1. No Instructions
When the nurse handed me my newborn baby, she did not include an instruction manual. The same can be said for your first paycheck. The number one question I hear when I teach financial wellness is “Why didn’t anyone teach me this in school?” Unfortunately, personal finance is often omitted in school curriculums around the country. Most people start learning about finances after they’ve received their first paycheck — often learning through mistakes.
The credit union offers a number of products to help maintain positive finances. It is important to begin saving what you can when you can. Most financial planners will tell you that establishing a savings account with at least a $1,000 balance is the first rule to being financially stable. We offer a Starter CD, which is a certificate of deposit you can add what you can each payday so at maturity you have a great start to a strong savings account. We also offer a Secured Card. The most common reason members open a Secured Card is to establish or rebuild credit. You decide on the amount you would like to place on deposit in your account (minimum of $250) and we provide a Secured Card with a credit limit in that amount. It is like using any other credit card.
2. Everyone is different
As a parent of a few children, I will tell you that every child is different. From personalities to milestones, kids will often surprise you. Our finances are the same way. Personal finances are personal. Everyone’s priorities are different, so don’t compare yourself to your friends. Remember that your finances will change depending on the stage of life you’re in, both personally and professionally.
The credit union offers products that can help in every stage of your life. We offer auto loans, credit cards and home equity lines of credit. We also have investment and retirement planning by Shelley Hertel with LPL Financial.
3. Need Attention
Like any newborn, your finances need constant attention. I suggest making a daily habit of checking your account balances. My routine consists of updating my budget with any spending and income for the previous days. With the help of online banking, it only takes a few minutes a day to keep your finances in check.
The credit union offers Online Banking and Mobile Banking, which also includes Mobile Deposit, Bill Pay and eStatements. Online Banking and Mobile Banking make it easy to review your account, transfer funds or use Bill Pay to pay bills any time that it is convenient for you.
4. Plan for the Future
Before having kids, I could usually plan no more than 3 months into the future. Now, topics like their education, future siblings, and our home size has me planning years in advance. Adulting with your finances also requires planning for the future. Go beyond planning for your next big purchase and think about the lifestyle you wish to live. Determine how much it will cost and the steps you must make to meet your goal. If you haven’t started a retirement fund, start saving now.
The credit union has competitive rates on IRAs that can be used to save for retirement. When you are ready to establish a savings account for your children, we also offer a fabulous Youth Savings Account that earns a special rate on the first $1,000. An established Youth Account is a great way to teach your children about finances as they get older.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Just when I thought I’d figured out my newborn’s routine and decoded his different cries, he began teething, setting off a whole new cause for tears. My best advice regarding babies and finances is to prepare for the unexpected. An emergency savings fund is essential. Make it a habit to regularly save for car and home maintenance, even when everything is fine. When the unexpected does happen, you will be ready to handle it.
Another option to help with the unexpected is making sure that you have Overdraft Protection in place. The credit union offers a few different options for overdraft. You can read about our overdraft options here.