Relationship Pricing: LEARN MORE!

Who doesn’t want rewarded for their loyalty?  Hopewell Federal Credit Union has done just that!  The new Relationship Pricing offers great discounts including lower fees and lower loan rates just for giving my loyalty.  That is AWESOME!!!  Find out how you can enjoy these new benefits at http://www.hopewellfcu.org or by watching our latest video.

Relationship Pricing rewards you for your loyalty. The more products and
services you use, the better your reward!
You can enjoy:
•Fewer fees
•More complimentary services
•Reduced consumer loan rates

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Make Yours an Unconventional Retirement

Several alternative ways to live during retirement when you haven’t saved much may turn out to be more fun or in vogue than you think.

One of the most effective ways to cut your living expenses is to share housing. Moving in with a relative or friends now, before you retire, can allow you to start putting 50% or more of your income into savings. Continuing that pattern in retirement or starting it then allows you to keep living expenses low.

“The Golden Girls” TV show that aired from 1985 to 1992 depicted sharing living quarters as fun for those in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.

And working in retirement is becoming the new normal. In 2009, according to an AARP study, 17.2% of Americans age 65 and older were still working. A May 2011 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey found that 50% of workers plan to remained employed after they retire, mostly in part-time jobs.

Working longer puts you in some very distinguished company. A recent Ledbury Research survey of 2,000 “high net worth” individuals found that 60% are not planning on traditional retirement. Barclay’s Wealth Management has dubbed them the “Nevertirees.” Included are the likes of Warren Buffett and Paul McCartney.

Making green choices to protect the planet and cut costs, exercising and eating right to protect your health and also cut expenses are increasingly common. Good habits can help you slash expenses now and in retirement.

Rent-to-Own: The Costly Allure of Low Weekly Payments

Digital Vision/Thinkstock (r)

Initially, the offer in the rent-to-own ad sounds like a deal. You take home a 55-inch LED high-definition television set for a low weekly payment of $40.

What’s the catch? After 128 weeks, interest charges alone total twice the purchase price at a reputable retail store. Bottom line: That $1,800 TV set just cost you $5,120. Now it doesn’t seem like such a deal after all.

Who’s targeted and at what cost?

The allure of low weekly payments is enticing if you don’t have the cash to pay full purchase price, don’t think you have financing options, and you want immediate use of the product. Frequent targets of this high-priced financing include low-income consumers, college students, and military families.

The benefits of rent-to-own financing rarely outweigh the costs. Often, the total cost to rent an item may be two to four times the cash price or even what you would have paid on conventional credit. In testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center explained that some rent-to-own APRs (annual percentage rates) could be 400% or more.

The rent-to-own trade association boasts that it’s a $5 billion a year industry serving more than three million customers a year. However, a Federal Trade Commission survey found that 19% of rent-to-own customers were dissatisfied with their experience, and most cited high price as the reason. Consumer advocates cite several additional problems, including misleading information from salespeople, penalties for returning items and for stopping payments, additional fees hidden in small print in the contract, and finding out that an item is used.

What questions should you ask?

Before signing on the dotted line of a rent-to-own agreement, ask several questions:

· Does the contract jibe with what the salesperson said? Do the math. Multiply the weekly (or monthly) cost by the number of payments.

· How does the cost of rent-to-own compare with the cost of purchasing the item at a reputable retail store?

· Is there a penalty or late fee for missing a payment? Will the rent-to-own store take away the item?

· Has the item been rented by anyone else?

· Are there charges for delivery, returning merchandise, or repairs? Who is responsible for making repairs?

What are alternatives to rent-to-own?

Saving for the purchase is one option. For example, if you deposited $150 a month for 12 months into a savings vehicle at your credit union, you could pay cash.

A credit card is another option. Let’s return to the example of the 55-inch LED high-definition television. If you financed the TV on your credit union credit card with an interest rate of 14% and make the minimum payments for seven years and eight months, you’d pay about $840 in interest. (And remember, if you make other charges on the card, you extend payment and interest cost even more.) That $1,800 TV now costs $3,190. If you decide to purchase the item with a credit card, make sure it’s a low-rate card and you pay more than the minimum payment monthly.

If you can’t save up to pay the cash price, the least expensive alternative may be to finance the item with a personal loan from Hopewell Federal Credit Union. Our affordable rates are easy on the wallet, and they far outweigh the costly allure of rent-to-own.

Barbecue Tips for Independence Day

Try some great barbecue recipes this holiday  by learning about what the Top 500 restaurants are doing.

via Barbecue Tips for Independence Day.