If you want the best renting experience possible, there are a few rules you should follow.
A trust, similar to a will, is a way to designate what happens to a person’s belongings after they pass away.
Changes to the economy, your situation, or your goals may prompt you to take a look at your budget for opportunities to save. But where do you start? These lists will help you make changes, both big and small, to your budget.
When you leave a job with a 401(k), you’ll generally have four options for what to do with the money. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so deciding what’s right for you will depend on your situation and preferences.
Whether you’re splitting the bill at a restaurant with friends, paying back your parents, or buying snacks at a sports event, it’s hard to beat the convenience of peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, Google Pay, Cash App, and PayPal.
Frugal living discussions often talk about pinching pennies or “stretching a dollar.” A penny saved is a penny earned, or so the saying goes, but is that actually the case?
If you're willing to wait, a CD can be a great way to earn a high interest rate on the money you deposit.
If you're building an emergency fund, saving for a big purchase, or getting money together to invest, using an insured savings account can put you on the right road.
When you start looking for financial advice (or any kind of advice, for that matter), experts will share their take on what’s “good” and what’s “bad.” In personal finance, there are some classifications that we can all agree on: Debt is bad. Emergency funds are good. Overdrawing your account is bad. Earning interest on your savings is good.
When shopping for a car, it's usually best to start by shopping for a car loan.
Opening an account at a bank or credit union is the first step toward owning your personal finances. Best of all? It’s super easy.
Follow these 7 internet safety rules to help keep yourself and others safe online.
News outlets and credit card companies are quick to label millennials as being credit card-shy. According to a recent survey, millennials apparently fear their credit card debt more than climate change, the threat of war and even death. It may sound like an overreaction, but the underlying trend is substantial: millennials are carrying fewer cards and have lower balances, compared to the previous generation of young adults.
It’s likely you use a phone, computer, or some other device every day (you’re even using one right now!). But just because you use it often doesn’t mean you can let your guard down.
When looking for a new car, you have three main options: buy used, buy new, or lease.
Still stashing money under beds, in ceiling tiles, or under floorboards? You may even use a safe to protect your cash. Yes, these are fun, creative ways to secure money, but they aren't great for all your income. Instead, it’s time to take safe-guarding your money a little more seriously. Checking accounts—they’re serious—and safe.
It’s scary to find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford your monthly debt payments. Whether that’s due to a sudden life change, like a job loss or illness, or if you’ve simply found yourself unable to keep up, there are steps you can take.
Most people ask, "How much does college cost?"—that’s the first mistake. It’s not to say this question isn’t answerable, but grouping college into one huge expense can be a little deceiving.
Auto insurance is not only often a legal requirement, it's also absolutely vital to your financial health.
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a line of credit that allows you to tap into your home’s equity.
They say there’s no place like home, but does that mean you have to purchase one to get the benefits? Just like everything else, buying a home has its pros and cons.
Writing a business plan is an essential part of building a successful business. At its core, a business plan is a road map for your project: it establishes your purpose, it sets goals and expectations, and it forecasts the relationship between cost and revenue. Business plans exist in many forms: some formal and some informal.
Investing can seem like a very risky, complex and fast-moving process. With endless combinations of investment vehicles to choose from, it can be difficult to take your first step as an investor—especially with the knowledge that all investments carry the risk of losing some or all of your money. So why bother?
How did you decide where to open your first bank account? Where did you learn to budget or pay bills? If you have a money question now, what do you do? Who do you turn to?
Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about all of the amazing lifestyle changes that await you just beyond your next pay raise? Have you ever fantasized about how to spend a work bonus, only to have the money instantly disappear into your monthly spending? If this sounds familiar, you might be prone to lifestyle creep.
While bank and banking are universally understood and accepted terms, the term credit union is still largely misunderstood and unknown to many. Credit union is an unusual term, isn’t it? Is it just another name for a bank? Is it a credit card company? Do I have to be in a union to join?
In case you haven’t heard, compound interest is the best.You may remember it as an equation you had to memorize for math class, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the concept that powers all sorts of savings and investment products and, over time, allows you to turn your money into, well, more money!
Consumer debt is an extremely contradictory part of our personal finances: it’s at once common and incredibly personal. According to numerous sources, the majority of US adults owe money in some way, shape or form—and yet what this consumer debt represents can vary drastically from person to person. To some, a debt might signify a major accomplishment or progress toward a large goal. To others, it might be a constant reminder of a time of crisis or hardship. The decisions that lead us to consumer debt can be thoughtful and deliberate, or rushed and misguided. It is perhaps these differences that make it challenging to talk openly about debt for fear of judgment.
