With summer vacation in full swing, education is the furthest thing from the minds of schoolchildren finally set free from notebooks and pencils for a glorious 3 months. But for one Woburn boy, his dedication to learning about money and savings has just landed him a big prize sure to make his summer more fun.
Common Trust Federal Credit Union is proud to award Mason McCabe, 8, a $100 Amazon gift card. He and his mother, Lisa, opened his account as part of our Youth Account Promotion during April and May. His and his family’s dedication to educating our next-generation members about the importance of financial management is truly an inspiration.
At CTFCU, we believe that by teaching kids how and why to manage their money, we are setting our youngest members up for a bright future of financial success. The simple step of opening a custodial account for your children can help can carry them into being financially responsible adults.
Thank you to everyone who entered our promotion. CTFCU is proud to support the local community through youth programs and will host this scholarship program next year. For more information on the additional programs and promotions offered to our members, please contact your local branch representative.
Pay Down That Debt! Transfer Your Credit Card Balance in 3 Easy Steps
The bills are piling up, late fees are drowning your principal payments, and too often you let those collection calls roll to voicemail. It’s time to consider a faster, more cost-effective way to manage your debt!
Credit card balance transfers allow you to pay off numerous debts by consolidating them onto one card with a lower interest rate. This gives you the breathing room to catch up with payments and begin to repair your credit score.
Completing the transfer scenario can be tricky, though. At Common Trust Federal Credit Union, we’ve consolidated this into 3 simple steps to reduce your debt and get started on the path to financial freedom.
1. Log current balance and interest rate info
If you’re looking to disrupt the status quo, you have to start by knowing the status! Spend some time researching your current balances, payoffs, and interest rates, and keep this information on hand. This will help you plan what kind of credit card balance transfer plan will work for you and will set the foundation for how to obtain the help you need.
2. Find and apply for the right balance transfer card
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to paying off debt, even with credit card balance transfers. It’s critical you choose a card that best fits your immediate and long-term financial needs. The fine-print terms and conditions are the first place to start your research: Is there an interest-free period, and how long does it last? How quickly must the debt transfers be made? Is there a transfer fee? Once you have the answers you want, it’s time to apply for the card.
3. Pay off your debt
Once approved, call your new card company and initiate the transfers — then watch those debt numbers shrink! With the right solution in place, you will be paying off large chunks of debt while making affordable payments toward your principal balance. The plan only works if you work it, so make sure your monthly budget factors in your payment. Missing even one payment can immediately end interest-free periods and cost you more in the long run. Take the time to educate yourself on good credit behaviors to ensure you are starting fresh and can stay ahead.
Our loan experts are here to help! Explore the opportunities available today with Common Trust Federal Credit Union’s Credit Card Balance Transfer program. Through June 30, 2019, you can get rates as low as 6.9% until your credit card balances are paid off — plus the rate is good on purchases, advances, and balance transfers. Visit our credit card balance transfer promotion page or stop by the branch to learn more.
CTFCU’s Child Safety Day & Shred-It Day
We are excited to announce a two-part event at Common Trust Federal Credit Union! We will be hosting Child Safety Day along with our first Shred-It event on Saturday, June 1st from 9 AM – 12 PM in the CTFCU parking lot at 8 Cedar Street in Woburn. Stop by to shred your old documents and pick up a child safety kit!
Child Safety Day
School’s almost out which means it’s time to kick off summer safety! In honor of Child Safety Week, we will be distributing safety kits for all kids. Each kit will record your child’s height, weight, eye color, fingerprints, and DNA in case of an emergency.
Kids will also have the opportunity to play in a fire truck from Woburn’s Fire Department!
Shred-It Security Event
While the kids are enjoying themselves, you can securely dispose of all of your private documents in the on-site Shred-It truck. Members of the credit union can shred up to 5 boxes of documents and non-members can shred 1 box. If you are not a member but have more than 1 box to shred, this is the perfect opportunity to join Common Trust! Click here to read more about membership qualifications.
Promoting Financial Literacy in Our Community
Improving financial literacy in our community is one of our primary goals, and we believe that starts with offering extensive financial education resources for our members. To celebrate how we work to promote financial literacy in our community, we wanted to share some of the services that we are proud to offer.
Financial literacy is an essential skill that should be taught early on in life. This can be practiced by encouraging kids to save and manage their own money at a young age. We offer youth accounts for our members’ children and family for exactly that reason. This month we are offering a promotion on our youth accounts to encourage younger generations to start practicing money management. From now until June 1st, those who open a youth account will be entered to win a bike or an Amazon gift card.
Financial Education Center
Whether you’re a beginner at managing your finances or an expert, there’s always room to learn more. That’s why we offer a free financial education center for our members. On this online platform, you can find short interactive courses on topics essential to financial success, such as saving for a home and paying for college. After completing these courses, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the best ways to tackle big financial endeavors.
