Financial Education Resources

Year End Check List

Year End Check List

December 23, 2021     Financial Education
As 2021 draws to a close, take a moment to go through this year-end financial checklist to ensure your finances are in order before the start of the New Year.


The Promises and the Perils of Buy Now, Pay Later

The Promises and the Perils of Buy Now, Pay Late

December 13, 2021     Financial Education
Buy Now, Pay Later programs allow shoppers to make installment payments on their purchases. This payment method is very convenient, but should be used with caution.


How to Boost Your Credit Score

How to Boost Your Credit Score

December 9, 2021     Financial Education
Your credit score affects almost every facet of your life. Understand what factors impact your score, and how you can improve it.


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Empower Yourself with Free Financial Education Programs

December 1, 2021     Financial Education
TCU was founded by teachers in 1931, so education is in our roots! More than 90 years later, we’re still committed to providing educational resources to help you improve your financial wellbeing. Here are some details of what you’ll find when you visit our Financial Education page.


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What to Expect for Holiday Shopping 2021

November 15, 2021     Financial Education
Delivery delays, staff shortages and higher prices will likely make holiday shopping a bit different this year. Plan ahead and start shopping earlier!


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A Guide to Secure Mobile Banking

October 6, 2021     Financial Education
Mobile banking is convenient. However any device that is connected to the internet still needs to be weary of cyber security. Read these quick tips to learn how to better protect your mobile phone from hacks and scams.


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Benefits of a Health Savings Account

October 1, 2021     Banking
As more of us opt for high-deductible health insurance plans, Health Savings Acocunts (HSAs) have become an important part of maintaining financial wellness and planning for the future.


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Why You Need to be Financially Fit

September 10, 2021     Financial Education
Just like physical health, being financially fit is crucial to your wellbeing, your future and your quality of life. Here are some of the common barriers to achieving financial wellness and how you can overcome them.


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What are the Advantages of a HELOC?

August 30, 2021     Borrowing
Are you looking to tap into your home's equity, possibly using a Home Equity Line of Credit? Here are some advantages of choosing the HELOC option.


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How to Save on Wedding Costs

August 16, 2021     Financial Education
With some careful planning, you can have the wedding you desire and your budget too!


Image of a couple on their backs in a pool with their feet hanging over the top

What to Buy or Skip in August

August 12, 2021     Financial Education
Which products typically go on sale in August and which should be pushed off for another time?


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What is a Trust?

July 19, 2021     Investing
A living trust offers many benefits such as creditor protection, protection from taxes, protecting a minor, passing wealth outside a probate, Medicaid planning and more. How can a trust help you plan for your family's future?


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A Guide to Opening Your First Credit Card

July 26, 2021     Borrowing
Opening your first credit card is one of the rites of passage into genuine adulthood, but with so much conflicting information, it can all get confusing fast!


Financial Literacy Winners Announced

Financial Literacy Winners Announced

May 18, 2021     Financial Education
Completing the Strengthen Your Financial Knowledge Contest playlist paid off for four lucky Fit Bit winners! Find out more about the benefits of TCU’s FREE online Personal Finance Program.


TCU Launches Strengthen Your Financial Knowledge Contest

TCU Launches Strengthen Your Financial Knowledge Contest

April 1, 2021     Financial Education
Inspired by Financial Literacy Month, this contest was created to promote financial wellness and to help equip people with the financial knowledge and skills needed to improve their financial health. Enter between April 1 and 30 for a chance to win a Fit Bit ($100 value)!


Net Worth: A Revealing Financial Health Measurement

What is 'Net Worth'?

January 25, 2021     Financial Education
What's your net worth — and why does it matter? TCU Area Manager Adam Young explains the importance of this metric and how understanding it can be a step on the path to financial security.


New Year's Resolutions to Increase Your Savings

New Year’s Resolutions to Increase Your Savings

January 4, 2021      Financial Education
If your resolution is to save money, here are tips to get started. These easy ways to reduce spending can help you develop a simple and realistic strategy to meet your short- and long-term financial goals.


How to budget and automate your savings

Budget and Automate Your Savings to Reach Your Financial Goals

December 16, 2020      Financial Education
TCU’s Director of Financial Wellness and Wellbeing Jeff Sobieralski tricks himself into saving money. Read Jeff’s tips and learn about TCU’s tools to help your family build financial security.


