Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Buying New Vs. Used Cars

When you’re ready to buy some new wheels, should you spring for a new vehicle or buy a pre-owned one? Choosing between new and used cars can be a complicated decision. To make your job a little easier, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each purchase type below.

Pros of New Cars 

  • Status symbol. The allure of owning a new vehicle is obviously its attractiveness. 
  • Fewer repairs. You can assume you won’t be dealing with major repairs or maintenance issues for a while. 
  • Easier shopping. There’s no need to drag your prospective new car to the mechanic to check it out. 
  • More financing options. You’ll be offered attractive incentives, like cash rebates from the carmaker and better interest rates from the lender. 
  • Improved technology. Recent models have incredible technology, such as programmable settings, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. 
  • Automaker’s guarantee. New cars come with warranty coverage for their first three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. 

Cons of New Cars 

  • Price. Of course a new car will cost more. But, what makes it more painful is the fact that you can get a comparable vehicle for much less. 
  • Depreciation. New cars go down in value as soon as they leave the lot, often by 20%. At the end of the first year of ownership, your new car can drop another 10%. 
  • Higher premiums. Insurance companies charge more for newer vehicles. 

Pros of Used Cars 

  • Price tag. It’s not unusual to find a used car in decent condition with a price tag that’s 30% lower than a similar brand-new model. 
  • Less depreciation. With the previous owner absorbing the initial depreciation on the car, your vehicle will only experience a minimal drop in price. 
  • Lower insurance. With your car weighing in at a lower value, your monthly insurance premiums will be lower. 
  • Lower interest. If you finance a used car, you’ll likely have a higher interest rate. However, since the loan amount is lower, you’ll save in total interest payments over the life of the loan. 
  • Predictability. When buying a model that’s been around for a few years, you’ll have a wealth of research available on your car and can know what to expect. 

Cons of Used Cars 

  • Complicated purchase. With a used vehicle, you’ll want to get a vehicle history report and bring it to a mechanic for an inspection. 
  • Fewer choices. When buying pre-owned, you don’t get to be picky about things like colors and features. 
  • Risk. Even if you do your homework well, you run the risk of walking out with a lemon when you buy a pre-owned car. 
Whether you choose to go with a new or previously-owned vehicle, don’t forget to check with Community Financial for your auto loan. Learn more and check today’s rates at cfcu.org/auto.

Your Turn: Did you buy your car new or pre-owned? Are you happy with your decision? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Foods that Improve Focus: College Edition

As a college student with dozens of courses to attend, papers to write and tests to cram for, your brain needs to be in full gear at all times. What happens, though, when you’re only 20 minutes into an intense study session and your brain is already fogging up? How can you boost your brain power when you need it most?

Of course, getting enough shut-eye and exercising regularly will help keep those gray cells in top form, but when you need an emergency brain boost, try one of these snacks. It’s all of the alertness of coffee without the energy crash three hours later. And best of all, you’ll get that studying done in no time!

1. Oatmeal obsession 
In a test conducted by Tufts University, children who had eaten sweetened oatmeal for breakfast performed 20% better at academic tasks, in comparison with children whose breakfast had been sweetened cereals! The next time your brain needs a lift, go for the oatmeal and watch those neurons wow you!

2. Eat more chocolate 
According to research done at Cornell University, chocolate can enhance your brain power and improve your overall brain health. The flavonoids found in chocolate increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, allowing you to think more clearly and to focus on your current task. Next time your brain’s feeling sluggish during a study session, take a Hershey bar break!

3. Banana break 
How’s about a banana? This humble fruit is full of vitamin B6, which aids in the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which support concentration. Now, back to that calculus!

4. Awesome avocado 
Lost your focus? Wandering mind? Spread some avocado on crackers, or have some tortilla chips dipped in guacamole. Avocado is more than just a versatile, delicious fruit. The healthful fats in avocados enhance communication between brain cells, allowing you to focus and function better. Just what you need for a six-hour cramming session!

5. Incredible apples 
Though the claim that apples have more caffeine than coffee is nothing but a widespread myth, the sugar boost you get from an apple will keep you going when you’re on empty. Because you’re eating it as part of a fruit and not as processed sugar, the sugar will digest slowly without the inevitable crash of unnatural sugar. Crunch away!

Your Turn: What’s your favorite study-time snack? Does it help you concentrate? Let us know!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back to School for Our Student-Run Credit Union Team!

Education Partnership Coodinator, Amy Pashukewich, reads
to 1st graders at Farrand Elementary.
Back-to-school time means another busy year for our Education Partnership team! Each year, through our Student-Run Credit Union Program, we partner with Michigan school districts to help expose thousands of students to money management skills and financial wellness. Students run, or participate in school branches as members, credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators and accountants.

