Controlling Spending.

You know what’s so hard about controlling you spending? Believing you can’t control your spending. You can.

Here’s the truth. Controlling spending isn’t hard. It takes courage and commitment. And some help, if and when you need it. That’s where we come in. Say the word and the personal finance professionals here at Creighton Federal will actually sit down with you, analyze your spending and work with you to get you where you need to be.

The process might not be entirely painless. But any pain will be temporary. The peace of mind and confidence you’ll gain will be worth its weight in . . . you fill in the blank.

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What are you, nuts?

You’re closing out your Creighton Federal account because you’re graduating and moving out of town? You either have a fever above 104 or some foreign government has jammed your in-box with big bank propaganda.

A. You’re going to need money while you relocate and get settled. Use you Creighton Federal account.

B. You’re just out of school and moving to a place where you have no credit. But you do with Creighton Federal. We’ve known you for years.

C. With online banking it doesn’t matter if your financial institution is five miles away or 500 miles away.

D. Get pre-approved at Creighton Federal for a car loan or down payment. You’ll know you’ll have the money when you need it, And, besides, Creighton Federal’s loan rates are probably lower than you’ll be able to swing in your new location.

Closing you account because you’re graduating and moving? What are you, nuts?

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News Flash: You’re Stealing from Yourself and Giving it All Away.

Lemme’ ask you this. How much less could you be spending each month on your mortgage payment? Don’t know, do you. All you have to do is ask and we’ll tell you. No charge. No obligation.

Right now mortgage refi rates ‒ interest rates on mortgage refinancing ‒ are crazy low. And if you have a mortgage that’s more than about two years old you’re needlessly handing over to your lender too much of your hard earned cash. Creighton Federal can probably save you a bucket load.

For you it’s a win – win. Win: we drop your mortgage payment each month. Win: If we can’t you rest your eyelids each night knowing you’ve got a great rate on your mortgage.

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So, What Income Tax Bracket are You In? This is Not a Trick Question.

You pay too much in taxes not to read this.

The U.S. uses a progressive income tax system. That means higher income tax rates generally apply to people with higher incomes. Keep in mind we’re talking about taxable income (income after allowed deductions) not gross income (the amount you get paid). Go online to find the new (as of Jan. 2019) brackets for married and single filers.

“Being ‘in’ a tax bracket,” notes NerdWallet, “doesn’t mean you pay that federal income tax rate on everything you make.” Here are a couple of examples:

 A single (unmarried) federal income tax filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That person is in the 12 percent tax bracket but wouldn’t actually pay 12 percent of the full $32,000. Instead, s/he will pay 10 percent on the first $9,525 and 12 percent on the rest.

An individual with $50,000 in taxable income will pay 10 percent on the first $9,525, 12 percent on the chunk of income between $9,526 and $38,700 and 22 percent on the rest.

There are seven tax brackets, from 10 percent to 37 percent of taxable income. So, why is this important? Because it’s your money. Knowing this stuff will make you smarter about your money and where it goes. And, while it won’t take away all the pain, knowing things like your income tax bracket will make writing the check to Uncle Sam on April 15th a little less painful. Not!

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Here’s a Little F M for You. Oh, That’s Financial Magic, Not . . .

Chantal saves $1 a day for 10 years. Lorenzo saves a $1 a day for 20 years.

Q: How does Chantal end up with more money than Lorenzo?
A: The time value of money.

The Time Value of Money is what all investment programs are based on. In short, it says the length of time you let interest work its magic on your investment is more important than the amount of your investment because of something called compounding.

In our example saver Chantal invested $1 a day for 10 years starting when she was 20 and let compound interest (I’ll explain in another post) build her treasure trove for the next 40 years. Saver Lorenzo invested $1 a day for 20 years but didn’t start until he was 40. Even with compound interest after 20 years ‒ twice as long as Chantal ‒ Lorenzo’s treasure trove is still smaller than Chantal’s. Because of the Time Value of Money.

So, the takeaway here is, start saving ‒ even a little bit each month ‒ because with time it will be a lot more than a little bit. Watch Lesson 7 in Creighton Federal’s FI-Q series on personal finance.

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What’s the Difference Between Compound Interest and a Compound Fracture?

That’s a dumb question but it got your attention.

Compound interest has been around a while. It is thought to have originated in 17th century Italy. Think of compound interest as interest paid on interest. In other words, interest calculated on the amount of money you save or invest along with all of the interest you previously earned. Compound interest will make money grow at a faster rate than simple interest, which is calculated only on the amount invested or saved.

Where things really get “interesting” (lame pun intended) is when you let your investment grow for a long time. Check out the example below.

Starting at age 25 Susan invests $50,000 over 10 years and ends up with more money at retirement than Bill who started 10 years later and invested 3X as much over 30 years. How’s that possible? Compound interest.

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Remember the Clown Car and All the Clowns that Climbed Out of it?

You’d never guess all those big noses and giant feet and exploded hair could get stuffed in that tiny, little putt-putt, but somehow they did. Looks can be deceiving.

It’s that way with us, Creighton Federal. You’d never guess, standing outside our main branch at 25th & Dodge or any of our other branches, so much free help and money saving wisdom for members is packed inside, weighting to be put to work. But it is.

I sure hope those clowns showered before they stuffed themselves in that little car.

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Attention Class. The Lesson for Today is Debt Consolidation. You Over There. Wake Up!

Debt consolidation is not something likely to come up in conversation over your next double half-caramel- half-gooseberry-upside-down whipped latte. But it’s something that should be on your radar and here’s why.

There’s a good chance you’re spending more money each month than you have to. And there’s an easy way to find out. Ask us. It’ll cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time and a call to 402/341-2121 ‒ I know, it’s SO ‘90s old school!

Either way ‒ you’re spending more money each month than you have to or you’re not ‒ you’ll know. And if you are we know what to do about that. We’ll start by looking for ways to consolidate and lower your debt burden ‒ how much your pay out each month. That part will be free, too. It’s one of the things we do for members that we don’t charge for.

So … Make the call.

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How to Decide Whether or Not to Buy That Expensive Whatever-It-Is.

Deciding whether or not to make an expensive purchase and go on the hook for a lot of money is one reason Tums are so popular. Big ticket decisions involving lots of zeros after the dollar sign shouldn’t be decided on a whim.

There are tons of online lists of “Dos & Don’ts” to help you, so help yourself. But also think about it. Give yourself the time and mental space to make a good decision. A good decision for you and your situation, not just now but in the time frame it’ll take you to pay off the debt you’ll carry.

Five years to pay for a new truck or SUV? Well, is your job secure? An unplanned pregnancy, maybe? An aging parent or a dependent child with health complications that could turn your financial world upside down?

Should you stop spending. Absolutely not. Should you understand credit and how to manage it and be aware of what you’re getting yourself into? Absolutely.

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Reassuring Words About Setting Up a Budget

I’m not going to lecture you on why you should create and stick to a budget or how to do it. There’s plenty of information online and elsewhere for your reading pleasure.

No, instead I’m going to give you the single best reason to create a budget for yourself. And that reason is Freedom! The personal freedom that comes from not worrying about money. At least, not as much and, maybe, not at all.

Fear of running out of money before the next check is deposited is like a black cloud that follows you around. You can’t shake it, just like you can’t shake the fear of running low or – OMG – out of cash. Budgeting won’t put money into your checking account. It’ll keep money in your checking account and that’s just as good.

Here’s another good idea. Create a reasonable (as in do-able) budget and stick to it for a week. It’ll be easier than you think and you’re liable to find some “Buried Treasure” in your account when you’re done.

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