Friday, April 15, 2016

Smart Investments for Your Graduation Money

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Graduation is just around the corner and whether you are graduating from high school or college, a celebration is no doubt on the horizon. Graduation parties are a chance to celebrate with friends and family, and sometimes it can mean gifts — including money. Many recent grads come into a small fortune directly after graduation. The extra funds can be exciting, but it’s important to be smart with your money.

Many high school graduates haven’t made a solid attempt at saving — this is a good time to start! This money can help you with your college books, a laptop, or an array of other college expenses. College graduates should start a nest egg. Experts recommend that you save at least three months of living expenses. That’s rent, bills, groceries — anything to maintain your current standard of living. Not many recent college grads have that kind of cash saved up — get started!

Open a Savings Account

The first step in saving money is opening a savings account. If you already have an account with us at MMFCU, you can easily do that online. There are a variety of options to choose from, including our WINcentive program. Have this account specifically set up for college expenses and/or an emergency fund.

Start a Roth IRA

If you already have a good start on a savings account, you can either add to it or you can invest! Open an IRA. To get an idea of the benefits, if you are 22-years-old and you open a Roth IRA with $100 at 8% a year, by the time you are 66, it will have grown to about $3000! That comes from starting with $100 — the more you invest, the more it grows! Visit our Retirement Central Site, or read more about it and the tax benefits it comes with here.

Overall, smart saving and spending are what will get you through your first years as an adult, so be disciplined in your finances. For more information on smart savings for young investors, check out’s article Five tips for young investors.

If you need any help setting up for your future, contact us with any questions. Congratulations again on graduating, it’s a big accomplishment. We wish you the best of luck!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Building Your Home: From Start To Finish

At Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, we want to help you from start to finish when it comes to the construction of your new home. It’s not only about the one time closing cost construction loan MMFCU offers, but also about what members can expect throughout the whole construction process.

To get started, determine your price range for the property and total construction costs. This should include meeting with an architect, developer, or builder to determine a general estimate. Once you have that, get pre-approved for your construction loan.

Now that you have financing in place, secure land via a purchase agreement and choose your construction team for home plans and construction estimates. Your team of architects, engineers, and/or developer will help outline the whole construction process! Be ready to have conversations about everything from utilities to your septic system, to how your driveway will look. 

You’ll also have to find a builder for your project. Many times, you’ll be working with a smaller, regional builder that is family-owned. You’ll also work with a sales consultant through the builder’s company and a design center consultant to map out how you want your home to look. 

You will meet the construction manager, the person who will be responsible for overseeing the building of your new home. They’ll handle everything from permits to inspections during the process. The construction manager will give you updates as the house is being built and address any concerns that you may have. 

The builder will hire outside contractors to finish certain aspects of your home, including framing, plumbing, electrical work, drywall installation, interior work and cabinet and counter work. You probably won’t meet any contractors during the process, but if you’ve picked the right builder, you can feel confident that everything is being done correctly. 

While you’re building, inspectors will stop by to look at the construction taking place. Your home will be inspected many times by county or city inspectors. You can discuss this more with your construction manager.

Here is a step-by-step look at how your home will be built:

Permits. Before any dirt is moved, a city or county employee must approve the design and provide permits for zoning and grading (changing the land to accommodate your home and driveway.

Site preparation. Before building starts, the new site’s land must be cleared by having trees, rocks, and debris all removed from the ground. The ground will also be leveled so your home can be built there.

Foundation is poured. How your foundation is poured depends upon if you have a basement or not. Footings are put in and the concrete is poured into the holes of your foundation walls. After that, curing takes place and no work will be done for a time. Then, a waterproof membrane is added and the installation of drains, pipes and plumbing takes place for your basement or first floor.

Framing. This is the skeleton of your home that includes subflooring, the walls, and roof. Your window openings will be framed and exterior walls are also installed during this time.

Siding and roofing. After the framing is finished, the roof and siding are installed. Some of the materials used for the roof are slate, tile, metal, and shingles.

Plumbing, electrical and HVAC installed. After the roof and siding are in, the ductwork for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are put in. Plumbers and electricians are a part of this process. Your shower and tub and other bathroom items are put in during this time.

Insulation. The builder will pick the insulation he puts in based on where you live. Homes usually have insulation put in all exterior walls, the attic, and floors that are located above the basement or crawl space.

Drywall and exterior finishes. Once the insulation and electric work are in, the drywall is put up. Drywall can be installed, taped or covered with a primer coat of paint.

Interior trim and walkways. Baseboards, moldings, window sills, doors, door casings and stair railings are next on the docket. Cabinets, vanities, fireplaces and any decorative trim is put in during this part of the process. Walls can also be painted at this time. Your driveway will also be formed during this period.

Floors, countertops, and exterior work completed. Hardwood or tile flooring goes in next, not to mention your bathroom and kitchen counters. Your yard will also be readied for proper drainage and future landscaping products during this time.

Final touches. Your light fixtures, outlets, switch plates, HVAC, sinks, faucets, and toilets are the next things to be installed. The last thing installed is your carpet and any vinyl flooring you may have. A big clean-up of any construction debris follows the carpet being put in.

MMFCU hopes this helps you get an idea of what the construction process is like. To register for the seminar to learn more about the loan process, visit our upcoming events page or call our Brainerd branch at 218-829-0371!