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Prenuptial Agreement

You’ve said “I do” but there are a few minor details to go over…ever heard of a prenup?

Prenuptial

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “prenup” or “premarital agreement,” is a legal agreement signed by two individuals before marriage. It covers the financial aspects of their union. It also serves to protect each spouse’s individual assets in case of a death or breakup, and/or to identify each person’s rights and responsibilities toward their assets during marriage.

What are the benefits of a prenup?

  • If you have children or grandchildren from a previous marriage, premarital agreements can protect their inheritances. Without a prenup, state law dictates the direction of your assets if there is a death or divorce.
  • It protects a personal business, whose shares would otherwise be divided in the event of a divorce.
  • It can protect one spouse from taking on the debts of the another.
  • It limits the amount of alimony or support that one partner would be obligated to pay to another in the event of divorce.
  • It identifies the financial rights and responsibilities of each spouse during marriage.

Are there any drawbacks to prenups?

  • If divorce is on the table, the spouse whose support is limited because of the prenup is at a disadvantage.
  • A premarital agreement can block your lawful entitlement to a portion of the estate of a deceased spouse.
  • One spouse can lose the rights to a share in a business.

How do I create a prenup?

  • Write a premarital agreement together with your partner.
  • Be sure to include any future business visions or plans for pursuing a higher education; provisions for the extended family; how property and finances will be managed during the marriage; a plan for dividing or distributing property in the event of divorce or death; and whether/how much alimony or spousal support will be awarded.
  • Upon completion, the document should be approved by a lawyer and signed by both parties.

How can I ensure the prenup is legally binding?

  • Identify the two parties by their full, legal names. Assert that they are entering into the agreement of their own accord.
  • State that the parties intend to marry. Record the day it goes into effect.
  • Contain truthful information and have reasonable stipulations.

Consult a family or estate lawyer for further guidance.

Have you signed a prenup? Share your best tips with engaged couples on Facebook and Twitter!

6 Ways to Save On Your Summer Vacation

The open road is calling and your dream vacation awaits! But first, you need to work out the financial details. How are you going to pay for your getaway?

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These six vacation saving tips will help you plan a perfect getaway without busting your budget.

1) Timing is everything
There is an ideal window for buying everything, and booking airline flights is no exception. Flight prices generally fluctuate until departure day, but experts say the sweet spot is 54 days before your travel date.

2) Clear your cache
Hotel and airline sites use cookies to determine what you’re shopping for – and then raise their prices accordingly. Beat the system by clearing your cache before every new search so they can’t access your browser history.

3) Sweet-talk your way to savings
Ask for an upgrade at check-in. About 78% of hotel guests who request an upgrade at the front desk actually receive one. Also, by 6 p.m., most hotels know which rooms will be filled for the night. If you check in later in the day, you’ll have a better chance at getting the room with the incredible view – for an economy-class price.

4) Never pay full price
Check sites like coupondivas.com, entertainment.com and Groupon.com for deep discounts at local eateries and entertainment centers. You can also find cheaper tickets to nearby amusement parks by looking for sellers on Craigslist.

5) Freebie fun
Challenge yourself to enjoy one day of your vacation without spending any money. Search local sites and blogs for write-ups about free things to do. You might find a charming farm, a fun splash pad for the kids or a scenic hiking trail.

Don’t eat out on this day either. Many hotels include a continental breakfast – so take full advantage. For lunch, picnic on sandwiches. Dinner can be something effortless that you brought from home, like hot dogs cooked on a travel grill or omelettes fried in a sandwich-maker.

6) Save your mega event for the last day
End your vacation on a sweet note by saving your most exciting event for your last day away.

If you’re unsure of how you’re going to fund your getaway, call, click, or chat with us and ask about taking out a personal loan or joining a vacation club. We’re here to make your dream vacation come true!

How do you save big on summer vacation? Share your best hacks with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Should I Refinance My Home Mortgage?

