How Credit Unions Can Help You Achieve Financial Wellness

Finances are intimidating. We know it’s important to keep track of our spending and make efforts to build our savings, but it’s never that simple. First-job salaries can be tight, especially when you have student loans and rent to pay. As if working towards our personal finance goals wasn’t hard enough, we aren’t getting much help from the financial institutions we trust with our funds either. In fact, most of us are completely blindsided to the sneaky ways banks are making financial wellness even harder to achieve.

The fact is, banks don’t really care about helping millennials make the most of their money. They set high interest rates to help boost profits for their shareholders and cut rates on savings accounts to limit the growth of your wealth. At the end of the day, banks are businesses and, just like any competitive business, profits are the most important goal.

I may sound distrusting and pessimistic, but it is only because I know there are alternative avenues toward financial wellness that are being overlooked by far too many people. What is this alternative? Credit unions.

Don’t know what a credit union is? That’s okay. Most people have a very limited understanding of what these financial institutions are, let alone the enormous benefits they provide. I’ve put together an infographic to shed some light on this topic and share with you the ways in which credit unions can help you make the most of your money.

Credit Union vs. Banks Infographic

Now that you know more about credit unions, find one near you and join! Not only will your credit union membership give you better rates on financial products, but will also give you the tools you need to achieve financial wellness.

 

Advertisements

Thinking of Relocating? 4 Things You’ll Need to Do First

The past five years of my life have been marked by constant movement. I have spent these past few years relocating from beloved college towns to bustling cities. My journey (so far) looks something like this:

Map of RelocatingEach move came as the result of incredible opportunities that helped me gain professional experience and grow as an individual. But I’ll be honest: The constant instability and uncertainty that came along with each move was overwhelming at times.

Whether you are a recent college graduate searching for your first job or a professional embarking on a new career path, the decision whether or not to move to a new city can be difficult. It can be tempting to jump right into a new adventure, but there are crucial aspects of your life you need to consider before biting the bullet and relocating to a new city.

I had to learn the hard way that many logistical and emotional challenges accompany these major transitions. If you are considering relocating, take a moment to do the following:

Consider your networks

Do you have family or friends in the area that can help to ease your transition? Are you in a serious relationship with someone who has a career established in a different location? Our social networks play a crucial role in our lives, so you will want to consider the opportunities and consequences relocating will have on these relationships.

Reflect on what your first couple months of college looked like if you moved away from home to go to school. Did you thrive by immersing yourself in a new environment and creating new relationships? Or did it take you some time to cope with the separation from your family and friends back home? Looking back on your transition into college can provide you with a strong idea of how you may handle relocating to a new area in which you may have less networks established.

Take a visit

If you haven’t actually been to the area you are looking at, you have to make a trip before you make your decision! Big cities in particular can be represented in movies and on social media as glamorous, dream homes. What we don’t often see in these images is the day-to-day experiences of living in these cities.

Exploring the city will give you the opportunity to get a feel for the culture and see if it seems like it fits well with your values and interests. It can be tricky to get a complete picture of a city’s culture with one trip, so use tools like StreetAdvisor to learn more about specific neighborhoods and places to explore in the area.

Assess your finances

Moving is an expensive endeavor when you consider the cost of moving your belongings, signing a new lease, and buying essentials for your apartment. Think honestly about your income to expenses ratio. This may be your dream city, but is it financially feasible?

Look at apartment prices and average cost of living expenses to evaluate your ability to support your lifestyle financially. You can use tools like the cost of living calculator to compare prices of essentials to give you concrete numbers to reference when outlining a budget. Don’t forget to consider the nonessentials too – you’ll want to have a little extra cash to explore the city and have some fun!

Think long-term

Be honest with yourself: Is this a job that will provide opportunities to grow in the future or is it a first-job-out-of-college situation? You’ll want to be sure that this decision aligns with your values and long-term goals before making the commitment to move. Consider whether you or not you see yourself staying at your workplace or city for the long haul, or if you think of this more as a stepping stone for bigger goals.

 

By doing these four things, you will set yourself up to make the decision that is right for you. Making the decision is only the first step; the Advice from a Twentysomething blog offers 5 steps to follow if you choose to move to the new city. These tips will help ease your transition and get you off to a strong start.

Regardless of the decision you make, take a moment for gratitude for the opportunity in front of you. Having the ability to make a major change and advancement in your life is both a blessing and a direct result of your dedication to your goals. Look at this opportunity with honesty to yourself and openness to your future.