Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Home Improvement Projects for Aging in Place

Fall in Love (1).png

There’s a lovely, cozy term for staying in your current home and renovating it to fit your life as you get older—aging-in-place. Many baby boomers are facing the decision whether to remodel the home they’re in, upgrade to another house, or downgrade to something smaller. For many, the thought of a major move or leaving the home you’ve loved for many years and many memories doesn’t hold much appeal.

Do you have changes you’d like to make to your house or ways to improve it for how it’s being used now? Renovating or remodeling your home may be more accessible than you think. At Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union we offer several options in Home Equity loans to help you achieve the remodeling or renovation goals for your present home.

Let’s look at some of the trends for aging-in-place renovations.

A Safer Entry

Especially in frigid Minnesota, stairs or uneven walkways can be unsafe, difficult to maneuver, and prone to iciness. Make sure you have a railing along your stairs, good exterior lighting, and evenly laid concrete for you and your guests.

Replace Tubs with Showers

Not only are tubs harder to get in and out of, but they’re often a risk for slips and falls. If you don’t spend the time soaking in the tub, consider an easily accessible shower – perhaps with a bench installed.

Bathrooms

shutterstock_85176691.jpgMany homeowners are requesting a full bathroom on the main floor of the house for accessibility. If you’re rethinking your main floor layout, consider expanding a powder room into a bathroom with shower. Bonus tip: replace your older toilet with a raised one for added ease of use.

Focus on the Kitchen

We spend a lot of our time in the kitchen, yet it is one room where things are often inaccessible. Your kitchen should be functional and easy-to-use. Consider installing pull-out drawers in your cabinets, and pull-down shelves in your upper cabinets to reach things without straining. Get a sink that is relatively shallow and consider having your dishwasher raised so you aren’t having to reach as far when you do dishes. Finally, small touches like a hands-free faucet, a pullout sprayer, and easy-to-grip handles can make living in your kitchen more comfortable.

Home Security

Security systems offer protection against senior-targeted break-ins and an immediate response to fires or alarms. In addition, the quick-response teams are often accessible at the touch of a button if there should be an accident in the home or someone needs fast medical attention.

Proper Lighting

As we age, good lighting can make a big difference in helping us avoid trips and keeping our eyes from strain. Install effective light fixtures where your lighting is low, replace low-light bulbs with brighter ones, and make sure the light switches are easy to find and operate.


Fall in Love (2).png

Home Loan Options from Mid-Minnesota

The Home Equity loans offered at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union allow you to borrow against the equity in your home and are designed for projects like the ones above. We have many, many options to choose from. Below are a few:

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

This type of loan allows your more flexibility. You have access when you need it and make payments based on your balance after advances. The HELOC loan has a variable rate.

Interest-Only Home Equity Line of Credit

The payments on an interest-only loan are smaller each month due to the fact that your payments are only paying off the interest due, not going toward the amount borrowed. You may pay more than the interest amount each month but are not required to do so. Read more details here.

Property Improvement Loan

For home renovations or improvements on your property, this is a great option. Make your yard more accessible, add in a garden, or remove elements you no longer use, like a pool or water feature and build up your landscaping.

We look forward to walking you through the differences in loan options available to you, and to help you stay in the home your love while aging-in-place. Find out how we can work together—either online or at any of our locations.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Four Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Car

Buying a new vehicle is often a time-consuming and stressful experience. With the proper preparation, however, you will be able to confidently find and finance the perfect vehicle. Take these four factors into consideration as you begin the process of a purchasing a new vehicle.

car-2115073_640.jpg

1. Make a Checklist


Take a moment to consider what car will best fit your lifestyle, budget, and needs. Will you need to consider passenger and cargo space for a big family, better fuel economy for long commutes, or certain safety factors for winter handling? Consider the factors of quality, safety, value, technologies, customer satisfaction, environmental friendliness, and design.

Despite expensive commercials that may tell you otherwise, brand recognition is not as important as how well the vehicle performs. Make the distinction between the necessary and unnecessary before you buy.


2. Take your Research Seriously


When done thoroughly, researching could potentially help you save thousands, help you negotiate more confidently, and allow you to drive away in the perfect new car. Research everything from make and model, safety performance, fuel economy, consumer reviews – anything and everything that you can learn.

Comparison shop and review information on sites like Motor Trend, Edmunds, and Car Gurus. Search for online reviews and customer testimonials of dealers, and talk to friends and family who have recently gone through the process of purchasing a vehicle. While you research, get quotes on your top choices before you even get to the dealership. This can benefit you when you negotiate prices.

shutterstock_574303420.jpg

3. Check your Budget, Credit Score, and Financing Options

A car is a big-ticket item, and many people will need a loan to help cover the cost. Knowing your credit score will help you determine your financing options and develop a budget. Work with your local credit union to get an auto loan and get the best interest rate.

