Basic Steps to Financial Fitness
Your finances and the decisions you make about them change over time and are different from your neighbor's, your boss', or your parents'. Still, some broad guidelines may help you get a handle on your financial plans.
* For mortgages, lenders expect your payments to amount to no more than 28% of your monthly gross income (income before taxes, Social Security, and other deductions). Another method says that your PITI--the phrase for principal, interest, property taxes and insurance--plus your total long-term debt (say, for car payments, college loans, installment payments) should not exceed 36% of your gross income.
* How much should you be saving? The conventional wisdom is to accumulate three to six months' take-home pay (income after taxes, Social Security, and other deductions) in a liquid savings vehicle. That can take time to build up, and you may need to raid...
Credit Unions Top Banks in Satisfaction Survey
Credit unions rank significantly higher than banks in customer satisfaction, according to findings released in late 2014 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), San Francisco. Credit unions scored an 85 while the average bank scored a 76.
"The ACSI score demonstrates how credit unions are best in class in financial services," says Jim Nussle, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, Washington. "Credit unions are steadfast in their dedication to member services, in large part because credit union members are credit union owners. Our not-for-profit structure allows us to serve our members rather than focus on maximizing profits for shareholders."
This is the seventh consecutive year ACSI has included credit unions in the satisfaction survey, and the financial cooperatives have remained on top each year.
According to the report, credit union members have higher expectations of their credit unions...