isave CU

Oct 8, 2020
picture of a clipboard with credit score on it

picture of a clipboard with credit score on it

Have you checked your credit score recently? Were you happy with the number looking back at you? If not, there are a number of reasons as to why your score may have dropped. Your credit score represents how well you pay your bills, control your debt and overall shows how financially responsible you are. While you may not even realize the mistakes your making, it’s important to be aware of what exactly causes a drop in your score.

Problem #1: Missed Payments

A missed payment can cause a huge dent in your credit score. It makes up 40% of your credit score, so making payments on time is so important. One missed payment isn’t going to do much harm, but a habit of this will be sure to have a negative impact.

Solution #1: Be Proactive

If you know you aren’t going to be able to make a payment on time, don’t wait until after the bill is due to do something about it. Call your creditor and let them know the issue. They may be able to work something out with you.

Problem #2: Using Too Much Credit

This is how much credit your using versus the amount available to you. You should only be using 10% to 30% of your available credit on each card. If you use more than this, your score will drop.

Solution #2: Payoff Some Debt

Get yourself on a payment schedule and try to get into the 10% to 30% range. You can also open another credit card, but you must be able to qualify and handle the additional credit. Doing this will make the credit available to you go up and your debt ratio will go down.

Problem #3: Too Many or Too Few Lines of Credit

You may not have known this, but closing credit cards will cause your score to drop. It will also drop if you have too many lines of credit open. The method here is to keep your utilization ratio in the right place.

Solution #3: Manage Your Credit Carefully

If you’re planning to apply for more credit in the future, don’t open another card. If there’s a card in your wallet you don’t want to use anymore without annual fees, don’t close it. Take it out of your wallet and put it in a safe place.

Problem #4: COVID-19 Dropped Your Credit

The pandemic has caused chaos in all businesses. This may have caused some lenders to lower credit limits and close out credit cards that aren’t being used. These types of things can lower your score.

Solution #4: Use Your Dormant Cards

If you have cards stashed away somewhere, get them back out and use them every so often. A smart thing to do is choose a bill that stays the same each month, put it on the card, and pay it off right away. If there was a decrease in your credit limit, call your lender. You may be able to get it changed.

A Trusted East Texas Federal Credit Union

At Eastex Credit Union, you’ll find a team of financial and banking professionals that you can trust. As a sought-after East Texas Federal Credit Union, we know what it takes to keep our members satisfied, financially secure, and at ease. Give us a call today at 409-276-2525 to learn more about our membership benefits, mobile banking options, insurance programs, and more.

Oct 1, 2020
falling behind on a loan

falling behind on a loan

What happens if you’re late on a loan payment? There are the fees and the credit score losses, of course, but there’s also often a general feeling that one’s finances are falling out of control. If you find yourself forced to make a late loan payment, don’t panic – you can follow the steps below to get yourself back on track.

Figure Out the Problem

One of the most important steps in determining what to do when you’re behind on a loan payment is figuring out why you’re falling behind. There’s a huge difference between falling behind because you’ve had a financial emergency and falling behind because you’re hitting long-term financial roadblocks, so take a few moments to look at where you stand.

The easiest way to do this is to think about whether you’re going to be able to make your next payment on time. If you had an emergency expense – a car that broke down or an HVAC system that failed – it’s entirely possible that you’re dealing with a short-term problem that will go away soon. If you’ve been laid off from your job or suddenly incurred another recurring expense, you’ll need to start examining the possibility that you’re going to have to radically alter your finances going forward.

Assess Your Finances

Whether you’re dealing with a temporary shortfall or a long-term problem, you do need to stop and look at your finances. If you can’t make your loan payment, you have a short-term cash flow problem that you need to address. For most, this problem can be solved by a little budgeting.

Take a moment to compile all of your monthly expenses, from the payments on your auto loans in east Texas to the money you spend going out to eat. Look at where your money is going and where you can start to save. If you’re dealing with a short-term problem that makes it hard to pay your loan, look to see if there’s something you can cut for the rest of the month to get that payment in on time. If you’re dealing with a long-term problem, find out if there are costs that you can eliminate or reduce in order to keep your head above water.

