Author Archive for Danielle Panchak

9 Tips to Bring New Life to Your Finances

When spring is in the air, it’s time to put away those winter sweaters and pull out your summery shorts. It’s also a great time to clean your financial house, casting aside old habits and starting new ones. As flowers begin to bloom and birds return to their nests, give yourself a fresh financial start, too. 

Here are nine ways to clear the cobwebs from your wallet and get your financial plan neat and tidy for 2020.

  1. Review your spending, create a budget and set up automated savings

If you don’t have emergency savings, you’re not alone: Nearly 60% of Americans don’t have enough money to cover a $500 emergency, according to a Bankrate survey. Increasingly, workplaces are helping people to contribute to an emergency fund alongside retirement plans like 401(k) accounts, and if that option is unavailable, individuals can use direct deposit to set aside emergency funds.

  1. Throw away your debt

Debt is like that clutter in the closet that’s taking up space you need for something else, including reaching goals like buying a new home. Just as you’d go through your closet, start out by assessing the debt you already have. While you may not be able to pay everything off, with some discipline you can make real changes.

  1. Perform your own self-evaluation to keep your career growing

Take stock of where you are at work, including your salary. Check the salary range for your job, know what you’re worth and create a negotiation plan. If 2020 is the year you need to take a career break to take care of your family, think about how to maintain your skills through volunteering or continued learning while you take time off from paid work.

  1. Spruce up retirement plan contributions

If you began the year with a raise, a good bonus or even got a great tax return, you likely have already begun planning a summer vacation, started looking at new cars or making other plans. Consider setting some of that aside for the future by adding to your workplace account or in an individual retirement account.

  1. Review your tax withholding

If you got a big tax refund in 2019, it likely feels like a bonus. But it really means you were paying more than you should have last year, giving Uncle Sam money that you could have put to work for your own needs. Set up withholding so that you get the most out of your paycheck through the year without owning any money at tax time in 2021.

  1. Dust off your estate plans

Doublecheck your list of beneficiaries to see if anything has changed in the last year. A change in any relationship, like getting married, will likely prompt an immediate change. Also consider whether any life changes would impact elements of an estate plan, including any power of attorney documents.

  1. Review insurance needs

Spring is a great time to consider whether any life changes, like having a newborn or getting married, create a need for financial protection. If someone depends on your income for any number of reasons, it’s worth considering whether life insurance will work for you. It’s also a great time to review homeowners or rental insurance policies as well.

  1. Put a new shine on your financial plan (with an adviser)

Whether it’s an accountant for tax planning or a financial adviser for investment and insurance advice, it’s important to find a professional who can help you review your accounts and provide recommendations on how to best reach your financial goals. In current volatile markets, for example, it’s important to know what’s happened in your portfolio and to use any investment losses to reduce capital gains taxes.

  1. Sow the seeds of your financial future

Begin to think about financial goals for the rest of the year and beyond — what seeds can you plant today to reap the rewards you seek? Focus on what you want for yourself and your family, with a near-term budget and some long-term ideas, including saving for retirement. Do you want to go on a big family vacation this summer? In retirement, do you want to live in an urban area and volunteer? Do you want to climb mountains?

As you shake the dust off your financial plan and imagine your future, cleaning house can help you understand how much it will cost and start thinking about ways to keep you finances in order throughout the year ahead. The sky’s your limit.

Source: Kiplinger

 

Coronavirus Updates

Important Update on our Branch

July 8, 2020

AllCom Credit Union will reopen our branch lobby effective Monday, July 13, 2020.

We will allow lobby access to a limited number of members to ensure compliance with governmental guidance on occupancy limits and social distancing.

IMPORTANT NOTICE
Prior to entering the building, please call our main number at 508.754.9980 when you arrive. We will let you know if you are able to enter right away or if you should wait in your car until we call you back.

We are strongly encouraging members to continue to use our drive-up windows along with our electronic services to perform standard transactions. While not required, appointments are also strongly encouraged to minimize wait times for new accounts, member services or loan applications and closings.

