8 Tips to Build and Maintain Healthy Credit

Building and maintaining healthy credit is important for a number of reasons. A good credit score can help you achieve some of your biggest financial dreams, like owning a home or even starting your own business.

If your current credit history isn’t flawless and the dream of a perfect credit score sounds as just that—a dream—don’t fret. There are plenty of steps you can take to begin building solid credit as well as strategies you can put in place to maintain that healthy credit.

Here are our top tips to help you build and maintain a healthy credit score:

  1. Swipe Responsibly

If you’re working on building solid credit, a good rule of thumb is to only borrow what you can actually afford to pay back. This means, only use your credit card if you have enough available in your bank account to pay the balance off right away. Avoid falling into credit debt by leaving your credit card at home if you’re heading out shopping or somewhere that may tempt you to spend.

  1. Stay Below your Limit

Experts suggest keeping your credit spending at about 30% of your maximum balance is best. Maxing out your credit cards regularly shows financial irresponsibility and can leave you stuck in debt for longer than you’d like.

  1. Start Small

If you are just starting to build your credit, the last thing you will want to do is open a number of new cards, creating additional debt to keep track of. Begin with just one credit card to use overtime and talk to a financial advisor when you feel you are in the right place to open a new account.

  1. Pay your Balance in Full

If you are starting to build credit outright, then the best way to begin is by charging small amounts on your card that leaves you with a balance far below your credit limit. This should make it easy for you to pay off the balance, in full, each month which will help to improve your credit.

  1. Never Miss a Payment

Missed credit card payments not only leave you behind in debt but also show to lenders that you have a track record of being financially irresponsible. It also suggests that you struggle to make necessary payments on time. This can greatly affect your future when it comes to, for example, wanting to purchase a home. When you begin the home purchasing process, a lender will review your credit score and credit history to ensure you are a viable candidate who will pay the loan off. They will then take this information to determine whether or not you will be approved for the loan. You are more likely to be approved if you have a healthy credit history and a higher credit score.

  1. Pay More than your Minimum

If you have had a credit card for some time now, you are likely to already have a balance on your card. Having a balance on your credit card is not necessarily a bad thing, though; making on-time, consistent payments every month will help you continue to build your credit. However, if you are unable to pay the balance in full, you will want to make sure you are paying more than the minimum payment due each month to help pay off your balance as quickly as possible. Not only will paying off debt sooner help your credit, you also won’t have to worry about pesky interest payments.

  1. Build a History

If you’ve just opened a new card, plan to keep it long-term to help you display a solid history of creditworthiness. Lenders appreciate at least a few years of experience in maintaining timely payments and the longer you keep your card, the more likely your credit score will increase.

  1. Regularly Review your Account History

What exactly are you spending money on? If you’re swiping your credit card every time you grab a latte in the morning, you likely aren’t using your credit wisely. Designate your credit card for emergencies or basic needs such as groceries and gas to help get you into good spending habits and avoid unnecessary shopping sprees. Also, keep an eye out for any types of fraudulent purchases; if you notice anything strange, notify your credit card company immediately to save yourself from financial distress.

 

Inlanta Named #1 WI Based Independent Mortgage Banker

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. has been named the #1 Wisconsin-based independent mortgage banker in Wisconsin!

Inlanta Mortgage has proudly served Wisconsin residents for the past 25 years. Their dedication to Wisconsin families shows in the 2016 data collected through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Of all Wisconsin-based, independent mortgage bankers, Inlanta closed the highest number of loans (units) in the state of Wisconsin.

Inlanta received this news as they begin prepping for 2018, which marks their 25th anniversary of providing Loans for Your Dreams®.

“We planted our roots here in Wisconsin 25 years ago and have no plans of relocating our headquarters. One of the reasons Wisconsin homeowners trust Inlanta Mortgage with their home financing needs is because they know we are a locally-owned and operated company,” said Chris Knowlton, chief information officer of Inlanta Mortgage.

Knowlton continued, “As an independent mortgage banker, we offer a larger variety of loan options than most banks and credit unions while also offering competitive financing terms. We also manage the loan process from start to finish in-house. So, from the time you meet with your local loan officer to the time you close on your mortgage, your loan file is only managed by our team of mortgage professionals right here at our home office in Pewaukee.”

