(BPT) - By now, we’ve all heard about Brexit — the term used to describe Britain’s exit from the European Union — and a serious decision that will play a crucial role in the overall health of the global economy for months and possibly years to come. On the flip side, there are some immediate affects that could be great for your personal economic situation.
As the dust settles, consumers are set to experience a unique economic landscape. Most consumers, in one way or another, should understand the impact Brexit is having on their finances and assets. It isn’t all doom and gloom — understanding how Brexit affects the average consumer can give you an advantage.
Here are five areas you should pay attention to following the Brexit.
U.S. mortgages rates are expected to remain low, if not decrease slightly due to Brexit. Uncertainty will drive lower rates with less variance, creating a buyer’s market.
“Mortgage rates are likely to soon fall close to the all-time lows that prevailed in late 2012,” says Alan MacEachin, Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist. “Homeowners should assess whether refinancing would make sense for them.”
What’s more, prospective home buyers should be aware of the lower costs for financing their purchase. Since the housing crisis, rates have been extremely low.
What this means for you: Own a home? See if you can refinance your mortgage to a lower rate. This could save you money over time.
Still renting but in the market for a new home? Partner with a trusted lender to check the rates. If you don’t have enough money for a down payment, look into 100 percent financing options, like the HomeBuyers Choice mortgage from Navy Federal Credit Union. You could get into your new home with no money out of pocket.
Use your plastics
Make the most of Brexit-influenced pricing by using your credit card as your primary form of payment. When traveling, your card will offer a better exchange rate than banks or exchange kiosks.
However, “Make sure you’re using a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees,” says Randy Hopper, vice president of credit cards at Navy Federal. “Otherwise, the advantages of the exchange rate could be lost entirely.”
Hopper added that U.S. interest rates are likely to stay lower for longer as a result of Brexit, “meaning there’s a reduced likelihood that the interest rate on most credit cards will increase anytime soon.”
What this means for you: Use your credit card when traveling overseas. To avoid foreign transaction fees, choose a card from a financial institution that doesn’t charge them, like Navy Federal.
Ripe for auto loans
Consumers have something to celebrate when it comes to auto loans. Considering the average age of a used car is now at 11.4 years, a new car that requires little maintenance, combined with the low rate environment, may prompt you to take a test drive on that car you’ve been eyeing.
“The key factor here is that rates will remain lower for longer. I expect auto sales to remain high this year, considering rates consumers are getting,” MacEachin said.
What this means for you: Do your research. It may be time to upgrade your car, and there has never been a better time to do it. Run the numbers with a Car Affordability Calculator, so you can see what impact rates have on your monthly payments. Many financial institutions also offer auto loan pre-approvals, so you can shop with confidence.
Saving for retirement
Consumers years away from retirement have plenty of time to recover from any losses Brexit may cause.
For those closer to retirement, it may be a good time to check on your investments and overall retirement plan. Form a solid plan of action with your financial planner to safeguard your investments from any market volatility.
What this means for you: This is a good reminder for those saving for retirement to check up on your investments. Your financial planner will be able to provide advice that matches your retirement plan and help guide you through these times of economic uncertainty.
Got the travelbug? This one’s for you!
Have you ever had the desire to visit the UK? Now might be the time. The exchange rate will decrease the cost of vacationing in the UK, as everything from meals to hotels to clothing will become more affordable. British airline fares may also decline relative to American carriers.
“The value of the British pound has dropped sharply as a result of the Brexit vote, which means the cost of a vacation in Britain would be about ten percent cheaper than it would have been just a few weeks ago,” MacEachin says.
If you are flying a British or European carrier, be sure to check in with your airline before flying. Following Brexit, there is some uncertainty on how UK carriers will adjust.
What this means for you: London may be calling, so check out your travel budget and compare the pound to the U.S. dollar. Search for hotels, airfare, and entertainment at lower costs. Due to the low credit card rates, it may also be a good time to check around for any travel rewards cards.
Bottom line:The Brexit affect is only just beginning and the long-term view is that it could create some market volatility. But for the immediate future, you can take advantage of low rates on consumer loans, in addition to credit card exchange rate, and travel prices.
The time is ripe for making moves, especially if you’re buying or refinancing a home, in the market for a new car, moving to using credit cards, especially overseas, or more specifically in the U.K. Cheers mate!