AllCom continues to follow the appropriate health guidelines of social distancing, requiring masks be worn when entering our lobby and ask that specific doorways be used when entering or exiting our building.

How we are prioritizing your safety:

The following safety precautions have been implemented:

  • Face masks must be worn when visiting our office in accordance with Governor Baker’s order.
  • Social distance floor markers and one-way enter/exit arrows have been placed in our lobbies.
  • Seating in lobby areas has either been removed or will have at least six feet of separation.
  • Hand sanitizer is available.
  • Plexi-glass barriers have been installed throughout our office.
  • Our restrooms are closed to the public until further notice.
  • We request that trips be limited to one person per household whenever possible.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 888.754.9980.

AllCom will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies, so we can continue to support our members and communities as safely as possible.


We are here for you.

May 12, 2020

AllCom is here to help you during these difficult times. Our team is ready to assist and help find the right solution for you.

We understand the uncertainty you may feel during this time and we are here to help. If your finances have been affected by COVID-19 and you are experiencing a financial hardship, are concerned about your financial well-being or are looking to better understand your financial options, please contact us.

Governor Baker issued an order, effective Wednesday, May 6, requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in public places. To ensure your safety, as well as the safety of others, AllCom is strictly enforcing these guidelines for any person entering the branch. Click here to learn more.

Be aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams. Click here to learn more about recent fake texts and robocalls.

Debit Card Fraud Alerts via Text

As a reminder, AllCom Credit Union will send you debit card fraud alerts via text message, telephone and Email. We will NEVER ask you to click on a link or enter your card information.

If debit card fraud is suspected, you will receive a text message and Email. You can communicate with our fraud department in real time and will be asked to respond Yes or No to confirm the legitimacy of a transaction.

Text messages will be sent between 8am and 9pm. If a transaction is declined outside of these hours, please check your email for more information.

To ensure you receive these messages, please contact us to update your information with your cell phone number.

Free Weekly Credit Reports

During these times, accessing your credit is especially important. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021. These reports do not contain your credit score. Click here for more information.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 888.754.9980. If you are ever unable to reach us via the main number, please use an alternate telephone line of 508.754.5489 or email us at memberservices@allcomcu.org.

AllCom will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies, so we can continue to support our members and communities as safely as possible.


We are all in this together.

April 6, 2020

We understand the uncertainty you may feel during this time and we are here to help. If your finances have been affected by COVID-19 and you are experiencing a financial hardship, are concerned about your financial well-being or are looking to better understand your financial options, please contact us.

AllCom is here to help you during these difficult times. Our team is ready to assist and help find the right solution for you.

AllCom cares about your financial health and wants to ensure you don’t fall victim to a scam. Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. Though the reason behind their fraud is new, their tactics are familiar. Learn more about how to protect yourself.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 888.754.9980. If you are ever unable to reach us via the main number, please use an alternate telephone line of 508.754.5489 or email us at memberservices@allcomcu.org.

We are all in this together. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies, so we can continue to support our members and communities as safely as possible.


Coronavirus Update – Information about the branch

March 17, 2020

AllCom Credit Union has been consistently monitoring the recommendations of the CDC and local authorities. As a result, we have decided to close our main office branch lobby at 36 Park Avenue.  Although this was a difficult decision, we know it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, our members, and our community.

Effective March 18, 2020 our lobby will be closed to the public. The drive-up teller will still be open during normal hours.

Our staff will still be available to assist you via the telephone. In-branch visits will only be allowed by appointment and for loan and mortgage closings when necessary. Please call 888.754.9980 to schedule any in-branch assistance you may need. 

AllCom is here to help you during these difficult times. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 888.754.9980. If you are ever unable to reach us via the main number, please use an alternate telephone line of 508.754.5489 or email us at memberservices@allcomcu.org.

Please take a minute to become familiar with our remote services and contact us if you need any assistance:

Please continue to visit our website for the most up-to-date information regarding how the Coronavirus may affect AllCom’s functions and services.

We want to reassure you that all deposits are insured in full. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures up to $250,000 and the Massachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance Corporation (MSIC) fully insures the deposits in excess of the federal limit of $250,000. Click here for more information.

