Finances aren’t something that everyone has the opportunity to learn about when they’re young.
What people learn about money and finances usually comes from their parents, and that’s not always a sure way to learn the best information. Most schools don’t offer classes on finances or financial fitness, and if they do, it’s often more about investing in the stock market. However, much of what people can seek out about bettering their financial fitness is available through online resources.
Credit unions set themselves apart in many ways, and engaging members in a proactive way toward establishing and honing one’s financial fitness is just one of those ways. Below are five ways a credit union can help your financial fitness and see you sail more smoothly into your future.
1. Credit Unions Are Your Cheerleaders
A primary feature of credit unions is the connected and community feeling you get working with one. You’re a member, a partial owner of the financial institution, and that can mean a lot. Your membership gives you a voice and a vote in the overall way that the institution is run and how the services are offered. In this, too, you’re empowered to take charge of your money and your finances.
There are advisers who can help educate you on the “how-to” and the “why” of striving toward financial fitness.
While they can answer questions and offer guidance, the number-one thing you can do for yourself in working toward your financial fitness is to know all there is about your money: how much you have, how much is coming in, and how much is going out.
Having a budget is probably the first step you can take when you decide to take charge and develop a different relationship with your money, and your local community credit union is there to support you as you work toward getting your footing and building a stronger financial future.
2. Know Your Cash Flow
The importance of understanding your cash flow cannot be overstated. This isn’t about the money that gets used for going to the theatre, going on vacations, or buying unique items. This is about the daily grind and the money that moves into your life and out of it.
This includes things like rent or mortgage payments, insurance, groceries, utility bills, phone bills, and gas and maintenance for your car. This would also include things like car payments and monthly credit card bills, among other things.
When you can look at the money you make from your job, dividends, and other sources of income and run the numbers as they compare with the funds leaving your account, then you’ll have a strong foundation from which to build and develop your financial fitness.
3. Lower Interest Rates Mean an Easier Time Paying Down Loans
Establishing good credit has a lot to do with one’s financial fitness, and in this case, having a loan that has a lower interest rate can mean that you have an easier time making the monthly payment. Over time, consistent monthly payments will not only ease the remaining loan amount, but you’ll be able to improve your overall credit score.
Part of this is related to the debt-to-income ratio component. It’s also related to the ability to demonstrate habitual, on-time payments of loans and other fiscal responsibilities. When a future lender sees that you’re able to manage your monthly payments both financially and timely, they’re going to be more apt to work with you. That is, should you ever hit a rough patch and need to make a payment a bit late, or if you’re looking to increase the initial loan amount, this is one way that you can demonstrate your competency.
4. Services Offered By Your Credit Union Can Help You Save
Most people don’t have much of a safety net. When there are unexpected bills or charges to be covered, a lot of people don’t know where to turn. A credit union can help you work toward a more stable financial predicament in a couple of different ways.
One way you can put yourself in a better position for future uncertainties is to start setting aside a portion of your income. You can select an amount that gets automatically transferred to a savings account and that will accrue over time, providing a back-up stash should the day come when you need it.
Hopefully, there aren’t any unanticipated bills that pop up and that money can stay in the account as savings, which will grow over time (especially since credit unions offer some of the highest interest rates among financial institutions). But should you need it, it would be there.
5. Savings, Money Market, Investments, and Financial Planning For the Future
In this current state of the world, there are a lot of people with clear and dedicated goals, but not necessarily a lot of recourse to see things through. Having a savings account is a start. Saving for retirement with a 401K is also a step in the right direction. Having a high APY checking account is also another thing that can start moving your net worth in a positive direction.
other valuable tips:
But if you haven’t considered investing your extra funds in stocks or if you have yet to make arrangements for yourself (and your loved ones) with life, health, and disability insurances (not to mention estate planning), then you still have some strides to make if you want to get all the components of your financial fitness in order.
Your credit union is no stranger to the challenges of life and the steps necessary to secure your arrival at a calm and monetarily secure shore. With the help of credit union advisers, you can make some of those far-off decisions now and rest assured that, in doing so, you’re making sure to cover your bases so that your future is more relaxed and you know your money is working for you.
Rivermark Community Credit Union is your personal cheerleader. We are equipped to cheer you on as you work toward a financial future that you’re secure in and can also provide answers and insight along the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out and see how they can help you train your wallet to build up the strongest financial fitness you can.
Image Credit: credit union by twenty20.com
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