Financial Literacy Program at Woburn Middle School
Another service that we are proud to offer to our community is our Financial Literacy Program at Woburn’s Kennedy Middle School. With this program, representatives from the credit union teach two classes that help middle school students build a strong foundation for financial responsibility. In March we hosted the first financial literacy auction at the middle school where students were able to take profits from their school business and bid on auction items. You can learn more about CTFCU’s Financial Literacy Auction in our blog post all about the event.
Woburn High School DECA Program
In addition, we’ve also had the opportunity to donate to Woburn High School’s DECA Program, an organization that prepares students for their careers through competitions, conferences and other forms of professional development. For the past two years, the credit union has donated to send students to a state-wide competition in Boston. This is a valuable program as it helps to boost students preparedness for the workforce, which in turn helps set them up for financial success.
As we grow our membership in Woburn and the surrounding communities, we look forward to expanding our financial resources to reach more individuals across new towns and cities. Stay on the lookout for more financial literacy resources and programs as the credit union continues to grow!
CTFCU Donates $500 to the Council of Social Concern
Common Trust Federal Credit Union (CTFCU) is pleased to announce the donation of $500 to the Council of Social Concern in Woburn. The donation comes following CTFCU’s social media “like” campaign in which CTFCU pledged to donate $1 for every like received on their social media pages throughout the months of February and March. On Thursday, CTFCU’s President and CEO, James McCorkle, presented the $500 check to the Council of Social Concern’s Executive Director, Dean Solomon.
Founded in 1969, the Council of Social Concern provides a variety of essential services to residents of Woburn and Winchester. They offer safe, affordable childcare and parental education courses through their Children’s Center and Family Childcare System, as well as provide food assistance and community resource education through their food pantry.
The organization was founded by Woburn residents who wanted to promote “neighborliness,” and that mission continues today by helping individuals of all ages reach their full potential. They serve about 2,200 people per year, and rely heavily on donations and the work of over 200 volunteers to keep the facility running.
Since 2019 marks the Council’s 50th Anniversary, CTFCU thought it was a perfect opportunity to give back. Contributing to the Woburn community is one of the credit union’s utmost priorities. This $500 donation is just one of many donations that CTFCU has made to local organizations within the past year. Other donations include the Boys and Girls Club of Woburn and Woburn High School’s DECA Program.
In honor of their 50th Anniversary, the Council of Social Concern will be hosting a gala and auction to benefit their programs and services. Learn more about the 50th Anniversary Gala and the other ways that you can support the work they do for the Woburn community.
Re-Cap of Our 52nd Annual Meeting & Our Big News!
If you couldn’t make it to our annual meeting, don’t worry. Here is everything that you should know about what we covered last night.
Our Name is Changing
Last night we officially revealed that we will be changing our name from Woburn Municipal Federal Credit Union to Common Trust Federal Credit Union (CTFCU), effective on May 1, 2019.
The name change is part of the credit union’s effort to continue expanding our product and service offerings to best support those living in Woburn and the surrounding communities. The new name will more accurately reflect our mission of being an inclusive and trustworthy financial partner for our members throughout their lifetime.
In a video presented to the meeting’s attendees, President and CEO, James McCorkle, revealed the new name and the new tagline, “Familiar Faces Invested in You.” The name and the tagline were both chosen to capture our unchanging core values of being the friendly faces that guide members to financial success. All of our core principles, our staff, and our services will remain the same once the new name goes into effect.
“We recognize that as the consumer finance industry changes, we have to change along with the times. We remember who we are and where we came from, but we want to include what we need to get to the next steps,” said McCorkle as he addressed the meeting’s attendees.
New & Improved Website
Once the name goes into effect on May 1st, members can expect to see it on all signage at the branch and on online. On May 1st, we will also be launching a re-designed website. The new and improved website will be easier for members to navigate to find the products, services, and promotions they are looking for. In addition, the website will be easier for users to view on their mobile devices. Once it is launched, members will be able to view the site at commontrustfcu.org.
During the meeting, board members, William McGrath and Jane O’Connor, were re-elected, and the recipients of WMFCU’s college scholarships were announced. The two graduating high school seniors, Nora Martyny and Lia Kelly, were awarded scholarships for $1,000 each. Both students will be graduating from Woburn High School with 4.77 GPAs and as members of the National Honor Society. Martyny will be attending Northeastern University to study biology, and Kelly will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute to study biology.
McCorkle also announced last night that WMFCU will be holding it’s first Shred-It event and it’s second annual Child Safety event on June 1st. During the Shred-It event, members will be able to bring documents to the credit union and shred them for free.
Thank you to all of our members, staff, and board of directors for the continued support and dedication. We look forward to all of the exciting changes coming in 2019, and we can’t wait to continue growing and improving our services throughout the course of this year.