We want you to know that the health and safety of our members, employees and their families is always our top priority. We will continue to take the proper precautions to ensure our member’s needs are continually met.

Please stay safe and healthy.
AllCom Credit Union Staff


Coronavirus Update – A Message to Our Members

March 16, 2020

At AllCom Credit Union, we care about more than your financial health. We care about your total well-being. We would like to reassure you that we are continuing to closely monitor the situation and the health, safety and service of our members and employees is always our top priority. 

At this time, our operating hours have not been affected. However, we understand you might be taking more precautions and limiting your face-to-face activities outside the home. With this in mind, we wanted to remind you of functions and services available online and by phone.

Banking Remotely with AllCom Credit Union:

AllCom has all the tools you need to manage your accounts without needing to visit one of our physical branch locations.

This includes:

We continue to implement the following practices and policies in our branches to prevent the spread of illness and keep our members and our employees healthy:

  • Hand washing – Regular and thorough hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
  • Hand sanitizers – Our locations are equipped with hand sanitizers and wipes for members to use. Be sure to wash hands or use sanitizer before and after any transactions, including physical currency exchange or payments, card usage, and ATM transactions.
  • Disinfect – We are thoroughly wiping down countertops, surfaces and door handles throughout the day.
  • Employees – Our employees may use sanitary gloves when handling transactions as a precaution.
  • Keep Your Distance – We ask employees and members to limit physical contact with others to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Stay Home – Employees who do not feel well and exhibit signs of illness are asked to stay home and recover. If you’re not feeling well, you should stay home too!

AllCom Credit Union will keep you informed as updates become available. We send our hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy and we are here to assist in any way we can.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov for more information and updates regarding the Coronavirus.

8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking or expensive. You just need to know what you should be asking throughout the process. These eight questions can help you find an affordable used car that will keep you on the road for years to come.

Questions to ask yourself
Before you even start debating the relative merits of a sedan versus an SUV, you need to ask yourself some important questions. 

  1. How much work am I willing to do to get a deal?
    When you buy a used car, you can spend money and save time by making a purchase from a reputable local dealer — or you can spend time and save money by buying direct from a local private seller. Whether you purchase from a dealer or a private seller, you can often find better deals if you broaden your search to include nearby cities.

  2. What is my budget?
    Whether you plan to pay cash for your used car or you expect to take on an auto loan, you need to start with a good look at how much car you can afford. If you don’t have the full cost of your new-to-you car saved up, make sure you have calculated the monthly cost of financing the vehicle.

    Of course, your monthly car payment is not the only cost associated with buying a car. You will also need to calculate your insurance costs. Different vehicle models can have different insurance premiums. In addition, different vehicles can require varying levels of maintenance and the cost of parts, labor, and repairs can be higher or lower depending on which car you choose.

  3. How will I finance this purchase?
    If you are planning to finance, don’t wait until after you’ve found the car you want to get your financing in place. Whether you are purchasing a car from a dealer or a private seller, having your financing secured ahead of time gives you an important bargaining chip. You will be empowered to negotiate with the seller in the same way that a cash buyer could. You will not be stuck with the terms offered by the dealer’s financing options, and you will make it clear to a private seller that you are a motivated buyer. Get approved today!

Questions to ask the internet
Now we get to the fun part. You’ve figured out your budget, so you can start looking online at local (or not-so-local, if you’re willing to travel for a deal) used cars for sale. But rather than just make a list of possibilities in your price range, don’t forget to do a little research on the particular makes and models that you are planning to test drive.

  1. What are common problems with this make and model?
    Automotive engineers and manufacturers are not perfect, which means there can be common problems with certain models that are predictable if you know a little about the brand. While not all common problems are costly, it is always a good idea to know as much as possible about the known complaints about your potential purchase before you even go for a test drive.

