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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summertime Fun with Guest Blogger Joy Gillenkirk

Summer is in full swing so we asked a few of these team members to share with us their summer plans and what they are looking forward to most this summer. Joy Gillenkirk, an Equity Processor at Community Financial, weighed in about her family’s personal favorites and is today’s guest blogger.

Summertime Trips 
For a small getaway, we like to go to Kalahari at least once a year. We have been to both the one in Sandusky, Ohio and the one in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the waterpark capital so you will usually find better deals for the Wisconsin property. Either way, if one is looking to snag a deal, Kalahari posts deals on their website AND they have Beat the Clock specials every Tuesday. Visit their website here:

Books and Movies 
A good way to keep kids busy is with books. I go to our local library for books, and for movies, as the rentals are free. For newer releases, you can hold on to the movie for three days. For older movies, you usually have a week. Sometimes the newer releases come out at least a week or two before Redbox. Emagine Theatres also has a Summer Reading Program for children ages 11 and under. Children must read three books to qualify for a free snack pack which includes popcorn and a drink (even Slurpees). This is valid at ALL Emagine theatres and there is no limit to how many times a child can redeem this offer. The program started on June 13th and ends on August 30th. My kids have already earned a free movie this summer and they are hoping to read their way to a couple more!

Free Bowling 
Another thing that can keep kids busy is bowling. We are enrolled in My kids receive two free games of bowling every day all summer long. While program days and times vary per bowling center, it’s a fun free activity… especially on rainy or hot summer days.

For more fun ideas, you can visit our past blog “Summertime Activities for Children.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer of Sharing Donation Helps Empower Young Women

Community Financial’s 5th annual Summer of Sharing campaign is well under way and thousands of dollars have already been donated to local charitable organizations. Recipients are chosen based on testimonials from the community that explain how their group benefits the local area. Individuals are asked to answer the question, “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?”

Our first recipient for the 2015 campaign was the B.L.O.C.K Youth and Teen Center in Canton, MI, which is taking part in promoting the #LikeAGirl program. Plymouth-Canton Schools, Canton Public Library and other collaborators have developed curriculum for young women to sharpen their leadership skills through self and career exploration and prepare them for a successful future.

Young women who are accepted into the program take part in discussions about social issues they will face throughout their lives and learn strategies they can use to better themselves as individuals. Most of the girls in the program are at risk girls between the ages of 11 and 14. They are given opportunities to interact with positive female role models that mentor them towards success. The program relies on donations to keep costs down and participation fees affordable, which is why every dollar helps.

"The B.L.O.C.K. was beyond thrilled to be selected as the first recipient of Summer of Sharing dollars in 2015. We are so excited to be launching a new leadership program for young women in this Community. CFCU's gift will help us cover costs, ensuring that we can serve at-risk teens that will truly benefit from this experience. We continue to be moved & inspired by Community Financial Credit Union's unwavering generosity and support," said Jennifer Provenzano, who serves as the Recreation Coordinator of Canton Leisure Services.

The Summer of Sharing campaign runs through August 28. You are invited to visit to learn more about how you can share your story and nominate a charity, community group or school program that you think is deserving of a $1,000 donation. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a difference in your community!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Don't Think Decades, Think Days: Tips for Retirement Savings

