Celebrating Credit Union Youth Week

Wauna Credit Union’s Mission is to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. One of the most important places we demonstrate this core belief is through financial education and helping our members either improving, or starting, their financial setting. Nowhere is this more evident than our commitment to providing our youngest members with the financial start to lead them to a positive lifetime relationship with money. One of the ways we’re doing this is partnering with thousands of credit unions across the country for Credit Union Youth Week, April 24-29.

This week in order to encourage parents to begin their child’s savings, and start that financial conversation with their family we’re doing a few extra things to help our members out.

  • During Credit Union Youth Week, we will match all new member $5 deposits when they open a Jump Start Club savings account for youth from age 0 to 17
  • All new and existing members who make a minimum $5 deposit into their account during the week will be entered to win a $250 prize. Also, each branch will award an additional $50 prize.
  • In addition to matching the first $5 deposited, Wauna Credit Union will donate $1 for every new account opened during Credit Union Youth Week to the local Backpack Program that helps feed hungry children
  • We are also launching two new additions to our Balance education program aimed for children to give them a fun way to learn about money
    • M3 Money Club® for kidsThe M3 Money Club for kids. An immersive kid-friendly adventure featuring superheroes, fun and valuable money lessons
    • Elements of Money for teensThe Elements of Money for teenagers. A financial education, site that gives teens more than 100 podcast episodes, educational articles, eLearning modules and videos

Every person is unique, but most people who save regularly developed the habit early on in life. Learning to understand money and save for long-term goals is a crucial life skill, and one Wauna Credit Union is committed to helping our youngest members achieve. Credit Union Youth Week is just one way we do that.

7 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break Right Now

Bad money habits are more difficult to steer out of than other automated behaviors like driving a car. Why? Financial peace of mind is a much more subtle reward than the satisfaction of navigating a half-ton piece of metal through city streets without death or injury.

Still, every person who is good at money learned good habits, which means you can, too. “What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” told NPR.

Here are seven financial habits you should break before you go broke.Young Millennial in red hoody running down an empty road

1. Stop spending more than you earn

Who do you think you are, the U.S. government? America’s fiscal deficit is projected to be $559 billion in fiscal year 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

How is your own personal deficit? About one in five Americans spend more than they earn and 38% break even, research from the National Financial Capability Study shows. Your goal must be to join the 40% of Americans who spend less than they earn.

2. Stop ignoring your bills

Here’s how not to handle your obligations: When a collection agency calls, you pay the bill. This kind of financial firefighting only guarantees you’ll veer from crisis to crisis as your credit score burns.

Payment history carries huge weight on your financial future; more than one-third of your credit score is judged by your ability to pay your power bill, car insurance and credit cards on time. If you can’t, work out a payment plan with your creditor before it goes to collections.

3. Stop using your credit cards like free money

Credit cards are a weapon in your financial arsenal. Like all armaments, they can be used in strategic defense or to shoot yourself in the foot. Too often, it’s the latter — the average U.S. household with credit card debt has $16,748 of it.

Lady looking in windowThat plastic in your pocketbook is the greatest enabler of bad money habits, allowing you to spend on a whim and forsake all budget plans. Sticking to a budget should be your most faithful money habit.

4. Stop thinking you’re not smart enough

Today, consumers must take control of their own financial lives, whether it’s understanding health insurance or guiding their own 401(k) plans to invest for retirement. Even so, during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, many consumers struggled to understand basic health insurance terms such as “deductible,” a survey by the Kaiser Foundation found.

Learn the lexicon of finance to manage your money better.

“I used to catch myself saying, ‘Investing is hard. I just don’t understand it.’ This gave me permission to avoid learning how to invest,” wrote Ann Marie Houghtailing, author of “How I Created a Dollar Out of Thin Air.” “Now I say, ‘Investing is a skill. You just have to start small.’”

5. Stop making it hard to save

Old habits die hard, and one of the oldest habits is using checks to pay bills or make savings deposits. “Personal finance habits take longer to change than the way you might switch from one smartphone to another. That’s because money is so important to us,” Fred Davis, a professor of Information Systems at the University of Arkansas, told Marketplace.