Questions to ask the seller over the phone
At this point, it’s tempting to just go test drive the cars on your finalist list. But before you do this, you should pick up the phone and have a conversation with the dealer or seller. Here are some questions you can ask to help you narrow down your search before committing to a test drive:

  1. Can you tell me about any recent maintenance or repair?
    A used car has a history, which means there must have been some maintenance, and possibly some repair. You want to find a seller who is able to tell you what kinds of maintenance and repairs were recently done. If the seller claims that the 10-year-old vehicle you’re interested in has needed nothing but oil changes, that could be a red flag, particularly if you know what common problems crop up on that make and model.
  1. Can my mechanic look at the vehicle before I make my final decision?
    If the answer is anything other than yes, hang up the phone and move on.

Questions to ask your mechanic
Once you’ve narrowed down the options, it’s time to let your trusted mechanic give it a once-over. Since your mechanic may not feel comfortable just giving you a thumbs up or thumbs down, here are two questions to ask to help you decide if the car is right for you:

  1. Did the owner do a good job of maintaining this vehicle?
    A well-made car that was poorly maintained may be a worse bet than a mediocre car that was lovingly maintained. Your mechanic will be able to tell you if the previous owner stayed on top of necessary regular and irregular maintenance.

  2. Did the previous owner use cheap parts or good parts?
    Not all car parts are created equal. A previous owner who did repairs with low-quality, cheap parts may have done a disservice to the car (and the next owner). Other than taking the car completely apart, there will be no way to know if all replacement parts were high-quality — but asking if the easy-to-check parts are good quality can be a decent indicator that the previous owner took good care of the vehicle.

Source: Wisebread

8 Ways to Keep Your Money Saving Goals in 2020

Pop quiz: If you had a medical emergency or your car blew a tire, would you have enough money saved up to cover it? If your answer is no, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, almost 28% of American adults have no savings, while only 25% have a so-called rainy-day fund—albeit one that can’t cover three months’ worth of living expenses, according to Bankrate’s most recent Financial Security Index.

With New Year’s resolutions on everyone’s minds, you may be thinking about how you can spend less and save more in the coming year. Here are some easy ways to keep you on a money-saving track all the way to 2021, and beyond.

Have a Goal

You’re much more likely to change your spending habits if you’re saving with something specific in mind. It could be something as large as a two-week vacation or a down payment on a house—in which case, you can also mentally prepare for what will be more of a savings marathon. If your focus is on (relatively) smaller items like a new laptop or winter coat, consider it more of a sprint—and once you achieve it, you should add something else, big or small, to your wish list.

Track Non-Essential Spending

Regardless of how big your target figure is, you need to see where all of your dollars are going before you can figure out how much you’ll be able to put away. To do this, on the first day of next month, look at what you spent the previous month, putting essentials and non-essentials into different buckets. Consider what you could forego and commit to socking that money away. For example, can you skip takeout twice a week and cook at home instead? As for the actual figure you should be saving, 10% to 20% of your income each month is a good benchmark.

Get Rid of High-Interest Debt

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to high-interest debt, which is most commonly associated with credit card bills. Assuming you have a little money squirreled away in an emergency fund, high-interest debt is the first thing you should tackle before meeting long-term savings goals. On the other hand, if you have no emergency fund to speak of, start there before paying off high-interest debt.

Make It Automatic

Every month, schedule a recurring amount of money to be transferred regularly from your checking account to a linked savings account. This tactic relieves you of having to remember to make a deposit and reduces the risk of you spending the money before it’s saved. Even better: If you can, arrange to have part of your paycheck directly deposited into a savings account so that it never hits your checking account at all. And if you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, make automatic contributions to that as well.

Stick to the 24-Hour Rule

We’d be willing to bet that you buy more things online than at a store—which means you also know how tempting and easy it is to constantly visit your favorite online shop to see the latest inventory. The solution to avoiding impulse buys? Impose a 24-hour limit on hitting the “buy” button after placing items in your cart. Chances are good that by the next day, you’ll decide you don’t need them after all.

Don’t Spend “Found Money”

Whether you’re lucky enough to have grandparents who gift you $100 for your birthday or typically receive an annual tax refund, it’s best to put this money toward your savings goals rather than spending it. After all, it wasn’t there before, so you’ll never miss it. This applies to raises, too. Rather than spending more, put the difference into savings.

