Monday, January 30, 2012

Could you use some help tackling your debt? Community Financial Teams up with Accel Members Financial Counseling to provide assistance.

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, it’s good to know there are options available to help you get them under control. For members who are interested in financial counseling, Community Financial Credit Union is proud to work with Accel to provide free counseling services.

Accel Members Financial Counseling is a financial education and counseling program designed specifically for credit union members. Counselors will meet with you and provide professional advice and help you get out of debt free of charge. Accel also provides credit counseling, financial education, housing counseling services and an optional debt management program.

“Never be afraid to seek financial counseling,” says Ken Kollar, Community Financial Asset Protection Manager. “The counselors at Accel are very supportive and well informed. Our members who have participated have benefited greatly.”

Accel’s free services are designed to help you better manage your money and prepare for your future. Accel counselors are trained to help you with all types of debt. They are available six days a week and charge no hidden fees.

Learn more about Accel by vising them online. If you are not seeking counsel but would like tips on handling debt, Community Financial recommends following these steps in our previous post for strategies for handling your debt.



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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Preparing Your Finances for Emergencies

When an emergency strikes, you may not have time to grab all your important belongings. Therefore, be sure to take steps in advance to protect certain documents. Follow these steps to prepare yourself financially for an emergency.  

Keep important documents safe.  It’s easy to forget about the documents you rarely use, such as your marriage license or birth certificate.  You should store these in a fire proof safe at home, or consider renting a safety deposit box to store original copies.  

Create an emergency kit. This could be a waterproof box with a lock or any type of safe compartment. Your emergency kit should include copies of your original documents, health insurance cards, telephone numbers for emergency contacts, and emergency cash. 

Always have a rainy day fund.  Get in the habit of saving money for an emergency.  It helps to setup a separate account specifically for this fund.  It’s always better to be prepared and you can learn more about saving by reading our previous post.

Community Financial Credit Union offers a variety of savings accounts to help you be prepared. Learn more about Community Financial by visiting one of our branch locations or calling us at (877) 937-2328.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with any of our services.


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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Savings Tips – How to lower your Heating Bills

With winter weather sweeping over Michigan, it’s smart to pay attention to the amount you spend on energy bills.  If you haven’t prepared your house for the winter, here are a few easy steps:

Cover up drafty windows.  Use a strong, clear plastic sheet to cover any drafty windows. Make sure you seal it tight to keep the heat in. You can also try installing tight, insulation drapes or shades for your windows. 

Monitor and adjust your temperature. This is a good habit to get into.  When you’re home, keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature.  Always turn it down when you’re out for the day.  The US Department of Energy claims that turning it down your thermostat 10-15 degrees for eight hours can save around 10% a year on your heat bill. 

Maintain your heating system. To keep your system at its best performance, it’s always good to replace air filters and schedule regular maintenance. If you’re looking to try alternative heating options, make sure you follow these Safety Tips from US News and Money.  

For more information on how you can save on Energy check out this Energy Savings Guide from the State of Michigan. Lowering your energy use is good for the environment and for your pockets.  Stay warm and keep an eye on your heating bills this winter!


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.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Strategies for Handling Your Debt

Is your New Year happy or are you faced with the daunting challenge of paying off debt?  Debt issues can limit financial options if they are not managed properly.  These suggestions can help you plan to reduce your debt and ease your financial burden in the future.

Analyze your situation.  Review the different types of debt you have, including the interest rate each creditor is charging, and how your money is being spent.  This high-level view can help determine how much debt you are actually dealing with and help you plan accordingly.

Plan and Prioritize. Is it better to pay off smaller debt or larger debt first? Paying off small debt may give you a sense of accomplishment, and you can add the money saved towards other bills. Take a look at your situation and work with a financial professional to see which steps will save you the most money. With credit cards, always try to pay more than the minimum balance which saves money on interest.

Set Goals. Develop a plan that fits your budget so you can manage your debt.  If you need help, work with a financial advisor who will likely be able to provide some options to help. 

Community Financial may be able to help you lower your rates and get a better handle your debt now. Learn about our debt consolidation loans now. For financial counseling, we recommend Accel Financial Counseling.



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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preparing for the New Year: What to Shred

According to the Federal Trade Commission, as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. It’s important to make sure that the right documents from this past year are saved, and the right ones are destroyed. 


MSN Money lists eight things you should shred right now:
        • Old tax returns. The IRS recommends saving tax returns for three to four years in a firebox, anything older and you are safe to shred.
        • Bank statements. If you’re tired of keeping paper statements around, switch to eStatements and let your financial institution store them.
        • Credit card offers.  Always destroy credit card offers you receive in the mail. 
        • Old photo IDs. Get rid of old passports & drivers licenses just for safe measures. 
        • Pay stubs. Old pay stubs can provide fraudsters with target information.
        • Convenience checks. They often come from credit card companies and can be used to borrow money from your line of credit.  Shred them if you’re not going to use them.
        • Canceled checks. Make sure to shred any canceled check, even if you wrote void across the check.  
        • Canceled credit cards. Just to stay on the safe side, it’s best to shred or cut up any old cards.
          Along with shredding documents, it is important to review your information online. The beginning of the year is a great to time to check your credit for any fraudulent activity. You can get a free credit report now from www.annualcreditreport.com.  

          Community Financial Credit Union takes extra steps to protect your information.  However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft.  Learn more in our previous post.  If you have any questions feel free to visit one of our branch locations or call us at (877) 937-2328.


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