Set up automatic transfers for bill payments. Also automatically have 10% or more of your paycheck sent directly to your savings account. These two steps will go a long way toward building good money habits and credit scores with little effort.

Two young men giving Spock Live Long and Prosper s

6. Stop complaining about your paycheck

Whatever energy you’re spending complaining about the size of your paycheck takes energy away from finding ways to improve your bottom line. Think you’re being underpaid? Negotiate a raise or at least talk with your boss to understand what’s needed to see a bump in pay. If you’re valued, your supervisor will see the implicit threat that you may leave for a higher-paying job. Start looking for that more lucrative gig while you’re at it.

In the meantime, investigate ways to build other streams of income and seek ways to improve your skills.
7. Stop thinking more cash brings happiness

OK, money does bring happiness, but only to a point. Purchasing experiences and giving to charity have a much longer shelf life for our well-being, research suggests.

Replace bad habits with good ones

Breaking your go-to financial routines will take time and effort. Subbing in habits that improve your bottom line — paying bills on time, using technology and Woman sewingincreasing your income and savings — will be worth the work in the long run.

 

Another great blog from our friends at Nerdwallet!
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April Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is growing fast (if you want to join us check out our careers page). The main reason for that is the great service we provide our members. The reason for that great service is our amazing employees. We caught up with a couple who are having their anniversary this month.

McKenzie Wilson 5 Years
What is your current position?
I am a Real Estate Loan Officer in the Warrenton Branch. I assist members with purchases, refinances and second mortgages, and work with local realtors to help their clients get financing. I love being part of the home-buying process, and I love being part of Wauna Credit Union. I was an intern here right after high school and coming back after working at another financial institution for a McKenzie Wilsoncouple of years was such a great decision. Whether somebody is getting their first house, their fifth, or taking advantage of our great HELOC special to add the master bedroom they’ve always wanted, I get to be part of our members realizing their dreams.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I don’t have one specific favorite memory but I love helping members build their financial well-being as well as helping people purchase their new homes is always such a great feeling. They always say if you love what you do you never work a day in your life, and I really feel like that’s true. In addition to working with our members, I’ve had so much fun with all my coworkers (who are also members). We all like to have fun while helping people out. No matter if I’m talking to people in the Warrenton branch or the other members of the mortgage team who are spread out across Columbia, Clatsop and Western Washington Counties in Oregon, and our new office in Pacific County Washington I’m sure to laugh a bunch during the day.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I’m not at work I love spending time with my husband Vince and our three dogs, Nitro, Torq and Kona. I love anything outdoors…. camping, hunting, fishing and riding our quads and side by side. We recently purchased our first home so anything that has to do with making it ours is a huge passion of mine. I grew up in Knappa, so I knew I would always live here, but actually buying a house makes me feel even more like part of the community.

Ashleigh Sibley 1 Year
What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Consultant. My job is to assist members with a variety of matters and filter out as much as possible from going through the branch directly. My duties are as basic as balance inquires and as complex as Ashleigh Sibley sits at her desktechnology troubleshooting.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I have particularly enjoyed embracing the team and family spirit of Wauna over the last year. When I reach out to any branch I am greeted consistently with effective communication, integrity, and respect from employees. Those characteristics inspire me to return the positive feedback to our members.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
Outside of Wauna I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two children, seeking adventure and making memories.

Others

  • Jeff Parker – 11 years
  • Heather Dixson – 4 years
  • Marci Szlavich – 1 year
  • Jon Rimer – 1 year

Learn More About Your Finances

One of the complimentary benefits all our members receive is a comprehensive financial education program through our partner BALANCE. BALANCE offers free lessons and amazing personal budgeting tools to help our members improve their money management skills. It also provides housing counseling, assistance making a debt repayment plan, a credit report review, and a toll-free information line.tablet on top of books

In April BALANCE is offering a webinar on using your home equity. This is a great opportunity for members looking to take advantage of their largest asset to improve their lives.

If you’re interested you can register for either of the two times below.

