It's Time Blog

Payday Loans: Why They Hurt More Than They Help
19 Sep, 2014

Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

We’ve all been there. Things are tight already, you have no idea how you’re going to pay this month’s bills, and while you’re driving to work (mentally calculating the risks of living off of ramen noodles) the transmission falls out of the car, causing you to swerve into a construction zone where nails pop three of your tires. Okay, maybe we haven’t been there exactly, but most of us know the feeling of panic when unexpected bills start piling up. The temptation to run to the nearest payday lender (just to get us through til next payday of course) can be overpowering. But before you head down that road, let’s take a look at payday loans, and find out if there are better options.

Payday Loans

Why Are Payday Loans So Attractive?

Payday loans feel like a quick fix. They have locations everywhere – you can barely drive down any city street without passing two or three payday lenders – and you can get cash and be out the door in less than 15 minutes. Most of the time there’s no credit application and no delay for bank approval. You just give them whatever information they ask for (contact information for yourself and maybe a few friends, bank information and employment information for example).

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How to Become a Richer Nevadan
12 Sep, 2014

Marcus Wertz
Vice President of Consumer Lending

My job is to generate loans at Greater Nevada Credit Union, which means helping Nevada consumers borrow more money. You might not think that borrowing more money and getting richer are two things that go together, because building wealth is all about saving and investing, right? Well, yes, but most of us aren’t born with a huge savings account to pay cash for college, cars, houses or even less expensive things like furniture or appliances. And then there’s those other not-so-fun expenses, like utility bills, car repairs, medical emergencies, and other things that we also don’t normally have a pile of money at our disposal to pay for. With a thoughtful combination of borrowing and saving, you can become a richer Nevadan. Here's how.

Richer-Nevadan

Live Within Your Means

I know, none of us like to hear that. Though if the great recession taught us anything (especially in Nevada!) it’s that we can’t all live in big homes and drive fancy cars if we don’t have the means to support that lifestyle. At Greater Nevada we offer members the Balance Financial Fitness program, which includes online tools for money management, like budgeting. There are lots of other tools like that out there, so pick one that works for you and take the time to make a simple budget. Understanding what you can and can’t afford right now is a major step to building wealth. The whole idea is that you’ll be set to comfortably afford those things you want a little later down the road. 

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Common Money Myths We Should Abandon
29 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

In today’s world of social media and instantaneous communication, we can get news and information about pretty much anything in just a few seconds. We also get a lot of misinformation, since so much content can spread so fast without moderation. Hopefully by now you know that Bill Gates is never going to give you $5,000 no matter how many times you repost a picture of him on Facebook. But did you know goldfish don’t really have 3-second memories? How anyone knows whether they do or not is beyond my area of expertise, but apparently the current consensus is that they have pretty decent memories after all. There are quite a few money myths being spread far and wide as well. Let’s dispel a few of them.

Shopping

I don’t have enough money to save or invest. This is one of the most common money myths. We all think that if we just got a pay raise, then we could afford to put money in savings, but the truth is, if you live paycheck to paycheck that habit will probably continue as your income increases. There will always be more expenses and more bills and more reasons why there is nothing left to put in savings at the end of the pay period. When I teach financial literacy classes, I always encourage students to use the principle “pay yourself first”. I've talked about this one a bit before: it’s just forming the mental habit of treating your savings account (or investing in a retirement account) as one of your bills that must be paid. Once you’ve re-trained your mind to make this a habit, you’ll find that 9 times out of 10 you can live on what’s left over after all.

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Getting To and Fro on a Budget: Cutting Down on Transportation Costs
15 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

I just got back from a two week road trip, which was incredible but cost me about $800 in gas. It got me thinking though, about ways to save money on transportation in general. I planned to talk to you about whether buying more expensive gas really makes a difference to your engine or your fuel efficiency, but no one seems to agree (except that your engine is probably not in danger, even if you buy less expensive gas). So I thought I’d look at some alternative ways to save money on getting to and fro. None of the following tips for cutting down transportation costs include the purchase of a donkey-cart.

Saving-on-Transportation

Car-Pooling or Car-Sharing

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many of us (me included) get so caught up in our daily routine, it might not occur to us to catch a ride to work with a co-worker. I have a colleague who lives a mere two blocks from me and works one office over. Since I drive a pickup truck, it might save both of us a good deal of money if we starting picking each other up for work. In fact, I think I’ll go ask her...

Seriously though, especially if you are commuting to a different city, find out if you have friends or co-workers going the same direction. Not only will it save money for everyone involved, it’s a great opportunity to build friendships.

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College Scholarships You Never Knew Existed
08 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

When it comes to saving for college, scholarships are where it’s at. Some scholarships are significant (like a full-ride academic scholarship for being an amazing LaCrosse player or something) and others are less substantial, but as any parent paying for college will tell you, every little bit helps. With the rising cost of education, it’s a good idea to know about all the resources out there willing to fork over a few dollars to help you out.

