Financial Education Resources

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Announcing our Financial Education Contest Winner

November 30, 2022     Financial Education

More than 350 people opted to stay in the know for a chance at some holiday dough. Learn more about the benefits of TCU’s FREE online Personal Finance Program.


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How to Budget in Times of Inflation

November 22, 2022     Financial Education

We all know inflation is going crazy, and our monthly budgets are all taking a beating. How can you stick to yours? We’ve got some helpful tips to keep your bottom line intact.


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Elevate

November 09, 2022     Financial Education

TCU’s Elevate Suite offers products and services to help those trying to build or rebuild a positive checking and credit history—plus the option of FREE financial coaching and FREE online financial education programs and resources. 


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Stay in the know, win holiday dough!

November 01, 2022     Financial Education

Learn sweet tips for smarter, safer shopping and earn a chance to win a $250 Visa® Gift Card by participating in our Financial Education Contest, open Nov. 1-15.


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Don’t Get Caught in a Fake Lottery Scam

October 13, 2022     Financial Education

How can you spot a fake lottery scam?  Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.


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All You Need to Know About Cybersecurity

October 07, 2022     Financial Education

In honor of Cybersecurity Month, let’s take a closer look at the best ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes and to keep your systems and devices secure.


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How to Invest for Retirement

October 01, 2022     Financial Education

No matter what your current stage of life, there are financial steps you can take to ensure a secure retirement. Learn more about how to prepare to make the most of your golden years.



Click here for all of our Financial Education articles.

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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.

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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.

Elevate Suite Products & Services

Elevate is designed to help uplift the banking and credit history of those with past challenges.

 

Lift Credit Builder

A higher credit score can unlock better interest rates on credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and more.

 

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.

 

Repair and rebuild your checking history with TCU Opportunity Checking

Sometimes a second chance is all it takes for us to get back on solid footing. That's what Opportunity Checking is all about.