Making Car Buying Easy!

Buying a new car doesn’t have to be a daunting task! We keep things simple here at GLCU. We have  a few tips for you to make this process even easier!

1. Get Pre-Approved. This gives you the upper hand. When walking into the dealership with a pre-approval, you don’t have to worry about getting any surprises at the dealership.

2. Stick to your budget. With the pre-approval, you will know how much you can afford. This will help you say no to the add-ons that the dealership may try and talk you into. Know your budget and stick to it!

3. Research. Go to the dealership prepared! Spend some time researching what kind of car is right for you. Going in blindly may also lead to being talked into something that is not the right fit.

4. Take your emotions out. It is easy to get distracted by all of those brand new cars on the lot! Just remember what you need and stick to it, so that no rash decisions are made and you are then tied into something that you regret.

Buying a car can be a breeze! Get your pre-approval today at

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Tips for Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be a confusing and stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple tips to help it be a smooth process:

  • Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute if your current lease is almost up. This process takes time and sometimes has hiccups. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
  • Lower debts. As soon as you know you will be making the steps necessary to buy a home, begin lowering your debts. Including credit cards, student loans, and auto loans.
  • Non-negotiable’s. Make a list with you and your partner about your must haves. You may also need to compromise on a few things, so it’s important to have this discussion before hand.
  • Hire a professional. REALTOR’s are a great asset to purchasing your first home. They are often aware of homes before they hit the market and can get you the best bang for your buck.
  • Set budget. The last thing anyone wants is to be house poor. Set your budget and stick to it. Don’t look at houses out of your price range.
  • Get pre-approved. This will also help you set your budget and know what you can afford. Plus being pre-approved will look better when putting in an offer on your first home. Click here to get pre-approved today!
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How to Keep Your Debit Card Safe

These days, many are afraid of their debit card information being stolen. But there are a few steps you can take to make sure your information is safe!

-Secure online shopping.  Make sure when shopping online that the sites you are using are secured. You will know this by a little padlock symbol up in the address bar of the website.

-Use secure computers.  Never use public computers or public Wifi when making any purchases online. It’s best to wait until you are home on your own secure computer and Wifi.

-Don’t click on bait.  A lot of people will fall victim to scams through emails. If you do not recognize the sender of an email, do not click on any links within the email. They could be viruses that may steal your information from your computer.

-Monitor your credit report.  It is a good idea to frequently check your credit score. If you notice any changes that your unsure of, you can get it looked into quickly to prevent any fraudulent activity.

-Check balances frequently.  Utilize the tools you have to check your balances and be sure there is no fraudulent activity happening.

-Utilize Card Valet.  Card Valet is a free service that we offer that allows you to turn your card off and on, control your spending, and review your balances and transactions. Click here to learn more!

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What is a home equity and how can it help you?

Many people are not aware of the benefits a home equity loan can provide them. A home equity loan is a line of credit available to you based on how much your home is worth, minus your existing mortgage.

Benefits & Uses

Home equities have a lower interest rate than most loans.

The interest you pay on a home equity is a tax deduction.

Lump sum of money allows you to take on big projects such as home renovation.

Great option for consolidating debt, especially credit cards. You will only have one payment and you will greatly reduce the amount of interest you are paying.

Right now we are offering to refund your application fee at closing! Take advantage of a home equity today and save! Click here to apply or for more information!

 

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401K Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

Recently in a meeting with a new client, I found that they had made a mistake with their 401K. They weren’t utilizing it properly as part of their financial plan. I realized people make these common mistakes with their 401K’s and they should be avoided.

Not Investing Enough. Many plans offer some type of match for your contributions. Doesn’t matter if it is 100% or 50% up to a set limit, the employee contribution should be at that limit. It is referred to as “free money” for a reason – it is basically being given as an incentive to save!

Tapping in Too Early. You can take a penalty-free withdrawal from your 401K at age 59 ½, and investors sometimes see this as a green light to start utilizing those funds. For most people that age, retirement is still a few years away, and they’d be better served leaving the cash in a tax-favored account to continue growing until they hang up their work clothes.

