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

2016 Anniversaries

There are a lot of great things about Wauna Credit Union’s employees. One of them is that they are all members too. Another, is that they like working here so much they stay a long time. We caught up with some of the people who had anniversaries in 2016 to find out who they are, and what they like to do.

10 Years

Brianna Malcom

What is your position at WCU? I am a communications center representative III. We answer phones, give balances, help with online banking, take loan applications, take payments, do transfers, help you find the closest shared branching to members, process the returned mail, process verifications for businesses regarding our members accounts, and much more. I started out as a teller, then went to vault teller, then head teller, then new account specialist, then I moved in to the communication center which by far has been my favorite position of all since we do a little bit of everything so every day is different and you never know what to expect.

What do you like most about your job at WCU? How Wauna credit union employees are like family. We are a close knit group of individuals who all love our job. I also love being able to help our community with their personal/business financial institution needs.

What is your favorite memory or testimonial of providing great service to a member? We have a few regular members that call in at least once a day if not more. I have a few instances that I love… I don’t really have one that just stands out to me. We help them with Transfers, getting their balances, inquiries regarding transactions on the account, and some of them just like to chat with us. See how everything is going, how our day is, how the weather is, what plans we have this weekend. I have one specific member who loves to talk to me and she will call in and ask to only speak with me.

5 Years

Kailynn Fischer

What is your current position? I am the Operation Specialist for the Credit Union. As the Operation Specialist, I offer support to all of our front line staff when they have questions or need help. I manage our escrow accounts, audit new accounts, process garnishments, subpoenas and levies and assist with projects such as conversions and rolling out new products and services. I also give second approval for the EFT Clerk and back up Card Services.

What do you like most about your job? The thing I enjoy most about my job at Wauna CU is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I go home at the end of the day. I enjoy taking the lead on projects and seeing them through to completion. And I love being able to help our front line staff offer exceptional member service.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? One of my favorite memories from the past five years is helping an elderly gentleman who was a long-time member get a loan for a new battery for his scooter. He was unable to get around without the use of a scooter and had become house bound, and being on a fixed income he was unable to pay cash for a new one. The member’s ratios did not fit our lending guidelines, but after hearing our member’s story Norm, our VP of Consumer Lending, made the exception to approve the loan without hesitation. I drove to the member’s apartment to have him sign the paperwork and after getting the loan disbursed I went and picked up the battery and delivered it to his home to be installed. He was back on the road and was so appreciative of what Wauna had done for him.

Michael Woods

What is your current position? My current position is Lending Support Specialist I (LSSI). Some of my primary duties are underwriting loans, working and maintaining relationships with the dealerships,  assisting the mortgage department, funding loan packets, assisting the branches with their loans and occasionally assisting collections.

What do you like most about your job? I most like the learning that I have experience.  I have learned so much and I believe it has developed me into being a more complete employee. The position I am in has a lot of variety and each situation is unique so it keeps things very interesting.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? I enjoy helping any member, anytime, anyplace, but I do have a favorite. There was a member who was having a rough time. He was expecting his seventh child and he had just purchased a van from California. The seller misled him about licensing and title work and he needed to get the issue resolved quickly. I was currently working on an Auto Answers deal and was going to be visiting the that day. I called my contact at the DMV and explained the situation and she told me everything I needed to do to help the member. After getting the necessary documents prepared I called the member and told him to meet me at DMV. After a long wait at the DMV he got everything he needed and left. He then called the communication center and asked to speak with the manager. He explained everything I did and asked that the message be passed on to my supervisor. I still see him around town and he always thanks me and shakes my hand.

Sara Kulp

What is your current position? My current position here at Wauna is the training Manager. I just recently made the switch over from the MSM position. I’m looking forward to my new adventures after spending some time in the branches.

What do you like most about your job? For the MSM I loved the fact that each day was different and crazy busy. I loved the challenges of the day, helping the members grow and work alongside an amazing team.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? My favorite memory of great service happened to be with a long member. He came in and was inquiring about some charges on his account. The charges were from Paypal and he wasn’t familiar with them. I pulled him aside and helped him call Paypal. At the time he was in his late 80’s and hard of hearing so he was very appreciative that I was willing to call for him. I was able to get a representative on the phone for him and it seemed that someone had been using his accounts for some time to pull a check out of his Paypal account, which was coming from his checking account. We were able to dispute the charges and receive most of his funds back. He was so appreciative and such a kind and wonderful gentlemen. He passed away this last February and it completely broke my heart. I was glad to have the opportunity to get know him and give him the trust and respect that he deserved.


  • Jeff Parker – 10 Years
  • Teresa Wemmer – 10 Years
  • Mark Silva – 5 years



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.


The Clatskanie Sign Returns From Its Makeover!

New Clatskanie Signs Mark another Milestone in the Wauna CU Branch Remodel

Wauna CU’s Clatskanie branch had some Special deliveries recently! The monument sign that sits atop a Sphinx-like brick structure has returned with a new, modern face. A new Wauna logo sign appears atop the front door entrance of the branch, AND a brand new LCD display was affixed to the building, ready to share the time, weather and great information to all passersby!

IMG_2357.JPG IMG952345

The Clatskanie branch has been going through a major renovation since April of this year and is finally nearing completion. Phase 4, which includes the second floor operations and administration areas, will soon be finished to accommodate our growing organization and give staff a more modern facility to work in.

IMG_2328.JPG IMG_2343 IMG_2336

The updated outdoor signage is just another leap in this process. Earlier we launched our new “Financial Center” for members, and out staff was given additional training to allow them to help the member from the beginning to the end of their transaction – whether it’s a simple deposit or a home loan, our Member Consultants are ready, willing and able to assist.

Stay tuned for news on our Grand Re-opening coming this fall!