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10 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance - August 12, 2014 by WWFCU

How to Lower Your Auto Insurance Rates without Sacrificing Coverage or Service in the Process

top-10-ways-to-save-on-car-insuranceLet’s face it. We all like to save money, especially when it comes to auto insurance. But does lowering your insurance premiums mean less-than-adequate coverage or working with a provider whose customer service leaves a lot to be desired? Not at all. We’ve put together a variety of suggestions to help you save money on auto insurance without sacrificing quality in the process.

Consider car insurance costs before you buy

When it comes to buying a new or used car, many people overlook insurance expense as part of the total cost of owning a vehicle. It’s better to consider the cost of insurance before you buy since auto insurance premiums vary widely depending on a vehicle’s specific characteristics, including its price, average repair costs, safety record and whether or not it’s a target among thieves.

Combine insurance policies with one carrier

Many insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts, such as buying a homeowners policy and auto coverage from the same carrier. You might also be able to save money if you insure all of the vehicles in your household on one policy or if you insure all of your driving-age family members on the same plan. Be sure to do your homework though, since there’s a chance you could save more money buying policies from multiple carriers.

Compare auto insurance carriers

Because auto insurance companies and rates vary widely, it helps to shop around when selecting an insurer. As a general rule, it’s wise to obtain auto insurance quotes and information from at least three separate companies. Calling insurance carriers directly, asking family and friends about their insurance providers and getting an auto insurance quote online are just some of the steps you can take in helping to ensure you choose the right auto insurance company.

Another helpful resource is your state’s department of insurance, which typically offers information such as rate comparisons, customer ratings and complaint ratios, as well as contact information for a variety of major carriers.

Don’t forget you’ll be dealing with your auto insurer in the event of an accident or emergency, so be sure to select a company that’s committed to customer service. Do your homework ahead of time by comparing ratings and researching complaints to ensure a company handles claims — and answers questions — honestly and promptly.

Drive less, save more

The more you drive, the higher the likelihood of an accident or emergency. That’s why many auto insurance companies offer low mileage discounts for people who drive less than the average number of miles per year, or for people who carpool on a regular basis. Be sure to ask your carrier if you qualify.

Drive safer, save more

The better you are as a driver, the more money you stand to save in coverage costs. People with clean driving records who haven’t had any accidents or moving violations for a certain number of years can qualify for safe driver discounts. What’s more, you may be able to take advantage of additional savings if you’ve recently taken a defensive driving course.

Increase your deductible

Sure, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident, but if you increase your deductible by just several hundred dollars, for example, you could save anywhere from 15 to 40 percent or more in collision and comprehensive coverage costs. It’s always good practice to set aside a portion of your monthly car insurance premium savings to ensure you can actually afford a higher deductible in the event of a claim. Learn more about how much, and what kind, of auto insurance you need.

Inquire about other car insurance discounts

There are a variety of additional car insurance savings you might be able to take advantage of, including discounts for teens who have good grades or who have taken an approved drivers’ education course, for college-age drivers who go to school more than 100 miles away, for people who are over the age of 50/55 or those who are retired, or for people who belong to business groups, alumni groups or other professional associations. You can also save money on auto insurance if a group plan is offered at your place of employment. When it comes to discounts, be careful. An insurance company that offers huge discounts might charge the highest rates to begin with, so be sure to do your homework thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

Maintain good credit

In the eyes of auto insurance carriers, drivers with established and stable credit records have fewer accidents. That’s why an increasing number of auto insurance companies consider credit scores when calculating rates. Since your credit score can impact the amount of money you pay in auto insurance, be sure to maintain a good credit rating and check your credit report periodically to ensure the items in your history actually belong to you. There are a variety of online services that allow you to check your credit as well as those that offer advice about how to improve it.

Opt for safety features

You can qualify for a car insurance discount from many carriers if your vehicle is equipped with safety equipment designed to reduce the risk of injury or theft, such as antilock brakes, automatic seatbelts, running lights or an alarm system.

