The Importance of Financial Education

One of the things that makes Wauna Credit Union special is our Mission to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. If you live, work, attend school or worship in Clatsop County, Columbia County, Western Washington County, or Pacific County Washington, we want to help you realize your financial goals. Sometimes, that is very hands by providing personal loans, mortgages or credit cards to help you grow. We pride ourselves on is our commitment to helping provide financial education to all our members. Sometimes this takes the form of our credit enhancement program, where we sit down with a member whose credit isn’t quite where they want it to be, and go over their credit report and help them make a plan to improve it. But financial education isn’t only us telling members what they need to do, one of the features we offer is BALANCE, which offers a ton of ways for members to take control of their finances.

What is BALANCE

BALANCE gives members the training they need to take control of their finances

BALANCE offers amazing personal budgeting tools to help our members improve their money management skills. Some of the things it offers are housing counseling, assistance making a debt repayment plan, a credit report review, and a toll-free information line, all free to Wauna Credit Union members. BALANCE also offers educational modules on a variety of subjects related to money, saving and spending goals. Read the modules or listen to many of them on podcasts and improve your relationship with money forever.

MoneyDesktop and MoneyMobile

MoneyDesktop can give members a snapshot of how their money is spent

MoneyDesktop is available directly from Online Banking. It gives members an easy and secure way to track finances and budget. You can add any account you want, whether it’s with us, or somebody else to get a full view of how you spend your money. Members can also download the free MoneyMobile app and take all of that information with you wherever you go.MoneyDesktop & MoneyMobile allow members to visualizes their spending as well. They both are great ways to offer help you take control of your finances.

We really hope that members can take advantage of these great free programs Wauna CU offers.

 

Meet Danea Passmore Senior Vice President of Strategic Implementations

Wauna has many talented and amazing people who work for us, including Danea Passmore who recently was promoted to the Senior Vice President of Strategic Implementations. The Wonderful World of Wauna caught up with Danea to talk about her time here, and find out more about what she does, and what motivates her.

How long have you been at Wauna? I have been employed at Wauna for 11 ½ wonderful years!

What is your new position at WCU? My current position is SVP, Strategic Implementations. My vision is to lead and build a strategic team that improves our products & services; implements innovative technology, and ensures that members hear about all the ways we can help them achieve their financial opportunities.

What do you like most about your new job? I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and figuring out what we can do to help our borrowers in Clatsop, Columbia, Washington and Pacific Counties. While banks worry about products that make money, we get to think about ways to help people. The credit union believes in Integrity Coaching and The Member Advantage (TMA), which help us communicate effectively with members, and really listen to them.  For the past two years, I was certified in Integrity Coaching and TMA and provided training to all staff.   Through the strategic implementation process, I hope to lead with integrity, collaboration, cooperation, and build team synergy.

What do you think makes WCU special? Wauna Credit Union is special because of our people. We are people that have vision, passion, and purpose. We are proud of the fact that we make a difference every day when we show up with purpose. Another thing that is so special about Wauna is that we truly care about

Danea with Rex Johnson at the University of Lending

our employees, community and our members. Each day, we seek to provide opportunities to take members from where they are to where they want to be. We are people helping people!

What is your favorite memory or testimonial of working with a member?

One of my favorite examples of this was during my time as the Operations Manager in the Clatskanie branch. We had a member that was overseas having trouble purchasing train tickets.  His train was getting ready to leave without him…….We were literally running up and down the stairs trying to sort out the issue with Visa, keeping the member on the phone until finally the charge was approved.  He made the train by minutes. We’ll never quit on a member and will do everything we can to help because we care.

Since I’ve done so much with The Member Advantage, I get to work with our internal members (i.e. employees) too! I recently had somebody that put me to

You can often find Danea out on the river.

tears unexpectedly during a TMA homework call.  Validate Yourself, Your Credit Union, and Your Products and Services a key section of the process.  This person gave a list of positive traits about her teammates on the call.  She had only met these people once and so the words she chose were even more special:   kind-hearted, true problem-solver, caring, takes charge, responsible for well-being,

charismatic, well organized, researcher, serve our members, understands the needs, validating spirit, understands why we do what we do, making members feel secure, dedication, great insight, building trust, problems are followed up on and fixed, patient, reassuring, listens, and loves the Wauna family really hit me. Putting me to tears is difficult, but sometimes every once in a while, someone touches your heart and you react.

