Rising Interest Rates: What Do They Mean For You?

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If you read financial headlines, you’ve no doubt seen the news that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. These headlines can be accompanied with all sorts of hyperbole about the end of the stock market, the boom of bonds or any of a dozen other possible predictions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when there’s this much information and so much of it is conflicting. Let’s set the record straight on what rising prime interest rates mean for you and your:

  • Adjustable-rate Mortgage
  • Portfolio
  • Savings
  • Debt

The prime interest rate is the rate that the Federal Reserve charges financial institutions to borrow from it. It influences a lot of other financial prices. Many of these are only of concern to investment bankers, professional investors and other economic enthusiasts. Here are some key ways the prime rate hikes can affect you!

1.) Get out of your ARM

Many people opted for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) when interest rates were historically low. These mortgages often have much better rates for an introductory period, usually five years, before they adjust to a new rate. That new rate is determined in large part by the rate the Federal Reserve charges.

The Federal Reserve is planning to continue to increase interest rates as the economy continues to improve. This means the rate on your ARM may go up as well. Worse yet, the rising rates could make your monthly mortgage payment unpredictable, putting you in a bit of a budget bind. Fortunately, you can refinance your mortgage into a fixed-rate loan and take advantage of still-low interest rates. You may still be able to secure a low rate on a 10-, 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. As interest rates continue to rise, your fixed-rate mortgage will stay the same, meaning your savings will increase as time goes on.

2.) Balance your portfolio

The historically low interest rates over the past six years have done wonders for the stock market. Because companies could borrow at affordable rates, they could expand rapidly. That expansion fuels growth in stock prices.

As interest rates rise, that credit availability will decrease. Companies will find it more difficult to expand, and their growth will slow. This slowing of growth may lead to a decline in stock prices.

However, as interest rates rise, bond rates will also increase. That will lead to an increase in their price as more investors chase those rates. Individual investors need to ensure their portfolios are properly balanced to take advantage of changing market conditions. Speaking to a financial adviser to ensure your assets are where they need to be will help keep your investments growing at a healthy rate.

3.) Save more

The Federal Reserve interest rate also affects the rates that financial institutions are able to offer account holders. As it becomes more expensive to borrow from other institutions, it’s more profitable for those institutions to “borrow” from their members in the form of certificates and savings accounts. As interest rates continue to rise, it’ll be increasingly more profitable to sock your money away in an interest-bearing account.

If you’ve been putting off opening a certificate or increasing the deposits in your share account, now is an excellent time to consider it. With a 12- or 24-month certificate, you can take advantage of rising interest rates while still leaving yourself the flexibility to re-invest once interest rates rise again.

4.) Refinance your debt

The service charges on several kinds of debt are tied to the prime rate. Notably, credit cards and private student loan rates may increase as the prime rate continues to climb. That makes now a great time to think about refinancing.

Take advantage of currently low interest rates with several strategies. A home equity line of credit can help bundle your high-interest, unsecured debt with your low-interest mortgage. A personal loan for refinancing can also help secure a better interest rate. Other options exist, and the sooner you speak with a debt counselor or other financial professional, the better off you’ll be.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the financial terminology surrounding news events like rate hikes. That’s why it’s best to have an advocate in your corner to help you figure out what to make of a changing economic landscape. Utah community Credit Union can do just that. Call, click or stop by to speak to a member services representative about how you can take advantage of this opportunity and put yourself on the path to financial wellness.

Find your nearest UCCU location here: http://www.uccu.com/home/uccu/locations

Your Turn: Got questions about rising interest rates? Leave your questions in the comments. Or, if you’ve got a handle on all things economic, share your wisdom with others!

Sources:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/consumers/2017/01/19/bit-bit-rising-interest-rates-making-impact/96560462/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/your-money/increases-in-interest-rates-on-savings-accounts-remain-slow-to-materialize.html?_r=0
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/12/28/what-2017-may-mean-your-personal-finances/95736736/

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Beat the Winter Break Blues

Mother And Children Decorating Christmas Cookies TogetherTaking a little extra time to make days off more special for kids doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Use these activity ideas as a winter fun springboard!

