Remodel for Comfort, Not for Show

During the housing gold rush, many homeowners viewed their houses as profit engines, not places to stay for the long haul. When they remodeled, they focused first on boosting the home’s resale value.

Now, though, many people can’t sell their home or afford to buy a new one. A recent poll by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Des Plaines, Ill., found that 26% of homeowners plan to stay an additional 16 years to 20 years in their homes because of decreased home values, while 23% say they’ll stay an additional six years to 10 years.

Thus, resale value no longer comes first in making remodeling decisions, say those in the remodeling industry. Instead, homeowners care most about making their homes more livable. And they’re doing so on a budget.

Bathroom remodels now outnumber kitchen makeovers, a reversal of the trend before 2010, according to the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) of the National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C. The RMI survey of remodeling contractors for the first quarter of 2012 found that 78% of respondents said bathroom remodeling was one of the most common jobs they did, compared with 69% for kitchens. Contractors point out that bathroom remodels are easier on the budget than kitchen re-dos.

After bathrooms and kitchens, the next four most common remodeling jobs reported in the RMI survey for first quarter 2012 were:
• Window and door replacements (44%)
• Property damage repairs (36%)
• Whole-house remodels (35%)
• Room additions (33%)

Whatever type of remodeling project you decide to do, you’ll want quality work and affordability. Look for those same features in your remodeling loan. Talk to the professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union about your financing options.  Stop by or call us today at 740.522.8311.

What to Look for in Credit Union Checking

Check out this informative article from Fox Business.

by Heather Larson  /  Published August 20, 2012  /  Bankrate.com

 

The Best Cars for Stages of Your Life

Like a photo collection tracking you over the years, the cars that suit you will change with different stages of your life.

Here are the best vehicles for beginning drivers, young professionals, families, and empty nesters:

* Beginning drivers—Safety is a paramount concern with cars for young drivers. But young drivers may be most interested in exciting tech features like connectivity for cellphone and music players. Look at cars with both high safety scores and a good array of tech features, such as the Kia Soul or Honda Fit.

* Young workers—Young shoppers want a stylish ride, still with plenty of tech features. Good choices among compact cars have greatly expanded, with convenience, comfort, and tech equipment now available that once came only with much more expensive cars. Consider the Volkswagen GTI, Chevrolet Cruze, or Ford Focus.

* Families—For families with more than one child, hauling children, their children’s friends, and toys or sports gear quickly becomes an issue. For parents who want a vehicle that is not boring to drive, the best answer is the Honda Odyssey. For those who just can’t cope with the image of owning a minivan, the next-best answer is the Chevrolet Traverse.

* Empty nesters—Parents who no longer have kids at home to ferry around often want to try something entirely different. Depending on how affluent they are, that might run to a stylish coupe from a luxury brand. The Audi A5 and Ford Mustang are good choices.

Whatever your stage of life and car choice, make sure you work out carefully the affordability of your choice. And for your best financing options, come to Hopewell Federal Credit Union.

Direct Deposit Offers Financial Convenience

Payday is great—but finding time to deposit your paycheck? Not so great.

Fortunately, there’s a convenient, secure solution that can help you save time and gain access to your funds more quickly. Say hello to Hopewell Federal Credit Union direct deposit feature.

Here’s why you should make the switch:

* Convenience. According to NACHA, The Electronic Payments Association, Herndon, Va., you can save three work days a year by not spending time depositing checks in person.

* Security. Direct deposit eliminates risk of fraud and identity theft and assures safety with no loss of convenience.

* Timeliness. With direct deposit, your money is consistently deposited on time, even if you’re not at work on payday.

* Accessibility. Direct deposited funds clear automatically.

* Earnings. With direct deposit, your check earns dividends as soon as possible if it’s deposited into an interest-bearing account.

Direct deposit also can help you save more. According to the results of a NACHA survey, people who use direct deposit save $390 a month, $90 more than those saving manually.

Pairing direct deposit with automated transfers from checking to savings can help you make real savings progress. In a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, Washington, D.C., 75% of respondents ranked automatic transfers from checking to savings or investments as an important savings strategy; 48% ranked automatic transfers as very important.

It’s simple to switch to direct deposit: Hopewell Federal Credit Union easily can help you set it up. Ask for our nine-digit routing and transit number before you request direct deposit from anyone issuing checks to you regularly. Next, fill out an authorization form from your employer, or other check issuer, to have your funds deposited directly into your account.

Contact Hopewell Federal Credit Union at 740.522.8311 about making the move to direct deposit today.

Tips for Parents of College-Bound Students

High-school students bound for college will embark on many new experiences–including financial independence. Here are some tips for parents to help kids prepare for what’s in store.

* Explain how credit works. A credit card is not free money; it’s instead a means of putting off paying for purchases until a later date. Accompany your child to the credit union for the best rates on credit cards and consider urging him or her to use a debit card instead.

* Create a spending plan. Write down all college expenses such as tuition, books, room and board, toiletries, entertainment, and so forth. Determine which expenses you’ll be paying and those for which your child will be paying.

* Come to a no-bail-out agreement. If your child ends up charging more than he or she can afford, or runs out of money before the end of the month, your first reaction may be to send money and bail him or her out. Don’t do it. If your child needs to figure out a way to get out of debt, such as working or staying home on weekends, chances are good he or she won’t make the same mistake twice.

Want a few more ideas?