The Road to Financial Wellness

Phroogal Road Trip

Phroogal, a ‘millennial lifestyle brand focused on financial knowledge and access as the means to achieve dreams’ is going on a nationwide road trip in June. Beginning June 1 in Portland, ME, and concluding in Los Angeles, CA, on June 30.

The goal of the road trip, The Road to Financial Wellness, is to elevate local money discussions into a national conversation, to bring awareness to financial wellbeing. This is a local grassroots and social media initiative. You can follow the road trip on various social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google+ and Google Hangouts
  • Snapchat
  • Periscope
  • YouTube livestream
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

The hashtag for the event is #theroad @Phroogal

The Phroogal team will be hitting 30 states in 30 days! See if the financial team is coming to a town near you!

The locations are as follows:

  • Portland, ME
  • Boston, MA (Lowell)
  • New York City
  • New Jersey*
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Washington, DC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Columbia, SC
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Nashville, TN
  • Detroit, MI
  • Chicago, IL
  • St. Louis, MO
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Austin, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Rapid City, SD
  • Denver, CO
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Idaho Falls, ID
  • Missoula, MT
  • Seattle, WA
  • Portland, OR (Corvalis)
  • Reno, NV
  • San Francisco, CA (Berkeley)
  • Los Angeles, CA

For more information on this 10,000+ miles road trip, check out their website 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

Kids Got Wild About Saving: $23.5M

cuyouthmonth

The numbers are in from #CUYouthMonth. Kids saved more than $23.5 million during last month’s National Youth Saving Challenge. As a reminder, April was national credit union month as well as, financial literacy month. CUNA and credit unions nation wide launched their campaign, #CUYouthMonth targeted to their youngest members.

According to CUNANews, ‘125,188 young credit union members from 235 participating credit unions, the average saved was $187 per youngster. Additionally, 8,420 new youth accounts were opened.’

CUNA director of consumer education, Joanne Sepich, who oversaw the youth campaign noted that ‘from the tiniest to the largest credit unions, from one coast to the other, we heard from you all through photos and tweets.’

To learn more, click 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

What I Wish I had known in college: Money Management

usnewsmoney

As I see graduation pictures posted on social media, it takes me back to when I graduated (3 years ago) and makes me think of how naïve I was about money then. Specifically, what I should have learned or looked into at the time. Maybe I should have taken that business or finance course, instead of that general elective.

Luckily, I was exposed to financial education in college by minoring in business. However, most students (unless dependent on their major/minor) will not learn what financial terms such as, IRAs, credit scores, or 401(k) mean.

US News Money author, Jenna Lee, provides some tips of what graduates should know about money:

1. Live within (or below) your means: don’t feel pressure to keep up with friends or co-workers by over spending. It can be tempting, but in the end it’s not the right decision. Start saving as much as you can for retirement, you will thank yourself later, trust me!

2. Start building your credit early: This will help when you are trying to buy your first house, car, etc. Take out a credit card and start paying your student loans back, both of these can help improve your credit score.

3. Prepare for the future: Save for emergencies! Save for retirement! If your employer offers a match 401(k) program TAKE ADVANTAGE of it by taking out the most % offered.

4. Monitor your spending: this can be done by downloading a FREE financial app, that makes budgeting on the go simple. Log in to view your credit and debt card accounts online daily! Check those transactions and the amount recorded.

5. Pay down debt: Don’t be afraid or embarrassed, most Americans have debt. It’s best to avoid it by paying it off quickly! Make a note to pay back your debt right when you get paid.

6. Get educated: Learn what a 401(k), IRA, credit report, W-2 or W-4 is. You’re going to see/hear about this the rest of your life. Also, take the time to schedule an appointment with a local financial planner to help get you started on the right path. Your local credit union can do this for you!

Source: Money Tips I Wish I Knew When I Graduated by: Jenna Lee US News Money

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

Student Loans: Post Grad Life

college hat

Congratulations! You’ve just graduated from college, what you are going to do next? Pay off your student loans?

