Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dealing With a Financial Setback

Financial setbacks come in all shapes and sizes. It can be an expensive household repair, a medical emergency, getting laid off, or the birth of a baby. Whatever the situation, it’s impossible to plan for every financial hit you will take in your lifetime. But don’t fret. If you’re hit with hard times, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1.) Don’t panic 
Keeping calm will allow you to think more clearly and resolve your deficit quicker. As difficult as things seem now, they’ll always look a little better after some levelheaded planning.

2.) Crunch the numbers 
Sit down and work out exactly how much more money you’ll need to cover your new expense or to fill the gap of income loss.

3.) Work twice as hard 
The only ways for stretching a deficit to cover your needs are to either earn more or spend less. Since tightening your budget is almost always stressful, try finding ways to add to your income first. If possible, put in more hours at work. Consider freelancing or consulting. Take a side job for some extra cash. Do whatever it takes!

4.) Trim your spending 
Now it’s time to see which expenses you can trim. First, you’ll need to prioritize. List all the expenses you cannot do without and those that would be irresponsible to neglect. Then, take an honest look at your remaining expenses to see where you can cut back. Shop the sales to cut your grocery bill in half. Trim spontaneous purchases by only using cash. If you’re a two-car family, consider cutting back to one car for now. Push off your vacation plans until things start looking up.

5.) Contact your creditors 
If you cannot make some of your minimum monthly payments anymore, contact your creditors before they come calling on you. Most creditors will be happy to work out a reasonable payment plan with you.

6.) Reach out to family and friends 
Tell your family and friends what’s going on. They’ll support you and encourage you until you get back on your feet, and they may even be able to help out with employment opportunities or contacts.

7.) Be proactive 
Hindsight is always 20/20. Harness the urgency you feel now to get into the habit of building up an emergency fund. As soon as you’re back on your feet, start putting away money for protection in the event of future setbacks. Experts recommend having 3-6 month of living expenses saved up in case you can’t work for any reason.

Do you need help recovering from a financial crisis? We can help! Call us at (877) 937-2328 or stop by your local branch for help with money management or debt consolidation.

Your Turn: How have you maintained your equilibrium during a financial setback? Share your best tips and advice with us in the comments!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Can Living Frugally Make You Happier?

We all know that money can’t buy happiness. And yet, many people overspend on a lifestyle they believe will make them happy – only to rack up thousands of dollars in debt. This, in turn, leads to stress, worry and unhappiness. Incredibly, living frugally can make you happier than living lavishly.

If you’d like to live more frugally, establish a goal to keep you focused. Maybe you’d like to travel the world or buy your dream home. Write down your objective and place reminders of your goal where you’ll see them often.

There are so many benefits to living frugally:
  • Appreciating what you have. Instead of throwing away old items, you’ll learn to repurpose them.
  • Choosing experiences over objects. Instead of going to the mall for a new outfit, you’ll play board games with friends. These experiences provide memories and happiness that can last a lifetime.
  • Your debt will diminish. The burden of debt often ties people to jobs and locations they dislike. Once your debt disappears, you’ll have the freedom to choose a profession and location that makes you happy.
  • You’ll have more leisure time. When your debt is gone, you can work less and have more time to pursue hobbies.
  • You’ll be on the path to early retirement. Instead of working through your golden years, you can garden, travel and enjoy your grandchildren.
  • You’ll find joy in helping others. By reducing expenses and saving money, you can help support causes that are important to you. 
Here’s how to get started:

Start small 
Make a list of what you’d like to accomplish, how much money you’ll need to achieve it, and make a plan. Determine which expenses you can live without. Instead of buying gourmet drive-thru coffee, brew your own at home. Brown-bag your lunch instead of eating out. Make a weekly meal plan and cook your meals at home. Steps like these can save you hundreds of dollars a month. 

Consolidate debt 
If you’re paying down multiple credit cards, consider consolidating them into one loan or into a single, lower-interest credit card to save on interest charges. Check out Community Financial’s low-interest credit card options and apply at cfcu.org. Once you’ve consolidated your credit card debt, keep your oldest card, but use it infrequently and close all others. 

Stretch your money 
When purchasing groceries, clip coupons and look for sales. Shopping for clothing? Check local thrift stores, yard sales, and clearance racks for the best possible deals. 

Look for ways to lower your monthly bills. Consider giving up your expensive cable service. Trim your electricity bill by hanging your clothes outside to dry and by unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use. 

Give frugal living a try! You have nothing to lose, but debt! 

Your Turn: Does saving money make you happy? How do you save – and enjoy the process? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Shred Your Confidential Documents at Shred Day September 16th

Clues to your personal and financial information are often buried throughout your personal paperwork and mail. One search through your mailbox or trash could garner enough evidence for a thief to take control of your identity — and your finances. Thieves can use credit cards, financial statements, or utility bills to obtain and exploit that personal information.