5 Reasons Why Financial Literacy Should be Taught from a Young Age
Despite improvements in banking technologies, many Americans are still unaware of how to manage their finances properly. In fact, only 48% of Americans were able to answer at least half of a set of financial literacy questions correctly. Even worse, less than 25% of millennials were able to answer basic financial wellness questions. So, how can adults best prepare younger generations to handle their personal finances properly and live successful lives? The answer begins with teaching financial education to young people both at home and in school. The following are just five of the reasons why teaching financial literacy is so important.
Learn how to save and budget
One of the biggest reasons why financial literacy should be taught is to best prepare them for saving and budgeting their money. Saving and budgeting are skills that are essential to being a financially successful adult and also require discipline that should be practiced from a young age. A strong financial education allows kids and teens to know where to spend and where to save their money, as well as how to create and stick with a budget.
Avoid harmful financial mistakes
Because financial education is often unfortunately overlooked today, many early adults have to learn about their finances the hard way. When kids and teens are not taught the impact of their financial decisions, it becomes easy for them to make mistakes such as not paying credit card bills on time or overdrawing their accounts. These financial mistakes can lead to long-standing disadvantages, such as having poor credit and affects financial stability and success. Encouraging financial literacy throughout one’s young life helps to prepare them to make the right financial decisions.
Understand the implications of college loans
With the increasing cost of college, many students are relying on loans to cover the cost of tuition for their higher education. However, when high school seniors agree to loans for an expensive college, they may be unaware of what they are signing up for. Students who are not financially literate may not understand how student loans work or what their other options are. Financial education taught through classes in school and by parents helps students to fully understand how their loans work, including how interest accrues and the dangers or defaulting on loans. This education will help students to be better prepared for repaying their loans as adults.
Helps boost the economy
You don’t need to look much further than the United States’ financial crisis during the early 2000s to see how the economy was damaged by those who didn’t understand the full implications of their financial decisions. Having a solid understanding of the impact that individual financial decisions make on the economy is a critical reason why financial literacy is so important. Those who are taught about finances as they grow up will be better prepared to make decisions that will promote a healthy economy. Financial literacy also provides the knowledge that individuals need to navigate finances during times of emergency.
Lastly, teaching young individuals about financial literacy goes hand in hand with teaching them about giving. By teaching the value of money, and how to spending wisely, it sets up more opportunities for young people to give back to those in need. After a strong financial education, they will be better suited to invest back into their communities.
As you can see, financial literacy is an essential skill that should be taught throughout one’s life, rather than only during adulthood. The month of April is both Credit Union Youth Month and Financial Literacy Month which seeks to promote the importance of financial literacy in young people. CTFCU is committed to building financial literacy in kids and teens, and that’s why we are offering a promotion on our youth accounts. From now until June 1st, open a youth account and you will be entered to win a bike or a $100 Amazon gift card! Visit our promotions page or stop by our office to learn more.
CTFCU’s 52nd Annual Meeting
CTFCU’s 52nd annual meeting is set to take place on Tuesday, April 16th at 4:30 pm, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone there. During the meeting, our Board of Directors will be discussing the state of the credit union as well as new initiatives coming to the membership. We will also be revealing a special announcement that we are very excited to share with our members. All members in good standing are encouraged to attend.
The following is the agenda for the meeting:
Welcome by the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Kathleen Connolly
Reading and approval of the minutes of the 2018 meeting – Secretary of the Board, Kathleen McSweeney
Report of the Treasurer of the Board of Directors – Joan Sweeney
Report by the President / CEO of Common Trust FCU – James McCorkle
Report of the Supervisory Committee – Charlie Conant, Conant Associates
Election of the Board of Directors – Chairwoman Kathleen Connolly will name each Board member and the nominations of the eligible candidates. There are two open positions and two members running so there will be no vote. Learn more about the board candidates.
The meeting will be held at our office, located at 8 Cedar Street, Woburn. Please note that photo identification is required at check-in, and light refreshments will be served. We can’t wait to see our members there and for our exciting announcement!
4 Smart Ways to Use a Home Equity Loan
As home prices continue to rise, homeowners are sitting on a growing amount of equity in their homes and an increasing source for extra cash. While tapping into that cash to fund an expensive lifestyle might be tempting, using your home’s equity should be done cautiously and with a specific reason in mind. Continue reading for four of the smart ways that you can safely use a home equity loan to improve your financial future.
Home renovations are one of the most frequent uses of home equity loans and are also typically one of the smartest options. Home improvements are a great decision because if done right, they raise your home’s value and make for a great investment. If you decide to use a home equity loan for this, focus on improvements that will increase the home’s value but also will improve its functionality or make it a more enjoyable living space for you.