Think About the Consequences

What happens if you are late on a loan payment? This is going to vary by lender, but it’s something you need to keep in mind. A single late payment is probably not going to be catastrophic in the long-term, but it’s going to have consequences that you have to deal with. Take a look at your various bills and loans to figure out what penalties are going to occur if you are late.

As a rule, it’s wise to avoid being late on those loans or bills that have the harshest penalties. A single late payment will almost certainly bring with it a late fee, but it might be less than the fee on a different loan if you’re able to pay it shortly after the grace period is over. On the other hand, coming in a month late on that same mortgage payment might not only cause you to accrue a late fee, but it might cause a negative mark on your credit that makes future borrowing more difficult.

Call the Lender

If you know that you are going to have to make a late payment on a loan, make sure to call your lender ahead of time. Most lenders are willing to help out borrowers who make good-faith efforts to pay, especially when they know that they’ll be able to get their money in the long run. Remember, a lender’s goal is to ensure that you pay off a loan so he or she doesn’t want you to default.

Calling a lender isn’t a guarantee that you’ll avoid the consequences of a missed payment, but it’s a good way to establish that you’re trying your hardest. If the lender offers any help, make sure to get that offer in writing. Once that’s available, follow the agreement to the letter.

If you’re falling behind on a loan, try not to panic. You still have a way out, even if things look tough. If you’re looking for a lender who will help you to make the financial choices that make sense for your family, make sure to contact Eastex Credit Union today.

Sep 17, 2020
new homeowners wonder is 20% down required to buy a home?

new homeowners wonder is 20% down required to buy a home?

The precautions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak exist to keep us safe, yet the sudden slowdown forces everyone to pause, focus, and reevaluate their priorities. For many, the goal is to buy and/or sell a home. Eastex has a few tips on how to get your home ready to sell and succeed by putting these safety precautions into action.

Buy a Home or Find Lodging First

Most of the country is a seller’s market, meaning the seller has control of the industry due to fewer homes on the market and more buyers. The remainder is more 50/50 with inventory and buyers. Since homes will sell quickly, when able sellers should buy a home first before selling the current home. A contingency such as “the home sells when the seller finds a new home” is a case-by-case basis rather than a guarantee. Adding a contingency may drive buyers away rather than toward it. If you must stay in the home while selling said home, expect to leave the home on short notice often.

Go Virtual With Tours and Staging

Virtual tours are already a major, yet optional part of home listings, but now it’s mandatory. A virtual tour is a video showcasing the home in detail. Some virtual tours are 3D, and the rest are 2D. Some offer 360-degree views, and others choose to attach several photographs. Continue to incorporate professional, breathtaking photographs and a captivating home listing as both are first impressions toward the virtual tour.

Take it further by incorporating virtual staging to the mix. This technique includes digitally adding home decor to the photographs or the virtual tour video. A real estate agent knows how to sell your home using this technique. If not, the agent should refer buyers to a virtual staging professional.

DIY Everything

Since staying at home is commonplace, sellers should reduce contact by forgoing cleaning companies and staging professionals and do the cleaning and staging themselves. Basic cleanliness such as mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping floors is a good start. Dust cobwebs off walls and remove dust from furniture, lighting, and shelves are second examples. The home must be immaculate to impress buyers, so what is clean now needs continuous cleaning until it sells. The agent will inform you what else needs cleaning and how to stage the home properly.

Also, the outdoors requires a makeover as curb appeal is the first impression of seeing a home offline. Keep the lawn tidy and neat. Sweep driveways, porches, patios, walkways, and decks. Remove debris. Replace light bulbs. These steps contribute heavily toward a sale.

Open the House

To reduce surface contact, buyers cannot touch anything in the house. In turn, sellers need to acquiesce agent’s and the buyer’s job easier. Turn on all lights in the home. Open all interior doors in the home, including bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, attics, and basements. Ask the agent whether it’s fine to open drawers and cabinets.

Practice Patience

Because of coronavirus, home tours are going at a slower pace. Buyers are coming at spread-out 30 minute or 1-hour intervals rather than back-to-back or overlapping buyers (i.e., open houses). The slow pace means the listing needs more time on the market to attract buyer interest.

