parents. They most likely have a different budget than you and it may very well have taken them over 30 years to accumulate what they have, and you probably aren’t at that point yet. Live within your means – and stick to a budget of what you can afford.

Mistake #7 – Not starting the habit of paying yourself first. Save first – save something, even if it’s a small amount, and then concentrate on your bills. When you simply pay only your bills and leave nothing for your savings, it will take a long time to catch up. Save AND pay your bills – you’ll stay ahead of the curve.

Mistake #8 - Owing too much in student loans without learning about career prospects. Be careful about what you choose as your major and the price tag of the college you select.  Will there be jobs available in your field when you graduate, to help you pay down those student loans?  For example – going to an Ivy League school and majoring in say, Philosophy – is that really practical?  What will you do with that degree after graduation, and how will you pay for it?

Mistake #9 – Going into debt for a wedding. With wedding costs skyrocketing, it makes sense to manage this event carefully. You don’t have to elope to cut costs; there are plenty of ways to have an awesome day for a fraction of the price. Try Pinterest, for starters.

Mistake #10 – Not carrying health insurance. The young feel invincible, but all it takes is one small accident to start the downward spiral of medical bills.  And we’re not talking a couple thousand – we’re talking potentially tens of thousands of dollars.  Be very careful of this one!

If you start out on the right foot in your 20s and early 30s – set and stick to a budget, save some money, and prepare for your future … you’ll be smooth sailing into your late 30s and beyond, and prepared for a rainy day and your future retirement.  Though you might not be thinking about all of this now, if you don’t prepare – when the time comes you’ll truly wish you had, and it will be difficult to catch up (if ever). 

However, if you’re reading this article in your late 30s and 40s and you’ve made some of the mistakes listed above – First Financial can help.  We encourage all our members to stop in and see us at least once a year to have an annual financial review with a financial representative.  If your credit score isn’t where it should be – take advantage of our First Score program, a low cost, interactive session ($30) with a First Financial expert, which simulates your credit score with various “what if” scenarios. You can email us at firstscore@firstffcu.com or call 866.750.0100, Option 4 to get started.  If you did get yourself into some debt – we have a free, anonymous online debt management tool called Debt in Focus, where in just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including powerful tips by leading financial experts to help you control your debt, build a budget, and start living the life you want to live.

Don’t forget to think first – and think savings!

Article Source by Suba Iyer: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/02/26/money-mistakes-to-avoid-in-your-20s/?intcmp=trending

We Asked, You Answered! Financial Advice from Our Staff & Members

DSCN0229The Jackson Memorial High School Reality Fair on January 8th was a huge success! With over 200 students in attendance, we were able to help better educate them on the financial decisions that even adults continue to struggle with on a daily basis. Prior to the Reality Fair, we asked First Financial employees as well as our members – to answer the following question:

“What is the most useful piece of financial advice you’ve received over the years or learned from experience, that you would like to provide to today’s young adults, and why?”

And since we received so many wonderful financial tips across the board – we’d love to share the advice with our readers!

  1. “Save a percentage of what you earn – 10% is wise. If you start young, it will give you enough for your post-retirement years. If you do not get into this habit from a young age, you will not have enough. This is very important!” Laura Stone (*$50 Visa Gift Card Member Contest Winner)
  2. “Math is one of the most important things you will use in the business world when it comes to balancing a checkbook, your savings and checking accounts, and eventually when buying a home. When you get credit cards always pay attention to the APR. As long as you understand these few items – you’ll be okay!” - Tanya Copeland
  3. “Learn and be comfortable with math for business. Know your numbers!” - Sarah J. Moore
  4. “The most useful piece of financial advice I’ve learned over the years is to use credit cards sparingly, and when you do – try to pay the entire bill at once instead of letting it spread out over months. This will keep you out of debt and living within your means.” - Odelind Lewis
  5. “Avoid opening multiple credit cards simply because you are old enough to obtain them. Debt adds up very quickly!” - Lisa Weltner 
  6. “Learn early how to separate needs from wants. Keep this in mind when planning for the future. In the end it’s not about what you make, it’s about what you spend!” - Shannan McMillan
  7. “Don’t let the desire to have the newest and fanciest stuff get the better of you and cause you to make poor choices.” - Jeff Van Zilen
  8. “Spend your money on what you need, not what you want!” - Jay Arya
  9. “Remember what you have learned from the Reality Fair. Several years from now, your fellow students who did not get to participate will look back and wish they had more fully understood the impact of the decisions they’ve made; you will not. You have been given invaluable insight into your future, remember it as you make your way.” - Rich Stubbs, Jr. 
  10. “Make a budget and stick to it every month! It helps a lot!” - Laura Wagner
  11. “Set the age at which you want to retire and start planning for retirement the day you start your first job. Why? So you can actually retire at that age and live comfortably.” - Janice Anderson

Thank you to everyone who submitted their financial advice, which will continue to help educate the young adults of our surrounding Monmouth and Ocean County communities!