Living on your own for the first time can be empowering. It means having independence and all the things that come with it. Some of those things—like not having to share a bathroom—are wonderful. Others—like killing spiders yourself—are not so fun. And leading the pack in the not-so-fun category: bills.
While the price tag for a college education has edged down slightly during the pandemic, it’s important to plan ahead to determine how to fun – or partially fun – tuition, fees, room, board and everything else for four (or more) years of undergraduate studies.
They love me, they love me not. Here’s how you can prevent yourself from falling victim to some of the sneakiest crimes out there—romance scams.
Scammers target seniors more aggressively than any other group. Recognizing the most common scams helps prevent your money and personal information from getting stolen.
For most people, spending comes naturally. Saving up for something special is harder. And setting money aside for giving is really hard.
Even though there are over 5,000 credit unions in the United States, many misconceptions about their structure and their services still exist. One popular-but-false assumption is that the term “credit union member” is interchangeable with the term “credit union customer.” It might seem like a harmless mistake, but the concept of membership is what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions. A “member” isn’t an empty marketing term—it reflects your credit union’s commitment to co-operative values and shapes your entire banking experience. As a member, you’re a part owner, you have a say in how your credit union is run and you get to share in its success in tangible ways.
Borrowing money comes at a cost. This extra cost is called interest. If borrowing money costs more, why do people still do it? Here are three reasons why:
What was the very first financial choice you ever made?
You make many choices every day. You choose how to spend your time. You choose how to spend your energy. You also choose how to spend your money.
According to the American Pet Products Association, nearly 70% of all US households own a pet. That translates into an estimated $86 billion spent on food, supplies, medical care and pet services in 2018. Although the love and companionship our furry (or feathered, or scaly) friends provide is priceless, it’s impossible to ignore the effect that pet ownership has on our wallet.
Everyone has secrets—personal data, passwords, private documents, etc—and people will spend lots of money to keep this information secret or gain access to it. Ransomware is just one way that hackers win access to personal information, expecting its owner will pay to win it back.
Asking the right questions is an important part of every financial decision you make, and home ownership is no exception. If you’ve been thinking about buying a place, preliminary research will turn up a long checklist of questions for you to ask at every part of the process. There are questions for your financial institution, questions for your mortgage broker and questions for your real estate agent. But what about the questions you should be asking yourself?
The average person moves residences about 11 times in their lifetime. That provides a lot of opportunity to confront the following question: is it better to own your home or to rent it? It’s a huge decision that affects your lifestyle as much as it does your finances, and the answer will vary depending on who you ask. There are compelling arguments to be made for both sides and the resulting advice—though well-intentioned—can quickly become confusing and contradictory. So, is paying rent really just a waste of money? Or is it true that you can make more money by renting than by owning a home? Take a closer look at six snippets of common owning-versus-renting advice:
Like going to the gym or eating a healthy diet, saving money is one of those concepts that’s simple to grasp but weirdly challenging to put into practice. We understand its benefits. We agree that it’s essential to our well-being. We know that it’s something we should be doing. But paycheck after paycheck, it’s the same routine: after the bills have been paid and the regular expenses have been looked after, there just isn’t quite enough left over for our savings goals. We blame our lack of financial willpower and promise ourselves we’ll do better next paycheck, but more often than not, the cycle repeats itself. If this scenario seems all too familiar, consider automating your personal finances in order to pay yourself first.
Bulls and bears can be considered the unofficial mascots of the stock market. They represent the upward and downward movements of the stock market over a period of time and have even come to describe investor behavior (optimistic investors are said to be bullish, while investors with a pessimistic outlook are said to be bearish). In a field typically known for its confusing financial terminology and often uninspired language, the bull and bear symbols really stand out—and this is especially true in Lower Manhattan.
Picture this: you’re steering your shopping cart through the sliding doors of the supermarket, shopping list in hand. As you walk the aisles, there’s a strategy you can use to save an average of 33% on your entire purchase. It doesn’t require any coupon clipping or rewards cards. And the best part? You still get every single item on your list. The secret? Buying private-label products instead of brand-name products.
Con artists cheat Americans out of billions of dollars every year. Recognizing red flags for potential scams can help protect you, your loved ones, and your hard earned cash.
Every year, it’s nice to do a bit of “financial spring cleaning” and declutter your filing cabinet, your desk drawers, and the various hiding places where miscellaneous scraps of paper tend to accumulate and multiply. Read on to find out what you should be saving, and what’s OK to shred.
