5 Money Subjects You Need to Talk About Before Tying the Knot

Bursting the love bubble by sitting down and having a serious talk about finances is never fun, but open communication about money is a good idea in any relationship.

Since it’s wedding season, those thinking of tying the knot should have a serious discussion about money at some point, preferably before you move in together or actually get married. Even if there are no plans to combine finances completely, it’s still good to clear the air and see if you and your future spouse are on the same page.

Here are five things to talk about before moving forward:

1. Debt

One of the biggest things you need to talk about is debt. Get it out there. Even if you won’t be sharing finances, one person’s debt can have a profound impact on household finances. If you want to buy a home together or if you want to do other things, someone’s obligations can hold you back as a couple.

Have an honest talk about your debt levels, and see if you can make a plan to pay down the debt. Even if you don’t share finances, the partner without the debt is going to have to be supportive until the debt is paid off.

2. Credit

Credit goes along with debt, but it isn’t exactly the same thing. While it’s not vital that your partner have a perfect credit score, it is a good idea to see where you both stand, and be honest about the situation.

At some point, if you decide to get a joint loan together (for a car, wedding, or a home), both of your credit scores will matter. Talk about it so you know what you need to do together. If one of you has a poor score, you might have to wait a little longer before you accomplish some of your loan goals.

3. Money Philosophy

This is a bigger deal than you might think. It’s a good idea to know whether or not you have the same money values before you take that next step. Spenders and savers need to be able to come up with a plan to compromise. If you like spending your money on lots of books, and your partner prefers movies, you might need to come up with a plan to make sure you both get what you want at least some of the time.

4. How to Handle Kids and Money

If you think you’ll have kids together (and that’s another conversation you need to have before taking things to the next level), you need to talk about how you’ll handle kids and money.

Do you want to save up for college for them? How will you handle allowance? Extracurricular activities?

These are big questions you need to tackle together so you are on the same page. It’s vital to know early on so that you aren’t unpleasantly surprised later.

5. Retirement

Chances are, you both want to save for retirement. But do you have a shared vision for what that looks like? Before you commit to a long-term, life partner relationship, make sure you talk about how you want to handle retirement. It can be tough if one of you expects to sit at home most of the time, and maybe play golf a couple times a week, while the other wants to sell the house and everything in it to travel the world.

In the end, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page so that all your money goals are being reached together. Take the time to have a discussion now, so there are fewer surprises later.

Article Source: Miranda Marquit for moneyning.com

3 Ways to Stay Out of Debt

Your student loans are paid off, and you finally got rid of that credit card debt. It’s a great feeling to be debt free, and it only feels better when you’ve stayed that way for a while. Going forward, here are three things to be mindful of if you don’t want to slip back into debt.

Be ready for the unexpected: A car wreck could happen in an instant and you could be responsible for car repairs or medical bills. If you’re not prepared with an emergency fund, you might have to put those payments on credit, and then you’ll be right back where you started. Make sure you start saving a little bit every month, so when those unexpected bills happen – you’ll be ready.

Stick to your lists: Always make a list before you go shopping. If you like shopping with your credit card (credit rewards or cash back can be great), make sure you buy only what you intended to. A few extra bucks here and there can cause you to go over budget, and even leaving a small balance on your credit card can get you in trouble over time.

Take a long look at your subscriptions: Whether it’s a gym membership, a streaming service, magazines, or whatever else, make sure you’re really getting value out of any recurring purchase that you’re subscribed to. If you haven’t been to the gym in the last couple years, it’s probably time to stop giving them your money – even if it’s only twenty dollars a month.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

Do 0% Interest Credit Cards Have a Dark Side?

If credit card interest payments were merely a matter of mathematics, 0% interest would be a no-brainer. Given a choice between paying interest or not paying interest, of course nobody would choose to pay, would they? Common sense says paying ZERO dollars in interest is the best possible way to borrow money. So, why should you think twice before agreeing to a 0% interest credit card or balance transfer promotion? Two words: Fine. Print.

All that glitters is not gold.

There’s a marketing proverb that says, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” And make no mistake, 0% offers are most definitely sizzle! If utilized properly, these promotions can save you money. But if you don’t pay close attention to the details found in the fine print of cardholder agreements, those offers could wind up costing you more than you wanted to pay (which is sadly, often the case). With so many credit card companies offering 0% interest cards and balance transfer promotions, it’s difficult to compile an exhaustive list of potential pitfalls. So, rather than trying to cover all the caveats, let’s focus on the features that, if ignored – could quickly take the shine off any promotional offer.

