Americans need to save more, discipline is key

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Andrew Soergel, an economy reporter at US News Money discloses a recent savings study that discovered ‘Almost half of Americans aren’t saving nearly enough.’

The study, which surveyed 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S. earlier in March, found that 18 percent of the U.S. was saving virtually nothing from year to year. Another 28 percent was building savings but hoarding less than 5 percent of annual incomes.

And even those who are saving that 5 percent aren’t doing nearly enough, says Greg McBride, a chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com

Those in the middle-income bracket, between $50,000-$74,999 came out to be the most active savers of the bunch. 35% of middle income participants disclosed that they save more than 10% of their annual income.

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Ultimately savings enables you for opportunities and on the other spectrum, gives you a cushion for unforeseen circumstances. Knowing that you have money tucked away should give you reassurance and make you sleep easier at night.

Learn more about why you need to save more in the full article.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Hobbies that could be profitable

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Maryalene LaPonsie from US News Money explains how certain hobbies enjoyed in your personal time could be another profitable source of income! Something to consider!

‘Take something you love and put it to work for you!’

LaPonsie lists out some common hobbies that can be turned into a second career:

  1. Photography
  2. Crafting
  3. Collectibles
  4. Pet Services
  5. Cooking and Baking
  6. Budgeting
  7. Writing

Tips to get started: First set some goals before you think about leaving your current job. Think about if you can live on a strict budget and if so, how? Seek advice from friends and family about your plans as well.

Learn more, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

5 money milestones to strive for in your 20s

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Holly Perez from US News Money lists out what millennials should be doing with their money while in their 20s.

1. Save for retirement- it might seem like almost a century away but retirement will hopefully be here before you know it. If your employer offers a matching program it is HIGHLY encouraged that you maximize the match.

2. Set a budget and live within your means –  overspending seems to be a major problem especially for those in their 20s. Budgeting is easier than you think especially thanks to mobile budget apps that can help you on the go!

3. Create a debt reduction plan – make a list of things you owe and to whom.  Identify which has the highest interest rate, that will help you get started and start paying it off.

4. Establish an emergency fund – you should set aside money for unplanned moments such as, losing your job, get hit with a high medical bill, etc. It is suggested you should start saving at $1,000. Then begin to increase your savings in order to cover you for 3-6 months.

5. Set long-term goals – a savings account can help you achieve your short or long financial goals.

Don’t put it off any longer, start saving today!

View the full article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

US Teens low on financial literacy

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Eileen Holley of Money Mix, explains that when it comes to knowing and understanding finances, USA teens are far behind compared to international teens.

PBS NewsHour conducted a study to see how teens from different countries would score in a financial literacy assessment test. The test featured 29,000 15 year olds from 18 different countries or economies. Unfortunately, teens from Americas scored well below the average while teens from China achieved top honors.

So how do we explain that despite living in the most developed country in the world Americans teens have a poor financial understanding? One answer stems from the lack of financial education within the home. Most parents don’t have the time, ability, etc. to educate their children about the money management which is why schools need to play a major role.

“The Huffington Post reported on another study on financial literacy—this time with college students. This survey of more than 65,000 first-year college students in the U.S. found that students who had received financial literacy education in high school scored significantly higher than their peers on questions related to financial knowledge. It was also found that they practiced this knowledge and were more financially responsible and cautious with their money.”

Of course your local credit union can also provide you with the tools and resources to become more financial literate.

Learn more about this article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Life Moments you’ll be glad you saved your money

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Aly Hess from 3Rivers Federal Credit Union asks the question ‘have you saved enough?’ Hess wrote in the 3Rivers FCU blog ‘Money Talk: 7 Times in Life You’ll Be Glad You Saved.’

Unfortunately, Hess reports that women are not saving as much as men.

“A full 59 percent of women age 45 to 60 don’t have an emergency fund that would cover their expenses for even six months, according to a survey by Credit Union National, and only 36 percent of women ages 44 to 53 have an emergency fund at all. And the numbers are just as dismal when it comes to retirement.”

Here’s why you’ll want to save instead of spend your money:

1. Higher education – Whether you are going back to school to finish or obtain a new degree putting aside extra crash will help. That extra money can help cover books or supplies.

2. Maternity leave – Unfortunately, USA is the only country that does not provide PAID maternity leave. Leaving soon to be mothers left to apply sick or paid leave towards their temporary departure.

3. A child with disability – Extra funds that help eliminate days taken off to serve or assist a child with a disability.

4. Divorce/separation – In the USA, 40-50% of marriages result in a divorce. With a divorce bill averaging to about $15,000.

5. Career change – Having a good cash cushion can help you explore other career options.

6. Ailing parent – Saved funds can go to help an ailing parents by giving them the caregiving they need as well as medical attention.

7. Retirement – Time to start saving for retirement, NOW. The sooner the better!

Read the full article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

More banking options available: Credit Unions

Cameron Huddleston of Kiplinger explores the many reasons why Americans are (still) angry at big banks. One of the main reasons involved the 2008 financial crisis that left many bank customers feeling pushed aside in favor of shareholders. This was discovered in a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll for Kasasa, provider of free checking accounts to community banks and credit unions.

