A New and Improved WaunaTalk

Do you love Wauna Credit Union’s award-winning* financial education podcast WaunaTalk. Are you tired of going to YouTube to listen to it? Have no fear, WaunaTalk is now available in audio only format. In addition, you can download WaunaTalk from your favorite podcast directory, including Apple Podcasts, Sticher, Spotify, TuneIn, and Google Podcasts.

In our newest episode Laura from our Operations team talks about some new approaches scammers are taking during the pandemic. After you listen to Laura’s podcast, take a trip down memory lane with all of the WaunaTalk episodes, which cover everything from buying a house to improving your credit.

*2018 recepient of the I think it’s very good what you’re doing award. Given by the author’s mom, and not representative of actual podcast awards.

Protecting Your Credit During COVID-19

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, your credit might be the last thing on your mind. During emergencies, however, you should know the state of your finances and keep credit on your radar.

Normally, your credit report is available every 12 months from all three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Given the vast number of consumers’ financial health being impacted by the current economic conditions, online access to your report is now available on a weekly basis. Visit annualcreditreport.com and follow the prompts.

There are four main ways you can acquire your score, including checking your credit card or other loan statements, talking to a non-profit certified credit counselor, using a credit score service (be sure you know what you are signing up for and how much it really costs!), or buying a score directly from one of the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax.

There are additional ways you can be proactive with your credit. Follow these steps to help keep your credit on solid footing.

  1. Pay your bills on time, if you can.
    Even if it gets difficult, try to make at least the minimum payment by their due date. Late payments negatively affect your credit score.
  2. Contact your creditors and service providers.
    If you get to a point where you can’t pay all your bills, contact your creditors and any service providers such as utilities, phone company, etc.
  3. Check your credit regularly.
    Now is a critical time to make sure your credit reports are accurate. If you identify potential fraud, you can respond before it damages your credit.
  4. Be extra protective of your identity.
    Unfortunately, during times of crisis, scams and identity theft are at an all-time high. Protecting your personal information is essential. You can place a free security freeze on your credit files which prevents people from accessing your personal information and using your name to apply for credit.
  5. Get financial assistance, if needed.
    Certified credit counselors can offer advice on how to repay your debts in a manageable way.
  6. Dispute inaccurate information.
    If you find inaccurate information when reviewing your credit report, you can file a dispute with each credit bureau. Each bureau has an online dispute center, which is the quickest way to file a dispute.

How to Order Your Credit Report
Don’t contact the credit reporting agencies individually. The free reports are available only through annualcreditreport.com and 1-877-322-8228.

You’ll need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you’ve moved in the last two years, you may need to provide your previous address. For security purposes and to verify your identity, you may be asked for information only you would know, like your monthly mortgage payment.

Beware of “Imposter” Websites
The only website authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are legally entitled to is annualcreditreport.com. Other sites that claim to offer “free credit report” or “free credit monitoring” aren’t part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program and in some cases have strings attached to the “free” product being advertised.

Report Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for you–the consumer–to prevent fraud and unfair business practices in the marketplace. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC (ftc.gov/complaint) and/or the Attorney General of your state.

No matter what, alongside your physical health, the state of your financial health and wellness should be a top priority. Of course, you can always visit waunafcu.org for more information or to meet directly with a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team.

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!
© Copyright 2017 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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.