Saving as a Post Grad

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It’s that time of year, it’s graduation season. While this is an exciting time in a young adult’s life — it’s important not to forget being responsible with your finances. Most graduates will be on the look out for their first ‘real’ job and will enjoy for the first time a paycheck, not homework. It’s important to prioritize and get smart about your spending and saving before it’s too late!

John Schmoll of US News & Money offers tips for post graduates on how they can start saving their money:

1. Start with a budget – this is essential if you want to save money.

2. Give yourself a slush fund- ‘having a slush fund can help mitigate the impact’ of [spending].

3. Avoid lifestyle inflation – don’t overspend, by definition live below your means. If do have extra funds, put them to practical things such as bills, rent, credit card or student loan debt.

4. Put money in your 401(k) – one of the best ways to save money. The earlier you save the more likely you can retire comfortably. Take advantage of an employer’s company match program!

5. Learn to cook  – one of the easiest ways you can save yourself money! Simply type in what you want to make and you can find the recipe or even a video tutorial on how to make your meal!

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

Credit Unions Roar with excitement in April

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Credit unions really raised the bar this month by celebrating Credit Union Youth Month.

Credit unions hosted several events, contests, campaigns, and more to help get members, especially the younger ones, excited about savings.

This was the first year CUNA hosted the month long #CUYouthMonth campaign. In the past, the campaign only ran for a week.

“I’m in awe of the way credit unions have embraced the move from just a week to celebrating youth the entire month of April,” said Joanne Sepich, CUNA director of consumer education.

To see the storify all how credit unions participated on social media via the hashtag, #CUYouthMonth check it out in the News Now article, here.

aSmarterChoice also participated in the month long campaign by hosting a Twitter chat with NerdWallet on the #FutureofSavings Wednesday, April 29th. If you missed the chat, simply search the hashtag on Twitter to see what was said!

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

aSmarterChoice & NerdWallet Twitter Chat

Tweetchat image_v2As part of Financial Literacy Month, aSmarterChoice and NerdWallet will host a Twitter chat on ‘The Future of Saving.’

The chat is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 29th 3-4PM ET/12-1PM PT. The hashtag used will be #FutureofSaving

The chat will center around the future of savings, how to automate savings, why you should be saving your money, and how credit unions play a role in this.

Some financial literacy contributors have confirmed their attendance. Those included are Tarra Jackson @MsMadamMoney Ashley Jacobs @Wisebread @AmericaSaves and more. Credit unions will and are highly encouraged to attend the chat!

More information is available, 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

 

Limited funds with lots to pay for

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Originally appearing in “101 Ways to Build Wealth,” authors Daniel Bortz, Kara Brandeisky, Paul J. Lim, and Taylor Tepper provide tips for millennials struggling to make it out as their own in the real world.

Getting started can be difficult, especially given the current state of the economy and job market. Between keeping up with bill payments, paying off student loans, or juggling a career millennials have to demonstrate self discipline when it comes to saving.

Below are some ways that can help set financial priorities:

1. Tuck away a month of expenses – start off with a savings of at least 1 months worth of expenses. Next, try to save up 6 months of expenses. You never know what could happen in the future.

2. Juggle emergency saving and a 401(k) by playing it safe – Put money aside into a savings and 401(k) program. Make sure you are getting the full benefits of an employer match with 401(k).

3. Start first, be an expert later – Just start off by putting any money away. Investing strategically can wait until later.

4. Begin your career in a wealth-building city – Top cities noted in this area include: Dallas, Atlanta, and Indianapolis.

5. Go ahead, have a latte – Reducing small daily expenses can’t hurt but where you see the real savings difference is in housing! See if you can add another roommate to help lower the costs.

6. Spend money to invest in yourself too – The best time to invest into your career is in the beginning. A $500 education class can pay off in the end.

For more information, please check out Time’s Money article ‘6 Things Millennials Should Do Now That Will Pay Off Big Later On

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

Fin. Lit. Day on Capitol Hill

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As part of celebrating Financial Literacy month, representatives from CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation took part in today’s Fin. Lit. day on the hill.

The event was free to the public and provide networking opportunities from the nation’s leaders in providing financial education.

Invited guests included: US Senators Joe Donnelly, Mark Kirk, Jack Reed, and Tim Scott.

The Foundation was one of the organizations that sponsored today’s event. (As seen below, reps from The Foundation & CUNA)

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To see all the action use the Twitter hashtag #FLHillDay2015

Or visit here, for more information.

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 turn to parents for financial assistance

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USA Today/Bank of America conducted a financial survey on the money habits between millennials and their parents.  The survey uncovered that millennials have it harder than their parents when it comes to being financially independent.

The survey consisted of 1,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and 1,005 parents of millennials.  Many millennials confessed to turning to parents for financial support when starting out. The contrast? 36% of todays millennials are receiving funds from parents while only 12% of millennials parents, were receiving support at that age.

