July 7, 2020 by Space Coast Credit Union
COVID-19 has impacted all of us. You may be concerned about future retirement plans or the economy in general. Others may be experiencing financial hardship due to a job loss. During times of uncertainty, you need a trusted partner and SCCU is here for you. We have solutions if you’re facing financial hardship, online resources to help you manage your money, and a new financial wellness section of our website (SCCU.com/Financial-Wellness
) featuring financial tips. Below are some helpful ideas to get you started.
1. Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a safety net in the event of unexpected medical bills, repairs, or job loss. The general rule of thumb is to save three to six months worth of living expenses. If you don’t already have a fund, you can take small steps by trimming the fat from your monthly budget. Eating out one less time per week would save approximately $40 per month, equating to $480 annually. At SCCU, your membership includes a savings account. You can automate your savings plan by splitting your direct deposit to allocate a portion of your pay to go into savings, or schedule automatic transfers from your checking into your savings account using Online Banking. Three steps to begin today:
1. Set a Savings Goal – It’s recommended to save 20% of your income, before expenses.
2. Pay Yourself First – Automating your savings ensures you aren’t tempted to spend that money before putting it away.
3. Pay Down Debt - Reduce excess spending and high-interest debt first.
2. Make a Budget
Studies show that most people believe in having a budget, but the majority of American households do not manage one. Simply put, a budget is your spending plan which ensures you have money for the things you need, allows you to achieve your financial goals, and protects you from harmful debt. SCCU offers a Budgeting feature in Online Banking. With this easy-to-use tool, you can set and track savings goals, spending categories, and transfers between different accounts month over month without having to enter the data yourself. Three steps to begin budgeting this month:
1. Identify your expenses by recording your spending for one month. Using your SCCU debit card for purchases allows you to easily see where your money is going in the budgeting tool.
2. After analyzing, set realistic spending goals and reduce any unnecessary expenses.
3. Track your spending versus your goals next month, reevaluate, and repeat until you’ve created a well-balanced budget.
3. Know and Understand Your Credit Score
Your credit score represents financial power; it allows you to borrow. The better your score, the lower your rate, saving you money. It also can affect how much you pay for insurance premiums. You can regularly check your FICO® credit score for free using your SCCU Online Banking account without negatively affecting your score. Included in the tool, you can see the key factors affecting your FICO® score and, in turn, what you can do to help raise your score. Factors include:
1. Payment History – Make your payments on time every month.
2. Credit Utilization – It’s recommended to keep this number under 30%.
3. Credit History Length – Keep your longest-standing credit lines open.
4. Credit Mix – Your mix could contain a mortgage, auto loan, credit card, or other types of credit.
5. New Credit – Opening multiple, new lines of credit around the same time could decrease your score.
for instructions on how to enroll in the above tools or your Online Banking account, downloadable handouts, and more information on becoming financially healthy.
Planning will help us prepare for the unexpected. However, there are times when financial crisis hits and we need help. If you are having difficulty meeting your SCCU financial obligations, please call SCCU’s Credit Solutions department and a Team Member will be happy to discuss solutions available to you.