Month: January 2017

Financially Fit Friday 10 Tips For Talking Finances With Your Spouse

How to Live on Only One Income

Are you preparing to become a stay-at-home parent, dealing with a recent layoff or saving up for a big purchase? Even though it may sound impossible, you can live on only one income and make it work.

Whether you’re single or married, have children or not, these three simple ideas are essential: create a plan, spend less and save more.

Before you think that sounds too easy, let’s break down the specifics:

Create a Plan

Successful single-income families don’t just happen — they require a strategic evaluation. First, create a realistic budget to better manage your money and stick to it. If you need to review it later on, that’s fine, but be sure to get off on the right foot.

Next, stay on top of your bills. Ensure your regular financial obligations are a priority so you don’t end up paying any unnecessary fees or fines. You can also focus your efforts on paying off debt initially, which will free up resources later.

Finally, if you have too many credit cards and loans to keep track of, consider consolidating them at America First. Our low rates and flexible terms will help you save time and money. Plus, having all of your loans in one place will require significantly less mental effort.

Spend Less

If you are moving from multiple incomes to a single income, you’re going need to make significant financial changes. Don’t try to maintain the lifestyle you had with two incomes. Instead, try to make spending sacrifices — such as buying generic instead of brand-name products, or scaling back a planned vacation. It’s much easier to save more when you spend less.

And when it comes to shopping, determine if you really need to go at all. Can you put together some meals using what’s already in your pantry? Do you really need a new pair of shoes? When you head out, always look for the best deal and use coupons or discount codes.

Also, take a look at your housing situation. If necessary, consider moving into a more affordable living space, or refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate. If you already have a reasonably priced home with affordable monthly payments, fix things yourself instead of immediately calling a professional.

Save More

Even though you’ll be cutting down on what you spend as a one-income family, you should still regularly save. A rainy-day fund can give you peace of mind if any unexpected expenses or emergencies pop up. America First has just the right tool to help you set aside some funds, too — dedicated savings accounts, which provide competitive dividends on automatic transfers that you can set up.

Additionally, you can actually save money by not working. If just one of you is going to the office every day, that means only one vehicle is commuting — set aside what you used to spend on gas and upkeep. Those at home will also eat out less than someone at an office and the entire family should do the same — leftover food helps create leftover funds.

Whether your single-income status is temporary or permanent, this advice applies for the short term and the long haul. Making a plan, spending less and saving may seem intuitive — because they are. It’s very similar to the “secret trick” to losing weight: diet and exercise. However, putting these principles first, discussing your strategies and writing things down can truly make a difference.

Financially Fit Friday 10 Tips For Talking Finances With Your Spouse

10 Tips for Talking Finances with Your Partner

Almost everyone resolves to get in shape when a new year comes around, but your financial fitness is just as important. There’s no better time for talking finances with your partner — spouse, family member, boyfriend, girlfriend, or even your live-in canine therapist — about it than now. So here are 10 tips to help your discussion:

  1. Set a Time
    It’s easy to put off these conversations, so mark your calendar and make it a priority. You can also pair it with something fun, like a dinner date. Use our free ABC Deals program to get some cash back for your purchase.
  2. Lose the Distractions
    Put away your smartphone, turn off the TV, and sit facing each other.
  3. Come Prepared
    Plan ahead and consider productive topics. You can even create a spreadsheet or draw a diagram.
  4. Use Effective Communication
    Reflective dialogue — acknowledging the other person’s feelings, displaying sensitivity, asking questions, and listening carefully to answers — is essential.
  5. Talk About the Personal Meaning of Money
    It’s important to understand what money means to your partner and how it reflects your own philosophy. Talk about saving, spending, and the importance of good credit.
  6. Set a Realistic Budget
    Look at your earnings and expenditures, then create a budget that works for both of you. You can use America First’s Money Manager to accomplish this task.
  7. Focus on Goals, Not Bills
    Talking about individual and shared financial goals, rather than bills, will get you both on the same page.
  8. Don’t Keep Secrets
    Being open and honest about your finances will lead to success.
  9. Take a Break
    Discussing money can be tense and, if things start getting argumentative, take a breather and come back when you’re ready.
  10. Involve the Experts
    America First Credit Union offers free recourses like financial counseling. If things become too overwhelming and you need an expert to guide you through your finances, we’re here to help.