If you’re planning on selling your home soon, make sure that you are spending on upgrades that shoppers are looking for so you can make back as much of your investment as possible. It’s best to focus on upgrades such as fresh paint, new flooring, or bathroom and kitchen updates, which are features that buyers frequently look for.
Consolidate high-interest debt
Another smart way to use a home equity loan is to consolidate debt. If you are currently making payments on multiple high-interest credit cards or loans, taking out one home equity loan to consolidate these expenses offers numerous benefits. One benefit is that by consolidating your debt into one payment, you have the potential to save thousands of dollars on interest. Consolidating with a home equity loan also gives you the freedom of making just one payment per month, rather than coordinating multiple monthly payments. Lastly, home equity loans have a designated loan term, so you will know exactly when the debt will end, in comparison to revolving credit card debt.
Using a home equity loan to fund an investment property is another smart option if done properly. If you have built enough equity in your home you may be able to use a loan to pay for a downpayment or even for the full cost of an investment property. However, when purchasing a second property, you should have the intent of receiving a return on your investment by either renting or reselling it. While it might be tempting to use a home equity loan to purchase a vacation home for your family, avoid spending it on something that will not offer the opportunity to improve your financial future.
If you are faced with expenses from an emergency situation, tapping into your home’s equity might be the right solution for you. Whether you are faced with a medical emergency or job loss, paying for your expenses with a home equity loan is a smart option, especially if you do not have an emergency savings fund prepared. Even though you will not be using the loan to better your financial future, when life hands you an unexpected situation, taking advantage of your home’s equity can provide you with the necessary funds.
Now that you know the smart ways to use a home equity loan, if it’s the right choice for you, get started with CTFCU. From now until the end of March, CTFCU’s home equity loan promotion is offering rates as low as 4.99% with terms at 10 years. Visit our promotions page or stop by our office to learn more.
6 Tips for Negotiating with Car Dealers
For many, the thought of entering into a car dealership to purchase a new car is very intimidating and unpleasant. While car dealers are professionals who know how to persuade, you shouldn’t let the dealership scare you away from purchasing your dream car. By sticking to the following tips you can make the car buying process run much more smoothly and get the price you want.
In order to best negotiate with a dealer, one of the most important steps is to do your research beforehand. Experienced dealers know how to convince prospective buyers to settle for the price that they want, even if that price is much higher than the car’s going rate. Do your research in advance to learn everything there is to know about the car, such as the sticker price and what other shoppers have paid for it. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to stand your ground against a dealer who is offering too high of a price, and you’ll know when it’s time to walk away.
When negotiating a deal, you might think that it is a good strategy is to act like you are in charge or to threaten to walk away; however, one way to receive the price that you want is to treat the dealer politely. Car dealers work with shoppers every day who are stressed and who take their frustrations out on the dealership’s staff. By remaining respectful and polite, they will be more likely to give you the price you are looking for.
Avoid showing your emotions
While it’s important to remain polite, avoid showing your hand right away to the dealer. If you openly gush over the car and let the staff know how much you love it, they’ll know that they will have the power to convince you to purchase for any price. Present yourself as someone who is in control and rational, rather than emotional, to help keep the power in your hands.
Separate your trade-in
One trick that many shoppers fall for at the dealership is negotiating their trade-in in the same transaction as the new car. This is a trick used by dealers to low-ball your trade-in’s value and disguise the real cost of the car. For example, they might tell you that they dropped the car’s price by $1,000 so it appears that you are getting a great deal; however, they are really making a profit off of your trade-in. To avoid this, treat your trade-in as a separate transaction. Once you have settled on a purchase price for the car, then negotiate the price of the trade-in. Handling the trade-in and purchase price separately is the only way to ensure that you are receiving good deals on both.
Avoid expensive add-ons
Once you’ve settled on a price and you are almost to the end of the car-buying process, don’t let your guard down. This is the stage where dealers will attempt to convince you to purchase costly and unnecessary add-ons such as extended warranties or fabric protection. When you are in the researching phase of car shopping, decide on the extras that you will purchase and politely say no to any other add-ons that the dealer tries to sell you on. While it might be hard not to be persuaded in the moment, you’ll thank yourself later when you have saved thousands of dollars.
Secure financing beforehand
One trick to negotiating with a car dealer is to receive a pre-approved auto loan before you head into the dealership. A pre-approved loan lets dealers know exactly what your budget is so they won’t be able to push the price higher. Typically, the dealer will work to find a price that works with your pre-approved loan or they risk losing your sale. Securing your own financing beforehand is also a good way to avoid the stress of negotiating with the dealership’s financing department.
From now until the end of March, CTFCU is offering an auto loan promotion with rates as low as 2.75% and terms up to 84 months. With the help of an auto loan from CTFCU as well as these tips for negotiating, you will be able to best bargain with a car dealer and receive a great price for your new car.
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