20 Mar

2019 RMLEFCU Unparalleled Community Impact Award

2019 Unparalleled Community Impact Award

It’s that time of year again for the annual RMLEFCU Unparalleled Community Impact Award!

This award is designed to honor a local law enforcement officer who demonstrates outstanding community service consistently. We created this award because we are constantly impressed with the exceptional community service our local law enforcement officers demonstrate and believe their good deeds should be formally recognized and appreciated. We value our members and their noble professions and would like to acknowledge the great community we serve.

In addition to the Unparalleled Community Impact Award, we will be honoring two additional officers with Outstanding Act of Service Awards, which honor individuals who have displayed a recent act of outstanding service.

Have anyone in mind?

Please submit your nomination below by filling out all required information. The more detail you can provide, the better the selection committee will be able to choose a winner.

Deadline for all nominations is Friday, April 19th, 2019.

 

Unparalleled Community Impact Award Nomination

  • Nominee Information

  • Your Information

  • Any More Relevant Information or Attachments

  • Drop files here or
20 Mar

Easy Step-By-Step Guide to Getting an Auto Loan

Auto Loan Approved

Purchasing a new car is an exciting time for everyone, whether it’s your first car or your third. The thing that’s not fun is spending hours at the dealership figuring out auto loan terms! If you’re a seasoned car buyer or it’s your first time purchasing a car, here’s a great step-by-step guide on how to purchase your car with an auto loan, painlessly.

Check Your Credit

First thing’s first. You need to check your credit report.

Your credit score will play a huge role in the rate you’ll pay for your loan. A high credit score can help you get a low car loan rate, which, in turn, will save you money on interest.

Read our blog post on credit scores and how to raise yours.

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the major reporting bureaus, Credit Karma, Experian, and TransUnion.

Shop for Auto Loans

Once you have your credit score in hand, it’s time to check out a variety of auto loans from lenders which can be large national banks, local banks, credit unions, online auto loan lenders, or dealership financing.

You’ll want to compare quotes from at least three lenders. RMLEFCU has auto loans as low as 4.0% APR.* If you are preapproved, RMLEFCU will also pay the Colorado Motor Vehicle Filing Fee! If you also qualify for the relationship rate, ½% will be taken off your loan! It always pays to shop at your local credit union first.

Set Your Budget

Your preapproval offer will tell you the maximum amount you can borrow, but that shouldn’t be the price of your next car. You should set aside about 10% for taxes and fees and use an auto loan calculator to work in your down payment, trade-in value, and lending terms to see what your estimated monthly payment will be.

Find Your Car

Now that you have the price range of what you can afford and are pre-approved for, it’s time for the search! RMLEFCU has an amazing auto broker service through Auto Trek which makes finding your dream car easy! They take care of finding the make and model at the price you want so you can skip driving from dealer to dealer.

If you’re an RMLEFCU member, you have amazing car loan services at your disposal! Give us a call at (303) 458-6660 to learn more!

*Annual Percentage Rate. With approved credit. Some restrictions may apply.

13 Mar

When to Refinance your Mortgage

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Let’s start with the basics. What does it mean to refinance your mortgage? Refinancing your mortgage means to pay off the existing loan and replace it with a new one. There are a lot of reasons why homeowners refinance their mortgages. Perhaps it’s to get a shorter loan term, convert to another mortgage rate, or even obtain a lower interest rate.

Some of these motivations have benefits and pitfalls. Because refinancing can cost 3% to 6% of the loan’s principal and – like taking out the original mortgage – require an appraisal, title search, and application fee, it’s important for a homeowner to determine whether his or her reason for refinancing offers a true benefit.

Securing Lower Interest Rates

One of the main reasons to refinance your mortgage is to lower the interest rate on your existing loan. Many lenders say if you save even 1%, that’s enough of an incentive to refinance.

Reducing your interest rate will not only help you save money, but it will also increase the rate in which you build equity in your home AND decrease your monthly payments! How amazing does that sound?