  • Transfer fees.
    In many instances, transferring a balance from one credit card to another involves a fee (usually ranging from 3-5% of the balance). Depending on the amount you transfer, this additional fee could significantly lessen your overall savings. Not every balance transfer promotion includes a fee, so do your research before you accept an offer. It’s never fun to discover unexpected fees after you’ve already committed to an offer’s terms and conditions.
  • Steep interest charges after the introductory period ends.
    0% interest is a good thing. But unfortunately, the adage is true. All good things must come to an end. Most of these promotions include a limited-time introductory period of 0%, after which, the remaining balance will begin accruing interest—often at a high rate. If you plan to pay off your entire balance during the introductory period, the transfer can be a huge benefit. However, if you’re planning to carry the balance forward (or if you forget to pay your balance off before the 0% ends), it’s best to know when the interest charges will start and how much they will be. Once again, reading that cardholder agreement and fine print is key. After the 0% introductory period ends, some of these credit cards can have an APR of nearly 30% – and if your balance isn’t paid off by this time, you could be charged that insanely high interest rate for not only what you have left to pay off, but what you transferred over in full in the first place. We can’t say it enough: before you open a 0% interest credit card, be sure you understand the terms and conditions in full.
  • Higher interest rates on new purchases.
    Be careful. The 0% interest rate on your transferred balance also rarely applies to new purchases. The major credit card companies are in business to make money, and interest charges are their primary source of revenue. By charging a higher interest rate on new purchases, credit card companies can offset the interest they’re missing over the course of promotional introductory period. So, before you start racking up charges above and beyond the balance you transfer, take time to know exactly how much interest you’ll be paying.

First Financial’s Visa Credit Cards offer benefits that include higher credit lines, lower APRs, no annual fees, no balance transfer fees, a 10-day grace period, rewards (cash back or on travel & retailer gift cards), an EMV security chip, and more!*

Click here to learn about our credit card options and apply online today.

*APR varies from 12.15% to 18% for the Visa Platinum Card and from 14.15% to 18% for the Visa Signature and Secured Cards when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. These APRs are for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. No Annual Fees. 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 Credit Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. No late fee will be charged if payment is received within 10 days from the payment due date.

5 Tips for Homebuyers in a Seller’s Market

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean buyers can’t get their dream home. It may just take a mix of pre-planning, patience, and timing.

Here are few ways buyers can fast track their way into a new home:

Have your own real estate agent.

It may be tempting to think you can get a better deal working with the listing agent. That’s not necessarily true. Neutrality among listing agents means they can’t help one side over the other. So who is there to help you?

Set a realistic budget.

When you set a budget, make sure you include more expenses than just the monthly mortgage payment, down payment, and closing costs. Have you planned for utilities, insurance, Homeowner’s Association fees, lawn care, pest control, and more? Can you still fund your emergency savings account, college for the kids, and retirement?

Figure out what you want vs. need.

Do you want to be in a specific school district? Do you need a big backyard? It may mean compromising on other home wants such as hardwood floors or stainless steel appliances, which could be addressed later. What are you willing to compromise on? Having a clear idea will help in the homebuying process.

Get preapproved.

Want to show sellers you are a serious, qualified buyer? Take the extra step to be preapproved. A preapproval letter shows a buyer’s creditworthiness and ability to get a loan by the lender. But don’t stop there. Once preapproved, buyers should shop around to find the best deal. Don’t be afraid to review the different offers and negotiate with lenders to get the one that works with your budget.

Make a fair bid.

When there is a shortage of inventory, don’t miss out on your dream home because you failed to make a strong opening offer. If you find a home you love in the right location and price range, don’t wait to make an offer or try to lowball sellers. Buyers should be ready to submit a fair offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

Looking to buy a home in the Monmouth or Ocean County area? You saw our last two short financial solutions videos on the benefits of a First Financial mortgage and how First Financial works with our members’ lending needs, now check out video #3: personalized service. If you have questions about the mortgage process or don’t know how to get started, we are here for you. Contact the Loan Department at 732-312-1500, Option 4 or learn more about First Financial mortgages on our website.

*Subject to credit approval. 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 in New Jersey. See Credit Union for details. Federally insured by NCUA.

 Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for financialfeed.com


5 Inexpensive Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

Kids can be expensive. During the school year, everything from dance shoes to field trips, can feel like it costs an arm and a leg. Once school is out, your kids can sometimes be more expensive. If you’re looking to be frugal and still have fun, here are a few ways you can save and keep your kids busy this summer.

Throw backyard movie nights: Have a big TV or a projector? Add some cool yard lights and some blankets or patio furniture, and you’ll be ready to host every kid on the cul-de-sac. Or hold a family movie night outdoors, just yourselves.

Check out museums: Growing up, the word “museum” always seemed boring. But the museums they have now are far from dull! If your town doesn’t currently have one, here are some great options that may be within driving distance.

Cook something up: When the summer is heat is blazing, it’s always great to have things to do indoors. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to cook. Have them help prepare fun lunches and dinners, and one of these days you may be able to take a few shifts off from chef duty. Start with baking and you’ll be guaranteed to have some delicious treats around this summer.