Tips on Budgeting in Times of Crisis

Tips on Budgeting in Times of Crisis

November 10, 2020      Financial Education
Having a budget can turn a potential financial tragedy into a temporary setback — and serves as a tool to help you make better financial decisions and prepare for emergencies.


Advice from TCU’s Cybersecurity Expert Kevin Holleran

Advice from TCU’s Cybersecurity Expert Kevin Holleran

October 28, 2020      Financial Education
Our latest TCU Talks podcast is timely for Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Kevin Holleran offers tips on how we can do our part and #BeCyberSmart. TCU’s cybersecurity expert Kevin Holleran offers tips to help us all stay safe online. Hear why it’s a good idea to use one device for online banking and another to browse the internet, and why you should be using spaces in your passwords.


Students Can Now Earn Rewards Faster

Students Can Now Earn Rewards Faster

October 07, 2020     Financial Education
TCU’s Student Rewards Checking offers those ages 14 to 23 easy banking without worrying about minimum balances — plus a $25 bonus after completing just six of 18 online financial management sessions!


Understanding College Financial Aid

Understanding College Financial Aid

September 10, 2020     Financial Education
The FAFSA form is used by schools to put together student aid packages. It opens for the next academic year on October 1 — and the sooner students file, the better. TCU is here to help make process less overwhelming.


Ways to Teach Kids About Money

Ways to Teach Kids About Money

September 8, 2020     Financial Education
TCU offers assistance to help parents prepare their children to spend and save money wisely as they grow – including a new app called  "The NeighborMood" where kids learn that impulse buying may lead to harmful consequences.


The Path to Financial Wellness

The Path to Financial Wellness

September 2, 2020     Financial Education
Achieving security and peace of mind means practicing sound habits that reduce debt and increase savings for emergencies and large expenses. Check out TCU's expert advice on how to stay on top of your financial heath.


Credit Basics: What You Should Know

Credit Basics: What You Should Know

August 26, 2020     Financial Education
Whether credit is helpful or harmful depends on how it's used. TCU answers basic credit questions to help you take advantage of the benefits without falling into any traps.

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Credit Basics

Managing credit wisely is an important factor in your financial success, so understanding the basics of credit is key.

 

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a record of your credit activity and current credit situation such as loan repayment history and the status of your credit accounts.

Lenders, insurers, employers and others may obtain your credit report from a credit bureau or consumer reporting agency to determine whether you are a good candidate.

Credit reports often contain:

  • Personal identifying information: Name, address, full or partial Social Security number, date of birth and employment information
  • Your past and existing credit: The amount you owe creditors, terms of your credit and your payment history
  • Your public record: Court judgments against you, tax liens against your property, whether you have fi led for bankruptcy or have unpaid bills which have been turned over to collection agencies
  • Inquiry information: Companies make a credit inquiry anytime you apply for credit

It is recommended consumers check each of their three credit reports once a year to ensure the information is accurate. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau once a year by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228.

Visit one of the following credit bureaus to correct an inaccuracy, add a fraud alert or freeze access to your credit report and more:

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that estimates how likely you are to repay borrowed money. The most commonly used credit score model, FICO, has a range of 300 to 850.

Excellent credit: 800+
Very good credit: 740-799
Good credit: 670-739
Fair credit: 580-669
Poor credit: less than 580

 

These factors influence your credit score:

  • Payment history (35%): Paying your bills on time makes a big impact on your overall credit score, accounting for up to 35%.
  • Outstanding debt (30%): Keeping balances well below credit limits and paying off those balances can improve your score.
  • Types of accounts (10%): Another important factor is demonstrated success in managing a mix of credit accounts, i.e., credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans and mortgage loans.
  • Length of credit history (15%): In general, a longer credit history will increase your credit score, because it is easier for creditors to see if you’ve been making payments responsibly.
  • New credit (10%): New accounts lower the average age of your existing accounts, which can negatively impact your score. Also, opening multiple accounts in a short period of time is considered “a risk” by reporting agencies.
 

source: myfico.com/credit-education/whats-in-your-credit-score

Learning and taking steps to make changes can improve your score and stop bad credit from holding you back!

Want to know more? Call or visit your local TCU service center or book an appointment using the link at the bottom of the page to meet with a financial professional when it's convenient for you.

This document is for educational purposes only and doesn’t constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. The following is general information, not recommendations. Please consult with an attorney or tax professional for guidance.

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Basics on Savings

Developing a savings plan and putting it to work can help you reach your goals and become financially secure. Here are simple steps to get started:

 

Create a Budget

Developing a budget based on your monthly income, expenses and savings is the first step.