Prepare for Delays

Here’s another reason to practice patience: Delays will occur due to the pandemic. Improvise. Prepare for delays such as closing date, home inspection, appraisal, weather, coronavirus guidelines, and infection. It will make the situation easier to manage. Flexibility is how to sell your home in today’s environment.

A home sale in the real estate industry during this hectic time is possible. Eastex is here to guide members to the best home loans in East Texas and assist members on how to get your home ready to sell. Contact us online or by phone for more information about real estate, finances, or joining our credit union.

Sep 10, 2020
photo of piggy bank on top of a pile of money

photo of piggy bank on top of a pile of money

A money market account is exactly like a savings account but with some checking account features. They typically have a higher minimum deposit or balance requirements than a savings account. So, it’s important to look at your options before choosing a money market. You will usually see them come with checks or debit cards that allow a limited number of transactions per month. For banks, money market accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and for credit unions, they are insured by the National Credit Union Administration. Eastex is privately insured by American Share Insurance. This way, if your financial institution happened to go out of business, you won’t lose your deposits.

Money market accounts vs. other accounts

Don’t get confused on what a money market account actually is. A money market account is NOT a money market fund or a checking account.

  • A money market fund is an investment that can lose value if the market falls. Money market accounts are insured.
  • A money market account has a lot of the same features as a checking account. But, you are limited to six transfers or withdrawals per month. This includes check, debit card swipe or online transfer.

Are money market accounts worth it?

Let’s talk about the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Receive some of the best rates from your financial institution.
  • Ability to access funds much easier than a savings account. This is helpful if you’re caught in an emergency.
  • You are protected by insurance, so your money is safe.

 

Cons

  • You may be more likely to spend the funds.
  • Some accounts require high minimum balances to open or avoid fees.
  • Most of the time, savings accounts pay just as much interest.

 

It’s important to pay attention to the rates of each at your financial institution. You may be better off sticking with a savings account to avoid high minimum balance requirements.

How to choose a money market account

If you choose a money market account, make sure it has a high interest rate, no monthly fee and a reasonable minimum balance. You will find that some require $10,000 or more to open an account.

Is a money market account right for you?

Eastex CU offers high interest rates that will give you a better return on your money. If you think this may be right for you or you would like to hear more about them, contact us!

Jun 11, 2020
newlywed scene at wedding ceremony

newlywed scene at wedding ceremony

Getting married can be a dream come true for many. While you may have visions of happily ever after, you do need to consider the reality of your finances. There are some common financial hurdles that most newlyweds find themselves facing at one point or another throughout their marriage.

Not Knowing Each Other’s Financial Story

Finances are one of those areas that people tend to clam up about. We’ve all made financial mistakes in the past and admitting them is the first step in getting rid of them. For this reason, it’s important that you sit down with your significant other and discuss your financial history. This will help you both understand each other’s experiences with money in the past and the attitudes you’ve developed towards it.

When you can understand your partner’s experience with finances, you can better determine how to approach them in the future. You may find that your spouse likes to eat out often. After you talk about your financial history, you may find out that as a kid they were always told they couldn’t eat out because their parents couldn’t afford it. The fact of them wanting to eat out often nowadays is likely due to the fact that they feel wealthier and more capable than their parents.

Poor Credit Secrets

If you’ve never talked about your finances with your partner, you may be in for a rude awakening. Poor credit issues, high credit card debt, and even charged-off accounts can lead to difficulties in the future. When you go to apply for a mortgage or a new car loan, you don’t want to find out that your partner has horrible credit. It’s better to discuss credit issues now so that you both know how to approach credit situations in the future. It’s never good to keep money secrets from your partner as it will just resurface at some point in the future.

Sticking To A Budget

When you’re in love, it can be very easy to do all that is in your power to make your spouse happy. However, this love can fuel unhealthy habits with respect to your budget. Many newlyweds find it difficult to stick to a budget in the beginning. This is usually a result of poor planning. It’s best to take some time to set some financial boundaries that will keep you both on track.

A great one is to set a specific dollar amount that you both agree on and not spend above unless you check with the other partner. Depending on your budget, this can be as little as $50 or as high as $250. It’s really up to you, your partner and budget. Take some time to work on budget boundaries so that you’re both on the same page when it comes to spending your income(s).

