Remar's Report

Should Gas Prices Influence Your Next Vehicle Purchase?

Over the last few months, falling gas prices have made drivers a little giddy. Just the other day, a friend who drives a compact noted cheerfully that she had filled the tank for just a little over $20, something that hadn’t happened in years. Since gas prices peaked in mid-2014, sales have increased about 8% for large pickups and SUVs while they’ve decreased about 1.5% for small cars (Edmunds.com). Lower gas prices are probably just one contributing factor to this trend, but as an easy-to-see and ongoing cost of driving a car, lower gas prices may tempt you to put that 20 mpg SUV or 18 mpg pickup at the top of your choices as you shop for a new vehicle. Before you sign for that bigger set of wheels, however, think about—and compare—several other costs of owning a car. You could save hundreds at the pump in the short term and spend thousands more long-term.

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Three 2015 Resolutions To Enhance Your Financial Well-Being

Have you made any resolutions for 2015? Typical January goals include ways to enhance your physical well-being, such as losing weight, getting in shape, or eating a more healthful diet. I’d like to recommend setting three goals for the new year that can enhance your financial well-being.

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About to Tap Your 401K for a Loan? Six Reasons to Think Again

Today over 25% of people who have a 401K retirement savings plan have borrowed from these funds. In fact, 401K loans have surged by 37% in just 8 years and in 2011 represented nearly 60 billion dollars in premature withdrawals, according to IRS figures. This practice has personal finance experts and retirement specialists worried. Why? you may wonder. With a 401K loan aren’t you borrowing from yourself and paying yourself back with interest? That’s true, of course, but taking a 401K loan could cost you thousands in retirement savings. This reports shows you six reasons why taking a 401K loan should be a last resort.

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It's Time to Review Your Health Insurance Coverage

Whether you have health insurance through your employer, through a health exchange, or through Medicare, you have an opportunity to review and make changes to your health care coverage during November and December. No matter how you receive your health insurance, you should take this opportunity to review your current coverage and determine if it still meets your needs for the coming year.

Start by determining what your out-of-pocket costs were for this year. Then project what your expect your expenses to be next year. Will they be similar or have there been changes in your family’s health that could increase or decrease expenses? Do you want to keep your doctors or are you willing to change? Do you have other criteria that a plan must meet? Use this information to determine if your current plan meets your needs or if another plan would be better.

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Is the Time Right to Refinance Your Home Mortgage?

Over the last two years average home values have continued to rise across the United States. In many areas existing homes have gained back at least half the value lost after the real estate bust of 2007 and during the Great Recession. At the same time, mortgage interest rates have stayed within a range of historic lows. During 2013 when rates were lowest, many people with equity in their homes refinanced their mortgages usually to lower payments and overall interest paid. For a variety of reasons, other homeowners sat tight with the mortgages they had. This year, although many economic analysts have been predicting that interest rates will rise more sharply, that has not happened but the potential must be considered. Taking all these factors into account you may be wondering if the time is right to refinance.

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Protecting Your Money From 2013's Most Common Consumer Complaints

Would it surprise you to know that the top consumer complaints of 2013 included problems with new and used auto sales, trouble with home repairs, and scams against the elderly? These selected problems from the latest national report based on data from local and state consumer protection agencies and compiled by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators don’t surprise me at all. In over 30 years as a consumer advocate, I’ve observed many such complaints and have worked to provide useful information to help you avoid such problems. Directions Credit Union is also a vital advocate for your financial well-being and provides resources to help you in the three challenges I’ve highlighted—buying a new or used vehicle, carrying out successful home repairs or remodeling, and protecting yourself or older family members from targeted scams.

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