Cashing Out. Even if your 401K hasn’t added up to much before you leave your job, resist the urge to drain it when you leave, which will cost you a boatload n taxes and fees. Rolling the money into an IRO allows you to control your investments without paying any taxes or penalties on it, and the money can continue to grow until you retire.

Borrowing Against It. It can be tempting to take advantage of the option many 401K plans offer, to borrow a certain amount of money at below-market rates. Proceed with cautions. While you’re paying back the loan, you’re missing out on any gains you could have earned with that money. Plus, if you lose your job or choose to leave, most plans require you to immediately pay back any outstanding loans or pay a penalty.

Making the Wrong Investments. Asset allocation is very important inside a 401K, and having the wrong one can limit your ability to grow your nest egg. Many companies provide access to online advice to assist you in making your allocation work or you in the way you want it to.

401K’s are a great tool to help plan for and fund your retirement. If you are unsure you are utilizing your 401K to the best of your ability, consulting with a financial services professional may help.

 

Bill Gergich

 

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What is PMI And Why You Should No Longer Be Paying It

PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance is a means by which lenders for years have used to limit their losses in the case of default. This insurance enabled the borrower to put less money down so it was a winning proposition for all involved. The average person couldn’t afford to put down 20% and through its emergence in the market in 1957 initiated by a company named MGIC ( a private mortgage insurance company ) PMI started to become a standard part of loans.

So what about now? Is PMI still necessary? For many lenders yes it is. For Great Lakes Mortgage in many cases it isn’t. With moderate income individuals we have a 1% down program with no PMI and with any income we can do 5% down with no PMI. The great part of our 5% down with no PMI program is that it doesn’t require spotless or perfect credit. So if you are a realtor who has buyers or a buyer yourself call us to compare the difference between a payment and program with PMI and one without. For further details call Aaron Mintz at 419-297-7795.

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Audit Red Flags, Guest post from Bill Gergich

First off, I am not an accountant and I don’t offer tax advice. That being said, I have learned a few things over the years that may help. For many folks, we are entering one of the most frustrating and anxiety producing times of the year – tax time. Time to get those taxes done, and either settle up with or receive a refund. Unfortunately the tax code is complicated, which can lead to more anxiety. No one wants to be audited. However here are a few “Red Flags” I’ve learned you should be aware of that could potentially lead to an audit.

Major Changes in Income. Reporting a significant increase or decrease in your income can trigger a flag for a closer look.

Not Filing the Correct Forms or Filing Incorrectly. Not including a W2, filing an incomplete return, or having numbers that don’t match up between your reported and claimed income can prompt a closer look.

Being Self Employed. Claiming a home office and having business expenses while not earning much income. Car expenses, meals – all factor in.

Claiming Losses from a Hobby. Having a hobby is great, but you can’t claim any losses unless you expect to make a profit. Doing so opens you to a possible audit.

Being Overly Generous. If you have a history of donating to charity and suddenly one year the donations are much higher, that can trigger an audit. For example, say you donated an average of $1000 a year to charity, and this year you have deductions of over $10,000. That might get a closer look.

Having an Overseas Bank Account. There are additional reporting requirements for having an overseas bank account. Not reporting the fact you have a bank account overseas can trigger an audit.

There are numerous ways to get your taxes completed, and many professionals are extremely qualified to give you expert advice (I am not!). The only tax advice I ever offer is to find a professional you can trust and speak to them. However, having tax advisors working together with a financial advisor may provide you with less stress during this time of the year!

-William Gergich, Financial Advisor

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Dave’s Tips For Planning Your Big Day

David Seeger discusses tips for planning your big day in his weekly segment Money Monday.

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Who is the “They” that determines rates?

David Seeger discusses ‘Who is the “They” that determines rates?’ in his weekly segment Money Monday.

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Does It Make Sense To Transfer Your Credit Card Balance?

David Seeger discusses if it makes sense to transfer your credit card balance in his weekly segment Money Monday.

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