New Partnerships 
We are excited to announce our new partnerships with Grand River Academy in Livonia and Edison Elementary in Westland. Through our program, students at these schools will be able to experience financial education presentations from our team, as well as the opportunity to make a deposit into their credit union savings account at the school. With the addition of these two schools, we now have 52 school partnerships in Michigan!

Senior Education Partnership Coodinator, Jeremy Cybulski
conducts an interview with a student at Webster Elementary.
Team Member Involvement 
Community Financial team members deliver
school supplies to Wayne-Westland Community Schools.
Throughout the school year, team members at Community Financial help conduct student interviews. Even students that don’t want to participate in the Student-Run Credit Union get the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills with our team! This gives students a valuable real-world experience of dressing up for an interview, shaking hands with the interviewer, making eye contact, and answering job and skills-related questions.

To celebrate our new partnership with Wayne-Westland Schools, Community Financial team members participated in a school supply drive. Donations were collected and dropped off to the district’s Family Resource Center for students in need.

National Recognition 
Community Financial was also recently recognized at the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) annual conference for its financial education efforts.

For Presentations Given ($500-$999 million asset category) 
3rd Place – Erin Ilg (386 presentations)
4th Place – Kristen La Forest (195 presentations)

For Students Reached ($500-$999 million asset category) 
2nd Place – Erin Ilg (5,722 students)
3rd Place – Suzanne Sundberg (5,193 students)
5th Place – Jeremy Cybulski (4,090 students)

We’re proud to be leading the way regionally, and nationally in financial education! We wish all students their best in the 2018-2019 school year and we look forward to working with them during the year. You can learn more about our Student-Run Credit Union Program by visiting cfcu.org/SCU.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Community Financial Named "Best and Brightest" for 13th Year

We are thrilled to announce that for the 13th consecutive year, Community Financial Credit Union has been selected as one of “Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For™!” This award recognizes companies for their excellence in human resources and practices which create exceptional work environments.

This recognition is awarded based on questionnaires completed by the employees of each nominated company. Companies give insight into their workplace environment by providing details on things like: work place communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, employee recognition, and retention. 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 strive to create a culture of teamwork 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 is a wonderful place to work,” said Natalie McLaughlin, Community Relations Manager.

Community Financial managers volunteer at
Maybury Farm in Northville.
“The credit union industry’s mission of ‘People Helping People’ is expressed in everything we do. From counseling members, to donating volunteer time and funds to community organizations, Community Financial strives every day to make a positive difference and that is reflected in our work environment.”

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.

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.” To view current career opportunities please visit cfcu.org/career.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How to Use Digital Wallets

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other mobile wallets are revolutionizing the checkout experience by blending two developments in payment infrastructure to save you time: near-field communication (NFC) and token encryption.

Using a Digital Wallet 
Approximately one-third of all payment terminals nationwide have been updated to accept Apple Pay. It works on phones equipped with the necessary NFC equipment. If you have an iPhone as recent as an iPhone 6 or newer, you can use the pre-installed Passport app. There are simple, on-screen instructions for adding a debit or credit card.

Samsung Pay is structured similarly and will work on select Samsung Android devices. However, Samsung has incorporated magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, too. Hold a phone against a payment terminal and it emits a signal that simulates the magnetic strip on a debit or credit card. In terms of convenience, this means you can use Samsung Pay on almost any payment terminal. The only situation where Samsung Pay won’t work is when you need to insert your card into a slot.

Setting Up Your Community Financial MasterCard® in Your Phone 
Did you know you can set up your Community Financial debit and credit cards in your phone’s digital wallet? Visit cfcu.org/digitalwallet or Watch our “How To” Video to learn more!


Safety & Security 
Mobile wallets transfer money from customer to vendor via tokenization – the use of a non-secure piece of data to stand in place of a secure one. When you make a payment with one of these services, the app creates a token – a random series of numbers – corresponding to your account, along with a one-time security key. It transmits that data to the payment terminal, which sends that token to the “token vault,” a secure database linking these tokens to actual accounts.

If the security key is correct, the token vault transmits a charge directly to the linked cards and returns a verification of funds to the payment terminal. Since the token vault is hosted at the payment processor, the point-of-sale terminal never sees your card information. That’s fewer points of vulnerability for your data. This also means that Apple and Samsung have no idea what purchases you’re making. For fans of internet privacy, this is heartening news.

There are other layers of security involved in these services, too. To use Apple Pay, you’ll need to use TouchID, FaceID or input your PIN. For Samsung Pay, you’ll have to authenticate your fingerprint, input a PIN, or confirm an iris scan.

Whether you’re an Apple fan or an Android supporter, mobile wallets are an efficient, secure way to pay. Download the app, link your Community Financial MasterCard, and start leaving your wallet at home! Learn more at cfcu.org/digitalwallet.

Your Turn: Have you tried using a digital wallet instead of a regular credit card? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
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