New Home-buyers Podcast

February 29, 2008

You’re thinking about buying a home, but you’re not sure what to do?  Check out our new podcast!

 We’ve put together a few tips that are perfect for the first time home-buyer!

Here is the MP3 version.  You can click to open and listen to the podcast using your computers audio software, or you can right click the link and save it to your hard drive to listen at a later date on your MP3 player.

Be sure to visit the Podcast section of this blog for all of our previous podcasts.

Homebuying Podcast

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Rebuilding Good Credit

February 27, 2008

A good credit score is a valuable asset.  One that will mean lower loan rates, which will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

So, how do you rebuild your credit.  Here are some tips that will help:

Rebuild Credit

 


Car-Buying Basics Help You Save on Financing

February 20, 2008

car buying

The first time you shop for an auto loan can be time-consuming and a little confusing.  But, once you know these car-buying basics, you’ll save money on financing your first car or your 10th:

1. Evaluate your financial situation.  If your credit history is spotty, clean it up for at least six months before applying for a loan.  It will improve your credit score, and lower your payment.

2. Compare annual percentage rates (APRs).  Some lenders, such as First New York FCU, will give you a rate break if you have automatic payments from your checking account.

3. Consider buying used.  The average cost of a used car is less than half of a new one.

4. Get insurance quotes.  Most lenders require collision and comprehensive insurance on new and used vehicles.

5. Realize the less you borrow, the more you save in loan interest.

6. Pay off the loan as quickly as possible and you could save hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

7. Ask a First New York FCU loan officer to preapprove your loan so you can bargain for a dealer discount based on a cash sale.

8. Understand the loan contract.  A loan officer can help you evaluate a loan agreement.

9. Make purchasing the vehicle, financing the vehicle, and trading the vehicle three separate transactions.

 Use these car-buying tips – and save money!


Make the Tax Season Less “Taxing”

February 7, 2008

Are you benefiting from all the tax advantages available to you?  Are you sure?  Here are a few tax ABC’s that may help.

The Earned Income Credit
The EIC is designed to assist lower-income working people by reducing taxes paid, or giving a credit, even if no tax is owed.

To qualify for the EIC, you (or your spouse) must have a job, have wages below a certain level, and file a federal tax return.  If you’re not working now, but you earned income last year, you still may be able to claim the EIC on this year’s tax return.  You can find specific guidelines and income thresholds on the IRS Web site at irs.gov (search for earned income tax credit).

Voluntary Income Tax Assistance
Tax forms can be complicated, and you may want some help completing yours.  The IRS’ VITA program offers free help for low- to moderate-income taxpayers, those earning $40,000 or below.

VITA’s trained volunteers can determine whether you qualify for the EIC or other tax credits, prepare your forms, and file your tax return electronically.  Most VITA sites are located in community centers, schools, shopping malls, and similar locations.  To find the site nearest you, call 800-829-1040.

Refund anticipation loans
If the IRS owes you a refund, it may be tempting to accept a “rapid refund,” or “instant refund.”  Several national tax-preparation firms offer this option, which many people don’t realize is actually a high-interest loan, or refund anticipation loan (RAL).

RALs are short-term cash advances through large banks secured by consumers’ expected tax refunds.  The interest rates for these loans are astounding, averaging between 70% and 1,700% nationwide.  They usually only speed up the refund process by a couple of weeks–then consumers’ tax refunds pay off the loans and fees.

It’s better to wait for your refund, but if you do need cash immediately, talk to a loan officer at First New York Federal Credit Union about the possibility of a small loan.  Contact us today at 393-1326 – press ‘2’ for more information.