Graduation is coming. School's almost over. If you're like I was, you're thinking about three things:
  • Summer is coming.
  • I hope I don't have to plan any reunion ever.
  • Time to start saving for retirement!
Okay. Did I at least get two out of three? But if you aren't thinking about saving for retirement yet, you're not alone. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 32 percent of adults save zero percent of their income for retirement every year.
That's one out of every three people saving absolutely nothing for their future.
Don't be that one person. If you're not saving now, ask yourself why not. Is it because you don't think you make enough? A dollar a day can make Future You that much happier. Besides, you're not just saving up a bunch of money for the sake of having a bunch of money. You're figuring out how you want to live, and what it will take over the coming years to maintain that lifestyle, especially if you decide you'd like to work less later on, or not at all.
From investing in yourself to compounding interest to mini-retirements, here are some reasons why saving for retirement can make you better prepared for an easier, more fulfilling life.
  • Job Uncertainty. Saving for retirement means paying Future You a living wage, and not worrying (like 30 percent of adults) about being laid off or having your wages reduced because you're prepared.
  • Invest in Yourself First. Warren Buffett says the best investment you can make is investing in yourself. Planning for retirement is planning for your future self. Are you going to argue with the Oracle of Omaha?
  • The Life You Want. By thinking about how you want to live, you can figure out what kinds of savings you'll need to have at the point you stop working full-time.
  • Let Calculators Calculate. This list of calculators will make number crunching simple, for everything from compounding interest to retirement funds.
  • Don't Think Decades, Think Days. Investing a dollar a day, or $30 a month, can have impressive returns. Starting at 18, and being consistent, can set you up for a stress-free retirement.
  • Go the Roth IRA route. If you're under 18, your parents can co-sign, and you're off for the retirement races. Starting at 19 instead of 25 can lead to a difference of over $300,000 when you retire.
  • The earlier you start, the less it takes (percentage-wise). Wait until you're 40, and you might have to save 14 percent of your income to save as much as you want. Start at 25, save just six percent.
  • Learn from others. Two websites, Mr Money Mustache and Early Retirement Extreme, take retirement saving to the limits. With that, they offer helpful lessons and reader stories so you can see how others like yourself are saving for the life they want.
  • Seven years on, One year off. Rethink retirement as that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Stefan Sagmeister is famous in the creative and design world for his practice of taking sabbaticals every seven years.
  • Mini-retirements. Tim Ferriss advocates for the idea of using mini-retirements on a regular basis to energize and inspire you. Get into this regular habit and saving will become automatic.
Whether you treat retirement as a when-all-is-said-and-done deal, a spice to sprinkle along your life's journey, or something else entirely, know that by beginning to save now you will have much more control of - and get more enjoyment from - your life.
By Alex Jeffries Copyright 2015 brass Media, Inc.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summertime Activities for Children

For kids, nothing is more exciting and anticipated than summer vacation. For adults, it can be a challenge to keep the kids occupied during their months away from school. If you are looking for ideas to entertain the kids during summer break, here are a few to get you started.

Library Time
Even though school is out for the summer, that doesn’t mean the books should get put away! Planning a weekly trip to the library to check out books can give some valuable structure to an otherwise unpredictable schedule. Reading can help stimulate the imagination, which will keep kids sharp and more prepared to jump back into school in the fall. Check out your local library as they will likely have story times and activities for all ages.

Coloring in the Yard
The scope of a child’s creativity is limitless, so imagine what they can produce when they don’t have to be limited to a piece of paper or poster board. With pavement as a canvas and chalk as the medium, kids can color to their heart’s content. Another fun way to give them a similar outlet is to lay an old bedsheet on the grass, weigh down the corners to keep it flat, and let them paint away!

Community Activities
A great way to keep kids busy is to get involved in community activities. Michigan is filled with towns that value their communities and offer summertime activities for children and adults of all ages, many of which are free. You can find activities that would pique the interest of any child by looking on your city’s website.  For example, Community Financial is sponsoring Tunes on Tuesday in Northville and Wonderful Wednesdays in Novi this summer.  Both concert series are sure to keep your little ones entertained!

Turn Tasks to Games
A simple solution to keeping a restless child entertained is to turn simple chores and tasks into a game. Turning chores into a competition can make them more exciting and rewarding! Seeing who can pick up the most sticks might not seem fun, but you’ll be surprised at how exciting a child finds the challenge of gathering the most sticks and measuring his or her piles.  

Still need ideas for summertime fun? Check out’s list of “101 Fun Things to Do With Kids this Summer.”  Share your own kid-friendly summer activities in the comments section below.