How to Get a Loan if You are Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, it may be a little harder to qualify for a loan based on other borrowers who can easily furnish a W-2 form. Keep reading to find out how you can still qualify for a loan when you’re self-employed.

Check Your Credit Rating

Your credit history is probably one of the most important factors in qualifying you for a loan. Your credit score is used by lenders to gauge how and if you’ll be able to repay the loan. So if your credit isn’t that great, getting a loan could be extremely difficult – or if you do, you may be paying a great deal more in interest for the loan you’re seeking.

If your credit score isn’t in the higher 600s or above – your best bet may to be to wait before applying, and continue to build your score. You can increase your credit score by paying bills on time, rectify any past due payments, and keep all your lines of credit open.

Need to know your credit score? Visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action and be sure to check your credit report for errors too. Errors on your credit report can also affect your score, so you’ll want to make sure you review the report in detail to ensure all open lines of credit are truly yours, and that all charges and loan payments are legitimately yours.

Compile the Necessary Documents

Due to the fact that you are self-employed, more than likely your lender is going to ask you for more documents in order for you to qualify for a loan. Here are the most frequently asked for documents, that you’ll want to get organized for at least the last 2 years before you apply:

  • Bank statements
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Tax statements (Your 2 most recent tax returns, schedules and transcripts)
  • 1099 forms

Get Prequalified

Many lenders will prequalify you for a loan first before you actually need to apply. If this is an option you might be interested in, reach out to your lender and ask what might be needed in order to issue a prequalification (where you’d find out the amount you’d be approved for and the loan terms).

Decide About Applying

If you’re happy with your lender’s terms and rate, you’re now ready to apply for the loan. Or if you’ve been researching several different lenders to compare the loan rate that you’d be offered, decide which one you’d like to apply with.

Lenders will typically offer online applications, or you may be able to call and apply over the phone or in person. This is where all the documents from above will come in handy. You’ll be asked detailed questions about your business income and finances. Having everything ready to go in advance will streamline the process.

Await Loan Approval and Funding

Once your loan application is fully submitted and complete, your lender will review your documentation and let you know if you were approved for the loan. Once your loan is approved, the funds will be deposited into your account and you’ll be able to continue to improve your credit rating, finance a large purchase, or fund your business needs.

At First Financial, we understand that not every business is the same – therefore not every loan is going to be the same. We pride ourselves in personalized service and reasonable timelines, keeping your business in mind. Email us at business@firstffcu.com and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information on loans for your business. Or, if you’re self-employed and looking for a consumer loan for personal use – check out the Loan Source page on our website. We have various consumer loans too!

A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

Article Source: CUInsight.com

3 Reasons Not to Pay Off Your Loan Early

You may hear acclaimed financial experts talk about the benefits of paying off your loan early, and what they say is right…mostly. However, are there circumstances when paying a loan off early could be more hurtful than helpful?

Let’s take a look.

While paying loans off early can have some benefits like freedom from debt and money saved in interest, there are times when paying a loan off early isn’t to your benefit.

Here are three instances when it benefits you to keep a loan and put your extra funds somewhere else:

1. You waited too long. Maybe paying off your loan early would have been a good idea … years ago. Some loans (your mortgage for example) have you paying the largest chunk of the interest in the early years of the loan. If you’re many years into your mortgage, while you might choose to pay off the loan a little early – you’re not really going to see the great financial benefits of paying extra each month toward the end of the loan.

2. You’re not financially prepared. Paying off debt should not come at the expense of larger goals – such as saving for retirement, making investments, or funding college for your kids. Even more important is growing (or replenishing) your emergency savings. Too often people pay off debt, only to have an unexpected expense come up soon after and have to take out another loan to cover those expenses.

3. You could be penalized. If your loan is subject to pre-payment penalties, you’ll be charged a fee if you pay it off early. Not all loans come with pre-payment penalties and even if yours does, the penalties vary depending on the loan and the lender. Be sure to check your loan documents and terms to make sure that the loan you want to pay off is not subject to pre-payment penalties first.

Wondering if paying off your loans is the best use of your money? Just ask! We’ll be happy to review your credit report, help you do the math, and layout the options that will most benefit you.

How to Shape Your Finances in a New Year

This is a good time to make sure your accounts are ready for whatever may come your way in these unprecedented times. Here are a few ways you can make sure your finances are in decent shape as we begin 2021.

Stop acting on impulse: Think about your spending habits. Do you make impulse buys whenever you want? No matter how big or small, impulse purchases can lead to trouble. If you have several entertainment subscriptions, do you know which ones you’d cut if your budget suddenly needed to be tightened? If last year taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Save as much money as you can, don’t overspend on unnecessary things, and try to keep a tight reign on your budget each month.

