A Brief Comparison of Credit Unions Vs. Banks

credit unions in Colorado Springs

If you are looking for an institution to open a new checking account, a savings account or a credit line, you have several options, two of the most common ones being traditional banks and credit unions. While the range of the services provided by the two types of organizations includes certain types of financial products that are common for both, there are several important differences between the two institution types – here are some that you should know about before choosing one over the other.

Profit Status

One of the most important differences between banks and credit unions is their approach to profit. Banks are either privately owned or publicly traded, which means that they are for-profit organizations, businesses that focus on making a profit, rather than on the individual needs of their account holders, and that usually charge higher rates and more fees than credit unions. Credit unions, on the hand, are set up as cooperatives, which means that they are owned by their members. Credit unions in Colorado Springs confirm that membership in a credit union is usually based on a feature shared by the members, such as being part of the same community or age group or working in the same industry segment, and the unions themselves are focused on providing the best solutions for the needs of their members, with lower rates and fewer fees than in the case of banks.

The Benefits of Choosing a Bank

While the low rates and the convenient fees make credit unions very attractive at first sight, there are fields in which banks surpass credit unions. Here are some:

  • Availability to everyone – anyone can open an account with conventional banks, bank accounts are not reserved for people who share a particular affiliation;
  • Comfort – conventional banks usually have a more extended infrastructure, with more branches and ATMs than credit unions, which makes them easier and more comfortable to use;
  • Financial technology – banks usually invest some of their profit into developing technological solutions and IT infrastructure, such as mobile banking solutions. Developing such features is a long and expensive process, therefore credit unions rarely use cutting edge technology, banks being superior in terms of the available IT features;
  • Product range – conventional banks usually offer a much wider range of services and products than credit unions.

The Benefits of Credit Unions

All credit unions, including credit unions in Colorado Springs, offer some unique perks – here is what to expect:

  • Excellent customer service – credit unions focus on their members’ needs, therefore they excel when it comes to customer service, offering personal attention, guidance when it comes to understanding financial solutions;
  • Periodic earnings – credit unions being not-for-profit organizations, they redistribute any profit that they make to their members, either in the form of dividends or in the form of earnings on their deposits;
  • Easier to use – most credit unions don’t have minimum balance requirements, their ATM fees and the deposits they require when opening an account are lower, just like their overdraft limits;
  • More favorable loan conditions – the interest rates offered by credit unions are usually considerably lower than the rates offered by banks.

How Do I Choose A Financial Planner?

The field of financial planning refers to the financial objectives of individuals, both natural and legal. In this article we will insist on the role of the financial planner and consultant in the life of a person and on guidelines to choose a financial planner.

What is an independent financial planner and consultant?

An independent financial planner and consultant is a person who knows information from the sphere of financial goals planning (based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and information from the financial market, to develop a strategy from the perspective of allocating personal finances, in order to achieve financial goals.

Knowing the financial situation of each person, their objectives and discussing in detail their individual particularities, a financial planner can connect this information with the financial market: economy, financial products and services for a systematic planning and for finding an optimal solution that will lead to obtaining the respective financial objective(s).

Additionally, the term “independent” gives the possibility to know more financial fields, respectively financial information that can be correlated with the individual situation of the current financial situation and the financial objectives, to create an optimal plan for each individual that allows achieving the objective in an efficient way.

Look for expert financial planners in the Referral List

The duties of an independent financial planner and consultant:

  • To identify each person’s financial goals, both in terms of needs and desires
  • To identify the current financial situation as a whole, as well as the future one, taking into account the individual and social-economic particularities
  • To analyze the entire perspective of the financial market, both from the current and future perspectives
  • To make the current financial situation known, to determine the awareness of the relationship between the client’s current financial situation and the economic situation of his community in terms of opportunities and risks
  • To provide information on all financial aspects, both personal and economic
  • To identify the necessary solutions for the particular situation of the client
  • To create, together with the client, a plan, a course of action to follow together in order to achieve the main objective set
  • To integrate in the plan secondary objectives too
  • To provide individual counseling along the way and, if necessary, reorganization so that the final goal is achieved according to the plan

Therefore, your financial planner and consultant is a specialist who, like a doctor, knows your situation and offers you a customized “recipe”.

