Go Green and keep your Finances Lean during April!
At HAPO Community Credit Union, we understand the impact financial education has on building and maintaining a solid financial foundation for your future. That’s why each week during the month of April we will provide applicable tips on how to bank green and stay financially fit – our way of helping members develop strong financial habits.
Week 1 - Bank Green by Signing up for E-statements on Earth Day
With Earth Day on April 22, make a commitment to become more environmentally friendly by signing up for e-Statements. Not only will you get fast access to your statement online, but you will lessen your paper trail. Benefits of e-statements include:
- Faster access to your statement since mail time is eliminated.
- Free yourself from finding storage to file your statements.
- Receive identical information in your e-statement as in a paper statement.
- Reduce the risk of financial information being exposed when paper statements are mailed or discarded.
- Eco-friendly, choose when and if you want or print your statement or conveniently store them on your computer.
It’s free to HAPO members and promotes a more sustainable environment. To enroll in HAPO e-statements, simply login to your Internet Teller account and click on the "e-statements" button to get started.
Week 2 - 10 Steps to Financial Success
Being financially successful means you are in control of your money instead of it controlling you. Your income doesn’t necessarily determine how financially successful you are – your choices and priorities do. Follow these tens steps from BalanceTrack to make financial success a reality:
- Step 1: Establish Goals - Identifying clear, achievable goals is a crucial part of anyone’s financial plan. Making the goal precise helps you determine how much you need to set aside each month.
- Step 2: Build Your Net Worth - Taking stock of what your financial situation is today can help you determine what you need to do tomorrow. Figure out your net worth by subtracting your liabilities from your assets. If your net worth is positive, that means you own more than you owe. If your net worth is negative, you owe more than you own. To build your net worth overtime, calculate your net worth once a year, and watch as your assets grow, and adjust your financial goals along the way to reduce what you owe.
- Step 3: Create a Spending and Savings Plan - Once you have a firm understanding of your net worth, begin creating a spending and savings plan. Your spending and savings plan should show where you want your money to go in the future, and how you’re going to get there.
- Step 4: Establish an Emergency Savings Fund - Establishing an emergency savings fund provides a cushion that allows you to pay for expenses should the unexpected occur. Financial experts recommend saving at least three to six months worth of essential living expenses.
- Step 5: Invest Diversely - You know where you should store your emergency fund, but where should you put your savings for other goals? There are three main types of investment classes, including stocks, bonds and cash equivalents.
- Step 6: Make Sure You’re Covered - Events such as a severe illness, car accident, or house fire can put a serious cramp in your financial health, even if you have savings. Having the right amount of insurance will help protect you from the financial consequences associated with many of life’s adversities.
- Step 7: Establish a Good Credit History - Your credit report and score can affect your life in many ways, however in order to have a good credit report and score, you need to have credit. It can be difficult to get approved for the first time since you don’t have a credit history, but there are many great options for people just starting out including a secured credit card, which requires you to put down a deposit. Another option is to ask a friend of family member who has good credit history to cosign on a loan or credit card for you.
- Step 8: Delete Your Debt - There are two basic methods of accelerating debt repayment. One is to increase your minimum payments. And the other is to pay off your highest-rate debts first. The longer you let the debts with the highest rates build, the larger impact it will have on your future. Focus on paying off your debt with the highest rates, and then paying the minimum amount each month for the rates that are either lower, or a lesser burden on you in the long run.
- Step 9: Buy a Home - Purchasing a home can be a very wise investment. While the real estate market fluctuates, most houses gain value over time. Homeownership isn’t right for everyone. If you move around often or are struggling to meet your current financial obligations, having a mortgage may only create a burden. It is important to honestly assess your financial obligations and determine if you can carry a mortgage and how much can you afford to pay.
- Step 10: Seek Advice and Do Research - We typically learn very little about financial management in school and get most of our financial attitudes and knowledge from our parents, who may or may not have been experts themselves. If you feel a little lost in some areas of personal finance, call upon an expert for help.
To get started on the road to financial success visit, BalanceTrack.org.
Week 3 - Online Bill Pay Benefits You and Our Environment
HAPO Online Bill Pay is a great way to cut down clutter, and minimize the paper trail associated with it. It can also help streamline your payments and reduce the amount of paper used in the process, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
Get started today, by signing up for HAPO Online Bill Pay.
With Bill Pay you can set up a payment schedule for each bill, either recurring or one-time, and our secure system will see that it is paid with money from your HAPO checking account. You don't have to write a single check, lick a single envelope or buy another stamp. To get started, log in to your your account and click on the 'Pay Bills' button.
You will be taken to an application form to verify the information that will be used when paying your bills. After submitting your request, your bill pay account typically takes two or three days to become active.
Week 4 - Money Management
Taking control of your debt and creating a realistic and manageable spending plan are invaluable components of reaching financial success. If you're not completely comfortable with your spending plan, or would like some guidance with this or other financial issues, consider a free and confidential money management counseling session with a BALANCE counselor. There are steps you can take to get you on the path for financial success. Get started today!
BALANCE™ Financial Fitness
Whether you're interested in developing a workable spending and savings plan, getting out of debt, taking a look at your credit report, buying a home, or planning for your financial future, HAPO Community Credit Union wants to help. That's why we've provided access to free and confidential financial counseling and education through BALANCE™.
- Toll-Free InfoLine
- Money Management Counseling
- Debt Management
- Credit Report Review
- Housing Counseling
- Identity Theft Solutions
- Financial Education
- BALANCE En Español