Reduce insurance coverage on older cars

If you own an older vehicle, check its Kelley Blue Book value. If your annual comprehensive/collision insurance premiums are more than 10 percent of the current value of your car, consider dropping the coverage. Claims only occur an average of every 11 years, so there’s a good chance any claim payment you might receive down the road could be less than the comprehensive/collision premiums you’d paid.

While not exhaustive, this list gives you a good start in saving money on auto insurance. Keep in mind that the key to saving on auto insurance is about finding the best final price, not the biggest discounts. You may find that a company offering the least amount of discounts still offers the lowest auto insurance rates.

H/T Source: Kelley Blue Book Co.

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Nine Tips for Protecting the Identity of Your Child at Back-to-School Time - August 5, 2014 by WWFCU

As you’ve prepared to send your child back to school this fall, you’ve likely been hit with a mountain of paperwork for class enrollment, youth sports, and other after-school activities. But as you share your child’s personal information with teachers and administrators, carefully consider how and why the information will be used in order to protect against identity theft.

Because children have a blank slate with no debt or credit history, their personal information is especially valuable to identity thieves.

According to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research and sponsored by the Identity Theft Assistance Center, one in 40 households with children under the age of 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity theft.

Even though the number of reported child identity theft cases has increased significantly in recent years, more than 80 percent of parents with minor children say they are largely unfamiliar with child identity theft, according to a third-party study commissioned by Equifax.

  1. Before you start filling out forms for your child during the back-to-school rush, consider these nine identity theft protection tips:
  2. If you are asked to provide your child’s Social Security number, ask why the number is needed, if there is another way to identify your child, and how your child’s information will be protected.
  3. Only carry your child’s Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport when absolutely necessary.
  4. Do not provide your child’s Social Security number—or any part of it, like the last four digits—over the phone, online, or in person unless you have initiated the contact.
  5. Lock birth certificates and other documents with your child’s Social Security number in a secure location.
  6. Dispose of any trash containing your child’s personal information with a crosscut shredder. If old documents with sensitive information have piled up, consider attending a local shredding event, where residents can bring their documents to shred in bulk.
  7. Talk with your child about identity theft at the earliest possible opportunity, and create a safe environment with open dialogue so your child feels comfortable asking questions and sharing concerns.
  8. Never use your child’s Social Security number to open accounts for yourself. Opening an account with your child’s information and then not paying bills on time could prevent your child from getting credit cards, student loans, an apartment, or a job once he or she turns 18.
  9. Back-to-school time could also put you at risk of identity theft if you are sharing your own information. If your child’s school asks for your personally identifiable information as proof of residency, consider asking if the requirement is optional. You may also want to ask if it’s acceptable to provide a utility bill instead of tax information or mortgage documents, as these documents may contain sensitive personal details.
  10. Consider a credit monitoring and identity theft protection product that covers your entire family.

Child identity theft can be difficult to detect, and it may go undiscovered until your child goes to rent his or her first apartment or apply for student loans or a credit card. Because it can take years for a child’s identity to be restored once it has been compromised, it’s important to protect your children and family now. Remember to keep personal information safe during the hustle and bustle this fall.

Article Written By: Ilyce Glink

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Tips on Getting a Used Auto Loan with Bad Credit - June 2, 2014 by admin

used-carMore and more people are coming to realize the benefits of buying a used car. If you’ve decided the same, you have definitely made a smart decision. The fact of the matter is you can purchase a car that is almost as good as a brand-new one and save up to 50% off the original price. Even cars less than two years old can be up to 30% cheaper than new cars.

Obviously, there are other reasons to buy a used car: save money on insurance, certified used cars are available, traceable history, and typically a less stressful negotiation process. In order to buy used cars, many drivers choose to apply for a used auto loan. However, there is one thing that might prevent them from buying the car of their dreams – bad credit. With a bad credit, your options as a potential buyer are greatly limited, as most banks and traditional finance companies prefer to help out only those with a good credit score.

The good news is that Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union can help you finance your next car purchase. Here, you can easily apply for a loan and get the best deals. If you also get pre-approved, you have even more chances to find a great deal. In order to buy a used car with bad credit and save as much as possible, there are some things you can do.