Consider Accounts With Tax Benefits

If your goals don’t require needing cash in the next one to three years, look into accounts that offer tax advantages. For longer-term goals like college and retirement, funding IRA accounts will give you tax savings and allow your money to grow over time through investments. (Note that before opening any new accounts, it’s always good to consult with your tax advisor.)

Don’t Go It Alone

Saving money isn’t always easy—if it were, there wouldn’t be so many articles written about it!—but if you know a friend, family member, or co-worker who is also trying to save, pairing up may help motivate you to stick to your plan. You can share progress, commiserate over hurdles, and have someone to lean on for support.

Source: The Muse

Financial New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

Looking to make some financial New Year’s resolutions for the coming year? Here are a few money resolutions to consider.

Resolve to do better next year.
The new year is a fantastic time to review your financial strengths, pore over your budget and make big plans for next year. Consider taking a moment to meet with your financial advisor or tax professional to review what worked this year and make changes for the year ahead.

Identify financial goals.
Before you can make progress toward any financial goals, identify what they are. Are you hoping to earn a degree? Buy a home? Repay your auto loan? Finally contribute to your employer 401(k)? Take some time to mull over what financial qualities you can improve this year. 

Start tracking your budget.
Before you commit to sticking to a budget, commit to track your spending each month. Spend some time identifying budgeting leaks, spending categories on which you tend to sink too much money and decisions about how to improve your spending for next year.

Check your credit report.
If you’ve stopped paying attention to your financial health, request a free credit report on annualcreditreport.com this year. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus, which are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If everything looks correct, this exercise shouldn’t take more than an hour. Take stock of your debts and dispute anything that looks incorrect.

Boost retirement contributions.
If you’re looking to put money away for retirement, commit to boosting your 401(k) contributions. At the least, contribute enough to your workplace plan to secure your employer’s match, which is typically between 3% and 6%, if one is offered. Forgoing an employer match is like leaving free money on the table.

Cut back on bad money habits.
Identify a bad financial habit – eating out too often, paying full price for clothing, splurging on your pets – and promise to eradicate it this year. Identify alternatives or coping mechanisms when you want to indulge in your bad financial habit.

Evaluate last year’s financial mistakes.
Take an honest look at your financial performance last year. Did you overspend? Overborrow? Get passed over for a promotion? Not every financial downfall is avoidable, but some can be dodged or limited going forward. Reconsider your financial mistakes, and strive to perform better this year.

Source: U.S. News

How to Protect Yourself While Holiday Shopping Online

The holidays should be a time of joy as you spend time with friends and family. Stay ahead of online scammers and identity thieves by using these tips to help secure your personal information while shopping online.

Ship to a secure location
The rise of online shopping has led to an increase of home deliveries — and with it, an increase in “porch pirates”, or thieves who steal packages from doorsteps. If no one’s home to accept a package, consider shipping to your office or another safe place.

Only use official retailer apps to shop
Mobile apps allow you shop for and purchase items while you’re on the go — making holiday shopping a breeze. But the danger arises if you unknowingly install an app laced with malicious software, or malware.

Don’t save your credit card information on your accounts
While it may be convenient to store personal and payment information in your online accounts, it does come with risk. Retail websites may not be equipped to secure your info, which could leave your personal details and payment card data vulnerable.

Never make purchases on public WiFi
WiFi networks use public airwaves. With a little tech know-how and the freely available WiFi password at your favorite cafe, someone can intercept the data you send and receive while on free public WiFi.

Don’t get tripped up in holiday shopping scam emails
Sometimes, something in your email in-box can stir your holiday consumer cravings. Clicking on emails from unknown senders and unrecognizable sellers could infect your computer with viruses and malware. Delete them, don’t click on any links, and don’t open any attachments from individuals or businesses you are unfamiliar with.

Massachusetts Credit Unions 2020 College Scholarship Program

Do you know a high school senior planning to attend college in the 2020-2021 school year?

