Millennial

Born in the mid-1980’s, I am one of approximately 80 million Millennials, or Gen-Yers, living in the United States. Does this generational subset define who I am, my wants and preferences? To a certain extent . . . Yes.  There is no denying that the high levels of unemployment and student loan debt coupled with an economy slow to improve, have had an effect on how I live day-to-day. These economic factors have heightened the awareness level of one key aspect of life . . . finances.

Post undergraduate education, I found myself in the same position as many Millennials. Frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities available that would meet my financial needs, I spent a couple of years living back at home with a part-time job that would cover the cost of a graduate education. Employment levels were sure to improve over those few years, right? After a year of graduate schooling, I found myself with nothing more than a spruced up resume.

Did I have concerns for my financial future? Absolutely, but, instead of simply swaying with the economic tides, I was determined to create a stable foothold for myself and set goals for the future:

Goal 1: Evaluate my financial institution.

As a customer of a big bank, high fees began to cripple my savings.

  • No longer having a “student” account, I found myself paying to save money as minimum balance requirements soared.
  • The renewal rates on CDs opened as a young saver were plummeting to a fraction of a percentage.
  • Technological advances started to make it easier to automate bill payments; however, if not perfectly timed, the high rate of overdraft fees was not “money well spent”.
  • When taking out an auto loan from the bank to finance my first car, I found myself asking “That interest rate is how much?”

My Conclusion:

It was costing me more money to save money at a bank then it would to squirrel away money under my mattress.

My Solution:

When I began my first full-time job, I was introduced to the concept of a credit union; of course, I had previously taken notice of credit unions in the community, but was under the assumption that you needed to belong to an elite club to join. Was I wrong!

It was not until a local credit union visited my workplace that I decided to get a bit more information. “You are saying that by simply being employed here and living in your field of membership, I can join the credit union . . . What’s the catch?”

Turned out, there was no catch! I instantly became a member, not a customer, and the credit union covered the $10 deposit to join! Still skeptical about trusting a financial institution, I was intrigued by the benefits and my decision paid off.

  • Within the first week, I transferred my direct deposit to the credit union with no minimum balance requirements.
  • I added an Identity Theft Protection deduction for a very small monthly fee – protecting one’s financial identity has never been more important, and tricky, than it is today.
  • I made a trip out to a local branch and was greeted with the friendly smile of a Member Service Representative and a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie! While there, the MSR demonstrated a wealth of knowledge regarding the financial services offered by the credit union. “I think this is a place that I can really save money and gain financial knowledge.”
  • I questioned the distance of branches and how that would affect my withdrawing & depositing money; turned out not to be a problem! The credit union was part of a network with surcharge free ATMs in many convenient locations near me; no more high ATM fees! The credit union also had a mobile APP for the smart phone; I would be able to deposit checks simply by taking a photo and processing through the APP!
  • Now let’s revisit that auto loan I mentioned in the aforementioned list. While the interest rate offered by the bank was upwards of 5%, the credit union was able to present me with a 1.24% refinance rate!

Turns out, evaluating my financial institution was one giant leap forward in positioning myself for a stronger financial future.

Stay tuned as I continue Making My Way as a Millennial!

PFP | The Family Security Plan® has been working in the credit union movement since 1973 and remains committed today to unite the nationwide community by bringing valuable information about the lives of over 400,000 credit union members who know us, like us and trust us to provide them and their families the foundation for a secure future.

For more information, email PFP | The Family Security Plan at: theuplift@familysecurityplan.com

 

Part 2 of this series is published! To view Part 2 Click Here.

Written By: Amanda Keefe