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Here are a few reasons many homeowners decide to refinance:

1) To take advantage of lower interest rates
Many lenders claim that even a 1% savings on interest rates should be reason enough to refinance. Reducing your interest rate can help you build more equity in your home sooner and decrease the size of your monthly payment, saving you lots of money.

2) To shorten the life of their loan
If you have a mortgage with a really high interest rate, refinancing can help you pay off your loan in half the time without changing your monthly payment much.

3) To convert between adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages
Over time, adjustments can increase the rates on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) until they top the going rate for fixed-rate mortgages. When this happens, switching to a fixed-rate mortgage is a good idea.

When refinancing is a bad idea:

  • When you need money to pull you out of debt – Most people who refinance for this reason end up spending all the money they save, and then some.
  • When a refinance will greatly lengthen the loan’s terms – If you’ve only got 10 years left on your mortgage and you want to refinance to stretch out those payments over 30 years, you won’t come out ahead. Any money you save on lower payments will be lost in the cost of the refinance and the extra 20 years of interest you’ll be paying on your mortgage.
  • When you don’t plan on living in your home for much longer – The money you save each month might not even come close to the prohibitive price you paid for your refinance.

If you don’t plan on staying in your home for that long, or you can’t afford to wait until then to recoup your losses, refinancing may not be a good idea.

Have you refinanced? What drove your decision? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Go Generic!

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Try the generic or store-brand product before reaching for the name brand. They’re usually a whole lot cheaper and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save – up to 25% per item. That can easily translate into a savings of more than $1,000 a year!

Which store brands do you find have quality that is comparable to name brands? Share your best finds with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Skip the Grocery Trip

Do you stop by your local grocery a few times a week? Are you constantly running out of the staples you need for your planned dinner?

Rethink your trips! Can you skip one or more grocery runs this month and throw a meal together using the items you already have in your pantry and/or fridge?

It’s not as hard as it sounds. Be creative and think outside the box (or bag). Remember that your meal needs only to be balanced and delicious; it doesn’t have to win any awards or be magazine-worthy.

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Learn to make do with what you have and watch the savings add up!

What creative meals have you dreamed up lately by skipping the mid-week grocery run?

Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Road Freedom for 4th of July

4th of July is coming up and you may want to hit the road for a quick weekend getaway. For a newbie, a road trip can be quite a challenge. Worry not, road warrior!

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Here are a few ways you can save some green on your next four-wheeled adventure:

1) Budget beforehand
If there’s one rule of financially savvy vacationing, it’s this one: Make a budget before you hit the road. It can be easy to justify an ever-ballooning budget. A few dollars here and there can quickly turn into one big expense, and it’s one you could be paying for long after the semester’s over.

Instead, take control of your spending by giving yourself a realistic goal of how much you’ll spend. If you end up a few dollars over, you can make up the difference much easier than if you were to later find out you massively overspent. Making a budget also gives you an idea of how much you need to save between now and the start of your grand adventure.

2) Feed your future
Gas station food might be an attractive option after you’ve spent all day on the road, but it’s not always the best plan. In addition to the cost, such food is generally fried and unhealthy. You probably don’t want to spend the first few days of a great vacation sweating off a pound of fried cheese! Beyond the food, spending money on bottled beverages can do some quick damage to your budget.

As much as possible, prepare your snacks before leaving. Even if that means just putting snack-sized bags of chips together out of a big bag and filling a cooler jug with water, the cost savings are well worth the time. If you’re feeling more on top of things, consider packing bread and sandwich fixings to save on roadside lunches. If you plan on stopping at restaurants for dinner, consider shopping ahead of time at a gift card exchange site where you can grab other people’s Christmas rejects for a fraction of the price, or check Groupon for good restaurant deals in most cities across the US.

3) Vet your vehicle
Nothing will influence the road trip experience more than your choice of vehicle. This is where you’ll be for several hours a day, so you’ll want to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible. Beyond a thorough cleaning, consider what maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. Get a tire rotation and an oil change before you leave to avoid having to pay for expensive repairs on the road.

