Credit union CDs are not risky

–(– 01/02/2010 – Banking industry news provided by Financial News USA. Dear Dr. Don,I’m thinking about opening a CD account at a local credit union. The CD is insured by the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA. While I know a lot about bank-insured FDIC accounts, I do not know much or hear much about the NCUA. Will my deposit at this credit union be as safe as the one at a bank?– Michael Misgivings

Dear Michael,Great question. Everyone knows about bank insurance through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. However, the NCUA’s National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, or NCUSIF, is less well-known. Because credit unions are owned by their depositors, the deposits are called shares, and deposit insurance is called share insurance.

NCUSIF-insured products are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, just like FDIC-insured products. The limits on the share insurance are the same as the limits on FDIC insurance, currently $250,000 per individual account holder. [Read the full article]

The past two years have been a unique time for the practice of bankruptcy. While this is great for the families of bankruptcy attorneys, it was not so great for society as a whole.

Even so, the economic hardship does pose some opportunities for those who have just filed for bankruptcy or might be considering filing. Here are 10 ways to save money and avoid bankruptcy in 2010.Refinance your home.Interest rates are at an all-time low. If you are fortunate to have a steady income and you still have some equity in your home, consider refinancing the property for a lower monthly payment. It could make the bankruptcy monster go away.Negotiate with creditors.Creditors are also suffering. Negotiating lower credit card payments or settlements on consumer debt might be possible. [Read the full article]

Dear Driving for Dollars,I’m getting ready to purchase a car soon. I’m thinking of making a down payment of $3,000. I do have a good co-signer, but I have really bad credit. I cannot finance ahead of time — before visiting the dealerships. I know what car I want, but how do I solve the finance issue?– Melissa

Dear Melissa,It’s great that you have done your research in advance to determine what kind of car you want and that you are planning on making a down payment. Keep in mind that a good rule of thumb is to keep your total car costs at 25 percent of your family’s total take-home pay, including insurance, gas and basic maintenance as well as your monthly payment. I’m a bit puzzled by your comment that you cannot finance before visiting dealerships.

You can most certainly work with many lenders, other than those offered at the dealer, before you make your purchase. [Read the full article]

As consumers face an uncertain future in 2010, they will be looking to lower their costs, to save more for the future and to stabilize their financial lives.

Here are 10 money-saving tips to reach those not-so-lofty goals.Start, or boost, your emergency savings account.The biggest barrier to saving is not being in the habit of saving. The best way to get in the habit is to pay yourself first by directly depositing money from your paycheck into a dedicated savings account. This can be done concurrently with your goals of paying down debt or saving for retirement. You won’t miss what you don’t see, and putting your savings on autopilot is a great way to reinforce your money saving habit when unplanned expenses inevitably come along.Get a high-yield savings account.Once you’ve started to save, you’ll need a place to put that money. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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