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POSTED: Jul 27, 2017
When Buying Your Leased Car is the Right Move

With lower monthly payments and the prospect of a new car every few years, it’s no wonder why vehicle leasing continues to be a popular option. However, the cycle of endless payments and fees, along with the restrictions and lack of equity that come with leasing, can leave many drivers frustrated.

If you’re a current leaser looking to become an owner, a buyout on your current lease can be a great way to do just that. It provides you the ownership you are looking for with the added benefits of already knowing the ins and outs of your car, including its accident and maintenance history.

Like any large purchase, potential buyers should consider important factors before signing on the dotted line. These considerations may include:

1. The Car’s Current Value

While you may love your current car, it’s always important to make a purchase with your head, and not your heart. Your goal as a leaser looking to buy your car should be to pay less than or near the private-party price. This means you’ll need to take time to do research.

To start, check for the residual price (also known as a buyout amount) on your lease agreement. This is the amount that the dealership will value your vehicle at the end of your lease. If you don't have your contract handy, you may be able to find this information on an online account you may have with the dealership.

Once you know your residual amount, you’ll need to know the value your car’s specific make and model. Taking the time to compare reputable resources, including TRUECar and Kelly Blue Book can help you gather as much information as possible and confidently make a decision about your purchase.

2. Condition and Maintenance

Most vehicles only have bumper-to-bumper warranties for three years, which means potential buyers should consider the condition of their leased car carefully before making the decision to buy. This may include:

  • Car maintenance
  • Tires
  • Mileage

You may find it beneficial to buy your car if it does have some wear and tear. While these damages may be small and even unnoticeable to a driver throughout your day-to-day life, they can become extremely expensive when the lease ends and the car is returned.

The good news? As a leaser, you do have significant advantages when it comes to evaluating your current car’s condition, as you already know the history of the vehicle’s maintenance history and how it’s been cared for. You can also take advantage of having it checked out for mechanical problems before its warranty expires. If anything does need to be fixed or maintained, you can arrange for the repairs of covered items at little or no cost.

All in all, if your car is in good overall condition and won't cost that much to keep up over the long haul, leasers can feel confident that their car would be a good purchase.

3. Your Budget

Like with any major purchases, you’ll need to figure out if buying the car will fit within the your budget. Unless you plan to pay for the car outright, the expenses may include:

  • A down payment
  • Monthly payments (with interest) to an auto loan
  • Insurance
  • General maintenance that will come with owning an older car

Loan calculator tools and other resources available online may be helpful in figuring out what expense may work with your monthly budget.

Finally, keep in mind that an important factor in determining the monthly expense of owning your car will be where you choose to finance it. The best financing deals are rarely found at auto dealerships. Shopping around for the most competitive auto loan and lowest interest rates may make all the difference when it comes to figuring out if your car can fit comfortably in your budget.

POSTED: Apr 20, 2017
MCU Car Buying Tips

Summer is the season of go, go, go. It’s no surprise that it is also the time of year many find themselves in the market for a car that will get them on the way to their next adventure (or just up the road for groceries). As exciting as buying a new car can be, prospective buyers should proceed with caution. Cars are an expensive investment and it’s easy to become attached to a make and model that could later leave you feeling in over your head financially. Luckily, using a few simple guidelines, you can confidently get on the road with the right vehicle at a great price!

1. Set a budget

Before you begin seriously shopping for a new vehicle, setting a budget is an important first step to saving both time, resources and even disappointment during your shopping experience. To ensure you’re making the best financial decision, a good rule of thumb is to keep the cost of all of your cars at or below 25 percent of your total monthly household income. It’s important to remember the annual expense of a car isn’t simply limited to monthly loan payments, but also fuel and car insurance.

2. Consider new, used and pre-owned vehicles

Purchasing a used or pre-owned vehicle may mean getting the most for your money. However, these cars often also come with higher interest rates when financed and shorter warranty periods. The car’s full history, including accidents and repairs, may also be limited. On the other hand, purchasing a new car on the same budget may mean getting a more basic model with less features but you’ll also have a full warranty, pay a lower interest rate, and in some cases have access to free maintenance and roadside assistance.

3. Do your homework

Whether you’ve decided on a used or new car, research plays a critical role in getting the best possible deal for your purchase. A quick internet search of the make and model you are interested in will help you to understand the general weaknesses of any car type, as well as typical repair costs and reasonable price points.

If you are specifically looking to purchase a pre-owned vehicle, the history of these cars can also be researched easily with its vehicle identification number (VIN). This can be done with a Carfax Report. It’s also important to ask the dealer or private seller questions about the car’s history. These can include:

• Are there any dealer documentary fees or other dealer specific fees that I should know about before I begin my negotiation?
• Does the car have any recalls?
• Is the car under warranty?
• How many miles are on it?

