If you need to file taxes and prefer to do them yourselves, Consumers has partnered with Turbo Tax to help our members file their taxes. On Turbo Tax they have a student program that doesn’t cost you anything as a student to file your taxes, a great way of saving money, and a great perk to being a CCU member.
Once a year on Presidents’ Day, our doors are closed, but our employees will be hard at work behind the scenes participating in learning and leadership activities at this year’s Professional Development Day.
All of our offices, interactive tellers and member service center will be closed Monday, February 20, and re-open Tuesday, February 21, with normal business hours.
Online Banking and our many ATM locations will be available as usual.
This year fans are gathering to watch the clash of the titans: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI (51). Falcons’ fans are wondering if they’ll be able to catch their first Super Bowl win or if the 4-time champions, New England Patriots, will get their 5th win.
With the excitement of the Super Bowl comes a great expense to not only the NFL, but to advertisers, viewers, and attendees. In 2017, 189 million Americans are expected to watch the Super Bowl with over 72 thousand at the game, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Of those 189 million viewers, the NRF expects viewers and party-goers to spend an average of $75 on food, decor, team apparel, and more.
Of course, we know that the Super Bowl comes with a super price tag. This year is expected to be around $14.1 billion, down from 2016’s $15.5 billion. Those 30-second commercials that everyone loves will cost just over $5 million this year according to Variety magazine.
Now that you know the super costs associated with 2017 Super Bowl LI, how much do you plan on spending this Super Bowl?
Q: I’m hoping to buy a house in the next few months. How much of a down payment should I have saved up?
A: When you think about your down payment, balance is key. If you think you might sell the house within just a few years of ownership, having a large down payment exposes you to greater risk if real estate prices fall. However, a larger down payment can also mean lower monthly payments.
The value of $1,000 is pretty hard to quantify, especially in a real estate market that might have $30,000 homes and $300,000 homes. Instead of thinking about the amount of money, think about a percentage of the value of the house. When making these decisions, here are three questions to ask yourself.
Can I put 20% down?
A down payment of 20% is something of a magic number. With 20% down, borrowers are no longer responsible for carrying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is a protection most lenders require to cover their investment in you should not repay your loan. The premiums for this insurance are paid by you, either as a lump sum at closing or included with the mortgage payment, and thus make your monthly payment higher. PMI usually costs between 0.5% and 1.0% of the value of the loan, though prices vary based on several factors. Using this model, on a $100,000 loan, expect to pay around $83 more per month.
20% is also a magic number for interest rates. Lenders see a 20% down payment as a sign of a responsible borrower. Meeting that down payment amount means the borrower typically has a lifestyle of spending responsibly and saving money, both of which are signs of a solid credit risk. Regardless of your credit score, a 20% down payment can help save on the costs of the loan.
Can I get help to get there?
There are a wide variety of homebuyer assistance programs designed to help people reach that 20% threshold. These come in two forms: grants and delayed repayment loans. They’re offered by housing departments at all levels of government and frequently go unused because homebuyers don’t think they qualify.
Grants are no-strings-attached checks that you have to use for a specific purpose, in this case, the down payment on a home. Many are limited by income level or region of purchase, but they are definitely worth exploring. Even more options are open to first-time homebuyers, former or current members of the armed forces and people in public service-oriented professions.
Delayed repayment loans are similar. These are second mortgages held by an organization for a portion of the total cost of the house. They do not begin accruing interest until after you’ve paid off your primary mortgage, and some of them are forgiven after you’ve owned the home for a certain amount of time. These are available from housing authorities and private organizations all over the country.
One important note: While you can get a lot of help, you cannot use another loan, even one from your parents or relatives, as part of your down payment. Doing so is a federal crime and can get you in serious trouble! In the best case, lenders will be suspicious of large deposits you can’t explain, and may even refuse to issue the mortgage loan.
If you can’t get to a 20% down payment, there are several options. You could make the smaller down payment, understanding that you’ll have to pay higher interest rates and PMI. You could also look at houses in lower price ranges. You might also decide to postpone home ownership and focus on saving so you can get there the next time around.
Should I go over 20%?
Making a very large down payment is an investment. Think of your mortgage like a savings account. You make an initial “deposit” when you make a down payment. A portion of your payment goes into your account each month while the rest goes to cover interest, which is the price you pay for living in your savings account. The return on your investment in the large initial down payment is the lower total interest you’ll have to pay.
When deciding if you want to put more than 20% down, think of your mortgage rate like the rate of return. If you can put another $1,000 down, that’s $1,000 less you’ll need to borrow. If your interest rate is 4%, then the return on that investment is $40 in interest you don’t have to pay. On the other hand, you don’t have that $1,000 to invest somewhere else now. If your retirement account earns 5%, then that same $1,000 will earn $50 if invested there. Making the larger down payment will end up “costing” you $10 in the long run.
As with any other investment decision, weigh the pros and cons. It may have a comparatively low rate of return, but the risk is negligible. Unless the value of your house drops dramatically, you won’t lose your down payment. It can be a smart move to put down as much as you can, but make sure to leave your retirement fund and emergency fund intact.
Your dream of homeownership can become a reality with Consumers Credit Union’s wide range of mortgage options. Mortgages are available for primary residences and vacation homes. Or refinance to save money. A home may be your biggest investment, so let Consumers help with every phase of your mortgage. Contact us for more info at 800.991.2221 or check out our website at here.
The New Year is the perfect time to reinvent your business. Decide what you want 2017 to look like, then put on your entrepreneurial shoes and get to work! Here are five ideas you can aspire to in 2017 for a happy and successful business year.
1.) Set an Exciting Goal
As Tim Ferriss puts it in his must-read book “The Four Hour Workweek,” a goal that makes your heart beat faster is easier to achieve than a ho-hum goal. That’s because there’s less competition when you’re doing the impossible and also because an exciting goal comes with a super adrenaline rush that makes you surpass what you thought were your limitations. Can you triple your income this year? Identify the 20% of activities that generate 80% of your results and focus only on that? Don’t limit it — give yourself permission to call your biggest dreams “goals.”
2.) Write a Marketing Plan
The most frustrating part of being a business owner is the constant need to put out fires. Everything demands your attention, and there are never enough hours in the day. One of the best things you can do is get away from it all and spend a solid, uninterrupted block of time crafting a marketing plan for your business.
Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s a living document, so expect to make changes throughout the year as you respond to new opportunities and developments in your industry.
3.) Get in Front of Compliance Deadlines
January 1 is when many new regulations take effect. If you aren’t staying up-to-date on your regulatory environment, you’re playing with fire.
Take a look at the new regulations that may affect your business. Consult with your compliance personnel or attorney to figure out the steps you need to take to keep your company updated.
4.) Trim the Fat
Is there a person in your organization who isn’t working out? Technology that takes more time than it’s worth? If it’s not an asset to your business, it’s holding you back.
It’s never fun to be the bad guy, but as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to see to it that your team is doing what needs to be done and productivity and morale are high.
5.) Keep Learning and Growing
With so much on your plate, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of working both in and on your business. Make 2017 the year you invest in your own knowledge by resolving to read one new business book a month. Make a list of websites, blogs and publications you’d like to read regularly. Revisit classic business books, or ask others for recommendations. Regardless of how 2016 turned out for you, it’s over. Close the books and learn from the experiences. 2017 is here and it’s up to you to make it the best year ever. Bring on the challenges and rewards of another New Year!