How to Save for Retirement

It’s never too early to start putting away money for your future. If you’ve ever wondered how to save for retirement when you’re also dealing with day-to-day expenses, these easy tips can help.

1. Get a rough estimate of retirement expenses

It may seem difficult to know how much money you’ll need in retirement, especially if it’s several decades away. Experts say that to keep your same standard of living, you’ll probably need at least 70% of your pre-retirement income.

The reason you probably won’t need 100 percent is because some costs, such as commuting expenses or child care, probably won’t be necessary in retirement. If you already have a budget for your current expenses, then it’s probably easy to get a rough idea of what you may need when you retire.

2. Decide on a savings target

Say you’re 25 years old and your living expenses are about $50,000 a year. Take 70% of that, and it means you’d probably need about $35,000 to retire comfortably, assuming your income remains the same until retirement. So you’d want a nest egg that provides about $35,000 annually.

Many financial experts suggest that you withdraw only about 4% of your retirement savings each year to help ensure that it lasts. That means to get $35,000 in income, you’d need a savings target of about $875,000.

It’s a lot of money, but by using a retirement calculator, you could find that there’s a good chance you could reach your goal by age 61 if you start saving 10% of your income each year. This number assumes your savings earn 7% annually. If your income increases before retirement, you’d probably also need to increase your savings target.

If you can’t quite put away 10% — or whatever your goal percentage is — while also keeping up with your regular expenses, consider starting with a smaller amount and gradually increasing the percentage of income you save until you reach your goal.

You may also have other income sources in retirement, such as Social Security or a pension plan. Look at the Social Security calculator to get an idea of what your monthly benefits might be when you retire and add that to your retirement calculations.

Bear in mind that an income of $35,000 will probably have much less spending power in 40 years than it does today because of inflation, so it’s smart to consider cost-of-living increases in your savings target. It may be a good idea to make an appointment with a certified financial planner to help you weigh your options.

3. Contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement plan

In addition to knowing what percentage of income you should save each year, you’ll also want to decide where to put your money. If your employer offers a traditional or Roth 401(k), consider enrolling. This is especially important if your company offers an employer match, because a match is like adding free money to your retirement savings. You could also contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA.

With traditional retirement plans, you receive an upfront tax deduction for the money you contribute. You then let that savings grow and allow the interest to compound. You’d pay income tax on any money you withdraw, and you’d also have additional early withdrawal penalties if you take money out before age 59½.

With Roth plans, you pay tax on your contributions, but you don’t have to pay tax on your withdrawals if you retire after age 59½.

When you put your money in a retirement savings plan, you’ll have a number of different investment options to consider, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

4. Put your savings on autopilot

Once you’ve established your retirement plan, consider setting up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck or bank account. It would be much easier to meet your savings goals when your money has a chance to grow uninterrupted over a period of years.

Learning how to save for retirement is important, but it doesn’t have to be hard. By coming up with a savings goal and contributing regularly to a retirement account, you can help make sure you’ll be able to meet your financial goals for the long term.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Congratulations McKenzie Wilson Producer of the Year

At the annual Winter Celebration held on December 10, 2016, Wauna Credit Union CEO & President Robert Blumberg handed out 10 awards to outstanding employees. The most coveted award of 2016 Producer of the Year went to McKenzie Wilson, Real Estate Loan Officer at the Warrenton branch.

The reward was a surprise to McKenzie but well deserved. She was sitting with her husband Vince listening to her boss Monica Lauber, VP of the Mortgage Department give the final award of the evening, when she slowly realized Monica was talking about her.

McKenzie started as an intern at WCU during high school. She left for a few years after graduation and decided to come back to WCU. She will celebrate her 5-year anniversary at WCU this year, and knows there will be many more to come.

She said the most satisfying thing about her job is getting first time buyers into a home and helping people consolidate their debt with Home Equity Line of Credit loans. “I grew up in Knappa, so I’m not just getting loans for strangers. The members we work with were my friends growing up and their families. It’s very rewarding to be able to help them realize their dreams.”

