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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting Ready for College Starts with a Plan

June is an exciting time for high school seniors, with the excitement of prom and graduation is fresh in their minds.  Many of the soon-to-be high school grads are looking forward to moving on to college but the lack of a funding plan may dampen their dreams.

The question about how to afford that college education is also at the top of their parents’ minds. There is reason for those concerns as the cost of higher education continues to rise, during a sluggish economy.  According to a report by CNN last fall, the cost of “studying and living on campus at the average public university rose 5.4% for in-state students, or about $1,100, to $21,447.”

The same story noted the main reason for such an increase was the steep 8.3-percent spike in tuition and fees.

So what can concerned parents and students do to ensure they can afford a college education and start their child on the path of financial responsibility? Have a Plan and start early.

College funding is like any other dream, to achieve it takes getting educated on your options, setting realistic goals and sticking to your plan. There are tools available to help families cope with the growing cost of college.  For example, CNN MONEY has created this online college calculator to compare the cost of schools around the country.  This will give you a realistic look at what it could cost and your options.

To help young members learn to save, Community Financial Credit Union offers free, savings, student checking & student certificate accounts.  With no maintenance fees, low or no minimum balance requirements and deposit incentives, these types of accounts help members plan for college expenses.

“We know the thought of planning to pay for college is intimidating,” said Natalie McLaughlin, Community Financial senior education partnership coordinator.  “That is why we encourage student beginning in elementary school to think about college and get actively involved in saving so they can reach their dreams.”

Planning for college is one of the biggest steps to making the post-high school years successful for the student and parents.  It starts with understanding the true costs and learning the best ways to get your students on the road to financial independence.  There are a number if government & non-profit sites that can help you start the process and stay on track.  Check out these examples, and then get started!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Community Financial Gives a Thumbs Up for Charity! $25,000 Awarded to Local Charities

 Tim Cassidy, Fund Development Director (left), 
Cathy Clough, New Hope Center Executive Director,
and Bill Lawton, Community Financial Credit Union, President/CEO
 The votes are in and Thumbs Up For Charity! has a winner.

Throughout the month of April, Community Financial invited the community to vote online among five finalists to determine the Thumbs Up For Charity! prizewinners.

After the votes were tallied, New Hope Center for Grief Support in Northville, took the $10,000 grand prize.

New Hope Center for Grief Support is dedicated to providing grief support services to adults and children who are grieving after the death of a loved one.

“We are so appreciative to Community Financial for their support,” said Cathy Clough, Executive Director of New Hope Center for Grief Support.  “We rely on donations in order to offer our services at no charge to anyone who can benefit from them. Community Financial’s funds will enable us to help more people in an even bigger and better way.”

Clough added that New Hope Center will use the funds to be able to offer more services to those who are grieving. “It’s all to help grieving people in bigger and better way,” Clough said.

The other finalists who also received donations were: Plymouth-Canton Community Schools’ WSDP Radio, The New 88.1 and the Friendship Shelter from Gaylord, which took home $5,000 prizes.  Old Village School of Northville and Montmorency County Council on Aging from Montmorency County each received $2,500. 

“This was an extremely close vote, which goes to show how valued each of these organizations are by the community,” said Sarah Cousineau, Community Financial Credit Union marketing manager. “At Community Financial, we are proud to be able to bring these organizations to the forefront and highlight the amazing work they do.”
Stay tuned to Community Financial to hear more about its commitment to the community.  You can also stay connected by “liking” Community Financial on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Students Gain Independence with Free Checking

As a student, learning to manage school, work, and financial responsibilities can be a daunting task.  Establishing a no-cost checking account is an easy way to help you manage your money.  As you begin working or heading off to college, a checking account will give you the flexibility you need to access your funds and keep track of your budget. 

Free Student Checking Accounts at Community Financial have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. They are designed to help members ages 16-23 grow independent while learning to manage their finances.  

A Free Student Checking Account is a great way to start learning the benefits of paycheck direct deposit, debit cards and online banking in an account designed for you,” says Natalie McLaughlin, Community Financial Senior Education Partnership Coordinator.

For students going away to college, make sure to get a checking account that gives you access from anywhere.  Community Financial accounts offer free ATM access at thousands of surcharge-free ATMs thru CO-OP Network® & Alliance One®.  This means college bound members can make withdrawals at credit union ATMs in towns like Ann Arbor or East Lansing.  Visit\ATMs to check thousands of locations.

With easy access to ATMs and online banking, your Community Financial Student Checking Account can help keep you on track of your finances whether you are at home or away at school.  Learn more about all of the great features a Community Financial checking account offers. You may stop by one of our branch locations, or open your account over the phone at (877) 937-2328 or online at

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.