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5 Reasons for a Holiday Loan

November 1, 2021

Children open a present as their parents watch, enjoying a holiday assisted by Holiday Loan financing
A Smarter Way To Cover Holiday Expenses

Why Consider a Holiday Loan?

As we approach the holiday season—from Christmas to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and more—we take advantage of the many sales and discounts offered by retailers. We also tend to have more family feasts and gatherings, or plan holiday travel. Our best intentions can temporarily exceed our bank balance, and paying off credit card debt all at once or at credit card interest rates can become costly come January. A smarter approach: financing these expenses with a lower-interest loan that can be paid back over a longer period. That’s where a First Source Holiday Loan comes in.

Funds from a Holiday Loan can be used to pay for qualifying expenses that could include travel, gifts, food and groceries, or entertaining. We encourage all our Members to save over the course of the year for these year-end expenses, but our actions don’t always live up to our best-laid plans. Having a financial buffer can relieve some of that stress. Do you think you need a Holiday Loan? Here are 5 possible reasons to apply.


1. You Can Plan Ahead

If your funds for holiday shopping and expenses traditionally run low before the holidays are over, you may be miscalculating for your seasonal budget. A Holiday Loan can help you to plan a holiday budget and follow it as closely as possible. While unexpected expenses always come up (and those unexpected sales often catch us by surprise), armed with a budget, we’re much more likely to stay on track.


2. Your Budget Will Thank You

The Holiday Loan is currently at 2.99% APR, coming in at a rate significantly lower than most credit cards, and the terms allow payment in known monthly amounts. Resorting to credit cards with high interest rates to cover gift purchases and unexpected expenses can wreak havoc with a household budget. A Holiday Loan makes payments predictable and manageable.


3. You’ll Know What You Can Spend

While the funds from a Holiday Loan are there to help you get through a busy financial period, we help you make sure you can handle the payments before finalizing your loan. If your monthly budget can’t handle the additional amount, you may have to adjust your gift list, shopping plans, social calendar, or travel details. We can help you work out the details so you can pay off your loan in a year (or less), and be ready for next year!


4. You’ll Gain Resolve

Speaking of those unexpected sales and promotions, a Holiday Loan forces you to evaluate your financial standing, strengthen your resolve before the shopping season starts, and limit your purchases to only what you need. If you don’t have the funds, it’s easier to say no to added debt or expense.


5. You’ll Have Less Stress!

If you apply and receive approval, we’ll put a payment plan in place. Once your funds are secured, you can follow your plan, and not stress so much. You can cover your holiday expenses, and not have to worry about that enormous January bill.


This seasonal loan is available now through December 20th, 2021, and requires application and approval time, so apply today. Then enjoy your holidays with peace of mind!

Posted in: Holiday Loan

Child Tax Credit Calculator

July 15, 2021

Smiling Family With Parents Giving Children Piggyback Rides

What Is The Child Tax Credit?

A child tax credit is a tax incentive for families with dependent children under the age of 18 and is linked to a taxpayer's income level as well as the number of children in the household.


How It Works

The Child Tax Credit Calculator will help you estimate the amount of your 2021 Child Tax Credit refund. To use the calculator, answer the following questions with the information you provided in your most recent tax filing.

The Child Tax Credit Calculator above requires one of the following web browsers:
Google Chrome (>= 42), Firefox (>= 39), Microsoft Edge (>= 14), Safari (>= 10.1)


Starting July 15th, 2021, millions of families across the country will be receiving the first payment of the newly expanded child tax credit. Under this enhanced stimulus package, the IRS will pay all eligible parents half the credit in advance monthly payments. The other half will be included in 2021 tax returns. The IRS will use 2020 (or 2019, if applicable) tax information to determine eligibility and will automatically enroll individuals for advance payments. For more information, visit irs.gov.


Live Smarter

If your financial situation has recently changed or if you’re simply looking for help managing your spending, we’re happy to help. Make an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today.

 

Article adapted from Banzai Financial Education Program. Not intended to be tax or financial advice. Please see your tax professional for further information.

Posted in: Child Tax Credit

Pandemic Related Retirement Withdrawals

January 27, 2021

Frustrated man calculating bills and expenses.

Is It Okay To Tap Into My Retirement Funds?

The global health crisis has hit everyone in some way. For many, they experienced tremendous loss of income, some with none at all. While unemployment and added government assistance stimulus checks were helpful to some degree, there are many who are still greatly struggling and weighing all income options, including accessing retirement funds early as a matter of survival.