This year is already looking to be even better than last. With the expansion of the mortgage team and the continual emphasis on making sure WCU is serving the members McKenzie sees nothing but opportunity and success in the year ahead. “We’re really working well together as a team. We have fun when it’s time to have fun, and work hard when it’s time to work hard. This year is already looking to be even better than last. “The coast is really busy this year,” McKenzie said. “I told my boss this year I want a pink one! “

Meet Monica Lauber Vice President of Mortgage

Wauna has many talented and amazing people who work for us, including Monica Lauber who recently was promoted to the Vice President of our Mortgage Department. The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with Monica to talk about her time here, and find out more about what she does, and what motivates her.

How long have you been at Wauna? I’ve been at Wauna for 13 incredible years. I started in the Warrenton Branch as an MCR and moved over to the Lending Department in 2005.

What is your new position at WCU? I am the now the VP of Mortgage. I’ve been managing the Mortgage department since 2013, and have seen us grow to continue to meet the needs of our members.

What do you like most about your new job? There are so many things I like love about my job. I have an amazing team that I have built over the years. Most of which have been promoted from within. We all believe in Wauna’s mission and vision statements and strive to deliver positive experiences to our members every day. I look forward to continuing to build on that success for the department and the credit union as a whole. We are growing more and more every day!

What do you think makes Wauna Credit Union special? Our Leadership Team and Board of Directors listen to the needs of our members and the communities we serve. They allow me to create and structure products unlike a bank or mortgage broker. The mortgage industry changes every day,

Monica poses with her team at the Wauna CU Mortgage Origination Office groundbreaking last August. Cookies from Pink Poppy Bakery.

and I strive to be ahead of the game for the benefit of our membership. We are not for profit and we truly care about our membership and their financial well being.

What is your favorite memory of working with a member? You saved the best for last. However that’s a very tough question! I have had the pleasure of working in all of our branches over the years and I continue to travel them weekly.

There have been so many memories that I have gained over the years.

I’ve helped our members from buying their first home and then worked with them again to remodel that home to meet their growing needs. I look at each interaction with our members and strive for them to choose us for all their financial needs, not just for a mortgage..

We live by Wauna’s mission statement Wauna Credit Union will be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.  It is important for us to live by those words, because that gives us lots more membership memories. It’s what makes me love what I do, every day!

5 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

A brand new year provides the perfect opportunity to make meaningful life changes, including improved financial wellness. These five financial resolutions can help get your year off to a promising start.

Piggy bank and coins

1. Get on budget

Take charge of your finances by creating a budget. Start by calculating after-tax income and subtracting fixed monthly expenses. Then allocate portions of the remaining income for savings, important goals and a few things that just make you happy. If this sounds complicated, relax; today’s user-friendly budget apps can take a lot of the pain out of the process. To further simplify money matters, consider setting up automatic bill pay, an automatic savings plan and separate savings accounts for specific goals.

2. Build an emergency fund

Without a solid cushion, any unexpected job loss, medical challenge or serious property damage could lead to lasting financial hardship. An emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses can protect your standard of living and offer peace of mind. Commit to making consistent deposits to this fund even if you can only spare a small amount each month. Because you may need to tap into emergency cash at a moment’s notice, choose a vehicle that gives you easy access, such as a savings or money-market account.

3. Prepare for retirement

Retirement may not be on the immediate horizon, but when the time comes it may well last 20 years or more. You’ll probably need somewhere from 70 to 90% of your final-year income for each year of retirement, and it’s unlikely that Social Security will be sufficient. Saving such a sizeable sum takes decades, so it pays to start early. Put as much as you can afford into tax-advantaged Roth or traditional IRAs, and if your job provides a 401(k) plan, contribute the maximum employer-matched amount.

4. Improve your credit

You likely know that credit scores affect financing approval and interest rates. But the influence of those three little numbers actually stretches much further. Prospective employers and landlords frequently check credit, so low scores may mean missing out on the best jobs and apartments. Credit scores also may affect insurance premiums, mobile phone offers, vacation costs, and even whether utility hookups require a cash deposit. For top scores:

  • Pay all bills on time.
  • Keep credit card balances at no more than 20% to 30% of the credit limit.
  • Carry a mix of debt types such as credit cards, auto loans and personal loans.
  • Monitor credit to catch and correct any errors or problems.

5. Knock down debt

Even with a great job, high-interest debt can sabotage financial health. To dig out from under this burden, consider concentrating efforts on your highest interest debt first while continuing to make timely smaller payments on all other obligations. When the first balance is satisfied, focus on the most expensive remaining debt and continue this way until you’re debt-free.