  • Track your income and expenses to establish financial goals by reviewing your most recent monthly statements. Knowing how you spend your money can help you adjust or eliminate non-essential purchases.
  • Use the 50/30/20 budget—spending roughly 50 percent of your after-tax dollars on necessities, no more than 30 percent on “wants,” and at least 20 percent into savings or paying off debts.
  • TCU’s Budget Calculator can help you develop a roadmap to make your hard-earned income work for you.
  • Stick to your budget plan over time to help reduce debt, cut back on impulse purchases and increase savings for emergencies, large expenses and other financial goals.

 

Save Early for Retirement

Even a small, regular contribution toward your retirement has the potential to grow into a large nest egg.

  • Compound interest (earning interest on interest) over time has a tremendous impact on your long-term retirement savings. Automate the process. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it, along with the pre-tax savings on your earnings.
  • Use a health savings account (HSA) to contribute. You can contribute pre-tax dollars, pay no taxes on earnings, and withdraw the money tax-free now or in retirement to pay for qualified medical expenses.

Build Your Savings

It is important to build up your savings to cover emergencies and to plan for your future. As a general rule, you should maintain enough savings to cover three to six months of your regular expenses.

  • Establish a separate savings account for each of your savings goals—contributing a certain amount each pay period. TCU makes it easy by offering Choice Savings accounts. You can open multiple savings accounts and give them names that represent your financial targets (like emergency, insurance or vacation) making it easy to see when you’re closing in on your goals.
  • Set up automatic transfers from your checking to each savings account each pay period to stay on track.
  • Use TCU’s Round-Up Savings to grow your savings automatically. Every time you make a purchase with your TCU Debit Mastercard®, the purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is transferred from your checking to your savings account. You will be surprised how a little change here and there adds up.

Want to know more? Call or visit your local TCU service center or use the link at the bottom of the page to book an appointment when it's convenient for you.

This document is for educational purposes only and doesn’t constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. The following is general information, not recommendations. Please consult with an attorney or tax professional for guidance.

Information from experts about personal finance to help you manage your money with confidence.

What's your net worth — and why does it matter? Area Manager Adam Young joins TCU Talks to explain the importance of this metric and how understanding it can be a step on the path to financial security.

This holiday season will be unlike any we’ve experienced. With financial uncertainty and limitations to traditional gatherings because of COVID, TCU Area Manager Joshua Lloyd joined TCU TALKS to provide tips on navigating the holidays during the pandemic.

For many, the pandemic has supercharged financial stress. This first episode features TCU's Director of Financial Wellness and Wellbeing Jeff Sobieralski discussing how to manage your money to build financial security, even during challenging economic times like we're facing now.

MORE INFORMATION
Read the article in Northwest Indiana Life
TCU's Financial Empowerment Program

Jeff Sobieralski, TCU’s Director of Financial Wellness and Wellbeing, discusses how to help your kids develop good habits to keep them financially fit for life. Listen for some easy ways to introduce finance to your children so they develop a healthy relationship with money.

TCU’s cybersecurity expert Kevin Holleran offers tips to help us all stay safe online. Hear why it’s a good idea to use one device for online banking and another to browse the internet, and why you should be using spaces in your passwords.

Useful Consumer Guides to help with major life purchases from buying a car to purchasing your dream home. 

Car Buying Guide
Boat Buying Guide
Student Loan Guide
RV Buying Guide
Home Buying Guide
Home Owners Guide
Mortgage Guide

Here is a sampling of helpful calculators to assist you with budgeting and developing a roadmap to make your hard-earned income work for you.

Savings Calculators
Borrowing Calculators

Find our full list of planning calculators here.

Education is in Our Roots!

Here's a quick guide to TCU's free, online financial education programs and resources.

 

What are Financial Wellness & Financial Wellbeing?

TCU's Jeff Sobieralski discusses what financial "wellness" and financial "wellbeing" actually mean for you.

 

Build and re-establish credit with a TCU Accelerate card

The Accelerate credit card from TCU is designed to help you strengthen, build or rebuild your credit.

 

Own your financial future

TCU makes it easy for you  to start owning your financial future.

 

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

A Health Savings Account (HSA) lets you manage today's medical expenses while also helping you save for retirement.

 

The right checking account can make all the difference

Checking accounts are not one size fits all. Find out which checking account best fits your lifestyle.