 

Session 1: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Register: bit.ly/2jbjlAu

Session 2: Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Register: bit.ly/2jbjlAu

Jobs at WCU – Careers With Growth

Wauna Credit Union has been growing like crazy – even the press is noticing (read more at http://www.thechronicleonline.com/news/wauna-fcu-sees-member-growth/article_99d4159e-1314-11e7-96c1-2f20089c62c2.html). That growth, and our belief in promoting from within, means we have a bunch of new jobs throughout Clatsop County and Columbia County in Oregon.

If you thrive on helping others, consider a career at Wauna Credit Union! Our employees are proud of our “people helping people” philosophy. They work hard to make a difference for others through Wauna CU’s mission and vision. Jobs at WCU are career opportunities in a growing credit union that believes in serving members.

Oregon Business Magazine even recognized us as a “Top 100 Nonprofit” to work for in Oregon.

We put together a short one-minute video to highlight what working for WCU is all about.

A full listing of our job openings can always be found on our Careers Page: https://waunafcu.org/about/careers.shtml

Below is a snapshot of our current openings.

Position: Member Consultant (Multiple)
Location(s):  Astoria, Clastkanie, Warrenton, Astoria, Scappoose, St. Helens Description: This position is directly responsible for the needs of our members in the lobby.  The primary responsibility is to use The Member Advantage™ sales and service principles while greeting and serving members, providing “hip-to-hip” service in a consultative manner.  Position will assist members with: transactions; deposit and loan accounts and services; questions, complaints and member related concerns; procedural and policy concerns; resolution of account problems.  Position will cross sell to meet goals by using AID,INC to identify needs, describe, recommend and sell products and services that are best suited to fulfill the needs of the member and contribute to attainment of CU goals.  This is a non-exempt position.

Position: Lending Support Specialist (Multiple)
Location(s): Clatskanie, Astoria
Description: This position will assist the Loan Department and members with regard to mortgage loan and indirect loan support and will back up consumer loans as needed. Tasks include, but are not limited to: reviewing and understanding credit reports; making decisions on whether to grant loans; processing loan applications and disbursing loans; cross selling by identifying, describing and recommending loan products and services that are best suited to fulfill the needs of the member; counseling members with regard to their credit; answering account questions; making changes to accounts as necessary.

Position: IT Systems Administrator I
Location: Westport
Description: This position is responsible for the daily operations of the credit union technology and information systems. Tasks include, but are not limited to: assist employees with software and hardware problems; hardware purchase, installation, trouble shooting and maintenance; performing system maintenance and backups; serve as IT representative on projects assigned by Information Technology Director; maintain positive vendor relationships.  This is a non-exempt position.

Key Tax Preparation Tips to Cut Stress

Although it comes around every spring, tax season tends to inflict the same headaches year after year. To reduce your stress — and maximize your refund — it’ll help to stay organized and be aware of recent changes to the tax code.

For additional motivation to get on track, keep in mind that the average refund has been about $3,000 in recent years. Even if you don’t expect to get that much back, there are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. But first, you’ll have to file your returns properly, taking advantage of any deductions you might qualify for. Here’s a look at where to get started.

Compiling the necessary information

For starters, you’ll need your W-2 form listing earnings and tax withholdings, which employers typically send out in January or early February. Be sure to have your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number available, as well as those numbers for any dependents you’ll claim. You’ll also need documentation of any income they may have had.

Affordable Care Act penalty

The 2010 Affordable Care Act ushered in one of the most significant tax law changes in recent years. It stipulates that if you didn’t have health insurance for more than three months in 2015 and didn’t qualify for an exemption, you may face a penalty.Portrait of businessman holding calculator

For tax year 2015, taxpayers who lack adequate insurance may be penalized at either 2% of a portion of their income or $325 per adult and $167.50 per child, to a maximum of $975 per family — whichever is higher. Those fees are set to increase in upcoming years, which means it’s a good idea to get insured as soon as possible.

Tax deductions reduce taxable income

Deductions reduce the amount of your income that you have to pay taxes on. Sit down and figure out whether the standard deduction or itemized deductions will work best for you. The former is a set amount that reduces your taxable income depending on your filing status; the latter lets you list qualified expenses separately, such as mortgage interest and local property taxes. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction amount, go with that.

