A Note to all Graduates…

Dear Graduates and parents of grads,

As I was pondering what to blog about this week, I happened across a few articles that sparked my interest. My desk is covered with things to read, but one stood out from the rest. There’s a fantastic article on Forbes.com, written by David K. Randall, entitled, “What I Wish I Had Known About Money When I Graduated. “ You can follow the link to it below:

http://tinyurl.com/q3em8r

I urge you to read this article, especially for those of you graduating from high school. Why? Well…because it’s sound advice.

As the father of five, I know all too well, how credit card companies seemingly throw credit cards at college kids, enticing them with free t-shirts, ipods, etc. just so that they’ll sign on the dotted line and then pay the price for that credit card later.  They make elaborate offers to young adults because they think the shiny new fangled whatever – from Wii’s to t-shirts, will make you want to sign up for a card. There’s often a “pack” mentality on campus, that if everyone’s doing it, I should do it too! Don’t be swayed! Just because you can’t see the money being spent, doesn’t mean you aren’t wracking up the bills! Charges add up in no time. And while Mr. Randall addresses in his article that, “recent legislation will make it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card, ” you will still be responsible for the debt at 22, 23 and 24. So, you may have to wait until your junior or senior year to get a card, but again, you’ll still be responsible! So, I encourage you to DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Find a card with a low FIXED rate .

Another great nugget he addresses is “your credit score matters more than your SAT score.”  While I can’t say that exactly…I mean, you did need to get into college, it plays a key factor in the rest of your life. YOU CAN NOT BORROW YOUR WAY OUT OF DEBT! I’ve said this a million times.  So, if you’re brave enough and responsible enough to have your own credit card, you can’t just swipe your way into getting whatever you want with your card and think it’s okay because you’re a student. Unless you’ve been underground somewhere, you already know the economy is bad…don’t add to it and ruin your future. Your credit score stays with you, just like your college transcripts! So please, treat it like you would your grade point average and make smart choices, do your homework and when it’s time for you to graduate college, you’ll be able to afford your first mortgage, a new car, etc. Because your score will be in tact.

Again, for more, I urge you to read David K. Randall’s article on Forbes.com it’s packed with more ideas that will help you get ahead financially. As a graduate you’re going to get a lot of advice about your future. We’d just like encourage you to read some that  will help you get  a good financial start.

And if you need financial couseling, we have a certified financial counselor on staff that would be happy to help! Call for an appointment today, it’s FREE to all members.

Congratulations graduates! You have the whole world ahead of you, take advantage  of it!

-Al

In Honor of Memorial Day Weekend…

Hello folks,

Everyone I know always looks forward to Memorial Day Weekend, it’s the official start of summer, warmer weather and of course a long holiday weekend! More importantly, it’s a time to remember those who have served and pay respect to those who are currently serving our country.

We will be closed on Monday, in observance of the holiday. But we will also have a weekend of blog and twitter silence, in rememberance of those we’ve lost, who valiantly have served our country. As a former airforce base credit union, many of our members are in the military or have served in the military. And we’d be remiss not to say thank you for your membership and your service to our country.

-Al

Looking for Your Thoughts on the Economy

Are You Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

Do you constantly find yourself saying:

“Where does it all go?”
“I wish I could save more!”
“I always seem to spend more than I make”
“I just don’t have enough to begin saving!”
“If I only had a budget!”

More than likely you’ve probably muttered one or maybe even more of these phrases to yourself time and time again. Given today’s economy it’s important to start saving and budgeting your money wisely. And we can help!

This Tuesday, we’re holding a FREE seminar called, MONEY MANAGEMENT 101, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in our Heath Office. We’re proud to be the only credit union in Licking County with a Certified Financial Counselor on staff. He’ll be on hand to give you tips, help you with ideas to track what your spending your money on and even get you started creating a budget you can actually stick to!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t borrow your way out of debt, it takes hard work and some sacrifices, but if you’re willing to put in the effort you can get back on track and see your credit score go back up. This FREE seminar will help you get back on the path to financial freedom and…help you see light at the end of the tunnel! So…call us today to get registered!

Time is running out! It’s Tuesday, May 12th 5:30-6:30 p.m. at our Heath office. You can RSVP by calling us at 522-8311 or email emartin@hopewellfcu.org. I sincerely hope to see you there!

Have a great weekend!
-Al

Tough Times in Licking County

I’m not sure about you, but I still see some tough times ahead for those of us in Licking County. This past week we lost a long time company, the Chesrown auto dealership went out of business, a victim of the times. And Moore’s Pizza , who has also been in the area for 20 years, also went out of business. These two companies are just the latest victims of the economic downturn.

On the national level, Chrysler finally filed for bankruptcy and will try to somehow re-organize itself and get back in the market. And by the end of this month, GM’s fate will become clear, that’s the deadline that President Obama’s team gave them to get their plan into place. No matter how it goes for the future of either of these companies, it seems like the UAW will have to be a willing partner and make some tough choices.

This week the stress test sfor several of the largest banks will be released. Looks like some of them will have to raise more capital. I guess they are not out of the woods yet. So how’s the credit union doing during these tough times? We are doing very well. Our member deposits are growing at a 25% annual rate and our loans to members are growing by 12.5% annual rate. It appears that our members still know a good deal when they see it and that’s credit union membership. Our mortgage business is very good, as we help members refinance their existing mortgage or help them get a mortgage to buy a home.

I was recently invited to the Governor’s Residence for a private reception with him. There were about 40 to 50 financial institution officers there. The governor told us that he appreciates what we do to help the consumers and businesses in Ohio. There were positive comments for credit unions who did not start the mortgage problems, but can help solve them. This was the first time that I shook the hand of our governor. I must admit, I felt honored to be invited to this gathering. And I’m hopeful that a turnaround is coming for Licking County.

We understand that times are tough, that’s why now, more than ever, you’ll want to discover the difference of a credit union membership.

Have a great week.

– Al