The first line of defense is to destroy documents that contain your personal information before anyone can access it. Private documents and credit/debit cards, which contain sensitive information, should be destroyed once you no longer need them.

Join us for Shred Day! 

If you are looking for a way to securely shred and destroy your old documents, why not bring them to our Shred Day event on Saturday, September 16th from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.?

We will have Shred-it trucks on site to securely shred documents at 3 of our branch locations:

Livonia Branch- 34000 W. Seven Mile Road
Canton Branch- 6355 N. Canton Center Road
Gaylord Branch- 1360 W. Main Street 

Shredding is a great way to destroy your personal documents to protect your information and your finances. As a general rule, it’s better to have as few physical documents on file as possible. Switching to online banking and opting-out of paper statements can also help keep your financial information secure.

Hosting Shred Day is just one way we try to help our members and communities, and make their lives easier. If you have questions about our Shred Day event please call us at (877) 937-2328.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Big News from Our Student-Run Credit Union Team

Student-Run Credit Union Team
Back to school time means another busy year for our Student-Run Credit Union Team. We partner with several Michigan school districts to operate student-run credit unions and expose thousands of students each year to money management skills. Selected students learn to run their own in-school branches as credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators and accountants.

National Recognition 
Community Financial recently received some national recognition at the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) annual conference in Boston. Several Community Financial team members were recognized for their financial education efforts in two different categories:

For Students Reached ($500-$999 million asset category)
Suzanne Sundberg- 1st place (4,427 students) 
Erin Ilg- 4th place (4,025 students) 
Jeremy Cybulski- 5th place (3,828 students) 

For Presentations Given ($500-$999 million asset category)
Jeremy Cybulski- 3rd place (202 presentations) 
Kristen La Forest- 5th place (105 presentations) 

Our classroom presentations reached over 17,000 students last school year. We’re aiming for even more this year!

We’re proud to be leading the way regionally, and nationally in financial education! If you know a school that is looking for financial education or some other form of partnership, please let us know. We also work with libraries, boy/girl scout troops, churches, and other community organizations to offer assistance with financial education.

Continued Growth
This year we are excited to announce we will have 49 school partnerships in the state of Michigan! Our newest school partners include Coolidge Elementary in Livonia and Ridge Wood Elementary in Northville. Due to our continued growth, we will also add another Education Partnership Coordinator to our team during the 2017-18 year. 

Our Priority 
We continue to make financial education a priority because we understand that children are the future of our communities. According to Sr. Education Partnership Coordinator, Jeremy Cybulski, “Community Financial is very serious about our commitment to education and as the credit union grows, so will our number of school partnerships. Whether it is through new classroom presentations, student credit unions, or some form of financial education event, we are always looking to break new ground and further our efforts in the communities we serve.” To learn more about our school credit union program please visit cfcu.org/scu.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Community Financial Named "Best and Brightest" for 12th Year

We are excited to announce that for the 12th year in a row, Community Financial Credit Union has been named one of Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For™! This award recognizes companies for excellence in human resources practices that create exceptional work environments.

So how does a company receive this honor? Awards are based on detailed questionnaires completed by nominated companies and their employees. Companies provide information about things like: work place communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, employee recognition, and retention. The employees then fill out an extensive survey, and winners are selected based on independent research on key measures in those various categories.

So what makes CFCU stand out among our peers? We try to create a culture of team work and fun! Here are a few of the perks our team members receive:
  • Massage days 
  • Volunteer days off with pay 
  • Longevity program with rewards
  • Community involvement opportunities
  • Employee referral reward program 
  • College scholarships for team members and their children 
  • Tuition reimbursement 
  • Generous vacation time and 401k match 
  • Paid day off during birthday month 
  • Car detailing service days 
  • Fun activities/competitions throughout the year 
Community Financial team members use their
Volunteer Day with Pay at Forgotten Harvest
“Working for an organization that values the community and helping people makes me so proud! My colleagues and I were able to use our Volunteer Day Off with Pay to work at Forgotten Harvest. They are a group dedicated to relieving hunger in metro-Detroit and preventing nutritious food waste. They provide food for emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and domestic shelters, children’s homes, senior centers and group homes,” said Mary Kerwin, Education Coordinator at Community Financial.

“Being encouraged and offered the opportunity by Community Financial to assist those in need has had such a positive impact on our entire organization and culture.”

The credit union also conducts ongoing training and leadership development programs to maintain a talented and dedicated team. Team members and their families are provided with the resources they need to protect and enhance their financial security and to balance the priorities of work and personal life.

The 2017 award competition included 1,000 nominations and more than 400 applications. At Community Financial we recognize our employees as our greatest assets, and we are proud that they have chosen us once again as the “Best and Brightest.”

Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
© Community Financial 2013
Federally insured by NCUA.
Equal Housing Lender
Additional coverage provided by ESI.
Federally insured by NCUA.