If you want to boost savings, create a smart spending plan—and stick to it! It sounds easy but, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Washington D.C., about 71% of people have financial worries and 31% of them say not having enough savings is their biggest concern. Thirty-four percent say they have nothing saved for retirement.
On a brighter note, more millennials are on top of their retirement savings game. A survey from San Francisco-based Transamerica found that three of four young adults born between 1979 and 1996 already are discussing saving, investing, and planning for retirement with family and friends. The survey found 18% of millennials frequently discuss retirement savings, compared with 9% of baby boomers. Seventy percent of millennials are already saving for retirement either through an employer-sponsored plan such as a 401(k) or through another savings vehicle such as an IRA (individual retirement account).
Take a look at these tips to help get a handle on spending—and saving—or to amplify what you're already doing:
Save for retirement: Aim to save 10% to 13% of your gross pay. This includes your employer match, if you get one. If you're already saving enough in your employer's retirement plan to get the company match, consider opening a traditional or Roth IRA at TCU. Contact TCU Investment Services* for more information.
Review housing costs: If you own a home or are thinking about buying one, principle, interest, taxes, insurance, and homeowners association dues shouldn't exceed 28% to 36% of your gross pay. And don't forget about home repairs and lawn maintenance costs, even though these expenses aren't included in the housing debt percentage.
Contact TCU Mortgage to make sure you are getting the best mortgage for your needs!
Control living expenses: Cut back on going out to eat and picking up take-out meals. Check with TV, Internet and phone providers to make sure you're getting the lowest rates. Find out if bundling services can help you save. Get a quote from TCU Insurance Agency to make sure you are getting the best coverage for the best price.
Save for major expenses: Expenses might include, but aren't limited to, a down payment for a house, children's college education, a new car, home remodeling project and emergency fund savings. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Board, 39% of respondents reported having a rainy day fund that could cover three months of expenses. Contact the experts at TCU for savings guidance and options.
©2015 Teachers Credit Union. NMLS# 686706. TCU Agency, LLC is a subsidiary of TCU. Insurance products are offered through various approved carriers. *Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.
- Set up direct deposit. Once you arrange to receive regular payments like your paycheck or SocialSecurity and pension checks through direct deposit, you’ll never have to worry about making timelydeposits again. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your deposit is in your account exactly when you expect it.
- Set up automated transfers to savings to pay yourself first. The next smart step, after directdeposit, is to get money into a savings account right away to begin earning dividends from the get-go.
- Automate your mortgage payment. Even with the typical grace period most mortgage lendersallow, it’s always better to take care of your big monthly payments first. Again, you’ll never have to worry about making the payment on time when you set it up to be automatic.
- Automate minimum credit card payment or payments. The penalty for a late credit card pay-ment is not pretty. Set up an automated payment to cover at least the minimum amount due on all your credit cards; you always can pay additional amounts so you retire those debts as soon as you can. Set your payments for a few days before the due dates to protect your credit score.
- Arrange to have any overdrafts automatically covered from your savings account. Even if an overdraft is rare in your household, it can happen to the best money managers. Make sure you can cover any inadvertent overdraft with a direct transfer from your savings account. There’s yet another worry you’ll never have again. Simply talk to a TCU representative today to set up your overdraft protection.
Contact us or visit tcunet.com for more information.
©2014 Teachers Credit Union. Standard text messaging rates apply. See Standard Overdraft Practices Terms and Conditions.
What is Your Net Worth & Why is it Important?
To help you plan for your financial future, you should consider calculating your net worth at least once a year. Calculating your net worth annually can help provide a more accurate picture of your financial progress over time.
What is a net worth statement?
A net worth statement is a way to measure your overall financial position by comparing assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). It helps you identify excessive debt loads, estimate your retirement income potential and determine whether your assets are growing sufficiently to meet the financial goals for your future.
Calculate your net worth
1. Add up your total assets.
- Add up all of your cash (checking accounts, savings accounts, share certificates of deposit, U.S. savings bonds, etc.).
- Add up the current value of your pension and profit-sharing plans; include only the amount you could withdraw in cash if you quit your job today.
- Add the current market value of your home, vehicle, boat, motorcycle, etc.
2. Add up your total liabilities.
- Add up the balance due on every credit card and installment debt.
- Add up balances on loans including student, mortgage, vehicle and business loans.
- If you pay alimony or have medical debt, be sure to include these amounts.
3. Calculate your net worth by subtracting your total liabilities from your total assets.
Once you have calculated your net worth, ask yourself these questions:
1. How liquid am I? Do I have assets that I can quickly convert to cash?
2. How is my debt load? Are my total monthly debt payments — including housing, car, credit cards, student loans, alimony, child support and installment payments — less than 36% to 40% of monthly gross income?