Not Planning Financially For Children

Children are a large financial expense that will last for at least 18 years or more. You need to take the time to plan out how you’re going to fund children in the future. Many couples avoid this conversation because they believe it’s too early to talk about kids. The truth is that it’s never too early to discuss children and how they’re going to alter your financial future.

Newlyweds face a lot of issues together in their first few years of marriage. Finances tend to be one of the biggest. By understanding the top financial hurdles above, you and your partner can better prepare your financial future to avoid these hurdles.  Connect with a financial advisor at Eastex CU to overcome potential hurdles.

May 28, 2020
rings for newly weds

rings for newly weds

Getting married is one of the most eventful things many people will do in their lives. And along with all the excitement of being newlyweds comes the reality of having to share your finances. Money issues are among the top things that married couples fight about, which is why it’s important for newly married couples to work on financial planning. Here are some tips about what to focus on.

Set a budget

One of the most important things newly married couples can do is to sit down and formulate a monthly budget. Partners often have very different spending habits, so setting a budget sets guidelines and puts compromises down on paper. You should list all necessary expenses as well as discretionary spending and also look for places where it makes sense to consolidate. For example, if you have separate gym memberships, it might make sense for you to both join the same gym.

Decide on checking and savings accounts

Most married couples tend to pool their finances in joint accounts such as checking and savings, but some prefer to keep those accounts separate. One possible solution might be to have a joint account for things such as rent and other necessities and then keep separate accounts for discretionary spending.

Identify priorities

It’s often assumed that people get married with the aim of having children, but that’s not always the case. While children might be a priority for a newlywed couple, they may not want to start a family for a few years. It’s important to quickly identify what each partner’s main financial priorities are and find areas of agreement or compromise. For example, you might rank priorities such as saving for a home first, financially preparing for a family, second, and saving for retirement, third.

Layout tasks, expectations

Even if a couple decides to essentially consolidate all their finances and make joint decisions on everything, there still is the task of carrying out those decisions and who will do that. For example, will the couple split up the bill-paying duties or will they fall to one person for consistency’s sake? Will both spouses be responsible for balancing the books or will one take on the task with assistance from the other?

Solve points of conflict

Even two spouses who are very similar in their views on finances aren’t going to agree on everything, so it’s important to identify points of conflict and how to deal with them. For example, one spouse might be debt-averse while the other has no trouble borrowing for a car or some other large purchase. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, that also could be a point of conflict when it comes to spending. A key to making newlywed finances run smoothly is to identify these conflicts early on and work out ways to deal with them.

There are a lot of serious issues that can sink a marriage, but finances shouldn’t be one of them. Communication and willingness to compromise are among the key factors that should be included for newlyweds to have success in financial planning. To approach your financial planning, give Eastex CU a call.

May 14, 2020
kid planning finances with coin

kid planning finances with coin

Having a plan for the future is a good thing, especially plans that concern finances and the best way to reach your financial goals are by saving money. The good thing about saving is that in the end, it gives you money security. However, saving it’s not a walk in the park, you’ll have to sacrifice a lot to meet your savings targets.

Having a kid is a blessing and having plans for that kid is a great thing. One of these great plans is securing your kids’ education. You will realize that in most countries, college student’s loans are acquired through government institutions. This later becomes a burden when one has to repay, especially if you have a lower-income job.

Saving college funds for your kid can guarantee him/her a good and ample learning time in college. For you to start saving college funds you’ll have to employ proper planning. The following tips can help you on how to do so.

1. Choose an account that earns interest and is not taxable during withdrawal

If you are a parent, you’ll have to research to determine the best account for you to save for your kid college fund. The most likely account that is recommended for education Is a 529 account and Education Savings Account (ESA). These accounts enable you to earn interest and they are not taxable when you want to withdraw. This means that in the long run, you will earn extra cash depending on the period you had saved the funds. Another advantage of this account is the 529 plan; it is operated by the state and besides exempting you from paying taxes, it has a higher limit to allow you to save as much as you want to meet your financial educational needs. Remember the earlier you start saving for college funds the faster you will manage to meet your goals.

2. Make use of available scholarship, sponsorship, and bursaries

Make use of scholarships, bursaries, and sponsorships that are available in your current child’s grade; after all this is free money. By doing this the money that you could have spent on that grade/term, you can use it to save your kids’ college fund and also help you meet your target faster.