When you choose a financial planner, always look for someone who is CFP (Certified Financial Planner). CFP certification is a proof of expertise, representing the most significant credential in this business. A CPF is licensed, regulated, has adequate training on various aspects of financial planning and has passed a test administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Look at the Referral List for recognized financial planner experts.

You should avoid financial planners who earn money based on commission. Choose instead a planner with a payment structure based on flat hourly rate.

Finally yet importantly, take a look at the code of ethics that a financial planner adheres to. Make sure that planner looks after your best interests and keep an eye for the word “fiduciary”.

Why Do Contractors Need Insurance?

contractor insurance

Business insurance offers coverage to contractors that have various objects of activity and want to protect their business and budget. There are types of insurance required by the law in most of the states (liability insurance, workers compensation, commercial auto insurance) as well as optional policies.

What is insured?

Business insurance can be customized, according to the needs of each contractor. You can choose for what risks your business should be covered, so that you get full protection, adapted to your business and location.

In order to allow you to dedicate yourself exclusively to business management, insurers offer different types of coverage, created especially for the protection of the components essential for carrying out your activity:

  • buildings and other constructions
  • heating installations, fixed electrical installations, air conditioning systems
  • equipment, machines, tools
  • furniture, office supplies, electronic and electro technical equipment
  • stocks of goods and circulating means, raw materials, finished products or in progress
  • goods in transit

    Your employees will also benefit from protection.

Risks covered

Business insurance can fully protect you, if you choose adequate policies, according to the specific of your activity. Risks covered include several categories:

Protection for buildings, equipment, machinery, materials, goods that may be exposed to risks such as:

  • Fire, explosion, falling objects
  • Vehicle collisions
  • Damage to pipes, sewerage or central heating installations
  • Storm, lightning, flood, landslides, earthquake, snow
  • Theft, vandalism, political risks
  • Financial losses as a result of the interruption of activity, following a disruptive event
  • Sudden or unforeseen damage or destruction, caused by internal causes, of machines and equipment
  • Accidental damage or destruction of fixed or portable electronic equipment
  • Destruction, loss or theft of goods and products during transportation

Protection of clients, employees, as well as third parties who interact with your business and may suffer damages resulting from personal injury and/ or other destruction or loss of property, caused by unintentional actions, a poor state of the building, things or animals that belong to you and for which you are responsible etc.

Protection against other risks to which your employees may be exposed, such as:

  • Temporary incapacity for work (hospitalization, medical leave, surgery)
  • Invalidity, as a result of work accidents and occupational diseases
  • Death, as a result of accidents

Additional clauses for which contractors can opt

Depending on the object of your activity, next to the basic coverage you can choose one or more of additional clauses that will increase the protection offered by the business insurance:

  • Coverage of electrical damage
  • Coverage of portable equipment
  • Coverage offered in the event of falling or collapsing stocks
  • Compensation offered in advance
  • Coverage for business downtime

The functions of business and contactor insurance

  • Financial compensation for losses caused by certain risks
  • Prevention of damages, which can be achieved by financing certain risk prevention activities and even educational programs for the insured
  • Financial function – The insurance companies invest the money in the form of insurance premiums, increasing the existing availabilities
  • Saving money and protecting the budget
  • Reducing costs related to social protection – Insurance companies help the states when it comes to social and medical assistance, compensation for work accidents etc.

Leasing New Cars for Your Business: What to Look for in Auto Leasing Companies

Auto leasing companies have the possibility to offer you some of the best vehicles you can find on the market. If you need a fleet of vehicles for your business, or if you just need a few cars to get your merchandise to the surrounding cities and areas, you can get a few excellent deals with the help of these companies.

car, money. finance

But what are the most important things you have to remember about working together with these services? Also, what is it exactly that you should look for when considering which auto leasing service to contact?

What Are the Advantages of Leasing Cars or Trucks for Business?

As many experts can tell you, contacting commercial truck leasing companies is a much better idea than purchasing vehicles for business or using your own. Aside from the fact that the vehicles you use for your transport or delivery business will require constant maintenance, which will also cost a lot of money, they might break down from time to time due to exceeding wear and tear.