Scholarships You Never Knew Existed

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will get your creative juices flowing, and you’ll start thinking outside the box when it comes to scholarships – and you’ll be ready when it’s time to apply. Also, keep in mind that different organizations hold their scholarship contests at different times of year, so not all of these are active right this moment, but most are offered every year.

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Buying a Home in 2014? PMI Will Save You Big Time
01 Aug, 2014

Odysseas Papadimitriou is CEO of the credit card comparison website CardHub as well as the personal finance social network WalletHub.

We’re expecting big things from 2014.   Not only has the Bureau of Labor Statistics been reporting consistent job growth, but Congress also seems to be playing nice in advance of the mid-term elections, auto sales are displaying year-over-year growth, and neither Fed tapering nor international crisis has proven enough to derail the stock market.

home-shopping

“I haven’t been this optimistic in years,” says Elliott Eisenberg, former senior economist for the National Association of Homebuilders and current president of the economic forecasting site graphsandlaughts.net.  “Things are finally starting to happen.  All the pieces are finally falling into place.”

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Life Hacks for Parents: How to Afford Your Offspring
25 Jul, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten
Greater Nevada Credit Union

As my husband and I embark upon parenting a human, we did a little research and found that according the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child born in 2013 to age 18 is expected to be $241,080.  We thought it would be smart to start learning from the experts and reach out to some friends who have kids to discuss their financial strategies.

Saving money on kids

Coupons and Deals

My friend Amy, mother of 3, is a coupon and wallet loyal. She tells me "I don't believe in paying full price for anything. But having this philosophy means I don't buy a certain brand on anything. I will also stock up on items when they are on sale". You can cut coupons from your local paper, or go online to get offers.  Many times local sites like Groupon or Living Social will have kid-related deals. Another friend, Susan, loves taking her son to the movies, so they cut costs by attending matinees only. Read More

Never Have Your Debit Card Declined Again
18 Jul, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

It’s happened to all of us. There’s a long line of people watching you swipe your debit card at the grocery store – our purchases are bagged and carted – and the cashier says, “I’m sorry ma’am, it says it’s declined.” If they’re nice, they don’t shout it. You make sure to state loudly that you have plenty of money in your account, and it must be a problem with the debit machine or the bank (which, to be fair, it sometimes is) but whether it’s true or not, you know everyone else in line is silently judging your poor money management skills.

Debit-Card-blog

Aside from the rare occasion when there’s a legitimate communication problem between the merchant and the financial institution, most of us can take the blame for at least one or two of these instances, as we’re getting toward the end of the pay period, trying to make those last few pennies stretch. In the interest of saving us all some money and embarrassment, here are some ways to avoid the dreaded “card declined” scenario.

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Self Employed? Save the Headache Later, Keep Great Tax Records Now
11 Jul, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

With tax season finally over, now seems like a good time to talk about how to make next year’s taxes go as smoothly as possible. I especially want to focus on the self-employed and contractors. While there are all kinds of variables that complicate tax-filing (owning a home, dependents, interest income, divorce, marriage, death), many of us still work for corporations where we file a W-2 and our withholdings become automatic. For entrepreneurs, or people in more less formal income situations, it can be a bit trickier.

Self-Employed Tax Records

You Might Not Know…

If you’re just starting your own business, there are a few important things you need to know. Carson City Certified Accountant Michael Bertrand of Bertrand and Associates, LLC, tells me that a lot of small businesses don’t understand that they have to pay a self-employment tax in addition to their income tax. This tax is 15.3%  of  your net income, although you are allowed a deduction for the tax which reduces the rate. You need to understand what your income tax is, as well as the self-employment tax, and set aside money all year long to pay these. 

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How to Steer Clear of the Dreaded ATM Fee
03 Jul, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten Greater Nevada Credit Union We’ve all been there: you need access to some quick cash and the only ATM around has a $4 fee. It’s the worst! Banks charge on average $2.60 for using an ATM out of your network. Sometimes even your own financial institution charges an additional fee, an average of $1.53. At $4.13 a pop, these little fees can become a monster headache in a big hurry. Don’t worry; there are some easy ways to avoid ATM Fees.

ATMs

Failing to plan = planning to pay

The first step in attacking any problem is becoming aware and then taking action! With a little bit of homework, you can become familiar with the ATMs within your network as well as those that do not incur fees regardless of where you bank. Most financial institutions have an ATM Lookup feature where you can discover where your networked ATMs are located. Some even have smart phone apps, so you can search for the nearest fee-free ATM using your phone’s GPS. Many community banks and credit unions join forces with other financial institutions to extend ATM availability without charging surcharges. For instance, some smaller banks and online banks work with the Allpoint or STAR ATM networks to provide more surcharge-free access to ATMs. Some credit unions, like GNCU, partner with the CO-OP ATM network, which doesn’t impose surcharges for members of partnered credit unions. Check with your financial institution, and then look for ATMs with Allpoint, STAR, or CO-OP logos. I’m pretty sure every 7-Eleven has a CO-OP ATM, and there’s always a 7-Eleven nearby, so if you’re a credit union member, chances are you’re never far from a free ATM. Read More