About Inlanta Mortgage

Headquartered in Pewaukee, WI, Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to over 40 branches in 20 states and over 250 employees. Inlanta Mortgage’s mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Their team of dedicated mortgage professionals is committed to delivering an exceptional experience using honest and ethical lending practices.

Inlanta Mortgage was named a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Inlanta has been consistently recognized as one of the “50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For” by Mortgage Executive Magazine and one of the country’s “Top Mortgage Employers” by National Mortgage Professional.

Inlanta Mortgage continually seeks branch managers and loan officers who want to grow their business. To learn about growth opportunities, please contact David Williams (Colorado and Texas) at davidwilliams@inlanta.com or 303-947-1960; Brian Jensen (Midwest) at brianjensen@inlanta.com or 630-927-0380; or Kevin Laffey (Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa) at kevinlaffey@inlanta.com or 913-645-4647. To learn about opportunities in other locations, visit www.inlantapartners.com, call 262-439-4260, or email partners@inlanta.com.

For full press release, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15054811.htm today 

 

Make These Resolutions to Become Financially Strong in 2018

Financial Resolutions for 2018

If 2017 wasn’t your year financially, don’t fret. We’ve got 8 financial resolutions ready for you to put in place to ensure you become strong in your finances in the new year.

  1. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely

The first step in setting financial resolutions for the new year is to take some time to sit and define what you hope to achieve financially in 2018. Rather than creating a vague, unmeasurable goal like, “I want to be debt free by 2019,” make your goal SMART. If you’d like to pay off your credit card, for example, you can declare, “I want to pay down my Visa card to $0 by January 1, 2019, and will contribute X amount from each paycheck every month to do so.”

  1. Prioritize Any Debt You Have

If you’re like most people, you are entering a new year while still bound to old debt. It is important to understand, though, that not all debt is alike. Some of your debt may be causing more of a financial strain than others, like credit cards with high-interest rates, so taking time to dig into your debt and prioritize what needs to be paid off first will help you to gain some control of your financial strains in the new year.

  1. Calculate your Income vs. Expenses

Have you done the math? If not, now is the time to sit down and evaluate your income each month along with how much you are spending. This is a great time as well to gauge your expenses and figure out where you are being frivolous. If your income does not outweigh your expenses, it may be time to consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a second job, or adjusting your lifestyle to live below your means.

  1. Make a Commitment to Pay Yourself First

What is the first thing you currently do when payday rolls around? Are you paying yourself first and foremost and investing in your own future? If not, this is truly an important goal to set for 2018.  Having a financial cushion set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help save you from financial distress. Start by opening a new savings account at your bank and set aside money each month to help build your rainy-day fund.

  1. Invest in your Future with 401k

Do something your future self will thank you for. While investing in a retirement fund may not be the most exciting way to spend your hard-earned paycheck, it is crucial to ensure your future is secure. Think of it as very delayed gratification.

  1. Keep your Credit Healthy

Just as you are likely focusing on building healthy habits for yourself in the new year, building healthy credit habits is important too. Having solid credit can help you to achieve some of your biggest financial dreams – like owning a home of your very own! That is why it is important to build credit and maintain healthy habits early on like making ALL of your payments on time, keeping your balance low, and checking your credit score often to ensure you are staying on track. If you’d like more tips on how to build and maintain healthy credit, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage financial expert to discuss your situation today.

  1. Turn on Auto Payments

If you haven’t done so already and are struggling to save money, setting up auto payments that automatically transfer money from your paycheck to your savings account can help you build your savings. This may look like your account is taking a hit at first, but soon, you will adjust and be glad you did it.

  1. Follow the 50/20/30 Rule

Have you heard of the 50/20/30 rule? If not, there’s no better time like the new year to start a new tradition! The 50/20/30 rule involves using 50% of your income for “essential living” (this means paying your rent, utilities, groceries, car insurance, phone, credit card, etc.), 20% goes to financial goals (savings, retirement, investments, etc.), and finally, 30% goes to your personal spending (yes, you still get to have a life!). To learn more about this method and how to put it to good use, check out this article from The Penny Hoarder today.

