Get Kids Started Right

We often hear that our children are our greatest asset, the door to the future. How can we help them build confidence in their financial future?

One good answer is a Hopewell Federal share savings account. By encouraging regular savings, you prepare your kids to meet the demands of an increasingly complex financial world. A regular savings program helps both teenagers and younger children understand the basics of personal finance and the importance of building sound money management habits. It demonstrates the power of savings to help youngsters reach their goals. It prepares them for the day when they’ll manage their own money.

Even very young children can grasp the fundamentals of saving, and become excited about having their very own savings program. As they grow and acquire allowances, after-school jobs, and other income sources, children can see those savings add up — and their pride and independence grow, too.

Perhaps the most important reason to start saving early and regularly is that saving helps young people develop the skills they’ll need to be intelligent credit consumers. A record of regular savings says a young person can handle the responsibility of repaying that first loan for a car, college, or educational travel.

Having demonstrated the ability to stick to a planned program, loan officers are more likely to approve the loan application. In this situation, the share savings account does double duty, because the young borrower – lacking any credit history – can use it as security for the loan.

So don’t wait. Help your children open share savings accounts and encourage them to add to them each week or month.

Remember, it’s not the amount of the deposit that counts: It’s establishing sound, lifelong financial habits that will make more complex financial transactions later on easier, and more comfortable.

Financial Tips for Parents

High-school students bound for college will embark on many new experiences – including financial independence. Here are some tips for parents to help kids prepare for what’s in store.

* Explain how credit works. A credit card is not free money; it’s instead a means of putting off paying for purchases until a later date. Accompany them to Hopewell Federal for the best rates on credit cards and consider urging them to use a debit card instead.

* Create a spending plan. Write down all college expenses such as tuition, books, room and board, toiletries, entertainment, and so forth. Determine which expenses you’ll be paying and those for which your child will be paying.

* Come to a no-bail-out agreement. If your child ends up charging more than they can afford, or runs out of money before the end of the month, your first reaction may be to send money and bail them out. Don’t do it. If they need to figure out a way to get out of debt, such as working or staying home on weekends, chances are good they won’t make the same mistake twice.

They Moved Their Money

Last December an anti-banking sentiment started the “Move Your Money” campaign complete with a video posted on that rallied lots of consumers to do just that. The movement encourages consumers to shift their deposits from high-fee, less consumer-oriented big banks to community-based financial institutions like credit unions. More consumers are discovering that credit unions have some important characteristics not always found at other financial institutions, such as personal service and consumer advocacy.

In the first quarter of 2010, more than 17,000 people joined an Ohio credit union. This is the fifth quarter in a row credit unions have shown this kind of growth. Ohioans are looking for local financial institutions with community values – and credit unions are it – according the Ohio Credit Union League.

When you become a member of Hopewell Federal Credit Union, you’ll always have a place where you belong. We offer a wide variety of programs and services designed to meet the unique needs of our members. Our member-focused staff is here to assist you face to face, and answer any questions you may have.

Whether it’s to open a new account, ask about a loan or for any of your financial needs, stop in and see us today. We are here for you.

Read the Fine Print

Dealership sales incentives that promote 0% financing, low-rate financing, or rebates can be enticing, but read the fine print before getting too excited. Ads often sound like anyone qualifies and rates are good on just about any vehicle. Often this is not the case. It’s not unusual for dealerships to use these tactics to get consumers in the door, only to find that what they thought was true, isn’t. Look for the letters “OAC.” Most consumers aren’t familiar with this acronym, meaning “on approved credit.” In reality, only about 25% to 30% of consumers qualify for 0% financing. You have to have what’s considered the best credit score–typically 685 or higher–to qualify for that special financing deal. The fine print also might read, “Advertised vehicles may differ from shown vehicles,” “0% available on all new brand ‘X’ automobiles, excluding make ‘Y’ automobiles,” “Prices good through ‘a certain date’; subject to change without notice,” or “Rebate good only if financing is done through dealership.” These phrases mean quantities and styles are limited, sale dates can change instantly, and you might be forced to finance through the dealership. Do you wonder how auto dealerships can offer great rates and a rebate, too? Pay attention to what they’re charging for GAP (guaranteed asset protection) insurance and mechanical repair coverage. GAP insurance covers the difference between what a consumer owes a lender and what an auto insurer will pay if a car is totaled or stolen shortly after it’s purchased–when the amount owed is still high. Mechanical repair coverage extends the dealer warranty, making the resale value higher. Check with Hopewell Federal Credit Union today for all your auto financing needs.