If debt from multiple sources is unmanageable, debt consolidation may help you regain control. This approach streamlines debts into one payment, often with reduced interest and a lower monthly cost. Depending on your individual situation, home equity financing, personal loans or zero interest balance transfer credit cards may be effective debt consolidation choices.

Smart money resolutions boost financial stability not just immediately but over the long haul as well. The bonus takeaway is the confidence that all life’s remarkable milestones and challenges won’t break the bank.

 

Another great blog from our friends at Nerdwallet!

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Holiday Recipes from our staff! E-book of recipes!

1christmas swirl cookies 007[1]Download: Holiday Recipes from our Staff

It’s the season of baking and cooking for family and friends, of parties and potlucks! A few years back, we gathered favorite recipes from our staff, and we share the link here.

If you are looking for a new recipe to try, take a spin through the PDF above. There’s everything from hot dips to traditional cookies in these pages. Some are from scratch and some have easy shortcuts, try a new one out this year.

You might find a new family tradition!

Happy Holidays from Everyone at Wauna Credit Union!

EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER: Megan Gillespie, Operations Guru

EOQ-Megan-circleWe have an amazing team here at Wauna Credit Union, there is no doubt about that! Our staff is dedicated to truly helping our membership and doing good work, but there are certain staff members that take that hard work and care to the extreme, and these people often become our Employee of the Quarter!

For the 4th quarter of 2016, our standout employee is Megan Gillespie!

Megan is a longtime Clatskanie resident, and has worked in a variety of positions and locations here at Wauna CU. In a tight race of great people, Megan was voted Employee of the Quarter by fellow staff members, which ought to demonstrate just how amazing she is! Megan is known throughout the organization as someone that can be counted on to assist is any instance, she has been referred to as ‘Inspector Gadget’ for her ability to make things work, and she is extremely pleasant and kind.

The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with this quarter’s winner to find out more about this exceptional human:

Hurray for Megan! Congratulations!

 Name: Megan Gillespie

Title: (currently) Lending Admin Assistant

How long have you worked at WCU? 9 yrs and 2 months

What do you do at Wauna CU? I assist with the back office side of lending including titles, paid off loans, claims, etc. in addition to assisting the Operations Department.

What does Operations do for the CU? Operations does all the behind-the-scenes work in conjunction with Accounting and Compliance that helps the credit union function smoothly for the membership. This includes the processing of credits and debits, assisting the front-line staff with questions and member service so they can in turn provide excellent member service to our membership.

Where are you from, what did you do before you came to work here? I’ve been in Clatskanie since 1988 and worked in food service at Hump’s before joining the Wauna family.

What is the best thing about working here? The people, hands down. What’s more awesome than a group of people who love helping others that also just happens to be right in your backyard?

What is something you do at work as far as duties that might surprise people? Processing holiday skip-a-pays.

Favorite color, why? Green, I just have always liked it.

Favorite food? Cheese.

Zodiac sign? Taurus.

What do you do when you aren’t at work? I like to travel.

What is your favorite Wauna CU product or service?  Why?

Last good movie you saw? Deepwater Horizon

Last good book you read? A Christmas Carol

Favorite musical? Why? Kinky Boots, great story/message and Cyndi Lauper wrote all the music!

 

Smart Money: Best Moves for 20-Something Investors

Investing early makes saving for retirement much easier!

When it comes to investing early in life, you likely have two things on your side: time and flexibility. Although a 2015 survey found that most millennials don’t think they’ll have enough money saved for retirement, investing is one way to help build wealth for the future. Here are some of the best investments you can make in your 20s.

Real estate

If you have enough money set aside for a down payment, consider buying a home with rentable space, so you can live in one section and rent out the rest. Any rent you receive can help cover the mortgage and other expenses; the tax benefits of homeownership are substantial, and the home’s value will likely rise over time.

However, owning property comes with added costs, such as insurance, taxes and maintenance, while related income can drop if rental space goes unoccupied. There’s also the risk that property values might decline or rise only slowly, and if you wind up with an unruly tenant, evictions can be time-consuming and expensive. Unlike selling stocks or investment funds, you might find it harder to sell a home, should that become necessary. Property ownership generally should be regarded as a long-term investment.