3. Am I acquiring assets that add value or am I using my income for items that depreciate in value?
4. Do I have enough income — earning assets to increase my net worth on a regular basis?
When Answers to these questions will help you develop strategies for increasing your net worth over time, which can help you prepare for a comfortable retirement. TCU can help you make financial plans that can benefit you now and in the future. Contact us today!
Keep Your Car in Good Shape for Long Term PayoffBuying a car marks another great milestone in your life! It is also a big financial commitment and investment. Taking care of your car and keeping it maintained can help protect your investment.
1. Tips for keeping your car in good shape:
Get regular oil changes, inspections and adjustments. Rotate the tires to extend tire life and replace belts, hoses and other fragile items as needed. Keep all maintenance records to show the potential buyer when you decide to sell.
2. Protect against the loss of residual value by keeping your car clean on the inside and the outside.
If you choose to clean your car at home here are some helpful tips:
- Spray the underside with water to remove rust-promoting build-up.
- On the topside, use a car cleaner and clean the car by sections to prevent dirt from drying on the paint. Rinse with a hose, then dry the body with a rag to prevent spotting.
- Protect the paint with hand-applied polymer car polish. Simply wipe the polish on, let it dry to a haze, then rub it out with a clean rag and make sure the product you're using is compatible with the paint on your car.
- Vacuum and shampoo the rugs and upholstery as necessary and buy floor mats to protect the carpets.
- Use antioxidant products to protect the dashboard and window surrounds from sun damage.
3. Repair dings. Many body shops can fix small dents without repainting. Body shops and auto-glass shops can repair bull's-eyes and other small windshield breaks. These repairs are almost invisible and far cheaper than replacement.
When you're ready for a new set of wheels, contact TCU for pre-approval on your loan and contact TCU Insurance Agency for an insurance quote.
We have handy checklists to guide you through the other milestones in your life.Click here to check them out!
©2013 Teachers Credit Union. TCU Agency, LLC is a subsidiary of TCU. Insurance products are offered through various approved carriers.
- Make sure ceiling fans are set for summer (the air should blow downward).
- If you have a window air conditioner, place a box fan in front of it to circulate cool air throughout the house.
- Keep TVs and lamps away from your thermostat; the heat from these appliances can cause the air conditioner to run longer.
- Use a programmable thermostat to adjust the air conditioning while you are asleep or not at home.
- Stick to white curtains and/or blinds for windows to reflect heat away from your home.
- During the day, close curtains and blinds on your windows facing south and west.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater (115° is typically comfortable, but you may need to gauge what is right for you).
- Caulk and weatherstrip your windows and doors to keep cool air inside your home.
Do you need a new air conditioner? Talk to TCU about a personal loan or the low rate TCU Visa® Platinum Credit Card. TCU is here to help.
Contact us today!
©2013 Teachers Credit Union. Rates subject to underwriting guidelines. APR will vary with the market based on a Prime Rate. See TCU Visa® Platinum Credit Card Terms and Conditions for details.
Tips that Can Help Your Monthly Budget
- Use it up: Don't throw away your dinner left-overs. Use them to make sandwiches or casseroles for another dinner or lunches the next day.
- Wear it out: Update last year's wardrobe with a few new accessories instead of buying a whole new wardrobe.
- Make it do: If there is nothing wrong with your current TV or computer, maybe you can wait to upgrade to the newest model.
- Do without: Give future purchases a minimum three-day thinking period; you might find the item you "had to have” has lost its luster – but you've saved what you might have spent on it.
Can you think of other examples that fit your daily life? The idea is to think about how you are spending. Small changes can make a big difference!
Check out M3TM (My Money Manager), a financial management tool available within TCU's Internet Banking that can help you with your budget. If you are not signed up for TCU Internet Banking, please contact our TCU Member Call Center today at (800) 552-4745 to get set up.
©2017 Teachers Credit Union.
Help your finances by using your tax refund wisely.
Contribute to your IRA (Individual Retirement Account) now; don’t wait until the tax-filing deadline. For 2012, you can contribute up to $5,000 to a Traditional or Roth IRA. If you’re age 50 or older, you get a catch-up deal—you can contribute an extra $1,000 this year.
Consider this: A contribution of just $1,000 would more than quadruple to $4,292 in 25 years.*
Pare Down Debt
Make your credit card payment more than your usual payment. If you have $2,000 in credit card debt and use your $1,000 tax refund for your monthly payment, you’ll save $1,000 in interest (you’d pay $393 vs. $1,393) and pay your debt off in less than half the time it would typically take — about six years vs. 11½.**
Talk to a TCU Representative today about your options.
©2017 Teachers Credit Union. *Assumes 6% annual rate of return. **Assumes 12% interest rate and that minimum monthly payments continue thereafter.