Tips From Our Friends at Choice Investments

Generally speaking, it is always better to leave your retirement accounts alone and pull funds from non-retirement accounts first. This has to do with many factors including the longevity a retirement account requires to make steady gains and compensate for market losses. Over time, these accounts steadily grow. If money is taken out, the compound rate of return structure changes and there are usually pretty stiff penalty fees and taxes for early withdrawal.


Alternatives To Consider

  • If you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and are under the age of 59-1/2, rather than withdraw from your IRA, you may want to consider a personal loan, or home equity line of credit (HELOC). This allows you to borrow against yourself at a lower rate, rather than assume the 10% penalty, and have to pay taxes on the money withdrawn.

  • If you are over the age of 59-1/2, you could take a monthly withdrawal from your IRA to make the loan payments. This way you are only taking out a portion each month, which can be more cost effective than withdrawing a larger lump sum.

  • If you have a 401k you can always take a loan out against that plan too. Again, this is not ideal, but it is a better alternative than withdrawing a larger lump sum.

  • If you have no other choice, then by all means withdraw from your IRA. Money is needed for survival and nothing is more important than your life and health. Just be aware of what you may lose in income overall during the long term.


Invest Smarter

Whether you’re a new or experienced investor, we’re here to help with our investing options. We are more than happy to discuss your personal situation as everyone’s is unique, especially during this stressful time.

Call 315-735-8571 to talk about your options or make an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today. Simply click on the button below, select “Advisory Services” from the menu and choose “Investment Services.”


1IRA's are offered through First Source FCU and are federally insured by NCUA.

2Stocks/Stock Funds, other securities, and advisory services are offered through Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor and Member FINRA/SIPC. These products may also be offered by a First Source "dual employee" who accepts deposits on behalf of the credit union and also sells non-deposit investment products on behalf of Choice Investments LLC through Cadaret, Grant & Co. Choice Investments LLC, Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. and First Source are separate entities. You can check the background of these financial professionals through FINRA’s BrokerCheck. First Source Federal Credit Union is not a registered broker dealer and is not affiliated with Choice Investments LLC.

NOT FEDERALLY INSURED    •    MAY LOSE VALUE    •    NO CREDIT UNION OBLIGATIONS    •    NO CREDIT UNION GUARANTEE 

Funds invested through Choice Investments are not federally insured, may lose value, and are of no way obligations of First Source FCU. Involves investment risk and may involve loss of principal. First Source has no guarantees of securities and annuities products offered through Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. Financial Professionals associated with this site are registered to conduct securities business and licensed to conduct insurance business in certain states. Response to, or contact with, residents of other states will be made only upon compliance with applicable licensing and registration requirements. The information in this website is for U.S. residents only and does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase brokerage services to persons outside of the United States.

Become a Young Scholars Mentor

January 21, 2021

Young Scholars group shot

Mentors Needed Now More Than Ever!

Are you looking for constructive ways to spend your spare time? Would you like to make a positive impact on a local student’s life? The Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP) would like to invite anyone interested in providing academic, social, and cultural enrichment to our young program participants to consider becoming a mentor. The application process is simple:

  1. Fill out the enrollment application form

  2. Complete an authorization background check

  3. Pass a Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) check

  4. All applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a valid NYS driver license

Serving as mentors to the amazing young people in the Young Scholars program is among the most rewarding experiences we participate in. For more information, contact Linda Stewart at 315-792-3237 or lbstewart@utica.edu.


The Young Scholars Program

The Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program is a multi-year collaborative project between Utica College and the Utica City School District (UCSD) to motivate diverse and talented students to stay in school, earn a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, and pursue post-secondary education.

Each year, Young Scholars serves approximately 350 students from grades 7 through 12. UCSD teachers nominate students in sixth grade who show promise, but who may not achieve their full potential due to social and/or economic factors. The finalists are selected by a volunteer panel of professionals from the area.

Chosen students receive year-round academic support including a summer program prepping them for the following school year, college and career exploration, social and emotional support provided by counselors and staff, community service, and enrichment activities. If the student is fortunate enough, they are also paired with a mentor.

The program has been quite successful, as the impressive results show in the YSLPP brochure. More than one hundred YSLPP students have served as summer interns in the local community, and the program’s partnership with Workforce Development has provided hundreds of its students with summer jobs.



Mentorship

An important part of the Young Scholars program is pairing adult mentors with program participants. Mentors are volunteers who serve as positive role models, give students guidance and advice, and provide fun social and cultural enrichment experiences. Many activities are free, so it doesn’t cost a lot, in money or time. In fact, the minimum commitment is only 2-4 hours a month. Some mentors have one student they provide support to, and many mentor multiple students, often participating in activities with several students together. Many mentors have kids of their own, and bring their mentees along during family events.