Optimize your Credit Score

First of all, you can take some practical steps to improve your credit score. Order your credit reports from all three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Next, verify that all information is accurate. It is not unusual for these credit agencies to make mistakes that could hurt your credit rating. Additionally, make sure to pay off small judgments and past-due accounts. Nothing can impact your credit score more than nominal reports. Lastly, ensure that you wait at least 6 months after cleaning up your credit report before applying for your loan.

Prepare a Budget

Another practical step you can do to get the best deal on a used auto loan is to set up a budget. List all your expenses and revenues and then compare these two. This way, you will know whether you can afford a loan. Otherwise, you might endanger yourself and your credit.

Save For a Down Payment

If you have bad credit, it is quite difficult to get a loan approved. However, if you can put down at least 10% of the car’s value, you might get a much better deal.

Negotiate the Price

Once you find a nice used car that meets your needs, sit down with the manager or with the salesperson and negotiate the price. If you are good at negotiating, you just might save up to 10% of the original price.

The Bottom Line

Used auto loans are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. If you live, work, or worhsip in Westland or Wayne, MI, and you need a used auto loan for your next purchase, do not hesitate to contact Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union.

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Auto Loan Financing - May 21, 2014 by admin

New-CarThe decision to buy a new car will probably be one of the most important financial milestones in your life. In addition to the investment of money, you will spend a great deal of time looking for the right vehicle that caters to your needs. Similarly, you also need to spend time when looking for auto loans. You need to choose the right auto financing option in order to get the peace of mind that your investment is being cared for in a professional manner.

Some of the benefits of working with a professional& experienced auto loan organization that offers online auto loans are:

* All the Information you Need: a huge plus of shopping for an auto loan is the large amount of information posted on official websites. This information should be sufficient to help any member decide which option is the best for him or her. From household budget tools to credit score information and loan calculators, all of this online information can be a game-changer for many buyers.

* Easy Quotes: customers looking for automotive financing options in Westland and Wayne, Michigan can easily find the best deals online. Traditionally, it takes a lot of time to call each and every lender and ask for a quote. Thanks to technological advancements, you can easily enter Google and check for “financing options in Westland” or “car loans in Westland” and find the best deals for you.

You can start shopping having a particular price in mind. After you figure out what kind of payments you are able to make on a monthly basis and you research the cars available for you, you should be able to decide how much money you need to borrow. Next, you should look for a well-established Credit Union that offers reasonable monthly payments and interest rates. Most big lenders and major financial institutions have higher interest rates and strict rules, so try to stay away from them.

* More Bargaining Power with the Car Dealers: lastly, you have more control of the negotiation process. Armed with a pre-approval for your car loan, you have more bargaining chips at your disposal, so you can save even more money when looking for a new car. Of course, you will also save money on gas, because you won’t have to physically drive around town to find the best deal out there.

The Bottom Line

A professional, experienced and well-established Credit Union can offer you peace of mind and can help you save money when shopping for auto loans online. Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union offers reliable and affordable auto loans services in Westland and Wayne, MI. Do not hesitate to leverage our experience and expertise and let us give you the best possible deal on exactly what you want.

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First Impressions Count with a Used Car - April 28, 2014 by WWFCU

Car For SaleJust as with selling a house, first impressions count when selling your car. It can even make or break a deal. If you’re planning to sell your car, help it make a good first impression on potential buyers. Here’s how:

  • Clean it up. Going to the car wash may not be enough. Make sure the interior is immaculate as well, including the windows, dash, and floors. Keep the ashtray clean. Consider having the car detailed if necessary.
  • Lose the junk. Make sure all your personal items are removed before a prospective buyer hops in. Beyond the obvious removal of fast food bags, candy wrappers, and pop cans, take out your CDs, the umbrella tucked under the seat and the emergency change of clothes you keep in the back seat.
  • Take a whiff. Make sure your car doesn’t smell like a used car! Smoke, food and pet odors can quickly turn off a potential buyer.
  • Don’t forget the little things. Check the exterior carefully for dents and scratches. Many hardware stores sell products to quickly fix minor cosmetic imperfections. Check the lower half of the car and wash off dirt that accumulates on the tires or sides of the car. Make sure the chrome is shiny.
  • Keep it clean. Once you’ve made your car look great, don’t forget to keep it looking great. Wash it again as often as necessary and keep out the clutter.

