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About SAFE > Top Ten Steps to Financial Well-Being
Be empowered to change the way you bank and improve your family's financial well-being! Through slight changes in how you approach your finances, you can improve your monthly cash flow, save more and more often, and realize your goals.

Pay yourself first.

Find ways to make budgeting easier. When automatically allocating a portion of your paycheck to savings, you’ll achieve the main objective of following a budget – reaching your financial goals. Paying yourself first will help you to manage your money better while building your savings. Take advantage of your company’s retirement plans and get the maximum company match. SAFE can help you create a savings plan, maximize your IRA contributions, and set up automatic and recurring deposits to savings.

Become a homeowner.

Homeownership is still a good investment, both in the appreciation of the house itself and ensuring a secure retirement. Homeowners tend to have higher credit scores, which leads to lower rates on other loans. Plus, the interest you pay on your mortgage may be deductible. SAFE can make achieving homeownership easier. We offer a wide variety of affordable home loan programs that can help you buy your first home or your next home, or make you more financially comfortable in your current home.

Insure your life, your health, and your paycheck.

Life expectancy is much longer these days, and it’s important to prepare financially for a long, healthy life. You need to protect your family against the loss of a wage earner, the costs of a major illness, and health care after retirement. SAFE can assist you with mortgage insurance that will pay off your home in the event of death or disability of a vital wage earner. Choose the coverage that makes sense for your family, and ensure that the amount is sufficient to protect your dependents and your income. Conduct an annual review of your insurance coverages.

Diversify your assets.

History proves that a mix of assets is a sound investment strategy. Stocks, real estate, credit union savings, bonds, and insurance are all good building blocks for financial security. SAFE can help you diversify and manage your assets so that you are protected if one asset type declines in value.

Maintain good credit.

Managing credit wisely is an important aspect of a comprehensive financial plan. Lenders review your credit report to determine how well you manage credit. If you manage your credit poorly, you will pay a much higher interest rate and you will qualify for less credit. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of three nationwide credit bureaus every year. SAFE can help you interpret your credit report and provide tips to help you improve your credit, so you may qualify for the lowest interest rates. You may also wish to use a credit monitoring service and ID theft insurance to protect your credit.

Invest in your education and training.

The best asset you have is your wage-earning ability. Make sure you develop and enhance your skills to meet the needs of the ever-changing job market. SAFE can provide you and your family with the best savings and financing solutions to further your education and training.

Pay off high-rate credit cards.

Credit card debt can be a significant obstacle to getting ahead financially. It’s easy to forget that we’re spending real money when we use credit cards to pay for a purchase, large or small. Despite our good intentions to pay high-rate balances off quickly, the reality is that we often don’t, and we end up paying far more for purchases than if we would have paid with cash. Credit definitely has its place in a well-designed financial plan, though using it wisely takes planning and discipline.

Achieve the level of financial well-being to enjoy life.

Financial well-being requires a plan. And, you can take many small steps towards the standard of living you want to achieve, including coordinating your retirement strategies, Social Security benefits, personal savings, and investments. SAFE can help you with expert advice, planning tools, savings accounts, investments, loans, insurance, and other services that will help you have the financial freedom to enjoy life.

Keep good records.

Maintaining good records of all your financial activities is the foundation to a well-designed financial plan. Plus, it can pay big dividends at tax time. If you’re unorganized now, you’re probably not claiming all your allowable income tax deductions and credits. SAFE has easy-to-use online tools to help you track spending and get organized. Set up a system now and use it all year. It’s much easier than scrambling at tax time, only to miss items that might have saved you money.

Measure your progress.

After you develop a plan, you need to track your progress. Keep track of your net worth and how it changes. Keep a list of all your assets (home, investments, credit union savings, vehicles, and any other financial assets) and a list of your liabilities (mortgage, other loans, and debts). Your net worth is the difference between your assets and your liabilities. SAFE can help you measure your net worth and monitor progress towards your personal long-term goals.

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