The credit union offers tips to prepare for inflation
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June that prices increased by 5% between May 2020 and May 2021, the biggest increase since September 2008. Economists have taken note and warn that inflation could be on the horizon.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen signaled willingness to raise interest rates to support the economy.
To help the community prepare for the impacts of inflation and the possibility of an interest rate hike, OnPoint Community Credit Union offered tips on Tuesday to help residents of Oregon and Southwestern. Washington to keep their finances on track.
“Rising costs and interest rates have created a lot of uncertainty in our community, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to prepare yourself financially,” said Tory McVay, vice-president. Senior President / Retail Director, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “OnPoint sees firsthand the impact that national economic problems like inflation have on family budgets. Even a fraction of a percentage point can increase monthly car or home loan payments by hundreds of dollars. However, there are ways to avoid getting caught off guard by these changes. “
Below are four proactive steps recommended by OnPoint to prepare for the potential impacts of inflation and rising interest rates:
- Keep up to date on the latest consumer price developments by following the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Twitter, and follow the interest rates in effect on the US Department of the Treasury website. By staying informed, you can be ready to adjust their budget when prices hit a certain threshold.
- Update your monthly budget to account for continued price increases and possibly higher interest rates. Start by calculating your monthly income and subtract your expenses. Be sure to add the percentage price increase over the past year, as reported by the BLS. For example, you would add 5% to all expenses if you started today. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposes a useful worksheet to help you determine how much you earn and spend each month. If you are like most people, you will need to make some adjustments. Consider spending less on gifts, limiting the number of days you eat out, reducing your subscriptions, adjusting your cell phone plan, or exploring cheaper accommodation.
- Take advantage of today’s low interest rates before any increases. Start by listing your debts, starting with the highest interest rate. Then contact each creditor to proactively explore options to refinance your debt at a lower fixed rate or transfer your balance to a lower rate credit card and try to pay it off before the promotional rate expires. If refinancing or balance transfers are not an option, prioritize paying off larger balance accounts first. For more information, see the FTC website, which provides practical information and resources to help you get out of debt.
- If you are a homeowner, your home has likely gone up in value over the past few years. If your budget needs more cushion to prepare for inflation, find a fixed home equity line of credit (HELOC) as a more efficient way to pay off high interest rate debt or refinance cash to get a low rate with a manageable monthly payment. Check with your financial institution to see if they offer a home equity calculator, which can give you an idea of your loan and repayment options.
Of budgeting worksheets and mortgage calculator at Enrich, a personalized and interactive financial education platform, OnPoint offers many free tools and resources to help individuals achieve financial well-being under uncertainty. In addition, OnPoint will be working soon 55 branches in Oregon and Southwest Washington and encourages community members to visit their local branch to discuss the impact of economic changes on their budgets and how best to prepare.
ABOUT THE ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT FUND
OnPoint Community Credit Union is Oregon’s largest credit union, serving more than 440,000 members and with assets of $ 8.4 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union membership is available to anyone living or working in any of Oregon’s 28 counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and members of their immediate family. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.