4. Shop for the best deal

Many potential car buyers often fall in love with a car and feel the need to make an offer immediately, for fear of losing their purchase to another buyer. Always avoid shopping with your emotions. Taking your time to shop and compare prices is the only way to know for sure that you are getting the best deal possible. Luckily, digital tools and shopping platforms can help with your process. These tools include MCU’s Car Buying Service, powered by TRUECar, which can help shoppers research thousands of new and used vehicles, see what others have paid and enjoy guaranteed pricing.

Shopping around for your financing options is also an important step in the car buying process. In fact, many individuals make the mistake of financing their car through a dealership, which may seem convenient but could prove to be more expensive than alternative options.


When the time comes to making a decision about financing your vehicle, remember MCU is there to help! We offer:

• Up to 125% financing available
• Low interest rates
• Flexible terms

Whether you choose a new or just new-to-you car, visit nymcu.org today to learn more about how an MCU Auto Loan can help get you on the road!

POSTED: Mar 31, 2017
The Four Financial Attitudes to Avoid

Financial insecurity is a growing problem faced by many Americans. In fact, nearly 40 percent of US workers have reported having less than $1,000 in savings and the average household debt is now more than $16,000.

In some instances, people may struggle to pay for unexpected expenses such as a medical emergency, job loss or divorce. Others may have been tempted by payday lending loans, uncontrolled use of credit cards or convenient payment plans, which all contributed to a gradual accumulation of debt.

As the old saying goes, attitude is everything. No matter what your situation is or your goals are, avoiding troublesome financial attitudes and habits can go a long way. Check them out below!

1. Spending Too Much
Overspending is one of the fastest and most common ways an individual can find themselves in financial trouble. Overspenders often have a hard time keeping track of where their money goes and spending money has often become a form of fun and recreation. They also have a hard time differentiating between wants and needs and thrive on immediate gratification.

How to Avoid It: If you’re an overspender, you probably have a difficult time visualizing how much money is going out, compared to your income. To help create a visual of your cash flow, it helps to try writing down a budget and making a list of your purchases. After setting a budget, using cash can be helpful to avoid wasteful or thoughtless purchases. Once the allocated funds are gone, you’ll have to wait until the next pay cycle to make another purchase. It may be tough, but it’ll help reign in spending.

2. Saving Too Little
It can be hard for individuals to realize they are saving too little. While they may recognize that there is no “cushion” in their savings to cover an emergency expense, many may feel like they can rely on their 401(k) if needed. However, unfortunately, the funds in a 401(k) are unavailable to help in an emergency situation without incurring penalties and fees.

How to Avoid it: To help build savings, always make it a practice to “pay yourself first”. Direct depositing a percentage of every paycheck into a separate account set-aside account for long term savings that can also cover unexpected expenses is a great way to start.

3. Carrying Too Much Debt
Individuals who carry too much debt tend to focus the cost of a minimum payment, or only consider their individual installments, opposed to the overall expense. They may also become fixated on deals that promise deferred payments or special deals without paying attention to the overall expense. Those carrying debt will often take actions to consolidate debt to maintain a standard of living.

How to Avoid it: If an individual finds themselves carrying too much debt, they can get back on track by focusing on the overall expense of a purchase including interest. If the overall expense is figured within the individual’s budget, it may become more clear that it is actually unaffordable. They must also not be easily taken by sales that appear to offer “great deals” and take time to read the fine print.

It is also important to note that while these practices can help change current attitudes towards debt, the only way to truly be free of debt is to begin paying it off. A spending plan can help an individual begin the process of allocating the needed funds for monthly debts.

4. Caring Too Little About the Future
Many people are surprised when their budget collapses under the strain of accumulated debt. They may have failed to pay attention to their spending, ignored bills and disregarded the cost of interest and fees. Because they’ve failed to plan ahead, these individuals are often caught off guard when they find themselves in financial emergencies and will delay their ability to reach financial milestones, such as buying a home. Sometimes, these individuals also believe that if there were to find themselves in financial trouble, a family member or friend will help them out.

How to Avoid it: While this attitude can be found in anybody, it is common among adult children still living with their parents, as they often have both and income and relatively minimal expenses. This combination can be make it difficult to focus on properly managing money. If you find yourself struggling to focus on your financial future, setting both long and short-term goals is an effective motivator to begin planning and saving.

POSTED: Mar 30, 2017
Go Green, Save Green This Spring

This year, Earth Day is April 22nd and going green is easier than ever with MCU’s free digital banking tools. Signing up won’t just help the environment but also saves our members time, money and hassle. Check them out below!

NYMCU Online Banking: Safely and securely manage your MCU account. With NYMCU Online Banking, members can view account balances, transfer funds between accounts, signup for account alerts and much more.