AllCom Credit Union is pleased to announce the Massachusetts Credit Unions 2020 College Scholarship Program. Sponsored by the Cooperative Credit Union Association, six (6) $1,500 scholarships will be awarded.

2020 College Scholarship Application

Application deadline: February 28, 2020

Scholarship Eligibility
1. Eligibility is limited to high school seniors who will be enrolled in an undergraduate college degree program during the 2020-2021 academic year.

2. Applicant or parent/guardian must be a member of the sponsoring credit union.

3. The credit union must be a member in good standing with the Cooperative Credit Union Association.

4. Each applicant must complete a current Association scholarship application form and submit it with the other required material to the sponsoring credit union.

5. Each credit union will select its top 3 applications and forward them to their chapter president. They must be accompanied by a cover letter from the sponsoring credit union CEO verifying that each applicant and/or parent/guardian is a credit union member.

Each chapter will select its scholarship winner evaluating each applicant on the same criteria the credit unions will be using: essay, grades and extracurricular/community activities.

Students must submit the following items with their completed applications. All items requested must be received in order for the application to qualify for consideration.

1. Students must submit a typewritten essay, in 250 words or less, about a person or event that has been an inspiration to you and how it has affected you and your outlook on life.

2. An academic transcript of grades.

If you have any questions, please call Erin Harvey, Branch Manager at 508.754.9980.

7 Budgeting Tips for Every Type of Budgeter

Budgeting doesn’t have to be unbearable. Whether you’re a first-timer or have struggled to budget in the past, these budgeting tips can make it less painful and more likely to stick.

1. Decide why you’re budgeting

Start by articulating what’s inspiring you to create a budget. Are you overspending, in debt or looking for expenses to trim? Maybe you’re saving up for something, like a wedding or new baby.

When budgeting with a partner, discuss the details together to ensure you’re on the same page.

2. Use empowering language

The term “budget” can be off-putting.

Try switching to language you’re more comfortable with, such as “spending plan,” to help keep you motivated.

A budget — or whatever you choose to call it — shouldn’t intimidate or restrict you. It should be an opportunity to take control of your money.

3. Select your budgeting method

Just as there are many reasons to budget, there are many ways to budget. Read up on different budgeting methods — like the 50/30/20 budget or the cash-based envelope system — and try one that fits your lifestyle.

If you give it a fair shot and can’t find a way to make it work, explore other options.

4. Prioritize expenses and goals

Understand the difference between needs and wants, then focus on the essentials first — those include groceries, housing and transportation costs. That doesn’t mean other expenses aren’t important, though. Your financial goals, such as paying off debt or saving for retirement, should still receive attention.

5. Leave room for surprises

Don’t expect your budget to be perfect. Surprises will happen, and some expenses may slip through the cracks. But you can take precautions to soften the blow.

Set aside a little bit of cash to cover miscellaneous expenses each month and make regular contributions to an emergency fund. That way you can handle an unexpected car repair or other emergencies without taking on credit card or loan debt.

6. Automate responsibly

Technology can help alleviate the tedious aspects of budgeting and prevent setbacks. Try setting up automatic transfers so you can regularly pay bills or sock money away without thinking about it, and lean on apps and tools to conveniently track your spending.

7. Revisit your budget monthly

Checking in on your budget at least once a month gives you the chance to deal with fluctuations in a timely manner. Depending on your style and the method you choose, you may decide to check in more frequently — that’s OK, too.

Source: NerdWallet

5 Car-Buying Tips From an Undercover Salesman

Here are just a few of the things they learned and how you can safely navigate the car-buying process.

1. Test-drive your car salesperson

They face long hours, hostility from customers and constant pressure from managers who watch from “the tower,” a raised platform overlooking the car lot. Later, as I used my insider knowledge to buy more than 100 cars for an automotive website, I met many honest, intelligent, helpful car salespeople. But the work of these “good apples” was often spoiled by a rotten batch of uninformed sales stereotypes — not to mention some manipulative and even underhanded dealership managers.

I like to tell people that they should test-drive car salespeople before they test-drive the car. Here are a few things to ask yourself: Are they informed about the cars they are selling? Do they listen well and respond to your questions? Will you feel comfortable negotiating with them?