Myths about saving energy are widespread and deeply ingrained in many of our daily habits. Far from being energy-efficient, some practices actually waste energy and inflate our utility bills. Here are a few common myths:
Myth No. 1: “When an electrical device is switched off, it’s off.”
Many devices continue to draw energy even when turned off. That’s true of anything with a built-in clock or indicator light, or that you switch on and off with a remote control. The only way to stop the 24/7 power consumption is to unplug the device.
Myth No. 2: “I’ll wear out my computer faster by turning it on and off each day. It’s better to keep it running all the time.”
The switches and power supplies can endure many more cycles than the rest of a computer’s components. The components are more likely to die first. Turning off a computer is the best way to save energy; second best is a hibernation, or “sleep” mode.
Myth No. 3: “Turning lights off and back on consumes more energy than just leaving them on while I’m out of the room.”
Lights use a lot more energy when left on, even for just a few minutes than they do in that split-second it takes for them to come on.
Myth No. 4: “I’ll use less energy if I leave my thermostat set at the same temperature around the clock.”
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t consume more energy in the process of getting your house back to the desired temperature. Save energy by setting your thermostat to be in sync with your actual heating/cooling needs.
Do you need help with your monthly budget? Finding little ways to save money can help. A TCU Member Service Representative can work with you to create a monthly budget and give you tips to help you stay on track!
©2017 Teachers Credit Union
It's easy to get carried away when shopping during the holiday season. It can be just as easy to stay financially fit, even during the busiest shopping season of the year. Here are some holiday spending tips to help you take control of your holiday spending:
- Budget your spending and set goals: Start with a realistic idea of how much you can spend on holiday gifts, food, travel and so on. Add it up and really give some thought to what you can afford. Think about where you might cut back and stick to your budget.
- Make a list: Shop from a list to avoid impulse purchases.
- Comparison shop: Take the time to find the best deal. Fight the urge to get your shopping over with as quickly as possible. And for the procrastinator, don't wait until the last minute!
- Open a TCU Choice Savings Account: You can save throughout the year for your upcoming holiday expenses. This account may be opened at any time, and can be accessed at anytime. Regular automatic transfers to your Choice Savings Account can help make saving for the holidays easy. Contact a TCU Member Service Representative for more information.
- Remember, if you have a TCU Debit MasterCard®, you could be earning a rebate. Find out more about the TCU Debit MasterCard® Rebate at mytcucard.com.
Happy shopping and enjoy the holiday season!
©2017 Teachers Credit Union. See TCU Debit MasterCard® terms and conditions for details.
Top 6 Things You Need To Do To Improve Your Money Management
- Set up direct deposit. Once you arrange to receive regular payments, such as your paycheck or Social Security and pension checks with direct deposit, you’ll never have to worry about making timely deposits again.
- Set up automated transfers to savings to pay yourself first. Make saving easy by having funds automatically transferred into your savings account on payday!
- Automate your loan payments. You'll never have to worry about making a payment on time when you set up the payment to automatically transfer each month.
- Automate credit card payments. The penalty for a late credit card payment can be extremely high. Set up an automated payment to cover at least the minimum due on all your credit cards; keep in mind you can always pay additional amounts to speed up the payment of those debts. To protect your credit score, set payments a few days before the due dates.
- Arrange to have overdrafts automatically covered from your savings account. Even if an overdraft is rare in your household, it can happen to the best money manager. Make sure you can cover any inadvertent overdraft with a direct transfer from your savings account.
- Set up low balance email alerts or a payment due email alert from within TCU Internet Banking.
Contact TCU for more information and to get started on these money management tips today!
©2017 Teachers Credit Union
Are You Looking for Affordable Ways to Entertain You and Your Family?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun! Here are some ideas about where to find affordable, local entertainment and services:
- Libraries - Visit your local library to find free entertainment and services such as tutoring, audio, videos, DVDs, books, scholarly journals and business directories.
- University events - Attend recitals, sporting events, plays and concerts. Check local university websites for any information.
- Local events - Enjoy outdoor concerts, family outings and local attractions. Check local town websites for information.
- City, county, state and national parks - Ride your bike or go for a nature walk.
Whether you’re looking for information, recreation or just something to pass the time, chances are you’ll be able to find it at minimal cost.
©2017 Teachers Credit Union
Do you know any recent college graduates? Here are some tips to share with them to make sure they practice a healthy financial lifestyle after college.
- Match cash income and outflow. List all debts and expected expenses and then make a budget. Get into the habit of saving money regularly; using direct deposit and automatic transfers can put savings on autopilot.
- Start paying off student loans. Figure out how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay each month. Lenders recommend payments not exceed 8% to 10% of gross monthly income.
