Tag Archives: Credit Score

5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

For many Americans, spring is a time to clean, sort and tidy up around the house.  As you dust your shelves and rid your home of clutter, consider setting aside some time to organize your finances.

“The arrival of spring motivates people to renew their surroundings, and what better way to focus that momentum than to check off everything on your financial to-do list?” asked Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Taking stock of your finances and planting the seeds of new saving habits today will go a long way toward alleviating pressures on your pocket throughout the year.”

The American Bankers Association recommends these five tips to help you refresh your finances:

  • Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. If there are better rates available now, consider requesting a lower credit card interest rate or refinancing your mortgage. Begin paying off existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a new homeowner or renter, be sure to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving and stick to it.
  • Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate.
  • Sign up for e-statements, paperless billing and text alerts. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house—physical and financial—more clean and organized, and will help protect you from fraud.
  • Set up automatic bill pay. By signing up for automatic bill pay, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month.

 

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association 

All You Need Is Love — And Financial Intimacy

It’s the season of love, but before couples taking the next step in their relationship, they should shape their financial plan. Stock Yards Bank & Trust reminds customers that taking the next step is not only a marriage of hearts but also a marriage of finances.

Stock Yards Bank & Trust suggests couples use the following tips to achieve financial intimacy:

1. Be mine, or yours? Will you and your spouse-to-be keep finances separated or combine them? Consider individual money styles, having one joint savings account and then separate accounts that you can use how you’d like. Making these financial decisions together will help you find a system that works for you.

2. Love’s Cost. Couples that tackle money problems together, and take mutual responsibility for solving them, will inevitably find that their overall relationships are better for it, so calculate your monthly costs and discuss how bills will be paid. Both may contribute to the bill payment, but who will physically write the check to pay the bills, monitor the investments and take care of the taxes. Consider setting a date every month to review and discuss finances.

3. Sharing Credit. It’s important that spouses are aware of the others’ credit situation. Marrying a person with bad credit will not drag down your stellar record. However, your other half’s credit will be factored in when applying for joint financing. Knowing ahead of time will help you to plan more strategically.

4. Cupid’s Arrow. Couples should develop a plan to shoot down existing debt, starting with the balances that carry the highest interest rates. Whether or not the pair works as a team or alone, debt must be tackled. Think twice before every purchase and ask yourself if it’s worth not putting that money in your savings. You’ll be able to eliminating frivolous spending this way while keeping your priorities top of mind.

5. Sweet Savings. Saving as a couple fosters teamwork and is essential in times of financial hardship. Decide how much you want to save as a couple and do it automatically from your paychecks. It’s important to be realistic when budgeting your monthly savings goal.
Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association.

How to Buy Your First Place Like a Pro

So you want to buy your first home. Congratulations! Now, where to start? Melinda Golde from our Mortgage Banking Group was able to share some helpful tips for those looking to buy their first home.

Check Your Credit

Your credit score is one of the most important factors when purchasing a new home. It can affect the credit decision on the loan as well as the actual cost of the loan – the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate may be. Your homeowner’s insurance premium can also be affected by your credit score Before applying, review your credit by accessing your information at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure there are no mistakes, unpaid or past-due accounts or collection accounts. If you have items on your credit report that need to be repaired, or you just have limited credit experience, you will need some time to work through and correct those issues – you should allow at least six months before shopping for a new home.

Organize Your Documents

As part of the home-buying process, your mortgage lender will require you to document your income and your assets. Make sure you have your two most recent pay stubs, the previous two years’ W-2s and tax returns, as well as your two most recent bank statements (all pages). Buying a home can be a long process, but having your documents organized can help.

Determine How Much Down Payment You Will Have

There are many loan programs available that do not require a down payment of 20% of the purchase price. Some programs require as little as 3% down with 0% down options available for rural properties or active and retired military personnel. You may even be eligible for down payment assistance. (A down payment less than 20% may require mortgage insurance that could affect the payment).

Review Your Cash Flow

Determine where your money is going each month and then compare that to how much you make (gross monthly pay). You may even go as far as tracking your spending for a couple of months. What kind of house payment are you comfortable with based on your current income and liabilities?

Get Expert Advice

A pre-approval is a valuable tool to have as you begin your search for your new home. At Stock Yards, there is no charge or upfront fee for this service. After you are pre-approved, work with a real estate agent that has knowledge of the area in which you’d like to purchase. Give the agent an idea of the type of home you are looking for and the amenities that are important to you, and they will do the leg-work.

Make sure to check out our website for more information regarding mortgage services. Just purchased your first place? What are some tips that we left off?