Visit the Auto Loan page at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union to finance your vehicle purchase. Remember to compare promotional rates, rebates, and incentives from manufacturers to get the most out of your budget. Know the invoice price—otherwise known as the price of what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car. Knowing this will tell the dealer that you are prepared and will not be misled.

shutterstock_30365260.jpg

4. Be Prepared When you Visit a Dealership

With the proper research, a strict budget, and some determination, a visit to the car dealership shouldn’t be a terrifying experience. Be willing to make a few visits to the dealership to decide what you need, and call ahead to make sure that your choice car is available. With this checklist of information in hand, don’t be afraid to negotiate. There are always other dealerships to visit if you feel that you aren’t getting the best value.

For more information on borrowing and auto loans, visit Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Money Making March: 5 Ways To Unclutter Your Expenses

Fall in Love (9).png
The temperatures are finally beginning to rise, and spring is right around the corner. As the weather begins to turn in a more pleasant direction, it’s a great time to make decisions to cut out unnecessary expenses. Saving for spring and summer activities may take some reorganization and adjustments to your everyday habits, but it will be worth it when you’re enjoying a day on the lake on your new boat! We’ve gathered our list of top tips and advice on how to declutter your expenses and find extra funds in your budget.

Check your Credit Score

Surprisingly enough, 2/3 of Americans have no clue what their credit score is. Are you part of that statistic? There are plenty of great resources that allow you to keep track of your credit score. If you are aware of the changes that can affect your score, you can be more proactive to avoid damaging it.

Some credit scores have errors that go unchecked unless reviewed by the person they are reporting on. I can be difficult for anyone who does not personally know the individual to even acknowledge the errors. According to one study by Nextavdisor.com, around 19% of credit scores have errors, while just 1% see a meaningful change. This is why it is important to review your credit score annually.



StockSnap_EUHWI21QMF.jpg

Cut the Cable

Tis’ the season for walks in the park and bike rides. As the weather warms up, we spend less and less time indoors watching television. Make a decision to cut the cable and start saving. Try Amazon Prime or Netflix for a more personalized and time-friendly alternative. Plus, it’s more than half the cost of regular cable!

Check your Thermostat

Set your thermostat appropriately. If you’re not sure how to effectively work it, check out this general guide for operating thermostats. As the article says, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”

closet-1209917_1920.jpgClean out your Wardrobe

Go through those old stretched out sweaters and clothes that no longer fit. Take everything in good condition to a clothing consignment store and sell your slightly used clothes for cash! It’s a fast way to earn money from something that would otherwise go unused.


Create a Budget

We all know that budgeting is a tedious task, which is why many of us avoid doing it. But if you know it may save you money in the long run, would you be more willing to give it a shot? Check out these budget and debt facts sheets to learn more.


Spring-cleaning can be applied to all aspects of your life. It’s important to declutter your finances too! Find out where you’re spending and how you can save money to enjoy the beautiful season that’s approaching.

Make March a moneymaking month and set yourself up for Spring! Contact Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union to get started!



Monday, February 20, 2017

Raising Money-Savvy Kids

It can be a challenge to get your kids excited about saving money. Teaching good money habits, though, starts at home and it starts early! Contrary to popular belief, your child will be more financially sound with continued math education and regular money discussions than from an academic finance curriculum. That’s good news for parents, who can promote good money-related behavior in simple and age-appropriate ways.

shutterstock_118114924.jpg
For younger children, start with simple concepts that they can understand. Explain the difference between buying, borrowing, and saving. You could even use the three jar method to teach about spending, saving, and giving. Discuss some of your buying choices during a trip to the grocery store, or if the child is old enough, encourage them to compare pricing on products and help you purchase certain items.

piggy-bank-478158_640.jpgAllow your child to count out money and hand it over to the cashier to see how money is exchanged. Understanding the output of money will help them grasp the concept of saving it! Then, when it comes time to decide what to do with gift money from a birthday or Christmas present, discuss options of spending or saving it.

Having an old fashioned piggy bank at home where your kid can watch their money accumulate can make saving money more fun! Discuss with them a special event or purchase for which they are saving. As your child grows, they can even intentionally put money away for college, a car, or another major purchase.

Once the piggy bank is full, bring your child to Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union for a special “big kid” trip! Beginning as early as kindergarten can be a great time to open a savings account for your child. Taking trips to the bank monthly or annually can become a fun, routine date with your kid.

Here at Mid-Minnesota, we can help your family save. Check out our savings options, particularly our Term Share Certificate for kids under 18.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fall in Love with Saving Money

Fall in Love.png
As February is the month of love, we ask, who doesn’t love than saving money? Saving money doesn’t have to be such a painstaking task; it can actually be quite fun and easy. Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union wants to partner with you for a better future. Saving is easy if you set goals and accomplish them. We’ve gathered the best ways to save money that will help you fall in love with more than just that special someone this month.


Start Small

Start with a change jar. You will be surprised to find how fast the coins at the bottom of your purse or pocket will add up. As the famous saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned. Once your jar is full, deposit it into your savings account and watch your savings grow!