Shortening Loan Terms

When your interest rate falls and you have cheaper payments, you can also shorten the term of your loan. If you opt to pay the same monthly amount with a lower interest rate, you can significantly shorten the term.

Converting Adjustable-Rate and Fixed-Rate Mortgages

While Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are intriguing because their rates are lower than Fixed-Rate Mortgages, the periodic adjustments can result in rate increases that are higher than Fixed-Rate Mortgages.

Refinancing your mortgage will sometimes allow you to switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate allows for reliable and stable monthly payments that can give homeowners the security of knowing their mortgage payments will never change.

Consolidate Mortgages and HELOCs

You can also consolidate your mortgage and HELOC into one monthly payment and simplify your finances by focusing on one debt. HELOCs often have adjustable rates so refinancing both into one fixed-rate loan can potentially save you money in the long run.

If you’re looking to refinance your mortgage, you’re in luck! RMLEFCU has new lower rates on mortgage loans as of March 1st! 30-year mortgages are as low as 4.25% APR* and 15-year mortgages are as low as 3.75% APR* with NO private mortgage insurance required. If you’re interested in learning more about our mortgage loan offerings, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or email lending@rmlefcu.org.

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. With approved credit. Some restrictions may apply. Rates subject to change.
08 Mar

Retirement 101

saving for retirement

Ahh, retirement. The greener pasture that lies ahead. But how do we keep that pasture green for the rest of your retirement? If you have doubts on how much you’re saving or how to save for retirement in the first place, keep reading to get the lo-down!

First thing’s first, how do you save for retirement? With these three easy steps, you’ll be saving for the future in no time.

How to save for retirement in three steps

  1. Free money
    If your company offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k), and matches any portion of the money you contribute, put your first savings into that account. If your plan doesn’t offer matching contributions, or you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, start with the next step.
  2. Contribute to an IRA
    You can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA each year (or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older).
  3. Max out your IRA
    If you max out your IRA, return to your 401(k) or other employer plan and continue making contributions there.

Okay, but what is a 401(k) and IRA?

And wait, there’s a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA?

Let’s break down what these three investment accounts are for retirement savings.

Let’s start with the 401(k)

A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan that is sponsored by your employer. It lets employees save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren’t paid until the money is withdrawn from the account.

Some huge pros are how easy it is to save on autopilot. Money is taken out of your paycheck automatically, so you don’t even see it! A lot of employers also match a portion of employee contributions making them one of the biggest tax havens as the IRS lets individuals save more than 3x as much as in an IRA. Again, the investment gains are tax-deferred so as long as the money remains in the account, you owe nothing as it grows!

But not all that shimmers is gold. The investment choices for a 401(k) are limited. They’re picked by the plan administrator and selections are typically small. Fees can also eat at your returns. In addition to investment expenses (which are charged by the investments themselves, not the 401(k) plan), there may be administrative fees charged by the company that manages the plan.

The best way to invest in a 401(k) is to invest up to the match and pay attention to fees! The money you contribute to your 401(k) lowers your taxable income for the year and you get tax-deferred growth on investment gains.

What is a Traditional IRA?

A Traditional IRA is an individual retirement account that offers tax advantages to savers. The money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income, meaning the money you put into the account is pre-taxed. The taxes you’ll pay will be what you withdraw in retirement.

There’s no income limit to open and contribute to a traditional IRA! And you can use Traditional IRA money to pay for qualified college expenses without paying an early distribution penalty, although taxes are still a thing… You can also use up to $10,000 from a Traditional IRA toward the purchase of your first home as well!

However, if you tap into the money before age 59½, you’ll pay taxes AND a 10% early deduction penalty. You HAVE to begin taking distributions at 70½ and can no longer make contributions.

Let’s compare to the Roth IRA.

For the Roth IRA, contributions are not deductible as the account is funded with post-tax dollars. This offers you a tax benefit which raises the incentive to save! A Roth IRA is an account that holds your investments, which means you can select what you want to invest in, such as mutual funds, stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

It has all the benefits of a traditional IRA, but you get no upfront tax break as you do with the traditional IRA. The payoff comes later as withdrawals in retirement are not taxed at all.

