An automobile is a major investment. Just think about it: In the last 10 years, have you bought anything that costs more than a car? A house or your kid’s education, maybe. Yet, unlike a house, a car is not going to appreciate in value; and unlike an education, an SUV is not going to increase your offspring’s earning potential.
A car isn’t an investment after all, because you’re not going to receive a return on it. It’s an expense, and the best you can do is to get the maximum use and pleasure from the money you spend. Getting the most out of your car is a matter of careful maintenance. Getting the most out of your money is a matter of getting a good price on the car and a good deal on the related financing.
Negotiating a good price on your car can be stressful, but arranging for a good deal on your loan might not have to be. When they think of car loans, most people think of banks and dealer financing – but your credit union may offer the best, most flexible terms and the fastest loan process that’s available to you:
• Before you go shopping, come to your credit union to get pre-approved for a loan. Preapproval will mean you have one less thing to worry about when you find the vehicle you want.
• The rates that your credit union offers on auto loans are probably lower than those that are offered by most banks and car dealerships in your area. An additional discount on the rate is available if you set up a direct loan payment.
• Refinancing an existing loan on the car you currently drive could lower your rate and monthly payment, putting more money in your pocket – a good thing at any time, but especially in a troubled economy.