3. Project for a college that you can afford

Unless your kid earns a sponsorship or scholarship go for the ones you can afford. You can visit any of your college preferences, look at the current tuition fee, try to see how the fee rises annually, and generate an approximate figure you are likely to pay when your kid is about to join the college. This will help your strategies on how much you’ll be saving before your child attends college. Also make sure you check for other college expenses such as dormitory fees, food expenses’, school trips, and book costs and include them in your budget.

4. Know when to start saving

Financial gurus advise that you should not scrap your retirement aid to pay for your kids’ college funds and that is why you will have to choose whether your kid should attend local or out-of-state college or whether private or public university.

College funds can be overwhelming, but we can help get you there. Contact Eastex CU to get the ball rolling!

Apr 30, 2020
financial planning for new baby

financial planning for new baby

There are a lot of important decisions that you will have to make as a new parent – one being how to plan your budget. There are several important financial decisions that you need to consider.

Get Life Insurance And Disability

You probably already know that it is important to have health insurance. However, it is just as important for you to have disability and life insurance. Life insurance will ensure that your family is still taken care of if something happens to you. Disability insurance will cover you if you become ill or disabled and are unable to work.

Create a Budget

You are probably well aware of the fact that having a child can be expensive. One of the best things that you can do to prepare for the expenses is to set a budget. This will ensure that you do not overspend and have enough money for the extras that your baby needs.

Increase Your Emergency Fund

There are a lot of unexpected things that can happen. For example, you could lose your job, get sick or have another big unexpected expense. It is a good idea to have at least three months of expenses in your emergency fund. This means that if you have $3,000 in expenses each month, then you will need to have at least $12,000 in your savings account.

Take Advantage of Your Tax Breaks

Even though having a child can be expensive, you may be able to take advantage of the tax breaks. For example, if you will need child care, then you can get a Child And Dependent Care Credit. It can cover anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of your child care expenses.

You may also be able to use a flexible spending account. This is a program that you get through your employer. You can set aside up to $5,000 per year to cover your child care expenses. You can use a child and dependent care credit for children up to the age of 13.

Don’t Rush to Buy a New Home

When many people have a baby, they automatically decide to buy their first home or move into a larger one. However, depending on your circumstances, that may not necessarily be the best decision. You will have to save up for a down payment and pay for moving costs. Ask to speak with an Eastex Mortgage Loan Officer to discuss when is the best time for you to buy a new home.

Meet With a Financial Planner

It is possible for you to budget and plan for your financial future on your own. However, it will be a lot easier for you to budget if you meet with a financial planner. They can help you plan for major investments that you may have to make, such as paying for your child’s college. Your financial planner can also help you plan for your retirement.

Your child will not go to college for several years. You may not be able to retire for several years. However, the earlier you start, the better. Being a new parent can be an exciting adventure, connect with the professionals at Eastex CU to limit the hurdles.

Aug 30, 2018

home, window, large stack of papers on desk

Paper has a way of piling up in various corners of our homes no matter how much we try to sort and organize it.

You get the mail, come inside and sort it into three piles (well, maybe): toss, keep and needs review. The toss pile *may* get thrown out that day if a trash or recycling can is nearby and you have time to shred or cover any personal info. The keep pile will likely join a larger “to file” pile sitting near your filing cabinet and the needs review file could stay right where it is for weeks before you finally have time to look at it. Then, there is the constant inflow of MORE paper every time the mailman comes. Coupons, catalogs, bills, medical and insurance records, credit card statements and so much more all must be sorted through to determine what should be kept and what can be tossed.

So, should you go paperless? Here are some tips and tricks for successfully going paperless at home.

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Aug 15, 2018

Photo of coin jar collecting money for charity for community involvement

Donating to charity, whether to your religious organization or an independent non-profit, is a great way to give back to your community. Despite the fact that we are biologically wired for giving, studies have shown that when you donate to charity, or volunteer your time, positive physiological reactions result in your brain. Especially as holidays approach, charities will start their outreach to potential donors, and it may become overwhelming to know which charitable program to pick. No matter whether you donate once a year, or once a month, it’s always important to ensure that you are being responsible with your decisions and getting the best value for your donation.

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