Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 5 Best Tips For Saving For Retirement

Taking the first step toward financial security in your retirement years isn’t something many young people think about. No matter your age or financial situation, it’s always the right time to get started. If you take the time to plan and save for retirement now, you will have added assurance that you’ll be prepared in your golden years. Take the time to learn about your saving options with these five easy steps.

1. Save Now

If you start to save in your 20s and 30s, you’ll be in better shape for the future and able to invest in smaller increments. If you’re in your 40s or older, you should be a bit more aggressive with your savings; it’s a good idea to put a larger amount aside from each paycheck to build up a solid base.


2. Make Everything Automatic

Many people use a 401k account with their employer as their main source of retirement savings. If it’s not a 401k, it’s another type of employer-based retirement plan. You will have to decide what percent or dollar amount to put in from each paycheck and stick to the plan. Consider increasing the amount you put aside as you grow older. This might seem hard to do, but sooner or later, those car, student loan, and mortgage payments will start to drop off, and you’ll have more disposable income.


3. Don’t Touch Your 401k Account Until You Retire

Try to keep the money you save for retirement for that purpose alone. It can be tempting to handle some bigger expenses now, but try and handle those with payment plans so you can leave your retirement money alone. In other words, don’t treat your 401k like a bank account or rainy day fund.


4. Save Outside of Your 401k

If you’re maxing out your 401k, then you should think about saving even more in an IRA or personal brokerage account. You can set aside up to $5,500 if you’re under 50 and $6,500 if you’re over 50 in an IRA. Depending if the money you make reaches a certain limit, the contributions may be partially deductible.

If an IRA isn’t right for you, you may want to consider a personal brokerage account. Some investment options include stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds and mutual funds. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re getting advice from a reputable source.


5. Find the Right Advice

The best professional financial advice can be hard to find. As your savings grow, knowing where to invest your money can be overwhelming. A good financial advisor can help you avoid pitfalls and find the right opportunities.


Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union has retirement advisors that can help you plan for your future. If you’d like to start planning for retirement now, be sure to visit MMFCU’s Retirement Central.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Simple Ways to Improve the Value of Your Home

Home equity is one of those industry buzzwords that some homeowners are aware of, but don’t think about until it comes time to sell. Once you have the home of your dreams, you may not give much thought to increasing its value. So how do you go about ensuring your home has value? Here a few quick tips to boost your home equity.

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Have Your Home Inspected

First, it’s important to have a thorough inspection of your home. According to HGTV, deteriorating roofs, walls, floors or other home aspects may massively affect the worth of your home. That being said, HGTV suggests hiring an independent inspector; you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken, and sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals!

Take a Step Back

Curb appeal is often forgotten as we are busy with our daily lives. HGTV.com suggests taking a black and white photo, when you take away the color the truth is revealed. You are able to see the cracks in the walls and other glaring flaws. Take the time to make a list of ways to enhance the positive and eliminate the negative. If the first thing you notice is your garage door; try adding a colored door to attract the viewers eyes there first. A curvy walkway can be accentuated with flowers or lanterns.


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Keep it Clean

It’s important to keep your house well cleaned - this means the dreaded carpet-cleaning-like activities that we tend to put off for later. Cleaning windows, shampooing carpet, vacuuming vents, and attic upkeep are all necessary to keep your home from depreciating. Check out this handy guide from Goodhousekeeping.com to stay up-to-date on your cleaning schedule all year round.

It might seem like you need to make major additions to up the value of your home, but keeping your home properly inspected and routinely cleaned as well as focusing on small remodeling tasks are great ways to keep your home from depreciating. They also don’t take up a large amount of your time or money. 

Small Improvements Reap Big Rewards

Torn between your home’s d├ęcor versus making upgrades? Homeowners are often surprised to hear that doing a little bit of both will actually pay off. Begin by making two lists, one for your decor such as – furniture, artwork, and window treatments. And one for upgrades to your home which may include old faucets, doors, flooring and permanent lighting. Classy kitchens and beautiful bathrooms may lead to some extra dollars in the refinancing process, as well as a nice profit when selling your home. Painting the rooms in a fresh, modern color and style can make any home – no matter its age – seem newer and more valuable.


As you make these home improvements, don’t forget the cash. Your financial strategy can boost your home value in a big way. Many different loan features can be added together to give you a loan that is comfortable; give you an opportunity to do home improvements and to invest in your future.

If you would like to invest more into your home, visit our website at www.mmfcu.org for more information on our refinancing process and mortgage lending options.

Friday, July 14, 2017

3 Things You’ve Got to Know Before Buying a Cabin

The soft sound of the wind shifting through the trees, the smell of the lake at your doorstep; having a cabin in Minnesota is something many find to be a gratifying experience. Here are a few things you need to do to make sure your lifestyle and finances are up to the task of maintaining that lakeside property.

Are Your Finances in Check?

Oftentimes, a large investment like purchasing a cabin can feel daunting. Plan as far in advance as you need to assure your financial security. Saving money now can pay off in lakeside sunsets in the near future. An article from hgtv.com lays out three key factors: financing, insurance, and Maintenance costs. It is important to understand all three before purchasing a cabin.


Is Your Weekend Availability High Enough?

Aside from the costs, many people don’t consider the time it takes to upkeep a cabin far away from their home. If you work frequent weekends, you may not have the time to get up to the lake to maintain the yard and home itself. Your time at the cabin won’t just all be fun and games, much of it will be spent doing the maintenance tasks you’ve let slip in the time you’ve been away. Be sure you have the time and effort it takes to maintain a second home away from home.


Which Type of Cabin is Right for You?

Just as Minnesota has an abundance of lakes, there are tons of options when it comes to picking a cabin. Do you want o town? Rent? Is a timeshare or joint ownership a good option for you? In an article for Cabin Living Magazine, Ehren Graf points out that it is important to, “Take the time to educate yourself as to what you are getting and what is being presented to you.” The article also lays out the different options and packages that come with purchasing a cabin. You can check it out in its entirety here.


At Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, our goal is to help you reach yours. If that goal is a cabin by the lake but you’re not sure if you can afford it, stop by one of our branches to speak with one of our extremely talented financial planners and loan officers. Get started by calling or visiting our website at www.mmfcu.org.