2. Check the ‘book’ value

It takes only a minute to look up the current market value of a car — and yet many shoppers wander onto the car lot without any idea of what they should pay. This one little data point would provide an amazing amount of protection. But as an undercover car salesman, I had to stand by and watch trusting, ordinary buyers overpay for their new cars.

So take a moment and check a pricing guide such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book for the current market value of the car you want. Bring this information with you, or download a pricing app to check prices on the fly.

3. Don’t be a monthly-payment buyer

“What kind of monthly payment are you folks looking for?” This helpful-sounding question is the favorite trick of car salespeople everywhere. And if you answer, it can be a financial disaster for you. While it sounds like the salesperson is concerned about your budget, it’s the opening gambit for a tactic called “packing payments.” If the dealer can get you to negotiate a monthly payment rather than the purchase price of the car, it’s easy to add in — or “pack” — extras and make you overpay.

Getting a preapproved car loan with AllCom Credit Union and telling the salesperson you are a “cash buyer” is an easy way to deflect this trick.

4. Be ready to walk

You could walk into a dealership and have the same high-pressure experience your father had when he bought cars decades ago. Or you could have a mellow, enjoyable shopping experience where you get a fair deal. There’s such a wide range of sales styles and dealerships.

I worked at a “turnover house,” meaning that if one salesperson wasn’t making progress with a customer, the customer was turned over to a different salesperson. If that didn’t work, they brought in a “closer” —  an overbearing, manipulative bully who was determined to make a deal at any cost.

If you see these warning signs, if you get a bad vibe, if you don’t like your salesperson, beat a hasty retreat — instead of going to war, go to another dealership. For example, the second dealership I worked at was very relaxed and didn’t use closers. But high-pressure or relaxed, whichever type of car lot you find yourself on, never take anything at face value.

5. Beware the finance manager

While the salesperson negotiates the price of the car and pretends to be your best friend, the real damage is done after the customer is handed off to the finance and insurance manager. Also called the “F&I guy,” this salesperson assumes the air of a financial advisor, sort of like a friendly banker. But he or she is really there to build even more profit into the deal by inflating the interest rate on your loan and selling you extra products such as extended warranties and anti-theft devices.

Before you go to the dealership, spend a few minutes being your own finance manager by using an auto loan calculator to set up your own deal. Bring these figures with you to the dealership and get the dealer to match or beat them.

Now is the Time to Buy!

Get Pre-approved for an AllCom Credit Union Auto Loan

Shopping for vehicle financing is just as important as shopping for the vehicle itself. Before you shop for your next vehicle, find out why getting pre-approved for an AllCom Credit Union auto loan is the way to go.

Helps you determine how much you can afford.
Getting an auto loan pre-approval helps you know how much you can afford to spend before you even start shopping for a car so you can stick to your budget. If the salesperson tries to sell you a newer, more expensive car, you can feel more confident about declining the offer because you know how much you can comfortably spend and what your interest rate will be on your loan.

Improves your chances of getting a lower rate.
Getting pre-approved is often the best option when you’re trying to finance a car because it can help you get a lower interest rate on your loan, which can save you money over the life of your repayment term. High-interest car loans are like a double-edged sword because while your car is depreciating in value as you use it, you also have to spend several years paying back your loan.

AllCom offers competitive rates as low as 3.49% APR* and terms to meet you financing needs.

Already have an auto loan with another Financial Institution? You may be able to refinance with AllCom and lower your rate or get cash back.

Speak with an AllCom loan officer or apply online today.

 

*Annual Percentage Rate. 3.49% best rate available based on model year, mileage and credit worthiness. 2012-2019 model years, 60-month maximum term. Loan based on payment of $18.19 per $1000 borrowed for 60 months. Other rates and terms available. AllCom reserves the right to rescind this offer at any time. Offer not valid on existing AllCom auto loans. AllCom will finance up to 100% of the purchase price (for purchases) or NADA retail value (for refinances). Actual amount down will depend on model year, mileage, collateral and credit worthiness.

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