Know how to use a credit card: Enjoying the use of a credit card can be risky if not properly managed. Even if you find it easy to pay off your purchases each month and you love earning credit card rewards, what will you do if your financial situation takes an unexpected turn or you lose your job? Don’t spend above your means, and try to always pay your credit card bill off each month so you’re not racking up debt plus interest.

Look ahead to your future: Have you saved enough to enjoy retirement one day? Are you going to be able to leave something to your loved ones? There are often a lot of questions when it comes to your financial future and retirement. Even if you don’t have a child to be your beneficiary, most people are living longer than ever these days and you’ll want to make sure you don’t outlive your savings. If you haven’t checked in with your financial advisor lately, use the unpredictability of last year as an excuse to at least have a quick conversation with them.

Did you know First Financial has an Investment and Retirement Center which offers complimentary retirement consultations to our members?*

Contact one of our Financial Advisors today!

*Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free 800-369-2862. Non-deposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America.

Article Source: CUInsight.com

5 Ways to Financially Thrive in the New Year

The time for “New year, new me” resolutions is here, and we’ve got five (actually attainable) resolutions that you’ll want to keep up with all year long. Read on to find out five ways to make 2021 a financially great year.

Learn a new (financial) language. Does listening to financial talk sometimes feel like hearing a foreign language? Instead of simply nodding along, make a resolution to improve your financial literacy this year. Finally learn the ins-and-outs of money management. There are plenty of resources online that can help you decode the definitions behind personal finance terms. You can even make a Quizlet to help you commit the terminology to memory! If you’re worried about finding the time to teach yourself this new language, try incorporating some financial podcasts into your weekly routine. By listening to financial podcasts, you can improve your finance skills while still going about your daily tasks. It’s a great way to get stuff done and get a better idea of what is going on in your wallet and bank account.

Clear out the clutter. Recurring payments can be a great time saver, but they can also get out of hand very easily. Sit down and comb through your recurring payments so you can know exactly where your money is going and when it’s being taken. Take an especially close look at your monthly subscriptions. How many television streaming services are you subscribed to? Music streaming services? There are countless entertainment streaming platforms out there, but you don’t need to subscribe to all of them. Make a list of your entertainment subscriptions and figure out which ones you actually use and which ones are just cluttering up your monthly or annual payments. This applies to paid store memberships, too — if you don’t shop at that discount warehouse much anymore, don’t forget to cancel the membership card before you get charged for the new year’s renewal!

Get creative. Don’t let yourself feel trapped by the status-quo of savings, there are many ways to get creative with your finances. Need some extra money for tighter areas in your budget but don’t know how where to get it? Look into refinancing your existing Auto Loan from another lender with us! With our low rates, your monthly payment will be more manageable, which means you’ll have more money in your pocket, ready to put to good use.*

Making the switch from a high-interest rate credit card to one of our lower-rate cards could also decrease the amount of money you’re spending per term, freeing up funds to put elsewhere.** There are so many avenues you can take to save money. Get in touch with our Loan Department, and we’ll help you get creative in finding them!

Take up a new (money-saving) hobby. Trying a new hobby can help improve one’s mood and daily motivation, but don’t forget that it could also help your wallet! Want to try improving your culinary skills? Great! Ditch the costly take-out meals and door deliveries, and resolve to cook meals at home. Halting the high delivery costs, taxes, and tips (or gas money for drive-thru and pick-up options) will drastically cut down your monthly expenses, giving you more money to spare. You could also pick up a new hobby that could help increase your income. The internet has given us a wealth of resources when it comes to finding freelance work. Skilled at editing? Explore the world of freelance editing for supplemental income. Got an artistic side? Look into starting up an online shop to sell your handmade goods on sites like Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. The options are exciting and endless (and will provide you with some supplemental income)!

Plan it out! Most people shudder at the word “budget.” It’s never fun to sit down and decide what you can’t spend money on. Instead, why not give yourself the freedom to choose what you can spend money on? This tactic for approaching money management is called a “spending plan,” and it’s a lot less intimidating than a budget. A spending plan gives you a lot more flexibility in your finances while still keeping you focused on covering your monthly essentials.