While mentoring means a very modest commitment of time, mentors can make a tremendous impact on the lives of these promising young people. Mentors say they get more from the experience than the students do, and often form lasting friendships with their mentees. With a small investment in time, mentors make a big difference in the community.



Becoming a Mentor

Although a number of First Source staff and Members have joined with other community members to serve as mentors, the program can use more. The commitment is just one year, though most stay for more. Once you are qualified, the program provides an orientation, and ongoing support to help you get started and continue to provide fulfilling experiences for your mentee.



Why First Source is Invested in the Program

We are very excited to continue to partner with this tremendous program to help fulfill the dreams of our youth here in the Mohawk Valley, as their goals align with our community mission. We provide financial support, fill leadership roles, offer job shadowing and internships to Young Scholars interested in banking and/or financing, donate tools to teach financial literacy in their summer program, team up with Young Scholars for community service, and encourage our staff and Members to volunteer as mentors. 


How Can Your Place of Work Get Involved?

To teach community members more about the program, Young Scholars offers 30-minute “Lunch & Learn” presentations and workshops for any sized group, organization, or business. Simply contact them to schedule a presentation for your workplace or organization. 

Individuals can learn more by contacting Linda Stewart, Mentor Coordinator, by email at lbstewart@utica.edu, or phone at 315-792-3237. Join us in becoming a mentor, and help our students Grow Big Dreams. 



“The positive and empowering effects of being a mentor are immeasurable and I am both thrilled and proud to be part of the YSLPP mentoring experience.” 
- Kim Van Duren, Mentor
 


“Mentoring is something that has changed my life in the most positive way. I always find that mentoring has truly made me have a more profound understanding of today’s youth. I feel that no matter what, both of my mentees know that they have someone with whom to share a laugh or an important conversation. Mentoring is a never-ending gift, a mentoring situation that after graduation will hopefully turn into a lifelong friendship." 
- Dennis Hahn, Mentor


“We text frequently and do as many fun activities as we can together. She attends family functions with me because she truly is my second daughter. Watching her grow is incredible and I know there's much more that Young Scholars is going to see from Areiana in the future.” 
- Alicia Adamczyk, Mentor 

 

Federal Housing Administration Loans

October 9, 2020

Couple reviewing paperwork while sitting with their laptopAre They Right For You?

If you're looking to purchase a home, but are nervous about your credit score, or debt obligations, an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan may be a good choice.


Advantages of an FHA Loan

  • There are minimal credit requirements which can help ease your mind and the mortgage qualifying process. According to the FHA, loans may currently be granted with little or no credit history, and/or less-than-perfect credit.

  • The initial down payment on the home will be less than those of conventional mortgage loans. With other loans, you may be required to put down 5-10% of the purchasing price, but with an FHA loan, you may only have to make a down payment as low as 3.5%.  

  • Qualifying for an FHA loan may still be possible, even with a substantial amount of debt. Most mortgage loans limit a buyer’s monthly home and debt spending to a certain percentage of their income. While FHA loans have the same stipulations, they generally allow home and debt spending up to higher ratios of the buyer’s income, which can be helpful.

  • FHA loan interest rates are fixed and often lower than those of other mortgage loan types. This could help you save a lot over time on your interest payments.

  • Sellers have a higher percentage option for concessions than they normally would, if the buyer is using an FHA loan to purchase the home. Sellers may contribute up to 6% of the closing costs.


Potential Disadvantages of an FHA Loan

  • If you have good to great credit, the low, fixed interest rate of an FHA loan may actually not be as low as you could otherwise get from another mortgage loan option. This could cost you thousands of dollars over the long run.

  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is more expensive for those who get FHA loans. The initial low down payment on the home can result in higher-priced insurance payments. There is an upfront mortgage insurance fee along with a monthly premium to be paid over the life of the loan.

  • FHA loans will not allow you to flip a house. They require the property to be inspected and to qualify as FHA-eligible. This standard inspection generally prevents ‘fixer-uppers’ from qualifying, so if you're looking to find a house to flip, the FHA loan would not be an option.

  • The total amount allowed for you to borrow with an FHA loan changes from county-to-county. If you live in a county with a high demand for, but low supply of, homes, your FHA loan may not allow you to buy the home you were hoping for because its price does not land within the parameters of the loan’s allowable amount.


Borrow Smarter

We understand that every situation and every home is unique. Mortgages can be complicated, but we make it easy. We look forward to working with you on your specific need to find the best possible solution. Get started with the application process below.

 

If you have questions about what type of mortgage is right for you, consider scheduling an introductory discovery call with one of our Mortgage Team representatives. Simply click on the button below, select the “Apply for a Loan” service from the menu and choose the “Mortgage Services” option.

 

Article adapted from BALANCE Financial Fitness Program.

Posted in: FHA loan

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