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New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Finances Into Shape

homes0105_1The new year is traditionally a time to start with a clean slate by making health and wealth resolutions. Commitments are commonly made to quit smoking or lose weight and many vow to get out of debt or better manage their money. According to Derek Wong, Vice President of Retail Credit Products at First Hawaiian Bank, it is for this reason that banks find they are as popular as gyms in January.

So if you are resolute about being smart with money this year, here are three ways to do it.

1. Getting finances in order with bill consolidation

The new year has arrived – and so have all the credit card bills from your holiday shopping. Establishing an equity line of credit at First Hawaiian Bank presents the perfect opportunity to dig out from under all that debt – putting you instantly in a better financial position.

Give your debt payoff plan a kick-start by paying off all your other loans and credit card balances, while lowering your interest rate at the same time – meaning you’ll lower your payment. And, don’t forget, interest paid on your equity loan may be tax deductible, while credit card interest is not, providing additional savings.

“Getting your finances in order through bill consolidation is a great resolution because it will simply save you money,” says Wong. “For instance, if you have a couple of credit cards with outstanding balances, you’re likely paying a double-digit interest rate. You can consolidate these balances under a First Hawaiian Equity First Line.”

2. Going green

Making energy-efficient improvements to your home appeals to homeowners not only because after a period of time, the initial cost is recovered in energy savings, but going solar is also a good way to boost your home’s value. First Hawaiian Bank has a green financing program to help homeowners who want to convert Hawaii’s sunshine into huge financial savings this year.

“Usually the higher the upfront cost, the higher the potential payback,” says Wong. “For example, there are simple things like changing your lighting to energy-efficient bulbs that will save you a few hundred dollars. But if you look at more costly improvements, like adding a photovoltaic system, the pay-back over the life could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“Consumers can evaluate the project that best suits them and we will help them with

the financing,” he says. “We have a variety of low-rate personal loans and specialized loans for solar hot water and photovoltaic systems.”

Check with Hawaiian Electric Company for systems and installation requirements.

3. Remodeling your home

Whether it is remodeling your kitchen or bath, or getting a new roof or new flooring, attending to home maintenance issues can be costly. First Hawaiian Bank offers low interest rates to homeowners looking to make improvements to their home.

“Home equity lines are the best vehicle for home improvements because they traditionally have lower interest rates,” Wong continues. “Equity lines are often tax deductible, but you should always consult with your tax advisor to be sure.

If getting your finances in shape is at the top of your list in 2014, talk with a personal banker or a mortgage loan officer at First Hawaiian Bank today (643-LOAN).

The opinions, statements and views contained in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of First Hawaiian Bank or its management.[notdef] First Hawaiian Bank does not warrant that the information herein is accurate, complete or current.

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