Fortify the fun. A favorite for imaginations everywhere, indoor forts constructed of blankets and pillows transform everyday spaces into sweet escapes for reading, playing games or having sleepovers. Flashlights and twinkle lights will make it even more magical.

Scavenger hunt. Make a list of items already in the home or backyard, or place seasonal items yourself. Then turn kids loose for an entertaining day. Up the challenge—and their curiosity—by writing clever clues they have to solve in order to know what items to look for.

Rube Goldberg contraptions. Using common household items, have kids construct a contraption that includes a series of chain reactions, as inspired by Rube Goldberg. Have kids see who can keep a marble in motion the longest or cover the greatest distance in the house.

Winter break Olympics. Have contests to see who can hop on one foot the longest, crab crawl the farthest, dribble a ball longest, make the most free throws or any other challenges you can think of. Keep score over break and award medals or ribbons before the kids head back to school.

Stay in drive-in. Recycle cardboard boxes from holiday gifts, selecting sizes that will allow each child to sit comfortably inside. Then, spend the day decorating each box like a car. When it’s movie time, kids can park it in front of the TV. Set up a snack bar for maximum effect!

Next-level limbo. Hone your child’s inner spy senses by taping stretches of red yarn down a hallway to create your own laser obstacle course.

If you exhaust these activities, check out even more boredom busters from Daily Parent.

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System Upgrade 2017

blog_SysUpgrade

For two years, Utah Community Credit Union has been preparing for a computer system upgrade that will make online banking faster and easier. The release is just around the corner.

On April 3rd, 2017, we will be rolling out a new system upgrade which will change the way you do online banking! The new system will help you centralize your accounts under one login, making it easier for you to manage your products with us.

The upgrade includes other benefits like transaction auto-categorization, which will make budgeting easier. It will also allow members to utilize the simplicity of TouchID to login on compatible devices. And that’s only the beginning!

“It’s a very exciting time for UCCU,” said UCCU President/CEO Jeff Sermon.

For more information about the system upgrade, and to stay informed, visit www.uccu.com/upgrade.

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New Year Resolution: Reduce Monthly Expenses

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to make sure your overall financial health is in good shape, it’s a good idea to dive even deeper and analyze some of your reoccurring monthly expenses that you may be wasting money on as well.

The UCCU Financial Group compiled a list of five common monthly expenses that often can be adjusted, or cut out altogether, to keep more of your hard-earned cash.

  1. Gray spending on credit cards. Far too many people with credit cards fall prey to monthly subscription expenses they quickly lose track of—such as a 30-day free trial you forgot to cancel, or a monthly Netflix fee. Consider going over the last 12 months of your credit card statements and writing down any reoccurring expenses. Then you can decide what can be changed or cancelled.
  2. Health insurance plans. It’s a great idea to see what insurance plans are available and what makes the most sense for you and your family. Be sure to do this in advance of your insurance renewal date. Most insurance companies offer a calculator feature so you can enter in all your expected health needs over a 12-month period for each member of your family and see which plan gives you the lowest out-of-pocket spending over a year’s time, not just the cheapest co-pays. You may be surprised to find out you’re not on the most economical plan!
  3. Cable TV. Consider what you watch – with the ability to live stream most network TV shows on demand and the streaming services available through companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and Hulu Plus, for many cable has become obsolete. Decide what you and your family watch and decide if expensive cable bills can be a thing of the past for you and your wallet.
  4. Home and auto loans. With interest rates, considerably low, it’s worth the time to evaluate the benefits to refinancing your home or auto loans to see if there’s a lower rate option than what’s currently on your loan(s). Refinancing to a lower rate can reduce your monthly payments by hundreds to thousands of dollars a year.
  5. Cell phone plans. Mobile companies have begun to do away with their super strict, two-year service contracts and are often overselling you on services and data you don’t actually use or need! Do some research on your current contract and your provider’s fees, discounted family plans and what you’re currently paying. See if there’s a better, cheaper monthly option for your needs that will save you money.

