Financial milestones everyone needs to achieve

first_img 116SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tyler Atwell Web: Details Everyone has a different life plan and different expenses. No matter what that looks like, make sure you’re checking off these financial milestones.Start saving for retirementI’ve written in length on how important it is to start early when saving for retirement, but regardless of when you start saving it is indeed a milestone. You benefit more from saving early, and the longer you wait, the worse it gets.Pay off student loansEducation is getting more and more expensive and the student debt crisis is consistently in the news as a serious problem. Some students have resigned to never paying their debt off and just perpetually rolling them over. Paying them off has now become a great accomplishment.Establish a good credit historyWhile you may have missed some payments when you were younger and made some mistakes with your finances, it is important to redeem them. Developing a solid credit history will help with big purchases and shows how responsible you can be with paying your bills.Invest in more than a retirement planWhether it’s something simple like mutual funds or something more advanced like stocks, it is important to have your money diversified in something beyond a basic savings account.Maximize employer benefitsIf you work somewhere that provides you with perks, you should be using them to the fullest. Employer match accounts are effectively the closest thing to free money that exists, so the sooner you maximize your benefits, the better.Have a positive net worthThis is the moment that everything you earn with become pure profit. There is nothing more exciting than when assets – liabilities = a positive number.Buy your first homeBuying a home is easily one of the largest financial obligations most people will experience, and it may determine your spending habits for the future.Deciding when to retireThere are quite a few things to consider when it comes to retirement, and they differ for everyone. Deciding when to collect social security, how much you need in savings, and how you plan to spend are just a few of the things you may need to think about.last_img read more

Celebrating the 2017 DE Award winners

first_img 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit Union Development Educators (DEs) around the world are doing incredible work to “keep purpose constant” in the credit union movement. Individuals who graduate from DE Training commit volunteer and professional time to take the credit union message to audiences throughout the world, enhancing the credit union movement and improving people’s financial lives.Each year, we celebrate some of these inspirational individuals and projects through the DE Awards. We recognize the work and impact that DEs are having within the movement, on a local and sometimes even international level.  We are so excited to announce this year’s winners and we encourage all CUDEs to celebrate with them when they are honored at the awards banquet during this year’s DE Workshop happening July 11-13 in Tampa, Florida!Individual Achievement Award – Brandi Stankovic, CUDE Class of  2003Since becoming a DE in 2003, Brandi has volunteered and engaged with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). She has been instrumental in the World Council of Credit Unions Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN). Although the roots of the initiative are global, in the last several years she helped launch Sister Societies. She is the US Sister Society Ambassador and is responsible for initiating and engaging women across the US. These act as local chapters of the global network and allow for women in the credit union industry to make a measurable difference in the lives of fellow women in credit unions, employees, members and the community. GWLN has become a premier program of WOCCU with 1,200 members, 46 scholarships, 33 Sister Societies in 28 countries and financial education to more than 8,000 members throughout Asia. continue reading »last_img read more

Popping the consumer debt bubble before it bursts

first_imgWhen it comes to the record growth of consumer debt, many questions come to mind. What do we know? What can history teach us? What should a credit union do to keep their members safe? According to Federal Reserve data, total U.S. credit card debt has reached $1 trillion, surpassing a previous mark set in April of 2008 just before the Great Recession. For households that carry credit card debt, the average amount per household is now $9,600, which equals 17 percent of an average U.S. household income. The average interest rate on a credit card is 16 percent, and about 24 percent for those with subpar credit, that debt grows between $1,600 and $2,300 each year. Yet, despite growing household debt at potentially increasing interest rates, most Americans appear to be optimistic about the future due to the stable economy and low unemployment. Unfortunately, all it takes is one major set-back in the way of a job loss or major medical situation to turn the tide and create problems for consumers with high credit card debt.What opportunity does this pose to credit unions?Education, financial literacy and debt management is paramount and credit unions are perfectly positioned to provide this to their members. While it is important to continually offer guidance about how to use credit cards, credit unions can make a bigger impact for their members by taking a more member-centric approach. By offering a parachute for members in times of hardship, credit unions will create a huge differentiation in the marketplace. continue reading » 23SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