While a great first impression of your car isn’t a guarantee of the sale, it is the first step in turning a casual looker into a serious buyer.

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Picking Up Your New Car - April 23, 2014 by WWFCU

A DealDon’t get caught up in the excitement of picking up your new car that you forget to pay attention to the detail.

Spot Deliveries

When it comes to delivery of your car, the very first thing you need to be aware of, and know how to deal with, is the “Spot Delivery.” A spot delivery is when you take delivery of the car as soon as you have committed to buy it.

The purpose of “spotting” a customer is simple; if you sign the papers and take delivery, the car is yours. If you change your mind the next morning when you wake up and see the car in your driveway, it’s too late.

Dealers consider spot deliveries the best defense against buyer’s remorse because by the time the buyer has a chance for any remorse, they already own the car. Some dealerships may not offer spot delivery, which is to your advantage. Others will practically insist on it. Don’t do it.

The salesperson will make it seem that taking immediate delivery is the most natural thing in the world, and for some car buyers, perhaps it is. It is much better, though, to protect yourself and take delivery of the car the next day, than to lock yourself into a commitment that you may not be able to undo. Unraveling a deal after you have taken delivery, even if it is within hours (or minutes) of buying the car, can be a nightmare. There is a good possibility that the deal cannot be undone, depending on the attitude of the dealership. Be aware that if you take delivery and sign the contracts, you will be considered by most or all courts to have closed the deal. Giving yourself a cooling off period, even if it is only for a day, will not only release a lot of the tension associated with buying a car, it will give you an escape hatch if you determine that you simply cannot live with the car or the deal.

Regular Delivery

If you are going to pick up the car sometime after you have made the deal, set an exact time for delivery with the salesperson. Complete any final financing details. Notify your insurance agent that you will need coverage transferred. When you arrive at the dealership, make sure that anything that was promised has been done to the car. Examine the car closely. Reporting a dent on the fender a week after you have taken delivery gives you little chance that the dealership will handle it, but if you note it immediately, they will have no choice but to repair it.

This article was submitted by Car Clicks, the place where you can get all the information-and tools-that you need when buying a car. Submission of this article does not imply an endorsement or recommendation of the Financial Resource Center site.

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Smart Tips For Starting A New Business - April 18, 2014 by WWFCU

Group Of Business People Analyzing Graphs and Charts in OfficeThe many details involved in getting a new business off the ground could scare off even the most committed and motivated entrepreneurs. If you’re thinking about starting a new business, the Michigan Association of CPAs provides the following list to help you begin the process.

