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Happy summer guys! How is the year halfway over already?? We hope you’re out and about enjoying all that the warm weather has to offer. If you’ve taken a breather from the personal finance happenings over the past few months, don’t fret! We’ve got your recap right here.

These are the topics we’ve been focused on since the spring:

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April: Interest rates are on the rise:

Have you heard? The Fed is slowly increasing the Federal Funds rate these days. If you have no idea what that means, or how it impacts your day to day existence, you’re not alone. The rise and fall of interest rates is pretty complicated stuff. Here’s a quick look at a couple ways the trend may affect you and your monthly cashflows:

  • Credit cards: Take a peek at the fine print on your credit cards. If any of them have variable rates, work to change that ASAP. As interest rates go up, so do variable credit card rates, which will mean higher fees on your debt load.
  • Home buying: If you’re in the market to buy a house, you may want to crunch some numbers. Rates on mortgages often move up as the interest rate does. Translation? Your monthly payment on a new home will likely be higher later this year than it would be if you purchased the same property right now.

Interest rate fluctuations can cause quite a ripple effect through the economy. If you’d like to learn more, we’d be happy to talk through it all in greater detail. Just give us a buzz.

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May: Navigating the real estate frenzy:

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you may be feeling a bit frazzled. The real estate market is heating up fast, particularly in Richmond. We’re in the midst of the buying season, and all cash sales, inspection-free transactions, and above asking price deals are being done all over the city’s trendiest neighborhoods.

We’ve heard tales of woe recently from want-to-be home buyers about simply being priced out of the market. It can be very frustrating when you’re finally ready to buy a property and can’t get the house you’ve been dreaming about. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Real estate is very cyclical. Just because the home prices are above your budget now doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Be patient and hang in there.
  • Don’t let the social pressures get to you. There is no shame in renting, and if that’s where your comfort level is, stick with it.
  • Trust your instincts. If you’re feeling unsure about whether you’re making the right decision to buy, it may just not be right for you.

As always, if you have any questions about your specific situation, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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June: Paying yourself first:

Paying yourself first is the practice of prioritizing saving. It’s pretty straightforward: When payday comes around, put money aside into savings before you take care of paying any other bills or expenses. You literally pay your own accounts before you put money toward anyone else’s.

A lot of people fear that treating their income this way will leave them unable to keep up with their bills. It’s certainly a valid concern. However, people tend to spend what’s in their checking account. You’ll find that won’t change if you get into this habit. What will change is the amount that’s available for you to spend, and you’ll adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Start small, $100 each month perhaps, and build from there. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll adjust your spending habits, and how quickly you’ll boost your savings. You can do it!

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Feel like adding some more personal finance education to your life? We thought so! Subscribe to our e-newsletter, The Monthly Interest. We’ll keep you in the know (and don’t worry, we won’t spam you).

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