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Help members with their No. 1 resolution
SILVER SPRING, Md., and HARRISBURG, Pa. (1/4/11)--A December poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) revealed that decreasing debt was consumers’ No. 1 financial New Year’s resolution. Sixty-nine percent of more than 3,200 respondents chose this goal over other objectives, such as increasing savings, improving their credit score or decreasing their dependence on credit cards. Credit unions are already helping members with their No. 1 resolution of the New Year--and better manage their finances. The poll question and results are: My No.1 New Year’s resolution for 2011 is to:
* Decrease debt-- 69%; * Improve my credit score--18%; * Increase savings--7%; and * Decrease my dependence on credit cards--7%.
Credit unions, leagues and NFCC had plenty of advice to assist consumers. Lonny Maurer, president/CEO of Belco Community CU in Harrisburg, Pa., discussed five resolutions that consumers should make in 2011,when he appeared in December with Mike Wishnow, senior vice president of communications and marketing with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association on a TV segment of Pennsylvania Newsmakers, Belco said. The resolutions are:
* Develop a written monthly annual budget; * If you don’t already have one, establish a relationship with a credit union or bank; * Take a critical view of your personal debt; * Develop a plan to save and invest; and * Teach your children about finances.
The Ohio Credit Union League also has some tips to get the most out of your money, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal (www.ohio.com Jan. 2). They are:
* Pay yourself first; * Create a budget and stick to it; * Pay off debt; * Manage your credit; and * Already saving? Save more.
To read the Akron Beacon-Journal article, use the link. The NFCC offers these tips:
* Define your objective--Be specific about which area of your financial life you want to address. Having an overall goal of “improving your financial situation” is too broad. Success is more likely if you identify one problem and take steps to rectify it. You can always add more categories, but taking on too much at once can be overwhelming and discouraging. * Be willing to pay the price--Be prepared to make significant lifestyle adjustments in order to reach your goal. The sacrifice will be worth it. Changes, even those that are ultimately positive, can be difficult. Knowing this up front will help you persevere. * Be ready for set-backs--When the going gets rough, don’t give up your goal. Set-backs are inevitable, so anticipate them and commit to riding them through. There is nothing to be gained by quitting. * Have an accountability partner--Holding yourself accountable is one thing, but having a partner often means the difference between success and failure. Share your goal with trusted friends, family members or mentors, and ask them to provide support to help you stay determined. * Celebrate success--Establish a reward as you begin your financial journey, to serve as a great incentive to keep going. And, once you meet your goal, you’ve earned a reward.
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