Families On the Go

Managing the Financial Responsibilities of Family Life

By the time you have a family of your own, there will be accompanying expenses such as fees for various activities and lessons for your children, family vacations, saving for college educations or buying a new home.  Throughout this time, you should regularly evaluate your progress towards achieving the financial goals you set earlier in your life and adjust your spending, budgeting and saving to make sure you stay on track.  With all the demands a family places on your income, it is still important to build your long-term investments. 

Planning and discipline that determines what and how you spend contributes to your future financial success.  Here are some tips Guardian Credit Union recommends for sound financial management during this demanding time of your life.

1. Shop for the best mortgage and consumer loans

Seeking the best mortgage or consumer loan by  shopping, comparing and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars. A mortgage—whether for a home purchase, refinancing or a home equity loan—is a product, just like a car, so terms may be negotiable.  You’ll want to compare all the costs involved in obtaining a mortgage including interest rates, points, fees and down payment and private mortgage insurance requirements.   Home equity loans and lines of credit can be helpful when extra cash is needed to reduce significant credit card debt—but be cautious about re-building credit card debt once it is paid.

With experienced lending professionals and local decision-making, you’ll be sure to find a loan at Guardian Credit Union that meets your needs.  To see more information on a mortgage or consumer loan now, click the link below, or stop by and talk with one of our lending officers. 

2. Understand your credit report

Your financial behavior over the past seven years, including how much credit you have, how long you've had it and whether you pay your bills on time is information included in your credit report.  Three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — maintain these reports, and  lenders buy them to help them decide whether to offer you a prequalification.  Your credit report also carries your credit score ranked between 300 and 850 that many lenders use to decide whether you are credit-worthy and if you'll repay a loan.  Your credit score can also influence the interest rate you pay.  In many cases the higher your score, the lower your interest rate. Your credit score is available from the three credit reporting agencies:

3. Start Saving for College

By starting early, when your child is in preschool or before, you can build a realistic fund through the power of compounding over many years.  The earlier you start, the less you’ll have to save per month.        

Through Guardian Credit Union, you can access products designed to help you fund your child’s higher education. 

To learn more, or set up an educational account, click on the links below.   

  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
    • Call the Main Office at 334-244-9999 or 800-239-7366 and speak with an Investment Representative for more information.
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD)
    • A "CD" account allows you to maximize your rate of investment return with savings products that are NCUA insured. Choose to invest either IRA or regular funds in a term that fits your needs.
  • US Government EE Savings Bonds
    • EE Bonds are reliable, low-risk government-backed savings products that you can use toward financing education and other special events. These are available through Guardian Credit Union and also may be purchased online at www.treasurydirect.gov.

4. Conserve time, money and paper with Guardian Credit Union’s convenient checking accounts with FREE online banking and FREE bill pay and no-charge ATM services

You’ll reduce the time it takes to pay your bills and save on the expense of printed paper checks and postage while helping the environment as well.

5. Save for Retirement

Many people underestimate the amount of money they’ll need in retirement.

Be realistic about major expenditures, e.g., will your mortgage be paid off by retirement?  If so, you may need less income than you do now.  Do you plan to buy a vacation home or travel extensively?  Will you have to pay for your own health insurance?  These and other financial considerations all come into play. 

Now is a good time to up your contributions to your retirement savings accounts.  Talk with Guardian Credit Union’s Member Service Representatives to learn about the products we offer that can help you meet your retirement goals. 

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

  • Make sure your mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, represents no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.
  • Review the cost of your health care insurance and make sure you are getting adequate coverage at the best price. 
  • Make wise purchasing decisions by determining what you “need” compared to what you “want.”  This will help you make ongoing decisions to keep your finances in check.   
  • Guard against impulse shopping, especially for costly purchases such as vehicles, major appliances, furniture, jewelry and the like.

Need Some Help?

For help determining the best accounts and products for sound and productive money management during your Active Families Lifestage, please contact us at 334-244-9999 or memberservices@myguardiancu.com.