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Four Financial Wellness Tips for Alameda County Residents

November 9, 2021
Tagged as: Banking Basics
Your financial fitness impacts every aspect of your present and future life: family, home, and work. With all the resources available to you, including many that can be found right here in Alameda County, you can improve your financial fitness and see big changes if you tackle the task with discipline.

Here are four ways you can get financially fit without breaking a sweat:

1. Check your financial wellness.

If you want to know what kind of shape your finances are in, give yourself a wellness check. Start by gathering a month’s worth of financial statements, account ledgers, bills, and pay stubs. With all this in hand, categorize your income and expenses, noting which items are fixed costs (such as rent or mortgage payments, day care expenses, and car loans) and which vary from month to month (such as morning coffee runs, grocery bills, and nights out on the town).
Next, you’ll want to create a budget. Make sure your essentials are covered: food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. You can still have fun while on a budget by including a category for entertainment.

The goal of any budget is to account for every penny you earn. If you spend more than you make in a month, you’ll find yourself in debt. If that’s the case, financial education and counseling services such as BALANCE are available to lend you a hand.

2. Save for emergencies.

Part of financial fitness is being prepared for emergencies. Research shows that one-third of homeowners have less than $500 set aside for emergency home repairs. From car trouble to trips to the doctor to a job layoff, financial emergencies happen and often are expensive. That’s why building an emergency fund should be an important part of your budget. Start by opening a savings account and deposit a little from each paycheck.

3. Take advantage of your checking account.

Today’s checking accounts are much more than just places to deposit and withdraw money. With benefits such as online banking, bill pay, and a free quarterly FICO® Score, your checking account helps you work toward financial fitness.

You can also take advantage of accounts that offer points for your spending. Our Rewards Checking account takes checking to the next level by pairing it with our Visa Platinum Rewards credit card. By making 15 purchases a month with your debit or credit card, you’ll earn interest on your checking balance and 1.5 times the points for your credit card purchases. If you make 30+ transactions, you’ll earn double points. And these points can be converted to cash so you can pay yourself back, or to purchase merchandise, travel, and more.

The financial success of our community is a priority.

At 1st United Credit Union, our mission is to ensure you have the products, tools, and resources to achieve your financial goals. That’s part of the credit union difference.

4. Assess your rent or mortgage.

Average rents in Alameda County are expensive, but average home prices here are also seemingly out of reach for many people. A drawback of renting is you’re paying someone else’s mortgage rather than investing in your own future. Taking a look at your finances or talking to one of our experienced loan officers can help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home. If homeownership is not yet within reach, being financially fit at least can help you chart a path to get there in the future.

When you are ready, having the right type of mortgage is essential to maintaining your financial fitness. We can help with that or we can refer you to our partners if you’re interested in an FHA loan, are a first-time homebuyer, or need a VA loan.

If you already own a home and have a mortgage, refinancing can reduce your monthly payment. A few hundred extra dollars every month can go a long way toward improving your financial fitness. If you’re looking for money to upgrade your property or to pay down debt, a cash-out refinance, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit let you use the equity built in your home to achieve your goals.

At 1st United Credit Union, we want you to reach peak financial fitness. Whether you’re starting out or looking to get back on track, we have the tools and experience to help you meet your goals. Give us a call or visit one of our branches to learn more.

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