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To view additional photos from the Jackson Memorial High School Reality Fair, visit our Facebook page.

14 Ways to Slash Your Expenses in the New Year

Cutting expensesWith the new year here, it’s time to get your financial house in order.

No matter what mistakes you made in 2013, you get a do-over in 2014. The beginning of the year is a great time to make changes that will boost your bottom line going forward. But before you can make a plan to save money, you have to find out where your money’s going. If you use an online budget tool or computer program to track your spending, run some reports and evaluate where your money went. If you don’t have any records, write down every penny you spend for a month.

Once you’ve got a record, do some analysis. The first question is whether your outgoing funds exceed your income. If you’ve got a mountain of credit card debt, and every month you spend more than you take in, you need to make some changes. Even if your expenses don’t exceed your income, drilling down into your spending may reveal places you can painlessly cut costs to have more money for retirement, a home down payment or an exotic vacation.

The best spending plan for you may not be the best plan for your neighbor. It’s more than just cutting out the morning latte, because that isn’t going to work for everyone, especially those who never buy lattes. For some people, cutting out the morning latte won’t make a dent. They may have to look at more painful cuts, such as moving to cheaper housing or choosing public rather than private schools for their children.

Here are 14 ways to slash expenses in the new year:

  1. Cook more at home. Anyone who can read can cook, and the Internet is full of websites with easy, healthy recipes – check out Pinterestwhere you can make your own “virtual cookbook” amongst many other things. And, to see Penny Smart’s favorite recipes and budgeting tips, follow First Financial on Pinterest at Pinterest.com/1stfinancialnj.
  2. Save on groceries by shopping store sales and using coupons. It’s true that a lot of coupons are for junk food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save with coupons, particularly on personal care and cleaning products. Store sales can provide even bigger savings. Many products go on sale every two, three or six months. Watch the sale cycles on products you use, and stock up when prices are lowest.
  3. Look for happy hours and restaurant deals. For many people, drinks and dinner with friends are a big part of socializing. If you don’t want to give that up but you want to spend less, find restaurants with 2-for-1 drinks and free or inexpensive appetizers and make those your dinner. Join restaurant email clubs to get coupons you can use to cut the price of restaurant meals.
  4. Call your cable TV and Internet provider and ask for a better deal. As more users abandon cable and more competitors get into the market, companies want to hang on to customers. That means they’re ready to make a deal. You’ll get the best deals from the customer retention department, which is where you’ll call to cancel. You could potentially save up to $50 a month!
  5. Investigate better cell phone plans. Many carriers are offering new no-contract and pay-as-you-go plans. If you find a plan you like, and your contract is up, ask your existing carrier if they will match the price or give you a better deal.
  6. Cancel your land line phone. Many people find they rarely make calls on their home phone. If you’re not using it, why are you paying for it? Ask about bundling your phone with your cable and Internet service –- but be warned that a cable phone won’t work in a power failure.
  7. Review your insurance costs. Call your insurance agent and make sure you’re getting all the discounts to which you’re entitled. Make sure your coverage fits your current circumstances. If your teenage driver moved out and got his or her own car, take them off your policy. You might also want to get quotes from other companies on auto or home insurance. That being said, this is an opportunity to take advantage of our partnership with Liberty Mutual Insurance where First Financial members can receive exclusive group savings on TruStage Home and Auto insurance. For more information or for a free, no-obligation quote, please contact our representative, Daniel Ressegiue at 732-308-3868 Ext. 50950 or Daniel.Ressegiue@LibertyMutual.com. * 
  8. Call your credit card companies and ask for lower rates. Or do balance transfers. If you get a good offer, call your existing company and see if it will match the new offer. If your credit is good and you make all your payments on time, you’re in a good position to negotiate. First Financial’s VISA Platinum Credit Card comes fully loaded with rates as low as 10.9%, no balance transfer fees, no annual fees, reward points for each purchase that are redeemable for travel, merchandise, and gift cards – plus so much more! Get started today by applying online.** 
  9. If you are in debt, make a plan to pay it off. Paying $200 a month in interest charges is a waste of money that would be better used toward retirement savings, your kids’ braces or a trip around the world. Some experts advise paying off the smallest balances first, although it is recommended to target those with the highest interest rates. Either way, start paying off those cards, one at a time. Make the minimum payments on all cards, but target one card at a time and make bigger payments so you can pay it off. When you’ve paid off one card, go to the next. Feel free to check out our free, anonymous debt management tool, Debt in Focus. In just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including powerful tips by leading financial experts to help you control your debt, build a budget, and start living the life you want to live.
  10. Look for a less expensive health club. Are you paying $75 a month for a gym membership you never use? Maybe you should cancel and take up walking, biking or hiking. Perhaps you can get a gym membership that’s equally good for half the price at a YMCA or community center. Shop around.
  11. Look at the fees associated with your bank account. If you don’t have free checking, ask your financial institution what you can do to get it. If your institution doesn’t offer free checking, find one that does. At First Financial, we offer an absolutely FREE Checking Account - no hidden charges and no minimum balances. You’ll also receive a free box of checks, unlimited check writing, a free instant issued Debit Card, free Online Banking and Bill Pay (as long as 3 bills are paid per month, or a $6 fee will apply)!***
  12. Don’t shop for recreation. If you’re not in the stores, you won’t be tempted to buy. That goes for yard sales and thrift shops, too.
  13. Be careful of online purchases. It’s easy to shop online in the wee hours of the morning, but that spending can add up. Unsubscribe from email alerts that urge you to spend. Get yourself off stores’ online mailing lists and restrict your online shopping to things you really need, when you need them.
  14. Make a budget and stick to it. Give yourself a realistic allowance for discretionary spending and don’t spend any more than that. You can learn how to save money and create a financial plan by joining us on 1/28 for our budgeting seminar, “Easy Steps to Organize Your Finances.” The event starts promptly at 6pm at our Howell branch. For details and registration, click here