Here are 6 common reasons why you should quit the bank:

1) Monthly service fees

2) ATM fees

3) Overdraft fees

4) Minimum balance requirements

5) Low rates on interest-bearing accounts

6) POOR customer service

Make the switch! Be informed and educate yourself of other financial institutions that are available to you.  “Of those polled on behalf of Kasasa who switched financial institutions, 81% said it wasn’t difficult.”

Get started with your search for the nearest credit union to you by visiting www.asmarterchoice.org

Learn more about Huddleston’s article, by viewing it here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Spring clean your finances

As of today, spring has officially arrived. Which means it’s time for spring cleaning! Set a date to clean out of your debt, bills, etc.

Erik Carter, JD, CFP, is  senior resident financial planner at Financial Finesse.

Carter lists out areas in your financial life that might need some sprucing up:

1) Your credit report – It is estimated that 70% of credit reports have errors.  Use AnnualCreditReport.com for a FREE report. Or use Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

2) Your spending – Start by looking and recording your spending from the last 3 months. Once you identify your expenses, you can look for new ways to save money in order to cut back.

3)Your retirement accounts – Make sure to roll over your retirement funds in one central account.

4)Your investments – Keep everything simply by putting your funds in an ‘asset allocation fund.’

5) Your legal documents- The IRS suggest you only need to keep important tax documents for 7 years.

Read more about this in the full article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Credit Union Movement continues to prosper

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Gregory Karp of the Chicago Tribune highlights what you should know about credit unions.

As credit union membership now standing at more than 100 million, credit unions are gaining popularity among consumers.

Karp gives his top 10 list of what you should know about credit unions:

1) Their name can be confusing – credit unions have NOTHING to do with credit reports or scores.

2) Becoming a member is easier than you think – Search by using the credit union finder at asmarterchoice.org to see which credit unions you can join!

3) Service and satisfaction is outstanding – credit unions continue to rank higher than banks on the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index.

4) Lower and fewer fees – 72% of America’s biggest credit unions offer free checking accounts, compared to 38% of the nation’s largest banks, according to Bankrate.

5) Surplus of ATMs – credit unions belong to large ATM alliances, which means no more ATM fees for members!

6) Ample number of branches available – credit unions share branch locations.

7) Loan rates are probably lower – one of the most notable reason to join a credit union is for their lower loan rates.

8) Saving rates are higher –  “A regular savings account earns 0.14 percent at credit unions, compared with 0.08 at banks, according to rates compiled at CUlookup.com.”

9) Credit card rates are more favorable – a regular credit card is 1% lower on average, compared to banks.

10) Technology is competitive – credit unions have adopted mobile banking with apps and mobile deposits available.

Learn more by viewing the full article, here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

Millennials should invest in stock market

Erik Carter, JD, CFP, senior resident financial planner at Financial Finesse, offers his words of wisdom to young adults on how they can take advantage of financial growth by investing into the stock market.

Discover how millennials (born 1978-early 2000s) can take advantage of the stock market today!

1) Don’t invest in stocks right away: NEVER invest in a stock that you will then be forced to sell later at a loss.

2) Build up some savings first: the best way to do this is through a Roth IRA – which can be withdrawn tax and penalty FREE!

3) Max the match: take advantage of an employer match program for retirement, do not leave any of that free money on the table.

4) Pay down high interest debt: after enrolling in your employer’s matching program pay off as much debt as you can, fast!

5) Consider buying a home: make sure before you buy that you can afford the home and are willing to live there for at least 5 years.

6) Start simple when it comes to investing: start simple with a target date retirement fund, designed to be fully diversified and are more conservative.

7) Don’t let Wall Street occupy your portfolio: index funds and online robo-advisors are suggested means to help millennials with low cost investments. Some good places to begin are Garrett Planning Network, the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners, and the XY Planning Network.

By following Carter’s tip millennials will have a greater likelihood of building wealth over time. Interested in learning more? Check out the full article here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org

The luck of the international gold!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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via 3Rivers FCU Blog

Aly Hess from 3Rivers Federal Credit Union (article originally from Credit Sesame authored by Susan Johnston) posted in today’s blog other culture’s take on money superstitions.  Check them out below!

Greece: The Greeks believe that money attracts more money. When gifting a purse or wallet to someone, it is consider good luck to include dollars or coins inside.

Japan: The Japanese see snakes as signs to bring financial wealth and good luck.

England: In the UK, it is believed to put money into your new clothes or clothing on New Years Day.

Turkey: Turkish money superstitions suggest sleeping with gold in your hand as well as scratching a left palm that could result in money.

South Africa:  Vultures heads are desired for capture because of their outstanding eyesight and the idea that they can see into the future.

Learn what other countries (such as, Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, Czech Republic, China, & Mexico) believe to be good luck tricks into obtaining money, by viewing the full article here.

Your local credit union personal finance professionals bring you this website and other tools to help you make the most of your money. To find a local credit union you are eligible to join click here or go to asmarterchoice.org