Finally, you’ll also want to make sure all the legalities are covered. Make sure your insurance is current and you know where your card is located. Call your insurance company to make sure you’re covered if someone else is driving your car. Confirm that your plates are current and that you know where all your important documents are. Taking these steps can prevent an expensive and time-consuming ticket!

What are your best road trip savings tips? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter about how you keep the costs down on your highway adventures!

Debit Card Safety

How do you pay for your purchases? It may be instinct for you to pull out any piece of plastic without thinking, but your random card of choice might not be the safest way to pay.

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5 purchases to carefully consider before using your debit card:

1) At the pump
Card skimmers at gas stations are on the rise. By using your credit card instead of your debit card at the pump, you’ll have an added layer of protection against fraud. You can also choose to use cash and avoid the risk of getting skimmed altogether.

2) At an isolated ATM
Isolated ATMs in locations with very little security and sparse foot traffic are prime targets for hackers.

3) In an unfamiliar location
When on vacation, think before you swipe. You don’t know the area and you can’t be certain which clerks are to be trusted. You’re better off paying with a credit card or with cash so your purchases are protected against fraud.

4) For large purchases
If you’re springing for a big-ticket item, use your credit card. It’ll offer you dispute rights in case the product doesn’t turn out as you expected.

5) Restaurants
When you hand a restaurant server your debit card at the end of a meal, they have more than enough time to also swipe your card info!

Always use your debit or credit card with caution. Check the payment processor for anything that looks out-of-place, such as a newer keypad on an older machine or a hard-to-use slot for your card. Don’t forget to cover the pad with your hand when inputting your PIN.

Stay ahead of hackers by using your debit card wisely – visit our Security Center for more tips!

Was your debit card ever compromised? Share your experience with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Don't Drink Your Wallet Dry!

You probably already know water is the best beverage choice for your health and for your money. But did you know bottled water may be costing you a fortune?

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It’s true: Many people pay exorbitant amounts of money for bottled water without even realizing how inflated the price is.

So, let’s take a look at the costs of bottled water when compared to ordinary tap water.

For 1,000 gallons of tap water, it will cost you approximately $11. With that amount of water, you could fill 7,570 bottles of water at 16.9 fluid ounces each, with each bottle costing you just $0.0014! Assuming you drink three 20-oz bottles of water a day, you’ll need 1,095 bottles a year. If you’d fill those bottles with tap water, you’ll only pay $1.53 a year!

There are many ways to get sweet-tasting water without busting your budget. Here are some options to consider:

DIY chilling
Love the taste and convenience of bottled water? Save big by buying your bottles in packs of 24 and refrigerating them at home instead of buying them cold on the go. Instead of $1 a bottle, you’ll pay just $0.16.

Water coolers
Water coolers cost an average of $170 and can help you fill all your water needs at home. After springing for the machine, you’ll only be paying for refills.

Pitcher filters
These contraptions snap right onto your pitcher of water and filter it on the spot. You can also purchase a pitcher with the filter already attached. Either way, you’ll have your bottled water needs met with just a one-time purchase averaging $20.

Water treatment system
Having an indoor water treatment system installed in your faucet will give you access to unlimited amounts of filtered water. These filters average $250 to $400, but usually work with only one faucet. Some companies will install a purified water tap alongside your existing faucet instead of filtering it.

Tap water is definitely the cheapest way to drink up. If it’s a safe option in your area, try drinking only tap water for a month. It may just become a lifelong habit!

Here are some ways to make tap water more palatable:

1) Slice some citrus fruits and let them float in your pitcher.
2) Invest in a SodaStream to add some sparkle to your glass.
3) Freeze pureed blueberries and strawberries and use them as ice cubes.

Drink wisely this summer and save big!

How do you hydrate? Share your own cost-effective water sources with us on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Fund an Emergency

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*Q: I’ve had a financial emergency and I don’t know how to pay for it! What are my options?

A: Ideally, you’ll want to have an emergency fund in place. If you don’t, consider these options…*


1) Credit cards
Credit cards are super-convenient. You don’t have to wait for approval, take on another source of debt, or even think about paying it back until later. Borrowing with a credit card, though, means getting more than you bargained for. With high interest rates, you’ll end up owing a lot more money than you borrowed.