Article by Teresa Mears of Daily Finance. Click here to view the original article.

*Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify.The descriptions of coverages are necessarily brief and are subject to policy provisions, limitations and exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. Discounts and coverages vary by state and are not available in all states. For a complete explanation of coverages, please consult a sales representative.**APR varies from 10.90% to 17.90% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. No Annual Fee. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Platinum Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.***A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the Bronze Tier. Click here to view full Rewards First program details, and here to view the Tier Level Comparison Chart. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program. 
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What’s the Worst Kind of Debt?

DEBT inscription bright green lettersWhat is the worst kind of debt to carry? Is it student loan debt, credit cards, a mortgage — or something else? Even the experts don’t always agree on which debt is “good debt” and which is “bad,” so imagine how confusing it can be to consumers who are dealing with debt!

Student Loan Debt

Why student loan debt is the worst: The loans are often given to young people with no credit experience and no clue how they will pay them back. Balances are often high, and the jobs borrowers counted on to make payments may be non-existent or take a really long time to acquire. Finally, unlike every other type of consumer debt, it is very difficult to discharge balances in bankruptcy.

And why it may not be: College graduates, on average, still earn significantly more over their lifetime than those without a college degree. In that sense, student loan debt can be considered an investment that pays off in future earning power. In addition, students may be able to defer payments on their student loans during times of economic hardship (usually at a cost), which makes them more flexible than other types of loans. In addition, borrowers may be eligible for reduced payments and loan forgiveness under the Income-Based Repayment Program or other loan forgiveness programs.

How does student debt affect credit scores? Large balances typically don’t hurt credit scores as long as the payments are made on time.

Looking to consolidate your student loans?  First Financial can help with our Student Loan Consolidation Product, cuGrad.  Get started today by clicking here.*

Credit Card Debt

Why credit card debt is the worst: With interest rates hovering around 15 percent on average — and more than 20 percent for some borrowers — credit card debt is often the most expensive kind of debt consumers carry. And with the low minimum monthly payments that issuers offer, cardholders can find themselves in debt for decades if they aren’t careful.

And why it may not be: While making minimum payments on credit cards is not a great idea over the long run, having that option can come in handy in a financial pinch. It can give cardholders time to get back on their feet without ruining their credit.

