The Federal Reserve has once again wielded its most publicized weapon to fight the highest inflation in 40 years: higher interest rates. While it’s not unexpected, we’ve all grown accustomed to low interest rates for everything from buying a home to car loans. Here are some ways to protect your finances before rates rise further.
Special “Step-Up” certificates (CD)
You may have read our previous article on why certificates are getting so much attention right now. Certificates (also known as CDs) guarantee a fixed rate of return and interest rate, which is an excellent security hedge in these unstable times. The key is to get a short-term certificate at the best rate – but also with some flexibility when interest rates change again. Benchmark Federal Credit Union provides a 60 month “Step-Up” certificate where you can lock in an APY of 2.48% and then increase it once at any time during the 60 month term of the certificate. In addition, the “step-up” will not extend the duration of the certificate. Be aware that when you invest in a certificate, you will not be able to access your funds until the certificate matures. But with a “Step-Up” certificate, you don’t just lock in a rate; you are also giving yourself the option of a higher rate of return at a later date.
Fixed Home Equity Loan
If you’re struggling with high-rate credit card debt or another variable-rate loan, your interest rates will rise with the latest Fed rate hike. You might want to pay off that debt with a fixed rate home loan now, before interest rates go up. Home equity loan rates are lower than credit card and other unsecured loans because your property serves as collateral for the loan. This means there is less risk for the lender. A home equity loan will also allow you to consolidate multiple debts into one convenient monthly payment.
Benchmark Federal Credit Union offers our fixed home equity loan at 0.99% APR for 60 months for a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of up to 80%. Longer terms at reduced rates are available. Home equity loans can be used for anything you need, including home improvement and repair projects, education expenses, debt consolidation, paying medical bills, weddings and other celebrations, financing a vacation, making a major purchase, starting a business, and emergency expenses.
Rebecca Worthington is vice president of community relations at Benchmark Federal Credit Union. The only federal credit union to exclusively serve Chester County, Benchmark FCU has served the community for over 80 years and is known for providing extraordinary service. To learn more about the products and services available from Benchmark FCU, visit our website at BenchmarkFCU.org. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Chester County, Pennsylvania is eligible to join Benchmark Federal Credit Union.