4 ways to save money on transportation costs

first_imgIt takes money to go somewhere. Unless you’re about develop the power of flight, that won’t be changing anytime soon. Whether you drive or have someone drive you, you’re going to have to budget a portion of your income to help you get around. If you’d like to spend a few less dollars in that area, here are some tips that can help you save money while getting from Point A to Point B.Drive betterIt takes gas to make a vehicle run, but it takes less gas when you’re driving more responsibly. We all get in a hurry from time to time, but you can improve your gas mileage if you try to speed less. My car has an “ECO” light that turns on when I’m cruising at an economically favorable speed. If you don’t have a similar feature, you can at least try and stay at a constant speed and not brake/accelerate so much.Find the cheapest gasWhen you have a need, there’s usually an app for it. GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas around and it’s powered by the users, so you get to help let others in on the discounts as well. Just try to never let your tank get too low or you won’t be getting many options on where to fill up.Get a bikeIf you’re like me, you have a bike, you love riding it, and you probably don’t ride it near as often as you should. If this you, and you have a short commute, you can solve two problems at once. If the weather is nice and your commute is short, why not leave the keys at home and take your bike to work?Start a carpoolHave some coworkers that live nearby? If so, there’s no excuse for not starting a carpool. By taking turns driving each week, you’ll save a lot of gas money over the course of the year. If you like driving too much to be a rider, why not pick up that coworker every day? They can pay you a flat fee for the ride, you’ll make a few bucks, and they’ll save on the wear and tear on their vehicle. Everybody wins. 74SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Next-generation cyber attacks call for next-generation solutions

first_imgEarlier this month, a massive security breach at consumer credit reporting agency, Equifax, left 143 million consumers scrambling to protect their identity. As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in both sophistication and scale, the need to safeguard your credit union’s reputation and member data has never been more critical. While much is being done to combat these attacks, credit unions must learn to be nimble and prepare for how the next generation of technology will impact cybersecurity. According to a recent survey of hackers who attended the 2017 Black Hat Conference, the easiest and fastest way to access sensitive consumer data is through a privileged account, email account, or a user’s endpoint, such as a laptop or desktop computer.1Consider the following tips to bolster your credit union’s cybersecurity efforts.Develop a forward-looking cybersecurity methodology focused on expanding efforts to stay ahead of current threats versus maintaining a program that is merely compliant, or one that has been successful in the past.  Establish strategies to access and analyze the latest threat intelligence to help prioritize information security budgets and enhance internal technologies, so you can defend against threats from:Ransomware DDoS attacks Phishing and malware scams Amplified vulnerabilities in mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) platformsUnpatched corporate software or insufficient security technology  Ensure the correct employee skillsets are in place. Changes in cybersecurity may require you to train existing employees on desired skillsets or bring on new talent. Keep in mind that hiring for employees with specific security skillsets can be extremely competitive, so you may want to have a plan in place for attracting data and analytics experts.Capitalize on cyber threat intelligence (CTI) resources and advanced detection technologies to predict how certain threats or attacks are evolving and what perceived vulnerabilities are being targeted.CTI provides critical information about cyber threat capabilities and how to prevent attacks. Organizations that leverage the expertise of professionals to review industry specific data from trusted sources like vendor partners, Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), and the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), have been able to effectively protect and support their cyber environment. Additionally, organizations may be able to respond even faster to threats by using advanced detection technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a broad cyber security concept, AI applies to the idea that machines are capable of cognitive functions such as anomaly detection and classification. Machine learning uses special data and algorithms to identify risks and develop solutions, providing a more-informed response than traditional rule-based security programs. When it comes to protecting your credit union’s reputation, assets, and data, a robust, multi-layered security strategy is critical. While advanced technologies like CTI and AI may improve detection and response, no technology can account for employee mistakes. You must establish a cybersecurity plan that combines what works today, what advances will help tomorrow, and how your well-informed and trained credit union staff can effectively deal with next generation threats. 67SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Carlos Molina Carlos Molina is a Risk & Compliance Senior Consultant for CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members. In this role, … Web: Detailslast_img read more

