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BECU Financial Advisor

 


Internet Shopping

When making a purchase you should have a list and stick to it.  
 
With on-line shopping it is even more critical. On-line retailers track what you have purchased in the past and offer up what are perceived to be limited timedeals.
 
Ignore the offers and only look for coupons or deals when it is time to make a purchase.
 
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insurance

Auto insurance is one of your larger expenses, so periodically take so time to see if it can be reduced.
 
Check for discounts for paying the premium in full, consider raising your deductible and for older cars, and make sure it still makes sense to carry comprehensive and collision coverage.
 
Remember, you credit score can also play a factor.
 
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Finding a Credit Counselor

Who can you turn to for help in a financial crisis?
 
Fortunately credit counseling agencies are available - but not all credit counseling agencies are created equal.
 
Promises to eliminate debt should raise a red flag.     
 
A good place to start is the National Foundation for Credit Counselors or NFCC.   NFCC Members represent non-profit accredited agencies.  
 
Visit NFCC.org to find an agency near you.
 
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Investing in yourself

When was the last time that you invested in yourself?
 
This might be the single biggest obstacle on your path to reaching your financial goals.
 
If you’re not investing in continuing education, training and personal development, you’re limiting your ability to make more money in the future.
 
Consider taking non-degree courses online to boost your knowledge of your field or enrolling in a graduate program. 
 
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Dollar Cost Averaging

You Buy High and Sell Low.
 
Does this sound like your investing strategy?
 
Resist the urge to go with the crowd by adhering to smart investing techniques. One such technique is dollar-cost averaging, a simple system of investing at regular intervals no matter what the market is doing.
 
While it doesn’t guarantee success, it does eliminate the likelihood that you're always buying at the top.
 
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Neglecting Retirement

It’s easy to focus on the present and assume you’ll have time in the future to start saving for retirement.
 
But the longer you wait, the tougher it will be to ensure you have enough.
 
Imagine yourself in retirement.  What does it look like?  At dinner are you the one enjoying the meal or are you serving it?
 
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Tax Returns

How long should you keep your Tax returns?
 
The IRS statute of limitations is three years for auditing your return and six years for unreported income, both from the date of actual filing.
 
A good rule of thumb is to hold on to your tax returns for at least seven years.    
 
If you are in doubt check with your tax preparer.
 
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Avoiding Fees

Late fees, banking fees, credit-card fees -- the amounts might seem insignificant when taken individually. But if you’re regularly paying penalties and fees, these charges can quickly eat a hole in your budget.
 
Avoid being nickeled and dimed! Read the fine print so you understand fee rules, and stay organized so you avoid breaching those rules.
 
Don’t be afraid to shop around for a better deal. 
 
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HomePath

Are you currently considering buying your first home or perhaps your first, second or third investment property?

If so then you will definitely at least want to consider Fannie Mae’s HomePath program.

Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders.  They do not make loans directly rather buy the loans from lenders.

Unfortunately, due to the housing crisis, they now own homes that they must sell.

Fannie Mae HomePath properties offer great benefits such as low down payments, no mortgage insurance, expanded seller contributions and more.

To learn more visit homepath.com.
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Borrowing from a 401K

Taking out a loan against your 401K is usually a less expensive option than a straight withdrawal where you may have to pay income taxes and a 10% penalty, however there pitfalls that you must take into account.  

Most plans will give you only five years to repay the loan.  If you borrow a large amount the payment could be substantial.

If you fail to make the payments or leave your company you may be required to pay back the outstanding balance within 60 days or be forced to take it as a hardship withdrawal that will incur taxes and penalties.

Make sure you understand all of the consequences of borrowing against your 401K.
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