As far as credit scores are concerned, as long as cardholders keep balances low (usually below 10 to 20 percent of their available credit), and make minimum payments on time, credit card debt should not hurt credit scores. Bills

Transfer your high rate credit card balances to First Financial’s low rate Visa Platinum Credit Card with rewards, no annual fee, and no balance transfer fees!  Get started today.**

Mortgage Debt

Why mortgage debt is the worst: If you wonder how bad mortgage debt can be, just ask the owners of some $8.8 million homes that CoreLogic said had negative or near-negative equity as of the second quarter of 2013. That means those owners owe close to, or more than, what the property is worth. That also means they can’t sell those houses without shelling out money to pay off their mortgage or doing a short sale that damages their credit scores. Even for those who aren’t under water, rising taxes and/or insurance premiums, the cost of maintenance and loans that typically take 30 years to pay off can make one’s home feel like a financial prison at times.

And why it may not be: Over time, homeownership remains one of the key ways average Americans build wealth. If you are able to keep up with your home loan payments, eventually the home will be paid off and provide inexpensive housing or rental income. Equity that has built up can be accessed through a reverse mortgage or by selling the house, or it can be passed along to heirs — sometimes tax-free.

When it comes to credit scores, this type of loan will generally help, as long as payments are made on time. Even large mortgages shouldn’t depress credit scores, unless there are multiple mortgages with balances. That’s usually a problem that affects real estate investors however, not homeowners with one or two homes.

Refinance your mortgage with First Financial!  We’ve got a great 10 year fixed rate mortgage that might be perfect if you are looking to refinance. Click here to learn more.***

Tax Debt

Why tax debt is the worst: If you owe the Internal Revenue Service or your state taxing authority for taxes you can’t pay, you can suffer a variety of painful consequences. If a tax lien is filed, your credit scores will likely plummet. In addition, these government agencies usually have strong collection powers, including the ability to seize money in bank accounts or other property, or to intercept future tax refunds.

And why it may not be: The IRS offers repayment options that may allow a tax debt to be paid off over time at a fairly low rate. (Similar programs are available for state tax debt in many states). And unlike applying for a loan, you don’t have to have good credit to get approved for an installment agreement.

The good news when it comes to credit scores is that tax debt itself isn’t reported to credit reporting agencies; a tax lien is the only way that it may show up. By entering into an installment agreement, you may be able to get a tax lien removed from your credit reports, even before you’ve paid off what you owe.

Auto Loan Debt

Why auto debt is the worst: The average auto loan now lasts five and a half years, and some 12 percent last six to seven years, according to Edmunds.com. That means payments will last long after that new car smell has worn off and well into the years when maintenance and repair costs start creeping up. Even more troubling, these borrowers may be stuck if they need to sell their vehicles since they may be “upside down,” owing more than what they can sell their car or truck for.

And why it may not be: Many consumers budget for a car payment, and as long as they aren’t hit with unexpected expenses, they are able to make this payment a priority. In addition, borrowers may be able to refinance their auto loans and lower their monthly payments. Plus, cars often get people to work, where they can earn the money they need to pay off debt.

Vehicle loans that are paid on time can help credit scores, and are rarely a problem unless someone has several car loans outstanding at once or misses a payment.

If you’re thinking about refinancing your auto loan – look no further than First Financial!  We may be able to save you money each month on your current car payments by refinancing.  Ask us how much we might be able to save you today.****

The Worst Kind Of Debt

When it comes down to it, the worst type of debt is … (drumroll please), the one you can’t pay back on time. If that happens, your credit scores will suffer, your balances may grow larger due to fees and interest, and you may find yourself borrowing even more as you try to keep up with your payments.

Want an anonymous, online tool to help you get your debt in check?  Try Debt in Focus – our free and anonymous online debt management tool. In just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including powerful tips by leading financial experts to help you control your debt, build a budget, and start living the life you want to live.

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/creditcom/whats-the-worst-kind-of-d_b_4220046.html

*The cuGrad Private Student Loan Consolidation is available to borrowers who are carrying private student loan debt. Federal student loans cannot be consolidated with the cuGrad Private Student Loan Consolidation. If you are seeking a federal student loan consolidation, you can learn more details about the process here: http://www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov/   

**APR varies from 7.90% to 17.99% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. No Annual Fee. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Platinum Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

***APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Subject to credit approval.  Credit worthiness determines your APR. Available on primary residence only. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a mortgage and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. Equal Housing Lender.

****APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.