Lucky for you, RMLEFCU offers options with the Traditional IRA and the Roth IRA and on top of that, Debby, our registered representative with LPL Financial, can offer you expert financial planning advice. RMLEFCU provides you with all the resources to plan a happy, healthy retirement. Give us a call now: (303) 458-6660.

18 Feb

The Ultimate Guide to Credit Scores

Credit Score Tips

The talk of credit scores often surrounds finances, but how many of us know how they’re calculated and actually used for? We all know they affect how much credit you can get and that it’s better to have a higher credit score, but how are they calculated? Don’t worry! RMLEFCU has compiled a handy guide on what your credit score is, how it’s calculated, and how to raise and keep your credit scores high. Read on to find out!

What is a Credit Score?

Let’s go to the very basics and understand what a credit score is. It’s a three-digit number that is basically a grade for how well you have managed loans, lines of credit, and other financial obligations over the years. Banks and lenders use it to decide whether they’ll approve you for a credit card or loan.

There are three main credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, that create your credit reports with credit scoring models like VantageScore and FICO. These models are used to come up with a score that ranges from 300-850.

It’s also not uncommon to have multiple different scores at the same time, with the numerous ways to calculate them. You can have different scores if a lender doesn’t report to all three credit bureaus or reports updates to them at different times. You could also have different scores depending on the what loan or car you’re applying for. For example, an auto lender might use one scoring model, while a mortgage lender uses another.

This might be confusing, but not to worry, these scores are calculated on a similar basis, which leads us to our next question.

How are Credit Scores Calculated?

We’ve touched base on how important these scores are so let’s get to how they are calculated so you understand the works of your score. All scores are calculated differently, however, they generally consider similar factors such as:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Debt usage ratio (30%)
  • Credit history age (15%)
  • New credit (10%)
  • Credit mix (10%)

Your payment history is the payment records of car loans, mortgages, retail accounts, installment loans, credit cards and more. It’s critical to make sure your payments are on time because late payments and accounts sent to collections can have a significant negative impact on your score.

Your debt usage ratio calculates the total amount owed on accounts in relation to the total credit limit. A general rule is to keep your balance below 30% of the total credit available.

Length of credit history looks at the age of your accounts, the number of recently opened accounts, and new credit vs. established credit.

New credit/inquiries are also considered in your score and the calculation consists of the number of recent inquiries, the time since an inquiry, the number of recently opened accounts, and the time since opening an account.

Additionally, having a balanced credit mix is also important for your score. These accounts include credit cards, installment loans, mortgages, consumer finance accounts, and more. A mix of credit types can have a more positive impact on your credit scores than a credit report that shows only one type of credit.

How Do I Increase My Credit Score?

Now that you know what a credit score is and how it’s calculated, it’s time to understand how you can increase your credit score.

The most impactful way to improve your score is through your payment history. Your scores are affected greatly by this factor, contributing to 35% of the score calculation and has the greatest effect on improving your scores, but missed or late payments are not easily fixed. If you already have missed payments, it’s best to get up to date with your payments and stay current. The longer you keep up with on-time payments, the more your score should increase. The impact of prior credit problems will fade over time as long as recent good payment patterns show up on your report.

The second largest factor contributing to your credit score is the debt usage ratio, contributing 30%. It’s best to keep your balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit. High outstanding debt can affect a credit score and it’s best to pay off debt rather than moving it around. It’s also unwise to open a number of new credit cards that you don’t use just to increase your available credit limit or to close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your scores.

Need help building up your credit? RMLEFCU offers a Credit Builder Loan to rebuild your credit score if it is damaged or non-existent. You don’t need to put down any money to secure the loan and there are low monthly installment payments, making it easy to get your score up!

If you would like to open a new line of credit with RMLEFCU or help rebuild your credit with a Credit Builder Loan, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit a branch.