So what kinds of expenses can you deduct? Contributions to eligible organizations and interest on education loans are among the more well-known deductions you can take. Others, such as medical and home office expenses, aren’t as widely used for various reasons. Make sure to look into which of your expenses you can use to reduce your taxable income, which will probably increase your refund. Bear in mind that income limits and expense thresholds may limit these deductions or eliminate them entirely.woman-hand-smartphone-laptop

If you qualify to contribute to a traditional individual retirement account, or IRA, you may be able to shield up to $5,500 of income from taxes — plus $1,000 more if you’re 50 or over — by putting it in an IRA. You have until April 15 to make deductible contributions for the previous year. Withdrawals are subject to income tax, however.

Also, if you’re in a same-sex marriage, stay alert for further changes in the rules governing your tax status and other financial issues.

The bottom line

Completing your tax returns won’t be much fun, but it’s the first step in claiming a refund. Once you’ve filed your returns, you should expect to get what you’re due within three weeks — or in less than half that time if you ask for the money to be directly deposited to a savings or checking account. Just remember to compile all the essential paperwork before getting started, keeping an eye out for tax credits and changes to the tax code.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Happy 50th Birthday to Us

“Wauna Credit Union will be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.” Our vision means a lot to us. It’s how we plan for the future and make sure we are serving our members. It’s with that lens that our 50th birthday today means so much for us.

Fifty years-ago today on March 16, 1967, seven employees of the Crown Zellerbach Paper Company located at the Wauna Mill got together to form a financial corporative for mill employees. Crown Zellerbach eventually became Georgia Pacific, and the financial corporative eventually became Wauna Credit Union, a member-owned, local first financial corporative offering personal banking, business banking, credit cards, home loans, auto loans, personal loans and so much more to residents who live, work, or worship in Columbia County, Clatsop County, Western Washington County (Oregon) and Pacific County (Washington). What started out as seven members became over 23,000 members (and growing), and the first employee Eileen Cheuvront (who eventually became CEO) turned into 100 current employees, all of whom we are proud to call members, and part of the Wauna Credit Union family.

A blog about all our accomplishments isn’t really our style, and would never capture the contributions of our current and past employees, nor the ways our members and the community we serve have helped us become the organization we are.

We’re celebrating today with cupcakes in each of our branches, and would love it if you could stop by and join us. It’s no small feat, but what we’re really excited about is not the last 50 years, but the next 50 (and hopefully beyond). We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our services both in person and making sure we offer the most up-to-date online services to keep meeting member needs for years and years to come.

Serving Our Communities: Funds Raised For Clatsop Community Action

During the last quarter of 2016, Wauna Credit Union staff raised more than $2500 for Clatsop Community Action.  Depending on the year, we have changed charities quarterly or annually. Staff nominates and vote on each organization we support. It is part of the Credit Union culture to support our communities through volunteering and donations, and it carries down from the very top to our front line staff. One of the reasons many of us have chosen to work for a financial cooperative is the philosophy of “people helping people” and our desire to make a positive difference in the communities around us and the world.

For part of 2016, Wauna Credit Union raised money for Clatsop Community

Robert Blumberg, Amy Stocky and Debi Smiley presents a check for $2,543.20 to Elaine Bruce and Viviana Matthews of CCA
Wauna CU presents the check to CCA

Action (CCA). Clatsop Community Action is an incredible organization in Clatsop County that helps fund the food bank, they offer energy assistance for people when money is tight, whether it be a seasonal layoff, sudden unemployment, or just not earning enough. They help low income workers get needed items, offer training programs, and even find housing for those without any. They do so much in the community, it is impossible to imagine Clatsop County without them!

It was with great pride and deep gratitude, that we presented Clatsop Community Action’s tireless director Elaine Bruce with a check for $2,543.20, and more than 50 pounds of personal care items for those who need them. It is great knowing all of these funds will be used to help people in Clatsop County.

The tourism economy, which is a major part of Clatsop County’s business, can be Wauna CU CEO Robert Blumberg and CCA Executive Director Elaine Brucea volatile way to live for those who work within it, much like fishing, it is seasonal. Tourism industry work consists of many low paying jobs – food service, retail, and hotel housekeeping, these jobs typically pay minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. It can be hard to make ends meet. Luckily, CCA is here to help people when ends don’t meet, when the off season lasts just too long, or when bad luck has knocked good people off their feet. CCA is also mostly volunteer run.