- Manage credit card debt. Pay off outstanding debt and make subsequent payments on time. That way, you can build a good track record to qualify for the best mortgage rates by the time you're ready to make a down payment on a house or condo.
- Start a money management system. Track all expenses.
- Decide where to live. Housing will likely be your biggest expense, so make sure you can afford the monthly payments.
- Decide if a new car is feasible. Make sure you can afford the payments as well as the high-priced car insurance as a single in your 20s.
- Start saving for retirement. Invest in your company's 401(k) retirement plan as soon as possible. The employer's matching contribution is like getting free money.
- Set goals. Make a list of goals you want to reach within the first six months after graduating. Measure achievements along the way, and change goals as your career advances.
TCU is ready to provide the services and support college graduates need to get started and as they move through life.
Talk to a TCU Member Service Representative for answers to all your savings questions.
©2017 Teachers Credit Union
Make the Most of Your Shopping Style
Do you know what kind of shopper you are? Knowing your shopping style can provide you with a plan when you shop.
STEP 1: What's Your Shopping Style?
- Prestige Shopper
Prestige Shoppers seek out all the name-brands. When shopping, the Prestige Shopper needs to ask themselves if the item is worth the extra money, or if they're simply paying extra for the brand name.
- Impulse Shopper
Impulse Shoppers buy items without a plan in mind. Impulse Shoppers should try to walk away from items they don't intend to buy and think about whether they really need the items. Later, if the answer is yes and they have the money, they can go back and make the purchase.
- Bargain Hunter
Bargain Hunters love a sale and search for the best deals on everything. Bargain Hunters need to be careful not to spend unnecessary time looking for the best price and unnecessary money on items they don't need just because it's a good deal.
STEP 2: The Key is Balance
To develop a healthy relationship with your money, shape your shopping style. Be sure you aren't sacrificing the medium and long-term goals that mean so much to you. Make a list of your short, medium, and long-term goals. Figure out how much money you need for each of these goals and make a plan to set money aside to reach those goals.
Consider using more TCU savings products to help you save for specific items, such as the Choice Savings Account. Contact TCU today to get started!
©2017 Teachers Credit Union
Use Net Worth Statement to Track Financial Progress
One way to plan your financial future is to calculate your net worth once a year. Net worth statements measure your financial situation at a point in time. If calculated annually, a net worth statement can provide an accurate picture of your financial progress over time.
What is a net worth statement?
A net worth statement is a way to measure your overall financial position by comparing assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe).
Why make a net worth statement?
A net worth statement is an important financial tool because it helps in making decisions about savings, investment plans, retirement goals, amount of insurance needed and estate planning. It helps you identify excessive debt loads, estimate your retirement income potential and determine whether your assets are growing sufficiently to meet your financial goals.
Calculating your net worth
Calculate your net worth by subtracting the figure for total liabilities from the figure for total assets.
- Start with your assets. Add up all of your cash, including what you have on hand, what’s in your checking and savings accounts and any share certificates of deposit. If you own U.S. savings bonds, check their current values by visiting the Bureau of the Public Debt Web site (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/BC/SBCPrice). For the current value of your pension and profit-sharing plans, include only the amount you could withdraw in cash if you quit your job today. Your human resources office should be able to provide that figure. If you have an IRA, 401(k) plan, or Keogh, list its current balance. Because your house probably will be your biggest asset, it’s important that the value you assign it be accurate. Check around to find out what similar homes in your area are selling for or ask a real estate agent for an estimate of the current market value of your home.
You can get a good idea of what your car is worth by checking the blue book value at Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) or The Nada Official Used Car Guide (nada.som). For help in putting a value on a boat, motorcycle or other vehicle, contact a dealer or check prices of comparable models in the classified ads.
- Next, look at liabilities. Start with your current bills; list the balance due on every credit card and installment debt. Your mortgage probably is your biggest liability, and the year-end statement from your lender will show how much you owe. Also account for any outstanding loans including student, vehicleand business loans. If you pay alimony or have medical debt, be sure to list it.
I’ve calculated my net worth. Now what?
Once you have calculated your net worth, ask yourself these questions:
- How liquid am I? Do I have assets that I can quickly convert to cash?
- How is my debt load? Is my total debt—including housing, car, credit cards, student loans, alimony, child support and installment payments—less than 36% to 40% of monthly gross income?
- Am I acquiring assets that add value or am I using my income for items that depreciate in value?
- Do I have enough income-earning assets to increase my net worth on a regular basis?
Ask a TCU Member Service Representative about how My Money Manager (M3), a free money management tool available through TCU Internet Banking, can help you budget and calculate your net worth.
If you have any questions about the above or would like help getting started on the right path to financial success, contact TCU today!
©2017 Teachers Credit Union