Before you go jumping to conclusions, millennials are not bums or lazy in fact it’s actually harder for them to become financially independent in today’s age and state of economy compared to when parents where starting out.

“A lot of today’s Millennials are dealing with a lot of financial factors that their parents, and certainly adults in America, did not have to contend with a generation or two ago,” says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an author and personal finance expert who runs the siteaskthemoneycoach.com.”

Financial factors that include student loan debt and a slow job growth market are what holding millennials back from being financially stable. Because of these setbacks it’s hard for millennials to save! “Of those who are saving, only a third say they have a
401(k) and just 20% have other investments. The majority of Millennial savers say they’re saving for an emergency, while less than half are putting money toward saving for retirement or a house. Although far more older Millennials, 26-34, are saving for retirement – 61% – than those 18-25, at 22%.”

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To find out more about this, you may view the full USA Today 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

 

April brings out wild about saving

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All year long credit unions support their younger members by educating them to make smart financial decisions. In order that they may spend, save, budget, borrow wisely in their adult life.

This month however, the scale has been raised by credit unions nationwide coming together to promote, recognize, and encourage their youngest members. It’s called ‘Wild About Saving.’

CUNA and credit unions have been celebrating ‘Credit Union Youth Month’ by going wild for saving. “The winning theme for 2015 was submitted by Karina Garcia from CFE FCU (Lake Mary, FL). “Youth Month is all about getting children and their parents excited, maybe even a little wild, about savings,” said Garcia. “For the 2015 theme, I suggested ‘Wild About Saving’ because it gives credit unions many opportunities to express their creativity and engage young members.”

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To learn more about how some credit unions are hosting their own financial education initiatives, view the 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

 

Not-for-profit credit unions are essential

Seeing as it’s Tax Day, we wanted to remind everyone of the importance of credit unions tax status. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions answer to their members, not wall street investors (e.g., banks). In addition, credit unions give their benefits to their members and community.

Some people have the misconception that credit unions do not pay taxes because of their exempt status, that cannot be more far away from the truth. 102 million credit union owners paid a total of $1.2 trillion in taxes in 2014 alone. The reason why credit unions are tax exempt is because they don’t exist to make profits for investors. Credit union owners pay taxes to support their local communities.

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An analysis from an independent economic research firm called ECONorthwest found that Oregon’s credit unions alone contributed to the $1.9 economic impact in 2014. Proving that credit unions are fundamental financial institutions that are essential to the improvement of Oregon’s economy. Read more about it, here.

Hear about the credit union difference in CUNA’s radio ads:

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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

Last minute tax filing tips

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The deadline to file your 2014 taxes are just hours away! If you haven’t already filed you’re not alone, the IRS reported 10 days ago that they had only received 99 million tax returns. You do have last minute options, find out what they are below!

1. File an extension – By submitting form 4868 the IRS will extend you another six months to file by October 15th. However, you have to estimate what you owe and send that in. Another option, check to see if the state you live in has the same extension option.

2. Let the IRS know if you can’t make a payment – If not, you will receive high penalties and interest.

“As long as you owe $50,000 or less, you can apply for an online payment agreement from the IRS, which lets you spread out the bill over 120 days. Another option: Put the bill on your credit card—the roughly 2% fees might be less than the interest and penalties you’d otherwise face.”

3. You can cut your tax bill before April 15th – Through IRA contributions, those self-employed can fund a SEP-IRA, or if you have a health savings account. All of these are deductible.

4. Got Questions? It is highly suggested to visit IRS.gov instead of their telephone hotline. Only about 25% of callers get through to a live person after a 22 minute wait. You might want to seek out a tax professional however, they might not be able to file everything before tomorrow. There’s also the IRS free file, only applicable if your total income is below $60K.

5. Don’t make stupid mistakes on your tax return because you’re in a rush. These silly mistakes and hold you up on your return and refund, it can cost you money.

To learn more about this, please view the full Time article written by Ellen Stark, 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 Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run

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For the 14th year in a row, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom ten-mile run occurred in Washington D.C. It happened to be the first time since 2007 that the blossoms were in peak for the race! Even more to add, the weather was “near-perfect” with sunny conditions and morning temperatures between 45-51 degrees.

CUNA President/CEO, Jim Nussle and Board Chair, Susan Streifel were on hand at the event. Streifel stood at the finish line holding the banner to congratulate racers. In addition, Streifel and Nussle presented a check to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  A total of $500K was donated to the network thanks to funds from the run along with a collaboration of races known as the Credit Union Miracle Day. Credit unions have sponsored the Cherry Blossom ten-mile race since 2002 and have raised more than $7 million for CMN hospitals.

Cherry Blossom 10 miler

If you are interested in hearing from the volunteers or racers from this weekend’s run, we encourage you to check out the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run blog.

Interested in donating to CMN hospitals? There’s still time! Please visit the donations page, here. Contribute and help them reach their goal of $5,000!

For more information on the credit union’s involvement with the race, please view 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