Credit scores are an area of personal finance that seem a lot more mysterious than they actually are. Many people believe that improving them is a matter of trial and error and, as a result, there’s a lot of “credit score advice” floating around that can end up doing more harm than good. Four common credit score myths have been rounded up and debunked below:
Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)
5 Financial New Year’s Resolutions & How to fulfill them
Imagine this: you are out for a walk and you find a stack of shiny gold bars. Where do you put your treasure to keep it safe?
An emergency fund is an essential part of your personal finances. Its importance is stressed in almost every personal finance book and budgeting blog, and yet 26% of Americans currently have no emergency fund in place. Of those who do have an emergency fund, up to two-thirds do not have the often-recommended six months’ worth of expenses saved up.
Identity theft is nothing new, and yet it still manages to cost its victims billions of dollars (yes, that’s billions with a “b”) globally each year—not to mention the time and hassle involved in recovering a stolen identity.
Prepare your tax documents – One third of Americans file their taxes at the last minute. Filing late could cost you additional penalties, interest, or fees. Most common tax forms include:Wage information
Personal information for all filers
Previous year(s) tax returns
Childcare or education expenses
Itemized medical expenses
Supporting your local community is a positive thing—it builds relationships, it strengthens the local economy, and it makes your neighborhood a happier and healthier place to work and play. The most obvious way to support your surrounding community is with the choices you make with your dollars. Money you spend in your community is recirculated in the local economy instead of being extracted from it. This translates into more local jobs, more opportunities for local business owners and service providers, and more tax dollars that stay in the community. Supplementing your grocery shopping list with fresh farmers’ market finds, choosing independent cafés and restaurants over national chains, and purchasing art and gifts from local vendors are all simple ways to support your local economy.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application for financial aid made up of scholarships and grants that the government awards to students based on their needs.
Applying for a mortgage is a big endeavor. Most lenders require you to complete a mortgage application—a comprehensive financial statement.
A mortgage is likely going to be one of the largest loans you'll take out in your life. It's essential to understand all that goes into the cost and your responsibility in paying it back.
Refinancing can be beneficial if everything lines up in your favor. What can you get out of it? The list is long and exciting for someone stuck with loan payments that they aren’t happy with.
This blog post is geared to younger kids in 1st – 5th grade. It’s a great starting for when children begin talking about what they want to be when they grow up! After reviewing the comic, some great questions to ask kids include:
Retail sales during the November - December 2020 holiday season grew at an unexpected high rate of 8.3%. Sales are expected to grow again in 2021.
If you use a cellphone or have an email account, you’ve almost certainly been exposed to an attempt at mass marketing fraud. Common examples include being interrupted by an annoying robocall just as you start eating lunch, or waking up to a suspicious message in your email inbox that somehow slipped through the spam filter. Sometimes, the attempted fraud is kind of funny—the wording is so strange or the premise is so ridiculous (“An exiled prince needs my help transferring a million dollars? Really?”) that we’re left wondering how anyone could possibly fall for such an obvious money grab.
When it comes to buying a new car, you have three options: purchasing it with cash, purchasing it through a loan (also known as financing) or leasing it. For most shoppers, the decision comes down to buying or leasing.
Budgeting is a skill that helps you make smart decisions with your money. It ensures that you’re spending less than you earn, it prepares you for life’s curveballs, and it funds your goals and your dreams. Unfortunately, budgeting is often seen as restrictive and overwhelming. Financial priorities are deeply personal, so it can be challenging to find the right combination of strategies and tools that work for you.
Kohler Credit Union members are able monitor their credit by using Credit Insights, our free credit monitoring tool available in digital banking. Want to learn more about credit scores? Click here to read more about your credit score and why it’s important or check out our credit score videos on It’s a Money Thing.
Loans help finance some of our biggest goals in life. They can provide access to possibilities that we can’t afford upfront—possibilities like going to school, buying a home or starting a business (to name just a few).
One of the most effective tools for preventing a large-scale financial disaster is an emergency fund, an amount of money that is set aside to cover unexpected expenses, or to keep you afloat if no regular income is coming in.
Think back to your most recent savings goal. How long did you have to save in order to reach it? Was it a concert ticket or some new shoes that took a few weeks of budgeting? Was it a big-ticket item like a new computer or a summer vacation that took a year or two of planning in advance? Perhaps you’re currently saving for an even more ambitious goal: a car, a wedding, a down payment on a home? Although savings goals vary from person to person and range in size and scope, it’s likely that your longest-term savings goal will be your retirement.