 

Helpful Hacks to Stretch Your Holiday Budget

While the holiday season is a joyous time of year full of laughter, love, and cheer, it can also be a time full of stress and financial despair. According to a study completed by the American Research Group, Inc., the average American is expected to spend over $900 on gifts for family, friends, and loved ones this holiday season alone. If you don’t have $900 already set aside for gifts this season, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re bringing you some great ways to stretch your holiday budget and save you from financial distress.

Hacks to stretch your holiday budget:

  1. Make a Plan: First things first – sit down and take a hard look at your finances, how many people you’d like to purchase gifts for, and what your budget will allow. Making and pricing out a list will also help you to stay on track and on budget.
  2. Do your Research: Have your eye on a specific gift for someone? Don’t jump on the first deal that comes your way. Try comparison shopping online or download a digital coupon app like RetailMeNot for deals and discount codes.
  3. Sign up for Email Alerts: If you’ve got several favorite stores, make sure you sign up for email alerts to receive news and information on sales and discount offers.
  4. Pay with Cash: While it’s tempting to charge up your credit card for gifts you think your family and friends will really love, setting a strict budget and taking out the exact amount of cash you plan to spend will help you to avoid that post-holiday debt.
  5. Take Advantage of Credit Promotions: While we do encourage you to use cash to stay on budget, it may be smart to check into your credit card company incentives and promotions to see if they offer cash rewards or points that will help you earn more. If you do decide to go this route, please remember to use credit responsibly
  6. DIY: It’s truly the thought that counts, so why not channel your creativity to make your own, personalized gifts for your loved ones? With the robust internet today, you should have no problem finding a number of ideas. Try checking out Pinterest to get you started.
  7. Set a Limit: There’s no harm in proposing a monetary limit with family and friends to help you stretch your budget on gifts this year. It is likely that they are in the same boat as you are and will welcome the gift limit idea.

So, leave the stress behind this season and use these handy tips to help you stretch your holiday budget.

5 Great Ways to Give Back to Your Community

5 Great Ways to Give Back to Your Community

The holidays, especially Thanksgiving, are a time for us to pause and reflect on all of the good fortune life has bestowed upon us. We all have something we can be grateful for, and what better way to express our gratitude than to pay it forward to our communities. We’ve compiled 5 ways you can give back to your community.

  • Shop Local

Planning a shopping trip? Rather than buying your shopping at a big box store, support your local businesses and your community by taking your holiday shopping lists to your favorite local shops. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Small Business Saturday, commemorates the annual shopping tradition made to support small businesses and celebrate communities everywhere. So, grab a friend or family member this Saturday and enjoy!

  • Become A Sponsor

Whether you have a student-athlete in your home or not, chances are you know someone who does. One great way to give back to your community that involves very little time and investment is to become a sponsor for a local sports team. Are the Arts more your scene? Sponsor your high school or community theatre’s upcoming production. Whatever you are passionate about, there are local organizations and events that need your financial support.

  • Volunteer

Volunteering in your local community is a great way to give back and feel great. While time and a little internet research will likely give you a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from, you can narrow down your options by selecting a prospect that involves offering up your own set of skills, or, choose an organization that supports a specific cause you care about.

  • Get to Work

Help build a better community by rolling up your sleeves and putting yourself to work! If you are physically able, why not offer your time and energy to get involved in construction projects within your community. Try getting your hands dirty in a community garden, grabbing a hard hat to help build a home, or channeling your inner artist to help paint a mural.

  • Talk to Your Employer

Employee volunteerism is important to a lot of companies and organizations, so consider contacting your own HR department to find out ways your employer is involved with giving back to your local community. Some employers even offer incentives for giving back and volunteering on your own time.

 

 

Our Favorite Ways to Give Back

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, serving others and giving back to our local community is very important to us. In fact, Inlanta contributes to our communities year-round! Some of our favorite philanthropic charities that we give back to include the Cancer Research Institute, the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer, the American Red Cross, the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation, the United Performing Arts Fund, the local Pewaukee Food Pantry, and more.

Inlanta just recently wrapped up our 2017 Hunger Games food drive to help support our local food pantry, collecting 2,984 items total to help fight hunger and feed our community! Inlanta is also planning to hold our second blood drive for the American Red Cross this December and is looking forward to planning other various philanthropic initiatives in 2018.