ABA Chairman says it’s time to tax large CUs

first_img continue reading » The tax code shouldn’t pick winners and losers, and businesses performing the same service should face the same rules, ABA Chairman Ken Burgess wrote in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. The letter was in response to a Dec. 5 article highlighting the fact that credit unions were left out of the tax reform bill.“At a time when Congress is asking everyone from teachers to homeowners to give up tax breaks in the name of lowering rates, why is the trillion-dollar credit-union industry still getting a free ride?” wrote Burgess, chairman of FirstCapital Bank of Texas in Midland, Texas.Burgess added that today’s credit unions look nothing like those of the 1930s, when Congress first exempted credit unions from federal income tax and noted that there are now 282 credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets. 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CU young professional becomes part of something bigger

first_img continue reading » Even before she became part of the credit union movement, Melissa Janssen of Royal CU, Eau Claire, Wis., was passionate about education.“When I got hired I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between a bank and a credit union,” she recalls. “I had no financial background.”Janssen was as eager to learn as she was to teach. After just two years in her role as Royal Credit Union’s Community Financial Education Coordinator, she’d already taken significant steps in her professional development, including becoming a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC).That’s when she heard about CUNA National Young Professionals Conference. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Three keys to debit cards’ future as mobile banking builds

first_imgEven though debit cards remain highly profitable for banks and credit unions (at least those below $10 billion), the same forces of change disrupting consumer banking and payments could spoil the party.But if financial institutions take steps now to adapt the product and its marketing to mobile-focused consumers, this retail payment stalwart can continue to grow. In fact, there is still a lot of untapped potential in the basic product, according to Dr. Kathy Snider of CO-OP Financial Services.Millennials in particular represent an enormous potential market for debit cards. As Snider observes, more affluent consumers are less likely to use debit cards because credit cards, with their generous reward programs, are more available to them. But the huge Millennial generation, she says, is well-matched to debit cards. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Credit unions buying banks: Good, bad, or plain ugly

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Eight times so far this year a credit union has bought a bank, according to Credit Union Times’ count.  Some deals are small – Verve for instance paid $43 million to buy South Central Bank in Chicago.Some are bigger. Arizona Federal Credit Union is ponying up $236 million to buy Pinnacle Bank in Scottsdale.In Florida – where the recent credit union buying a bank trend kicked off in 2015 when Achieva Credit Union bought Calusa Bank for $23.2 million — there have been three buy outs of banks by credit unions so far this year.In the Chicago area, there also have been three purchases of banks by credit union so far this year.This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. The first deal dates to July 2011 when United FCU bought Griffith Savings Bank in Indiana.And the deals keep coming. continue reading »last_img read more

CUNA-backed SAFE Banking Act on House floor this week

first_img continue reading » The House is expected to consider the CUNA-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) Wednesday. The bill would provide protections for financial institutions that serve cannabis-based businesses in states where it is legal.CUNA has backed the bill since it was first introduced in the House in March, and supports the Senate version as well. While CUNA takes no position on the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, it supports the ability of credit unions to serve legal businesses.CUNA/League witness Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified twice in support of the SAFE Banking Act before Congress this year, before the House Financial Services Committee in February and before the Senate Banking Committee in July.Pross emphasized that, with no access to the financial system, cannabis business are forced to deal in cash only, creating a public safety hazard in the communities served by these businesses. She also noted the current regime jeopardizes non-cannabis related businesses around the country who might provide cannabis businesses with services without knowing their nature. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more