  • Stick to what you know and love. Successful businesses don’t just happen. They are made. Whether you plan to profit by “clowning around” at birthday parties or growing a multinational corporation, your success relies on your knowledge, passion, and commitment. Evaluate your skills and interests and find a business that works for you.
  • Get smart. Learn all the intrinsic details of the businesses that interest you. Use the Internet to research the industry. Investigate the competition. Subscribe to magazines that cover your field or trade (the cost may be tax deductible) and attend association meetings and local networking groups. Talk with business owners in similar fields. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chance for success.
  • Choose an organizational structure. You’ll need to decide whether to organize your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Since your choice affects both your income taxes and personal liability, it is important that you learn as much as you can about each and seek professional advice before making a decision.
  • Name your business. This is not as easy as it may sound. It’s often best to select a name that is short, easy to remember, descriptive of the type of business you’re in, and likely to attract attention. Depending on your legal structure, you may have to register your business name with your local or county government. If a Web presence is important to your business, check to see if your desired domain name is available.
  • Make it possible with a business plan. Think of a business plan as your blueprint for success. The process of developing a detailed and accurate business plan, however daunting, will help you think through important issues. A business plan should outline your strengths and weaknesses, and show where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. A typical plan includes an executive summary, a description of the business and its products or services, marketing strategy, operations plan, financial data and projections, management description, and market, competitive and risk analyses.
  • Find the best location. Location is almost always a critical factor in a business’ success. Some local governments can provide information on traffic patterns for city and county roads. They also may have local population demographics. On your own, you can check area competitors and measure pedestrian traffic during business hours to estimate walk-in potential. Once you’ve settled on a location, decide whether to rent or own the building and then evaluate different sites.
  • Raise money. Raising the money needed to start a new business is almost always one of the most difficult steps. Financial resources available to small businesses can vary depending on whether you are starting a new business or purchasing an existing one. Generally speaking, business loans for start-up enterprises are not easily obtained. Many start-ups are financed by personal resources including savings, home-equity loans, and credit cards. Relatives and friends also may be potential sources of financing.
  • Make it legal. Governments often require licenses and permits for conducting business. In some cases, it’s as simple as paying for a license. In others, you may face the more difficult task of complying with regulatory ordinances that protect public health and safety and, increasingly, aesthetics.
  • Insure your business. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners by not insuring your new business venture. Look into a business owner’s policy that includes, at the very least, property, liability, and business interruption coverage.
  • Plan to work extremely hard. While many people start businesses in the hopes of not being tied down to a job, business owners find themselves working longer and harder than most employees, especially in the beginning.

This article was submitted by the Michigan Association of CPAs.

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Save Money on Credit Cards - April 13, 2014 by WWFCU
  1. credit cardYou can save as much as a thousand dollars or more each year in lower credit card interest charges by paying off your entire bill each month or by using a check, cash or debit card for purchases.
  2. If you are unable to pay off a large balance, pay as much as you can and switch to a credit card with a low annual percentage rate (APR). Ask your credit union about their credit card offerings.
  3. You can reduce credit card fees, which may add up to well over $100 a year, by getting rid of all but one or two cards, and by avoiding annual, late payment, and over-the-credit limit fees.
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Avoid ID Theft When Job Searching - April 8, 2014 by WWFCU

Identity TheftLooking for a job? You should also be looking out for identity thieves.

You want to be thorough on your résumé when you’re looking for a job. But here are a few things you should NOT include on your resume, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. You can provide any of these things to potential employers later in the process if they request that you do so:

  • Social Security or taxpayer ID number
  • Date of birth; age; sex; marital status
  • The year you graduated; your schools’ names
  • Professional license number
  • Disabilities
  • The reason you left a past employer
  • Hobbies
  • Driver’s license number
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Edison’s Tips to Thinking Creatively - April 3, 2014 by WWFCU

Idea ConceptCreativity isn’t just a talent; it’s a habit you can – and should – cultivate and grow. Learn how to develop your creative muscles from the genius of invention, Thomas Edison:

1. Question all assumptions. Don’t accept the conventional wisdom without first examining and challenging it. It’s said that Edison, when hiring a new employee, would invite the person to have some soup with him. If the candidate salted the soup before tasting it, he didn’t get the job—because he assumed it would require salt without testing the theory first.

2. Generate as many ideas as possible. The more ideas you have to test, the more likely you’ll find one that works, as long as you keep at it. Edison is reported to have conducted more than 50,000 experiments before perfecting the alkaline storage cell battery.

3. Analyze your failures. When an experiment fails, take some time to consider what you can learn. Keep detailed notes so that when an idea works, you can go back and reexamine your efforts in light of your success.

4. Adapt other ideas. Edison often used the inventions and ideas of other people as a mental springboard. Keep up with what’s going on in your organization and industry—what people are doing, where others have failed. Look for ways to take policies, systems, or ideas that are already working somewhere else, and turn them into something you can use in your own department.

5. Record all your ideas. Keep a notebook for writing down ideas whenever they occur to you. Go back over the notebook regularly, looking for connections between ideas or new ways of thinking about the same problem.

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