401(k) plans

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, it’s a good idea to participate and see whether a Roth option is available. If it is, you can designate some or all of your contributions for a Roth 401(k), which means you forgo an immediate tax benefit, but withdrawals, including any investment gains, are generally tax-free. Younger investors are often in a better position to invest in riskier vehicles such as stocks as part of their retirement accounts, because they have more time to recoup any losses they may suffer.

Index funds, or funds that track the index of a specific financial market, are typically an easy-to-manage way for investing in the stock market. From 2005 to 2015, for example, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks grew an average of roughly 8% per year. While past performance doesn’t indicate future returns, $5,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund that gains 8% annually, with $60 a month added to the investment, would produce a nest egg of about $200,000 in 35 years.

Of course, there are other alternatives such as investing in individual stocks or commodity funds. As you get closer to retirement, it’s smarter to take a less-risky approach by shifting money to more conservative investments such as government bonds. (Some brokers offer mutual funds that will do the rebalancing for you, investing heavily in stocks when you’re younger and moving the money more toward bonds as you approach retirement age.)

Roth IRA

If you don’t have a Roth 401(k) option, then a Roth IRA can be another way to accumulate tax-free wealth. These come with a contribution limit of $5,500 annually, along with other income-based restrictions. These funds can be invested similarly to a 401(k).

Keep in mind that investing retirement funds can expose you to the risk of losses. If you prefer the lowest possible risk, certificates of deposit offered by banks and similar savings certificates available from credit unions are generally insured for up to $250,000 but deliver relatively low returns.

As you decide how to invest your money, remember that starting now can make a big difference in determining the amount of money you’ll end up with later on, as any retirement calculator will indicate. Assess what investments make sense for you based on the money you have and the risk you’re willing to take to give your financial future a good boost.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thanks to our friends at NerdWallet for this informative post.

EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER: Jacob Humphries, IT Systems Admin

jacob-circleJacob  Humphries is our reigning Employee of the Quarter (EOQ), and it’s no surprise given his expertise in all matters technological.

The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with our busy tech guru to get some questions answered. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that most of his answers were very short – except the one about video games – A techie to the core!

If you happen to see Jacob in a branch, be sure to say hi!

Name: Jacob W Humphries

Title: Systems Administrator II

How long have you worked at WCU? Little over 2 Years

What do you do at Wauna CU? If it uses electricity, I make sure it keeps doing so…

Where are you from, what did you do before you came to work here? I’m from Astoria, Ive been doing IT since the 90s

What is the best thing about working here? Each of the employees, We have an awesome Wauna family

Favorite color, why? Green, I enjoy nature!

Favorite food? Ice Cream, It’s a food, right?

Zodiac sign? Taurus

What do you do when you aren’t at work? I have 2 energetic kids so there is little time left for hobbies, but when I do have time, I build and race multirotor drones.

What is your favorite Wauna CU product or service? Why? Mobile banking, I use it more than any other service.

Last good movie you saw? Star Trek Beyond

Last good book you read? ‘It’s Your Ship’ by Captain D Michael Abrashoff

Favorite video game? I was a Halo fan until they killed off Master Chief at the end of the third game. I packed away the Xbox never to touch a game console again. I like Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront on PC.  My favorite game of all time was Day of Defeat. It was a WW1 FPS game on the PC, Axis vs Allies. There was a third team called spectators which you could join to just view the game as if you were a ghost. We found a way to join the spectator team right after being killed and drop from the sky holding the last gun that was in your hands prior to your death. Since there was no player model for the spectator, Allies would see the Spectator as an Allie and Axis saw the same spectator as being in Axis Clothes, Each team would think we were on their team. When a Spectator would capture a flag or hold a control point, the game would just remove said flag, Thus ending the normal game play completely as nobody could get the flag after it was gone. If they ever killed one of us, we would just drop from the sky once more the moment we got shot. We would get into a server, stop the normal game, then hide in buildings and shoot anyone who got too close. Soon Axis and Allies were cooperating to find us and end the madness, Since we always looked like a friendly soldier and never an enemy, this created distrust amongst the real players and they would shoot each other as the whole game devolved into anarchy. Think Cylons of WW1.

Are all tech people sci-fi geeks? Not all but to succeed in tech one should be capable of imagining where tech might be in the future in order to foresee the innovations one can make.