‘An estimated 40 million Americans have student loan debt, and this year the total amount has reached $1.2 trillion.’ Unfortunately, carrying thousands of dollars of student debt is becoming the new norm for recent college graduates.

Young adults are finding it difficult to keep up with payments, which is like any other credit, can greatly impact their credit score.

Below are tips from iGrad that can help graduates become excellent borrowers:

iGrad

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

CU Reality Fair in PA

CV

Lanco Federal Credit Union and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association organized a local credit union reality fair at Conestoga Valley High School early this month. The senior class participated in the event, that challenged teens to think about living on a budget. Making them practice before they jet off to college and live on their own for awhile.

Each senior was assigned a profession, salary, and budget that they had to adhere to when visiting all stations. The stations included a pet stations (costs associated with owning a pet), part-time jobs, night life, utilities, food, furniture, transportation, insurance, housing, etc. The most impactful station was at the end was where a ‘wheel of reality’ was spun. Seniors were then met with an unforeseen situation that impacted in a both positive and negative way.

Seniors walked away from the reality fair with an improved understanding of managing finances.

CV2

To learn more about the reality fair, please view the full article ‘CV teens get a look at the future with a Reality Fair’

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

Mother’s Day Gifts that Fit any Budget

mom's day

Mother’s Day is this weekend and while we’re sure you’ve already planned the day out for mom here are some items you can add that will fit any budget!

Karen Cordaway from US News Money offers 5 adorable gift ideas:

1. Capture moments and let mom express herself: a journal.

2. Make brunch at home: put the rest of the family to work while mom relaxes.

3. Focus on dessert: satisfy your sweet tooth with a special treat.

4. Make mom over: give her gift cards to her favorite beauty, hair, or nail salon.

5. Splurge at the grocery store: is usually cheaper than going out to eat. Splurge on a steak or fancy cheese you’ve been meaning to try. Sunday is the day to treat!

In the end, the most valuable gift you can give your mother is spending time with her! Happy Mother’s day to all the mothers out there!

For more information on this article, please click 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

2015 Credit Union Hero of the Year

CU-Hero_Lewis

“Credit unions are about the community. We say that and we back it up,” says 2015 Credit Union Hero of the Year, Gail Lewis of 121 Financial Credit Union in Jacksonville, FL.

The credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ has served Lewis well over the course of her career. In addition to her position at the FCU, Lewis also teaches financial education at the local state college, churches, schools, and other community events. To say the least, this a much deserved award for Lewis.

The award comes also at a monumental time in Lewis’ life — after 32 years of service, Lewis will leave her position at the end of this year. Lewis will receive her CU Hero award at the 2015 CUNA and WOCCU conference in Denver July 12-15 #CUInDenver2015

But that doesn’t mean she won’t stop advocating and providing financial education and community service. As Lewis puts it, “It’s such a big part of what we [credit unions] do.”

Voting for the award took place last month at creditunionmagazine.com. Other CU professionals were noted for their service which include: Charles Elliott, Pres/CEO of the MS Credit Union Association and Sandra Cano, Asst. VP, Business & Community Development at Navigant Credit Union in R.I.

For more information, 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

Millennials are saving, but not investing

2riversfcu

A recent study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies shows that millennials (about 67%) are in fact putting money away for their retirement. An achievement that should be noted especially due to other factors that sometimes outweigh saving in order of importance. Those factors include paying off student loans, credit card bills, rent, all the while trying to launch a career and financial independence.

“About 28% of twenty-somethings surveyed are stashing away more than 10% of their salary into a 401(k) or similar plain.” The youngest worker, surveyed, confessed to having a median savings account of $16,000 while older survey participants had an average of $45,000.

Despite saving early, millennials are not investing or allocating their assets properly. Mostly because they just don’t know how to.

Millennials must learn how to be strategic with funds especially because Social Security might not be there for them when they retire. About 81% of participants were concerned with this.

For more information please view the CNN Money  ‘Most twenty-somethings are actually saving for retirement’ 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

Saving as a Post Grad

post grad

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

wild about saving poster

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