Also, credit cards make it easy to push off paying what you owe by only requiring a minimum monthly payment. This means you’ll end up carrying that debt for a lot longer than planned.

2) 401(k) loans
Borrowing from a 401(k) should only be a last resort for those who won’t qualify for another loan. They will affect your future in ways other loans will not, so experts only recommend this choice if you are secure in your job and the money will be used for a sound investment.

Also, the payments for the loan will be taken out of your future paychecks, so be sure you can afford less regular income.

3) Friends and family
For many, borrowing from friends and family is the obvious answer to financial emergencies. But it can get sticky, fast. Use these guidelines to avoid disaster:

  • Have a clear repayment plan in place, and be sure you can stick to the set timeline.
  • Create a shared contract detailing the loan terms and the repayment plan.
  • Consider having a third party witness the loan and sign the contract.
  • Keep your financial and personal relationship separate.

4) Personal loans
Personal loans can be granted for nearly any reason, and you’ll usually have the funds in hand quickly. Unfortunately, most personal loans come with high interest rates. As a member of City CU, you have access to personal loans with affordable rates!

If you think a personal loan sounds right for you, call, click or chat with us today. We’re always here to help!

5) Building an emergency fund

Start building your emergency fund today, so you’re never stuck in a tight spot again.

  • Create a goal for your fund. Ideally, an emergency fund should be able to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months.
  • Review your monthly budget to find places to cut back.
  • Determine how long it will take you to reach your goal by allocating the saved money to your emergency fund.
  • Open a savings account for this purpose.
  • Set up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to your emergency fund.

From here on, you’ll be prepared for anything!

6 Ways to Turn Your Dream Vacation Into A Reality

Everyone has their own version of a dream vacation. But, for most of us, it never becomes a reality.

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Read on for six ways to make that dream vacation come true -

1) Start saving
Give your getaway a jumpstart by planning for it all year long.

  • Set up a “Trip jar.” Whenever you’ve got loose change, plunk it in a jar earmarked for your vacation. Use the money you’ve saved to fund one part of your vacation.
  • Brown-bag it. The average American buys lunch twice a week. By brown-bagging it just one more day a week, you can save hundreds of dollars a year for your vacation.
  • Open a savings account. Here at City CU, we’re all about making dreams come true. Call, click or chat with us to learn how to painlessly save for vacation all year.

2) Time it right
Choosing the perfect date for your vacation can save you thousands of dollars. Consider taking your trip just after peak season ends. You’ll still enjoy beautiful weather, but your airfare and lodging costs will see a significant drop.

Experts also recommend booking your flight 54 days before your departure date to get the best prices.

3) Make the most of your dollar
When researching vacation destinations, check the local exchange rates. Choose a place that will allow your dollar to go farther, and you’ll have more to spend with the same amount of cash!

4) Let your loyalty pay off
Don’t book a flight, hotel stay or car rental without checking your credit card points first. You might have enough miles to pay for a large chunk of your trip.

When booking hotel stays, do a quick search to determine if they offer a loyalty program for return customers. You might land yourself a good discount just for using the same hotel chain twice!

5) Research, research, research
Don’t make any vacation decisions without first doing careful research. If you found a resort you love, check out their online presence to see if they offer airline discounts or credits. See if you can find a local who’d be willing to swap houses with you while you’re on vacation. Check Groupon for instant discounts on attractions and restaurants in the area.

6) Live in the moment
Don’t forget to enjoy your vacation! If something doesn’t go according to plan, let it slide. Leave the everyday pressure at home and just fully relax.

It’s also important to unplug. Stop snapping pictures and take the earbuds out. Let go of the compulsive need to capture every moment on camera and take the time to just be.

You deserve to enjoy every bit of your vacation!

How do you save big on vacation without compromising on the fun factor or on your comfort? Share your best tips with us on Facebook and Twitter!