At America First, we provide resources such as free online planning and budgeting programs, investment advisors, and free financial counseling. Take advantage of the assistance that’s available to you. And have a happy (financially fit) new year!

An Exceptional Year of Performance; A Vibrant Future

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

I am pleased to report that 2016 was another outstanding year. Your credit union remains safe, strong, well respected, and positioned for a bright and vibrant future.

To be part of a truly outstanding organization and team–that has among its core principles the mission to improve the financial well-being of its members, as well as the communities in which we live and work–is extremely gratifying. We strive to create meaningful relationships by providing relevant and affordable financial solutions for individuals, families, and businesses.

Significant milestones we reached include surpassing $8 billion in assets, growing to over 800,000 members, and opening new locations in Arizona and Idaho. America First is the 11th largest credit union in the nation in terms of assets and 7th most substantial in membership. While size provides critical mass necessary for a complex and changing world, I believe our growth and success reflects the fact that we offer consistent value, convenience, and high levels of service.

Additional highlights of 2016 include:

  • We opened new locations in Santa Clara, Washington, Jeremy Ranch, and Traverse Mountain, Utah; Summerlin, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; and Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Our first-of-its-kind Innovation Center debuted in Salt Lake’s City Creek Center, showcasing and giving members the opportunity to test and evaluate new technologies and services.
  • Superior service scores & measurements continue to be very strong and are among the best in the nation.
  • We improved call center systems, resulting in dramatic wait time reduction.
  • We received outstanding ratings and reviews from our external auditors and our federal regulator.
  • Member-selected personal identification numbers were made available.
  • A new & free identity theft recovery service was offered to those who use America First Visa® credit cards. This is in addition to our Card Guard® mobile security app that provides real-time credit and debit card control.
  • EMV chip-enabled Visa cards were issued for an extra layer of protection.
  • Our Visa cash-back cards featured a higher rebate level and we enhanced the free ABC Deals™ program.
  • New and improved loan and deposit services for business account holders were delivered.
  • We were again recognized as the number-one auto lender in Utah & the top credit union auto lender in Nevada.
  • Our tradition of being your premier provider of electronic services continued.
  • We developed engaging social media initiatives and demonstrated solid results.
  • Many educational programs for students and teachers in our schools were undertaken.
  • Our dedication to making significant outreach efforts to the communities we serve was evident, including the donation of time, means, and goods to those in need or those who require a helping hand.

As we look forward, you can be certain that America First will remain committed in our resolve to bring you the very best in financial services. I hope 2017 is a year of peace, productivity, and positive outcomes for you and those you love. Thank you for supporting America First Credit Union. We look forward to a lifelong relationship.

Consolidate and Save Big with our Low Visa Rates

Now is the perfect time to transfer your high-rate balances to Visa® from America First.

Plus, when you choose our low-rate credit card, you’ll get:

  • Free ABC Deals™ cash-back program
  • Tons of local discounts & offers
  • Free Card Guard® mobile security
  • Identity theft recovery service
  • No annual fees
  • Many additional benefits

Apply today.

 

Saving Now Will Pay Later

Open a new 12-month dedicated savings account* at America First and we’ll match up to $25 of your initial deposit!

Plus, you’ll benefit from:

  • Competitive returns
  • Convenience & flexibility
  • No opening-balance requirements
  • Safety & security
  • And more

With dedicated savings from America First, your hard-earned money will be there when you need it most.

Get details here.

*Eligibility, terms & conditions required.

Security Update: We Offer ID Theft Recovery Services

We offer exclusive member discounts on a range of identity theft recovery plans.

And if you have one of our Visa® credit cards, you’ll automatically get basic coverage for free!

This fully managed service includes:

∙ An advocate dedicated to your case

∙ Fraud alerts at the three major credit bureaus

∙ Document replacement & transaction remediation

∙ Continuous credit monitoring

∙ Applicable to IRS-qualified dependents

∙ Many additional benefits

If you’re not carrying Visa from America First, apply today. To learn more about ID theft recovery or to purchase upgraded protection, visit us here.