NYMCU Mobile Banking: The NYMCU Mobile Banking App gives members the freedom to manage accounts, transfer funds, pay bills and find the nearest MCU ATM or branch locations anytime, anywhere. The NYMCU Mobile Banking app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Tablets.

MCU BillPay: Avoid mailing costs and late fees by paying bills on an ad hoc or prescheduled basis. Members can also save time by paying friends and family quickly and securely with our recent person-to-person ePayments feature.

MCU eStatements: Never lose track of your statements again. eStatments not only notify you that a new statement has arrive each month via email, but gives our members access to up to 24 months’ worth of statements.

To learn more about these great paperless options and to enroll in MCU Online Banking, visit nymcu.org or download the NYMCU Mobile Banking App today!

POSTED: Mar 21, 2017
MCU’s Tips to Avoiding Common Home Buying Mistakes

For many, buying a home is more than a financial milestone, it’s the realization of a lifelong dream. As, the housing market continues to become increasingly competitive, potential homebuyers may be feeling the pressure in order to get in on a fair deal while they still can.

However, while the timing may be right to still get in on a great deal, the home-buying process can be a confusing one and common mistakes could end up costing you time and money. To get started and to make sure that your home-buying experience is as seamless as possible, check out some common mistakes how to avoid them below!

Mistake: Not knowing your credit score. Many potential homebuyers don’t know their credit scores or what their scores mean. In some cases, potential homebuyers may jump into the home-buying process without knowing that their credit score is too poor for them to obtain a mortgage or will only help them to qualify for a high-interest loan. In other instances, individuals may just assume they have poor credit and do not realize their credit is good enough for them to obtain a mortgage at a good rate.

Tip: According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, individuals should check their credit reports once every 12 months. This will not only let you know whether or not you’re ready to buy a home but will also let you check for mistakes that may hurt your score and affect your ability to get a loan. The only authorized site source under federal law that provides free credit reports is AnnualCreditReport.com.

Educational classes (such as MCU’s First-Time Homebuyers Seminar Series) are also a great way to better understand how your score affects you in the home-buying process. It will will also provide you with information on how you can begin to improve your credit and accelerate your home-buying process.

Mistake: Assuming your down payment is the only upfront cost associated with buying a home. There are many fees and closing costs that need to be paid along with the down payment.

Tip: Know your budget when shopping for your home, and make sure to include additional costs when budgeting for your home purchase. Taxes and fees like escrow, real estate taxes and attorneys fees must be paid during the purchase (or closing) of a real estate property.

To help curb these expenses, shop around when looking for your mortgage. In some instances, financial institutions will waive some closing costs and fees to help keep your initial payment low.

Mistake: Not knowing about all costs of home ownership in the neighborhood(s) where you are looking to buy. The cost of your home is more than just the price of your house.

Tip: Do research and find out the cost of property taxes, Homeowners Association Fee, Plan Unit development fees, homeowner’s insurance, and other costs that will affect how much you can actually afford.

Mistake: Underestimating the length of the mortgage process. The process usually takes 30-45 days to close after receiving necessary documentation, not 30-45 days from the initial contact with the loan officer. Homebuyers who don’t give themselves enough time may find their process is delayed.

Tip: Plan effectively. Know that the process is just that, a process. Understand that your financial activity, such as incurring a large amount of debt, during this time period can affect your credit, which can affect your capacity to be a homeowner in the lender’s eyes.

To help the home-buying process go smoothing, buyers are encouraged to get a mortgage preapproval from a lender. This is a formal estimation of how much you, as a potential homebuyer, are qualified to borrow. This preapproval, which will come in the form of a letter, can speed up the home-buying process by helping you to pinpoint your price range, secure a real estate agent, narrow down potential neighborhoods and motivate sellers.

Mistake: Choosing to delay the home buying process in anticipation of lower interest rates. While rates have increased slightly, buying a home is still financially attainable. However, experts agree that the Federal Reserve can be expected to raise rates further and waiting years or even just months could put you at risk of an even higher mortgage interest rate.

Tip: Start today! By locking in an interest rate before they inch up again, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars a month!

POSTED: Nov 06, 2014
Five Helpful Tips: Buying a Used Car.

* Shop around. Comparing similar makes and models can help ensure that's you're getting a fair deal.

> Research the vehicle's history. This includes past owners, use, and maintenance and if the car has been involved in any accidents or natural disasters. Running the vehicle identification number (VIN) will help confirm the car's history.

> Check the warranty. Contact manufacturers to confirm that you can use the coverage.

> Ask about the dealer's return policy. Get it in writing and read it carefully.

> Have the car inspected by your mechanic.

And don't forget to know your financing options! When it comes time to make your purchase, MCU members have access to exceptionally competitive auto loans, including:

> Up to 125% financing available

> Low interest rates

> Flexible terms

> Auto Refinance loans

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