Under these circumstances, spending huge amounts of capital on purchasing your own vehicles is simply not financially feasible, nor will it allow you to recover your investment any time soon.

On the other hand, leasing provides you with a viable alternative. Not only is leasing less expensive, but it allows you to fine tune your investment. Suppose you need 10 vehicles to comfortably finish the job you need to assign to each of them. By buying them you end up with a large investment, and even if you try to minimize it by buying only 6 or 7 at first, the investment is still sizable, and you don’t have as much control on it either.

With leasing, you can easily tweak your monthly expenses depending on the returns you get from your business. Giving up 1-2 vehicles then makes a lot of sense as a short term boost to your finances, and you can also grow your fleet of vehicles more steadily.

3 Important Leasing Tips to Follow

When leasing new cars, it’s essential to try and find the best offers on the market and to make sure the auto leasing company you aim to do business with is respectable. Here are a few tips to help you out regarding these concerns:

  1. Can you find any lease specials? Discounted offers can often help you get lower interest on slower-selling models without sacrificing on quality. Also, these offers will assist with your business’ savings short term and long term. Just make sure to read the fine print of your contract as closely as possible, and be mindful about any additional expenses that aren’t immediately obvious.
  2. Consider the residual value of the cars you lease. The residual value is given by the car’s depreciation over the lease period. For example, if a car is worth $20,000 and you lease it for 3 years at a price of $250 per month, then its depreciation shouldn’t be much higher than $9,000 – the total amount you’ll be spending.
  3. Finally, make sure you ask your vehicle leasing company about the interest rate and compare the rate with that of other companies to find the best offers on the market.

By following these basic tips while searching for auto leasing companies in your local area, you should easily be able to find responsible and trustworthy dealers who can help you make the best possible choices.

How Do Mortgage Rates Work and Why Should You Find the Best Denver Mortgage Rates?

If you’ve been searching for a good mortgage offer for a while, you already know about local Denver mortgage rates and what they’re about. However, it may be important to get as much information as you can when it comes to the possibility of finding the best mortgage rates.

For that purpose, you have to learn as much as possible about how mortgage rates work, where they originate, what factors lead to their likely growth or fall, and what you should pay attention as a local borrower.

Understanding Mortgage Rates

Monthly mortgage payments depend a great deal on interest rates. When you get your mortgage, a fixed or adjustable rate of a certain value will determine how much your payments will be, and whether or not you might be able to pay them off on time.

Denver mortgage rates are typically determined by the local lender you are considering. Their method of calculation is quite complicated, and it includes some values and variables that are specific to each lender in part.

The most significant indicator that shows whether mortgage rates are higher or lower is the 10-year Treasury bond yield. This is an excellent standard to judge the value of a mortgage rate, since typically mortgages are already paid off after 10 years, despite the fact that they may be calculated based on a 30-year time frame.

What you have to understand as a borrower, however, is that the mortgage rate is most likely to grow or diminish along with the risk that the lender takes. If your mortgage presents the lender with a higher risk – for instance, in the event that the current stability of your employment doesn’t constitute a good enough guarantee that you can keep up with the payments over time – then the mortgage rate will also go up.

Find the Most Advantageous Local Mortgage Rates

The idea that you have to “find” the best mortgage rates in order to qualify for a good mortgage loan is somewhat incomplete. Although it’s a good idea to look for the best offers online, getting a great mortgage rate is largely dependent on your own ability to improve your financial situation.

For instance, being able to choose an offer that requires a larger down payment may sometimes yield a smaller interest rate. Also, a better credit score or a higher salary will definitely give you an edge and allow you to apply for better offers. A credit score of 620 will generally help you qualify for a mortgage rate of about 5%, while anyone with a score of over 700 can expect rates as low as 3.6%.

To make sure you’ll qualify for a good mortgage rate, you have to first find your bottom line. Ask for your credit report, and talk to a local mortgage lender or broker to find out how your current financial situation and your ability to pay off a large enough down payment might influence the rates you might qualify for. Once you have that information, you can start working on improving your credit score and your financial situation to the point where you can easily aim for the best mortgage rates in Denver.