The money goes towards CCA clients who have no money for critical items such as diapers, toothbrushes, bus passes, replacing lost identifications needed for job searches and other emergency services that are not served due to limits placed on grant funds do not allow.  Many families have children and are living in their cars or a shelter with little or no money to live on.

Our fundraising is done through a variety of methods, some employees allow for an automatic deduction from each paycheck to go to the charity fund year-round. We also do “Jeans Days” on paydays, in which every employee wearing jeans puts $5 into the fund. Another fundraiser is “Spirit Days”, when on non-payday Fridays staff is encouraged to wear various themed attire, in December every Friday had a special theme, including wearing elf or Santa hats, wearing Silver and Gold, or jerseys of a favorite team. When members see staff dressed down in this clothing or in jeans, they can rest assured, our staff is being philanthropic!

Other ways we raise money for our charities are staff raffles, silent auctions, and with the candy we sell at the teller windows. All of the money raised from the candy sales go right to our charity fund. Occasionally, we enter members and staff into raffles for sporting event tickets or weekends at the beach if they donate a certain amount into our charity fund.

Thank you CCA for all that you do in our community, and for all the people you work so hard to help!

Jon Rimer – Employee of the Quarter


Every quarter Wauna Credit Union celebrates one employee who exemplifies our mission to “Provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being,” and our vision to be “the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.” For January through March that person is Jon Rimer.

Jon has been at WCU for almost a year, serving as the Maintenance Supervisor after a long career at the Kern County California Roads Engineering Department. Along with his team, Jon makes sure that all eight of Wauna CU’s branches are running smoothly. In addition to managing the day-to-day oversight of all of our branches, training center and company cars, Jon also serves as a foreman when things need to beJon Rimer is Wauna Credit Union's employee of the quarter built. He calls the remodel of the flagship Clatskanie branch as his favorite project at the credit union; although at times the demanding work made it the most challenging thing he’s tackled at the credit union as well. Jon points out the people as the best thing about working for Wauna Credit Union, and looks forward to helping people every day.

When not at work Jon enjoys spending time with his family either watching Los Angeles Dodgers games, perhaps that’s why his favorite color is blue, reading Hemming’s Motor News, or watching movies like The Way.

Whatever he’s doing, Jon has more than earned his favorite food, a rib-eye steak. Thanks again for all your hard work Jon from all your teammates at WCU.

Working for Wauna-Current Job Openings

Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair
Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair

Working at Wauna Credit Union is a great experience. Everybody who works here really believes in the benefits of credit unions, that means we have a family environment where everybody cares about each other and cares about doing the best job we can. WCU has seven branches now serving Clatsop County, Columbia County, Western Washington County in Oregon, and Pacific County in Washington. That growth is a direct testament to the members first attitude from our employees – who are members themselves – it makes us incredibly proud.

Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair
We like to have fun at WCU. Anna celebrates becoming the new fire chief in the Astoria branch.

One of the things that WCU believes in is rewarding good work. There are always opportunities to learn new skills, and grow your career. With the credit union’s growth and true commitment to our employees’ careers we now have several job openings that we are actively looking to fill.

All of our jobs are listed on the Wauna Credit Union Careers Page https://waunafcu.org/about/careers.shtml. We are looking for people who thrive on helping others, who care about our members, our community, our environment and each other. People who work at Wauna Credit Union:

  • Embrace the philosophy of People Helping People
  • Serve their community
  • Like working in a FUN environment
  • Take Member satisfaction seriously
  • Believe that integrity matters
  • Want to belong to a thriving organization with a lot of gumption

If you, or somebody you know, fits the bill and is looking for a career doing any of the following apply today.

  • Lending Support Specialist – Clatskanie
  • Lending Support Specialist – Astoria
  • Member Consultant – Peak Hour – Astoria
  • Member Consultant, Peak Hour (20 per week) – Warrenton
  • Virtual Teller – Astoria