If you have been thinking about buying a house, it’s never too early to start saving. Most home sales require 20% of the purchase price as a down payment, or substantially less if you are a first-time homebuyer. The sooner you start saving, the sooner you will be ready to do some serious house hunting.
The New Year is the time of resolutions. Whether it involves living a more healthy lifestyle, losing weight, or saving money, come January 1, you’ll want to start with a clean slate. Many people include saving more money on their list of New Year’s resolutions, but in order to increase your savings, you will have to change your money habits.
Everyone wants to put some money away for retirement or even just a rainy day, but surprisingly few people actually manage to accumulate savings. According to a study by Northwestern Mutual, one in three Americans have less than $5,000 set aside as retirement savings, and 21 percent have no retirement savings at all. Another survey by Bankrate shows that 13 percent of Americans are saving less for retirement than they were a year ago, largely because their income hasn’t changed while the cost of living continues to rise.
Do you remember being 10 years old, seeing adults walk by, and thinking, “Man, they look so put together. They must have everything figured out.” BUZZER SOUND. WRONG. Now you’re the adult, and let’s be honest: Everything is not figured out. In fact, as a 20-something, your adult life is just beginning. At 10 years old, you must have thought turning 20 was light-years away. Well, here we are. The same thing goes for imagining yourself as a 60-year-old. It feels like forever away, but eventually, it will happen—no matter how much kale you eat, how much yoga you practice, or how many night creams you apply before going to bed. There’s no way to avoid aging, but you can dodge financial troubles in the future if you start planning for retirement now. Like, right now. Not tomorrow. Now.
OMG, you’re engaged! A million thoughts must be going through your mind right now. From the catering menu to the guest list, future brides around the world want the perfect wedding. Easier said than done, though, right? Each fiancée has her own version of what “perfect” means. Perhaps it’s a country hillside wedding, a snowy mountain reception in Denver, or a minimalistic, modern venue in the heart of Brooklyn. Location is one thing, but what about the wedding cake? The music? The dress? The seating chart? Personally, I know so many girls who have been planning their dream weddings since the age of five. But I also have friends who have no idea what they want when they big day comes—no Pinterest boards or bookmark tabs about anything wedding related. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, there’s something to learn from these budgeting tips.
Welcome to the credit union movement. Back in the day, when big banks roamed the earth, member-owned financial cooperatives were practically unheard of. If banking were a popularity contest, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo would have won 10 years ago. But times are changing. These days, it seems customers value personality over professionalism. A genuine connection versus being just a number. In fact, members are more likely to recommend a credit union over a bank. It could be because credit unions have stepped up their marketing, or are based locally, or know members by name when they walk through the door. In any case, there’s a reason so many people are switching from banks to credit unions. If you’d like to join the movement, here’s how.
All moms and dads dream of seeing their children walk down the aisle. It’s one of the biggest milestones in a parent’s life. While a wedding ceremony is oh so romantic in theory, it’s quite a different story on paper—namely the receipts. To put it simply, weddings can be crazy expensive. It’s easy to get carried away with flowers, centerpieces, the dress, the catering...and how do you account for hundreds of guests? Here’s a not-so-shocking fact: Did you know that most parents overspend on their son’s or daughter’s wedding? The price tag can be so staggering that only 1 in 10 couples paid for their wedding entirely by themselves in 2016. Parents of the bride and groom typically contribute about $19,000 to the wedding, which is approximately 2/3 of the cost. That’s a lot of money. Obviously budgeting plays a huge role in wedding planning, and here’s how to ace it.
Americans have always been poor savers. The recession put fear into many consumers, but the recent economic news has done little to encourage saving. Growth is strong, housing prices are up, and unemployment is low. However, the trend that should alarm Americans is that wage growth continues to be slow and is barely keeping pace with inflation. Personal savings rates have dropped to 2.4 percent, which is the lowest since 2005. Yikes!
Whether or not you’re on board with the trend, technology is taking over. This is the age of iPads, iPhones, Androids, laptops, fingerprint ID, and face scanners. This wave of technology has even merged with finances. Just look how far online banking has come in recent years—and the same goes for money-transfer apps like Venmo. Trying to save money? There are apps that help you do that. It’s amazing how so few people come into branches to do their banking now since almost everything can be done online or by using an app.
Well, this is awkward. Normally we’re used to guiding members to reach certain financial goals. It’s rare that financial institutions talk about what happens after—once you’ve finally reached financial independence. Some people spend their whole lives making deposits into a savings account, just waiting for the day that the grand sum is enough. But enough for what? To quit a job? Buy a house? Pay off student loans? The question is, what’s the right move after you’ve saved enough money—and then some? This matter is highly subjective, considering financial goals vary from person to person, but let’s explore some options.