Save Heroically

Become a Super Saver at MMFCU. Earn a dividend based on your average monthly balance. The more you save, the more you’ll earn. A great tip is to avoid dipping into your savings once it’s deposited. The money in your savings should only be used for emergencies or under special circumstances.


Pin Ideas for Later

Follow our saving and spending board on Pinterest. We’ve put together a collection of ways to save money and to spend less. Participate in one of the money saving challenges, learn the latest tips, or find ways to spend less on things you already do. Your savings account will thank you.


Get the Kids Involved

Pass down your money saving habits to your children. A Term Share Certificate may be the perfect solution you’re looking for. Our young members age 0-18 earn great rates with traditional Term Share Certificates for 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36-month terms. The older your children get the sooner you’ll wish you started saving.

Gain Some Incentive

Save to win! WINcentive Savings is a savings account that offers you the chance to win prizes from statewide drawings. Prize drawings occur monthly, quarterly and annually. The more you save the more chances you have to win. Start saving soon because the grand prize is $5,000!


Saving money doesn’t have to be boring, stressful or unrewarding. Save with excitement and you’ll end up falling in love with your bank account. Whether you’re saving for a car, house or special someone, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union provides a variety of ways to save.



Friday, January 27, 2017

“Insure” a Safer 2017 for You and Your Family


Let’s face it, accidents happen. They happen to your car, your home, and sometimes even the people you love. Insurance helps you protect yourself, your family and your belongings. We’ve put together the key reasons why our insurance options are necessary.


car-85320_1280.jpgAuto Insurance protects and covers damages done to your automobile. The average price of a new car reached an all-time high last year at a whopping $34,077. That’s a 2.7% increase from 2015. If you’re going to be investing that much into your car, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s fully protected out on the road. In the case of an accident, car insurance can pay for medical bills and protect you from motorists who may not have insurance of their own.

Recreational Vehicles
need insurance too! It is important to get a coverage that can pay for exactly what you need. Typical auto insurance policies offer a roadside assistance, but towing an RV can cost three times more than a typical tow. Get your specialty recreational vehicle policy to ensure every cost will be paid for.

house-fire-1548285_1920.jpg
Home Insurance provides protection to much more than the physical structure of your home. During bad weather, damage to the outside of your house can get costly. Having a good homeowners policy can help pay those repair bills. Guests visiting your home can also be covered under some policies. If you have to leave your house because of fire damage or another covered risk, a homeowners policy can even help cover the cost of hotel stays.

baby-17369_1920.jpg


Life Insurance is about making sure your loved ones are taken care of. Provide your family with the right tools to carry on without the worry of financial struggles. Funeral costs can be a burden to families. An insurance policy can ease their mind and allow them to mourn without the financial worry. If there’s one thing that needs more protecting than anything, it’s your life.


We can find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service that will fit all of your insurance needs. The Insurance Office at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union will provide different options for insurance plans that will save you money. Our staff has the experience and knowledge to find the perfect fit for you.

Call or stop by today for a free, no-obligation policy review by Agency Manager, Steve Isackson (steveinsoffice@mmfcu.org) or Agent Barb Dalton (barbinsoffice@mmfcu.org) at the Insurance Office. They'll determine if you have ample coverage and are paying a fair premium.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Six Steps to Getting Organized for the 2017 Tax Season

Tax day is a mere four months away; it’s never too early to start preparing. The season of the most spending (the holidays) is only just behind us. This is the time when every penny counts. We’ve come up with six steps to getting organized for the 2017 tax season.

calculator-385506_1280.jpg

  1. The first step to getting organized for tax season is the gather your W-2’s from last year’s employers. Making sure you have all of them is important. Remember to change your address if you have moved to prevent your W-2 from being sent to a new address.

  1. This next step is equally important as the first. ALWAYS keep your receipts. If there is the chance for a reduction, you’ll need those receipts to prove it. Students save your receipts for your books, parking, etc. because you can end up saving a lot if you hang onto them until April.

  1. If completing your taxes seems overwhelming, you should probably consider hiring or consulting with an accountant. Accountants will take the stress off of your shoulders and know the ins and outs of all the possible refunds you are entitled to. The money you spend to hire an accountant could be doubled by all the new deductions you may have missed.

  1. If you’ve recently experienced a significant life change, you could be eligible for more or different tax deductions from last year. For instance, if you’ve recently gotten married, had children, or went back to school, you could receive more returns in 2017.

  1. Do you donate to your local thrift store or do you make contributions to charity? These donations could also help you get more returns in the future. Be sure to document the items you’ve donated in their fair market value and the dates and locations in which you’ve donated. Once you donate, the employees of the organizations will often give you a receipt with the number of bags you donated for your documentation.

  1. Lastly, it’s important to save a hard and electronic copy of your documents. It’s easy to get more returns, but impossible without the correct documentation. We suggest scanning your documents and saving them on your computer during the year to make filing much easier.

Tis’ the season of giving - and your donations could save you money in the Spring. Have a safe and happy holidays from everyone at Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union!