Don’t hesitate to contact Steve Lloyd at the UCCU Financial Group to schedule an appointment if you’d like to further discuss your financial situation. Our phone number is 801.223.7502.

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First Time Home Buyer Seminars

Snowy house

UCCU has always valued our stance on inspiring smart decisions! To educate our members on the home-buying process and better prepare you for homeownership, our mortgage department is hosting First Time Home Buyer Seminars monthly through 2017! This is a great way to learn what to look for, what to expect, and where to start when buying a home.

So if you’re considering buying a home sooner or later, sign up for this course. It’s just one of many ways we are helping to inspire smart decisions!

To sign up for the course go to www.uccu.com/seminars.

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Our 60th Anniversary in Review

We started with seven founders and $35. A lot has changed over the past 60 years, but we’ve held on to our unwavering commitment to help our members and our community! In case you missed any of the events, giveaways, or announcements, here’s a quick review of what happened this year:

Remembering Our BYU Beginningscelebrating 60 years with BYU Creamery ice cream
UCCU was originally founded by BYU employees, right on BYU campus. So, to celebrate our BYU beginnings, we gave our members free ice cream from the BYU Creamery!

Built to Last
Another way we commemorated our BYU beginnings was Built to Last, a special video narrated by LaVell Edwards, that takes an inspiring look at UCCU and our community over the past six decades.

To view Built to Last, visit www.uccu.com/60years.

Your Votes Made a Difference

three first place winners
We’re proud to work with our members, to support important causes in our community. As part of our 60th Anniversary, we wanted to decide-together-how to give back to our community, and your votes helped. With over 32,000 votes received, the breakdown of the winners and the amounts won are as follows:

Winners of $10,000 Donations – Primary Children’s Hospital, Kids on the Move, Family Support & Treatment Center.

Winners of $1,000 Donations – Boy & Girls Club of Utah County, Bridle Up Hope, Community Action Services & Food Bank, Center for Women & Children in Crisis, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, Project Read, and Volunteer Care Clinic.

Thank you for showing your support and casting your votes!

 

60 Years of Stories2nd Place story winner Jennifer Hullinger won a family trip to Disneyland
We asked you, our members, to share with us your personal stories and experiences with UCCU, and your response was nothing short of amazing! We value your thoughts, and are humbled by the stories that were shared. We’d like to thank everyone to shared their story, and we’d like to invite you to read them at www.uccu.com/stories.

UCCU Financial Center: Now Serving YouUCCU Financial Center Building Ribbon CuttingOn October 12th, 2016, we celebrated the opening of the UCCU Financial Center in the heart of Lehi. A ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off a series of Open Houses that were free to the public. Mike Orme, Chairman of The UCCU Board of Directors, cut the ribbon. Lehi Mayor Bert Wilson said, “This is really one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve had the opportunity to be in.”

Celebrate 60 Years with 6%
To top off our 60th Anniversary, we wanted to give our members a chance to get a great rate on a credit card. Right now, you can get the incredibly low rate of 6% on our Visa credit card. This is a low variable rate that will stay low, and there are no introductory rates – ever! But this rate ends with our anniversary celebration, so act fast!

Here’s to 60 years of people helping people! And many, many more years to come of inspiring smart decisions!

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BYU vs. UVU: UCCU Crosstown Clash


blog_clashNovember 26th @ BYU Marriott Center

Be there as Mark Pope leads the Wolverines against Dave Rose and the Cougars at the BYU Marriott Center!

Go to byutickets.com and use promo code UCCU for special UCCU ticket pricing before the game sells out!*

For more information about Crosstown Clash Games visit uccu.com/Crosstown

byutickets.com
Promo Code: UCCU

*Seating is limited. Offer valid online only.

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Black Friday Loan Sale

Visit uccu.com/blackfriday on November 25th for a chance to lock-in these awesome rates! 

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Start a Tradition this Holiday Season!