The process of determining your “non-negotiable” expenses is mainly the same as a budget: you have rent, electric, water, internet, groceries, emergency funds, etc. The difference begins when you determine your flexible categories. For example, entertainment, personal shopping, dining out, date nights, and more. A spending plan gives you the freedom to set ballpark amounts for these categories without restricting you too harshly. As long as you have your monthly non-negotiables covered, how you distribute money from month to month in your other categories doesn’t matter as much. A budget is far more restrictive, which can put you in a panicked mindset of “money is always tight, I have no wiggle room,” whereas, a spending plan gives you the control to say “I have the room to spend a little extra here this month.” Start 2021 establishing a spending plan and giving yourself the freedom to choose where your money should go and how you want to spend it!

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. First Financial FCU maintains the right to not extend credit, after you respond, if we determine you do not meet our guidelines for creditworthiness. Current loans financed with First Financial FCU are not eligible for review or refinance.

**APR varies up to 18% 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.

The Latte Factor: One Way to Get Your Finances on Track in 2021

How often do you find yourself saying, “I can’t afford that!” Whether it’s about an unplanned expense or something that you want to buy. David Bach, author of The Latte Factor, says that’s usually just a lie we tell ourselves.

In his book, The Latte Factor, Bach lays out several key points that can be summed up as: Small amounts of money spent on a regular basis costs us far more than we can imagine.

The Latte Factor came about after a class Bach had taught some years ago. One of his students said she couldn’t afford to save, but she was drinking a latte at the time (and almost every day in his class). He ran the numbers and showed her that if she skipped the latte, she would save $5 a day. What does $5 a day mean to you? Let’s do the math. $5 a day is $150 per month. Would you like to save an extra $150 per month? What’s the value of $150 per month saved in 10 years from now? That’s $1,800 a year saved and $18,000 in 10 years from the Latte Factor alone. Over 25 years, five dollars a day will net you almost $50,000. It’s amazing how such a small difference each day can make a huge impact over time.

As you head into the new year, vow to stop saying “I can’t afford that!” and take a second look at your finances. You don’t have to starve yourself of enjoying everything that life has to offer. Instead, pick one thing you know you spend money on that you might be able to do without. Is it your morning latte, eating out for lunch every day, subscription service, etc.?

If you want to get serious about getting your finances in order this year, here are two recommendations:

  1. Buy The Latte Factor and read about how Zoey turned her morning latte into the words “I CAN afford this.” It’s a quick read and it’s really eye opening!
  2. Take a look at your current debt. Instead of making multiple payments on multiple loans, have you thought about consolidating those payments into one lower monthly payment? You may even get a lower interest rate that will minimize the amount of interest you’re paying.

Apply for a First Financial Consolidation Loan online, or contact us to see if we can help you get started in getting your finances in order this year.*

Happy New Year and Keep Thinking First!

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Actual rate will vary based on creditworthiness and loan term. Subject to credit approval. A First Financial Federal Credit Union membership is required to obtain a Personal Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers 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/loan.

Could Your Budget Handle a Decrease in Income?

One of the most difficult situations to deal with is a decrease in income, especially if you are like many Americans of late – living paycheck to paycheck. Many of us base our lifestyle around and live right up to the limit of what our income can afford us to purchase. Living this way can really hinder your budget no matter how much you bring in.

However, spending above our means and not sticking to a budget can really be a problem – because what happens if life throws out a curveball? This unfortunate instance happened to many Americans this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few ways to make sure you are financially prepared should you ever experience an unexpected income drop.

The Importance of a Variety of Income Sources

One of the best ways to handle a potential loss of income is to build up income from various sources, if possible. This can be important so that you aren’t relying on one source of income for everything.

If you don’t make as much as you’d like in your daily 9 to 5, starting a side business or part-time job in order to be able to fall back on additional income can be a help. Try to consistently save some of your extra income when times are good so that you are prepared the next time a crisis happens.

What Can You Cut from Your Budget?

It’s important to know which items you would cut in a pinch from your budget if you had to. It’s also good practice to plan ahead of time and figure out where you could cut back if you ever needed to.

Look at your spending patterns, and figure out what is most important. Items such as groceries and bills are necessities, and will need to be managed even if you are making less. However, dining out and added services such as cable can always be temporarily cut from your budget if you needed to.

Review what you spend money on currently and start to get prepared. You could even think about cutting back on some of that spending now, and put it aside in your emergency savings fund to be ready for a rainy day.

Do You Have an Emergency Fund?

This is one of the most important savings accounts to ever have. An emergency fund’s purpose is to be a safety net in the event that your income takes a cut, and you no longer have enough money to meet your current financial obligations. When you have somewhat of a buffer saved in the bank, you’ll feel better prepared and less stressed should you experience any sort of financial emergency. Continue to save what you can and keep putting it away into your emergency savings account – every little bit helps!

Article Source: Moneyning.com