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.

Tips for Buying a Home in the Current Housing Market

If you are currently in the market for a home, you are probably well aware that the nationwide housing inventory is at a record low, and the shortage is causing a problem for many prospective buyers. The current market can even create problems for sellers, because sellers still need to live somewhere after they sell their home. Between bidding wars, cash purchases, and low available inventory – here are a few strategies to help you navigate the current housing market.

Know where you stand. Being aware of your credit score, borrowing power, and housing budget is the key to security in today’s market. Sit down with your lender, financial planner, or real estate agent to talk about realistically, what can you afford. It’s especially important to know exactly how high you can go in a bidding war, because homes are often selling above value and at record speed.

Get expert advice. A real estate agent familiar with the current housing market conditions can advise you when homes you’re looking at are priced too high, and provide tips and leads you normally wouldn’t be able to get on your own. Agents who are familiar with your target neighborhood may know of possible pocket listings too – homeowners who may want to sell without putting their house on the market. In these instances, you may be able to get a home before the competition ever finds out.

Be first in line. The competition is definitely heating up these days. If you want a home badly enough, you’ll have to be ready to put in an offer as soon as the home is listed. Even if the seller decides to let the public bid on their home, if you’re prepared – you’ll get a chance to tour the home as soon as it’s listed if your buyer’s agent is active in the local area, and be one of the first bids in.

Get pre-qualified by your lender before you shop. Having pre-qualification paperwork to present when you place your offer is impressive to a seller and will get you a step ahead of the process in normal market conditions. In today’s market, having proof that you can afford the home you are bidding on is the bare minimum. Right now being pre-approved for a certain amount is very important in terms of competing offers. You’ll also want to be sure you can provide proof of where the down payment is coming from too.

Show that you want it, but don’t get too caught up in a bidding war. It’s tempting to keep placing higher counter offers if you’re outbid on a house that you love, but don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Stick to your budget and it’s okay to bow out if bids increase drastically above value. You can also send a letter to the owner as well. This tactic frequently works. Sellers are often emotionally attached to their homes and memories they’ve made in it, so it may help your offer get selected by letting them know just how much the home would mean to you and your family.

In the end, you may just have to be patient and try not to get discouraged. You don’t want to get stuck with a mortgage you can’t afford either, and eventually – the housing market will normalize again. When that does happen, you’ll be happy you held out for a home you could comfortably afford.

When you’re ready to take that leap – come talk to First Financial. Take advantage of our great mortgage and refinance rates, easy application process, and we’ll help you get pre-qualified before you shop.* Give our lenders a call, they’ll be happy to answer your questions with no commitment required!

*Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history and are for qualified borrowers. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. Higher rates may apply depending on terms of loan and credit worthiness. Available on primary residence only. The Interest Rates, Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and fees are based on current market rates, are for informational purposes only. Mortgage insurance may be required depending on loan guidelines. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. If mortgage insurance is required, the mortgage insurance premium could increase the APR and the monthly mortgage payment. See Credit Union for details. 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.

Article Source: Moneyning.com

Spring 2021 Newsletter

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, and we hope all our members are staying safe and healthy as we enjoy the Spring Season. Below is a digital copy of our Spring 2021 Quarterly Member Newsletter!

In a continued effort to go green, we’re publishing our newsletter electronically – it can also be found on our website, and social media sites. Paper copies will be available in our branches.

The Spring Newsletter features the following articles:

 To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.

Happy Spring!

4 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Mother’s Day is this upcoming weekend (Happy Mother’s Day to all our First Scoop reading Moms!), and in thinking about this important holiday and all you’ve taught your children in life up to this point – here are a few significant pointers you can teach them about their future finances.

  1. Let your kids earn some money. It’s rather difficult to teach your children about money if they don’t physically have any. Though just giving it to them without explaining the value of earning money based on hard work, won’t teach them anything either. Instead, give them some responsibilities around the house (taking out or walking the dog, age appropriate chores, etc.) and provide them with a weekly or bi-weekly allowance so they will know that money needs to be earned through consistent work.
  2. Teach your kids to save money. If your kids just spend their allowance on whatever they want, whenever they want – this isn’t helping them or teaching them about the importance of savings. Talk to your children about saving for a rainy day, retirement savings, and compound interest. You can even try setting savings goals for your kids and reward them for saving by giving them a little bit extra when they meet the goal.
  3. Allow your kids to spend some money too. Instead of just buying your children whatever they ask for, teach them the significance of making responsible purchases and to really think about their purchase before buying something. This will show them that they can get an item of their choice, but in order to do so they are also learning about saving, budgeting, and spending money too.
  4. Show your kids it’s okay to be frugal. One of the most important lessons you can instill in your children is the value of saving their money for things that really matter. Teach them to comparison shop, use coupons whenever possible, and not to buy things for the sake of just buying something.

The best way to teach your children to be financially responsible is to be an example for them. Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about your own personal money experiences too!

Article Source: CUInsight.com

Here’s How Much You Should Have Saved for Retirement by Your 30’s

Start saving for retirement while you’re young. It’s easier said than done when you are just starting out, especially if you have student loan payments taking a huge percentage of your paycheck.

First, let’s determine how much you should have saved for retirement by the time you reach the end of your 30’s. Retirement plan provider Fidelity recommends having the equivalent of your salary saved by the time you’re in your 30’s. In other words, if your annual salary is $50,000, your goal should be to have the same amount in retirement savings by the end of that decade of your life.

How do your savings stack up against others your age? The average 401(k) balance for individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 is $50,800, according to data from Fidelity for the fourth quarter of 2020. However, the average employee contribution rate for Americans in this age group is only 8.3%.

One easy way to kick start your retirement savings is by taking advantage of any retirement matching program your employer offers. Those matching funds from your employer can add up fast and help you get closer to your savings goals. Not sure if your employer offers a program like this? If you don’t ask, you could be missing out on a huge benefit to you. Find out the details from your Human Resources Department if you are unsure.

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

Stop in or call to make an appointment with 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.

Will Another Stimulus Payment Go Out?

A group of lawmakers has called for a fourth round of stimulus checks, just as the final payments from the third round are starting to hit accounts and mailboxes.

About a month ago, a few U.S. Senators wrote a letter asking the president to consider both recurring direct payments as well as automatic unemployment insurance extensions – as part of the Build Back Better Economic Plan.

Also known as the American Jobs Plan, the bill doesn’t yet mention a fourth stimulus check – similar to those millions have received throughout the pandemic. Rather, it’s a long-term initiative to rescue, recover, and rebuild the country’s financial standing.

In short, the president has not indicated publicly that there will be a fourth stimulus payment, rather – the current focus has been on passing the Build Back Better Plan that aims to improve transportation infrastructure and affordable housing, among other things.

Didn’t receive a third stimulus payment?

Check your eligibility at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Third economic impact payments did differ from the first two payments under the Trump Administration. Here’s what was different and why you may not have received a third payment:

  • Income phaseout amounts changed. Payments to be reduced for individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 (or $150,000 if married filing jointly). The reduced payments end at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples filing jointly. Those above these levels will not receive any payment.
  • Payment amounts are different. Most families will get $1,400 per person, including all dependents claimed on their tax return. Typically, this means a single person with no dependents would get $1,400, while married filers with two dependents would get $5,600. 
  • Qualifying dependents expanded. Unlike the first two payments, the third payment is not restricted to children under 17. Eligible individuals will get a payment based on all of their qualifying dependents claimed on their return, including older relatives like college students, adults with disabilities, parents, and grandparents.

For additional information or questions, visit irs.gov

Article Source: irs.gov