Outdoor Family Choosing Christmas Tree TogetherThanksgiving is right around the corner! This year, why not throw in one or two new activities and see how they are received by your guests? If they are enjoyed, you may have a few fun Thanksgiving traditions for years to come!

Here are some simple tradition-starting ideas that cost virtually nothing but can add a bit more meaning and a few more memories to your Thanksgiving holiday.

  1. Give back before feasting – Whether it’s running a 5K Turkey Trot that sponsors food bank charities or volunteering to help prepare and serve a hot Thanksgiving meal for a local soup kitchen, giving back to your community has a way of kicking off the holiday season in its intended spirit and yields thankfulness for what you have.
  2. Create a “What We Are Thankful for Tree” – Gather a few fallen branches from outside and place them in a vase so they resemble a tree. Cut out colorful pieces of paper into shapes of leaves and place them underneath the tree. Invite family and friends to write down anything they feel thankful for. Glue, tape or hang them from the tree and use it as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal as a reflection on the year’s blessings.
  3. Toast all the way around the table – Invite each person, young and old, to take a moment to toast to “what they are most thankful for this year.” This quickly floods Thanksgiving dinner with a strong sense of gratitude and helps the flow of conversation throughout the meal as special moments are shared, remembered and celebrated.
  4. Get active after dinner – After the meal has been eaten, and possibly before dessert has been served, gather everyone in your Thanksgiving celebration to enjoy a bit of time being active outside. Grab a glass of hot cocoa and take a nice, long walk around your neighborhood together. Or, host a competitive game of whiffle ball with your family and/or neighbors! It should help stimulate everyone’s metabolism and at the very least will create some great memories.
  5. Celebrate “Friendsgiving” – Start a tradition with your friends to have a potluck party with all of your Thanksgiving leftovers the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Make it a competition to see who can have the best repurposed leftover dish or turn the gathering into an annual board game tournament! This can be a fun time to reconnect with those close friends after the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you have any unique Thanksgiving holiday traditions that your family celebrates, the UCCU Financial Group would love to hear about them! Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day!  You can contact Steve Lloyd at 801.223.7502 to schedule a no-cost appointment with one of our representatives. We look forward to hearing from you!

Curtis Willardson, CFP, CLU, Dan Palmer & Travis Morgan are registered representatives offering securities and investment advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Dave Palmer is a registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 188 W River Park Dr, Provo, UT  84604
Not NCUA/NCUSIF Insured – No Credit Union Guarantee – Not a Deposit – May Lose Value
Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency.
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Making the Holidays with UCCU

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UCCU is constantly looking for ways to usher in the spirit of the holidays and help spread the cheer! Read on for three of our favorite ways to celebrate this holiday season.

The Giving Tree
This holiday season, Utah Community Credit Union is sponsoring The Giving Tree, by United Way of Utah County. You will be able to stop by any of our locations and draw a name from the tree of a local family or kid who need your help to have a Christmas this year. “UCCU has been a proud sponsor of The Giving Tree for many years,” said Jeff Sermon, UCCU President. “It’s the perfect opportunity to give to those in need in our community and we’re grateful to everyone who participates.”

What better way to usher in the spirit of the holidays than by helping spread the cheer!

The Giving Tree is open to everyone and includes specific requests, making it easy to find the right gift for anyone you choose. UCCU will deliver the gifts to each recipient before Christmas Eve.

Be sure to keep an eye out for names on our Christmas trees!

Skip-A-Payment
Returning this holiday season, UCCU is proud to offer its members a chance to SKIP-A-PAYMENT. Our members are given the opportunity to skip a loan payment in either November, December 2016 or January 2017. Pay $25 per eligible skipped loan, then don’t worry about that month’s payment! It’s a great way to make shopping for the holidays easier, without any financial burdens.

Stop by any branch, or call 801-223-8188 to skip your payment today!

6.0% Credit Card
Don’t drag your feet anymore! UCCU’s 60th anniversary 6.0% credit card is only available until the end of this year. Stop by your local branch today to get take advantage of this great rate!

Visit uccu.com/visa for details!

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