Go to the park: Every town has a public park, and most of them have lots of things to do. There are also National Parks all over the country that can be educational and provide some exercise as well.

Head to the pool: A lot of neighborhoods have pools and if yours doesn’t, you probably know a friend or relative who does. Taking the kids swimming is a great way to allow your kids to burn off some energy, and also give you the chance to soak up some sun and relax.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this June 2018

You can smell the freshness in the air, the warmth of the sun, and the grass between your toes – it’s almost summer! This is best time of year to indulge in fun activities and take local day trips with family and friends. Check out these free or inexpensive activities and events below to start your next adventure. And, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17th so don’t forget to appreciate Dad too!

June 2: Giant Spring Flea Market in Ocean Grove from 9am-4pm. Free admission to the event, which includes over 300 vendors selling new, used, and antique items. The event will be held rain or shine. Learn more at http://www.oceangrovenj.com/ or call 732-774-1391.

June 2 & 3: Annual Giant Yard Sale in Brick from 8am-2pm. The Brick Township Historical Society will sponsor its Annual Giant Yard Sale featuring a great variety of merchandise including household goods, toys, costume jewelry and much more. There will be a NJ licensed gold/silver dealer to buy jewelry, silverware, etc.  Also, there will a bake sale and specials in the Lizzie Herbert Gift Shop on Herbertsville Road. Go to https://bricktownshiphistoricalsociety.com/ or call 732-785-2500 for more information.

June 4: Jersey Shore Partnership Summer Celebration at Ft. Hancock, Sandy Hook from 5:30-9pm. Enjoy a culinary feast provided by Jersey Shore restaurateurs and entertainment by Brian Kirk and the Jerks. The event supports educational fundraising efforts. For details call 732-330-4443 or go online and visit http://www.jerseyshorepartnership.com/

June 9: Spring Lake Downtown Irish Festival from 12-5pm. The Irish Festival will feature many family friendly events perfect for a springtime stroll through downtown Spring Lake at 3rd and Morris Avenues. Expect live music, Irish step dancing, food, kids activities and shopping. Call 732-449-0577 or visit http://www.springlake.org/irishfestival

June 16: Atlantic Highlands Classic Car Show from 10am-4pm. The annual car show takes place along First Avenue and features classic cars, vendors, live music, and street food. Click here for more information or call 732-872-8711.

June 16 & 17: Dads and Grads Food Truck Event at Laurita Winery in New Egypt, begins at 11am both days. Bring your dads and grads and come celebrate at a super fun food truck festival at Laurita Winery! Cost is $8 at door and those under 21 are FREE. Discounted tickets online or call 609-758-8000. All information is available online at www.LauritaWinery.com

June 17: Bands by the Beach at West End Park in Long Branch at 7pm.  Don’t miss this Sunday night music series featuring local bands on Brighton Avenue. Call 732-222-7000 ext. 5447 or go to https://www.visitlongbranch.com/ for details.

Father’s Day at Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach in Seaside Heights all day on June 17th! Bring your dad to Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach for Father’s Day. Dads Ride or Slide FREE with a paying child (excludes Go-Karts, SkyCoaster, Sky Ride & Skyscraper). Will receive free ride wristband or free waterpark wristband at sales booths. Call 732-793-6488 or go to https://casinopiernj.com/promotions-events/

June 23 & 24: Bradley Beach Lobster Festival begins at 11am each day. This is the 8th annual festival, don’t miss great food, crafts, and vendors. Enjoy the beach, boardwalk and local businesses.  Call 732-869-1020 or go to http://www.bradleybeachnj.org/

June 28: Garden Tour of Manasquan from 9am-2pm. See 10 beautiful Manasquan gardens this summer. Tickets are available for pre-sale at White Bliss, Painted Daisy, or Bouquets to Remember. Day of Tour tickets will be on sale at the Gazebo at Hancock Park, Squan Plaza. Rain date is June 29. Call 732-223-1819 for more information about the tour.

June 29: Touch a Truck Day at Jakes Branch Park in Beachwood from 10am-4pm. Kids will be able to get behind the wheel, climb and explore all manners of trucks! Dump trucks, fire trucks, steam rollers, bull dozers, police cars, and many more. Crafts for kids – bring a white t-shirt to paint! Snack truck on site as well. Cost  is FREE. Call 732-281-2750 or go to http://www.oceancountyparks.org

June 30: Manchester Day on Lake Road in Whiting at 2pm. Free children’s rides, games, contests, prizes, fireworks, DJ, entertainment, music by Time Machine and WJRZ, food, free swimming for the day. Rain date is July 1st. Go to www.manchestertwp.com or call 732-657-8121 ext 5103.