It’s hard to believe the 2010 Holiday Season is approaching. One of the comforts I look forward to the most is Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie and peppermint pound cake. Mom’s home cooked meals never disappoint my family and we rarely find a meal anywhere else that can compare. Why does Mom’s cooking taste better? The secret of her culinary success is in her recipe. Of course she has years of experience and knows when the batter needs an extra dash of nutmeg or when a casserole needs to be baked a few minutes longer. Still the basic ingredients to her success are tried and true.

Much like Mom’s pound cake, the key to personal financial management is a recipe. Progress towards retirement funding, freedom from credit card debt, and saving for a down payment on a home begin with a basic plan. Your outcome will depend on your commitment to follow your recipe and the ingredients to your financial success can be found with help from your credit union.

Recipe for Financial Success from the Kitchen of Jack Braswell

  1. Open a Fee Free Checking Account. Are you paying monthly fees for a checking account? Move your money to MCU. As long as you keep $25 in your checking account on the last day of the month you will avoid a low balance fee. Your MCU checking account includes a free VISA Debit Card, eBill (MCU’s online bill pay service), and MCU@Home online banking. These essential checking account tools help you track spending, deposits, and pay bills on time. The best part, these ingredients come free with your MCU Checking Account.
  2. Fund Your Savings Account Through Payroll Deduction. The easiest way to increase your savings account balance is to deposit funds automatically through payroll deduction. You can set aside as little as $5 a pay period. Deduction changes can be made anytime at no charge. Direct Deposit and Payroll Deduction are free and if you work for one of MCU’s 480 sponsor companies you can fill out a payroll deduction form though your payroll or human resources department.
  3. Contribute to Your 401(k) at least up to the Amount Your Company Employer will Match. Check with your human resources or employee benefits department to find out about your employer’s 401(k) matching program. Some employers will match your contribution up to 5%. If that is the case for you and you don’t contribute at least 5% of your income you are passing up free benefits.
  4. Finance Your Used and New Vehicle Purchases at MCU. Are you paying more than 6.75%APR in interest for your vehicle? At MCU you can refinance and get your rate as low as 5.25% APR.
  5. Consolidate Debt with an MCU Debt Consolidation Loan. Pay off up to $15,000 of credit card debt with an MCU consolidation loan. Give us the bills and we will give you one low monthly bill to pay.
  6. Refinance your Mortgage with W.R. Starkey. Mortgage loan rates are still at historic lows. If you own your home talk with our mortgage partner, W.R. Starkey, to see if refinancing your home could save you money. Call 800-951-8000, ext 190 if you live in Central or Eastern NC. Call 866-247-1675 if you live in Western NC.
  7. Consult with Richard Davis, our MEMBERS Financial Representative, for Investment Advice. Initial consultations with Richard are free for MCU Members and MEMBERS Financial Services include Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, Estate Panning, Insurance Planning, Educational Funding, and Mutual Funds. Contact Richard Davis by email at richard.davis@cunamutual.com or by phone at (336) 748-4800, ext. 111, toll free (800) 951-8000, ext. 111.
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