Empowering Members through Financial Literacy

National Police Credit Union is committed to providing our membership with as much financial information as we can. This section features a curated selection of financial news from our team and around the world covering various topics for informational purposes only. We believe that the more educated you are, the more empowered you become.

Financial News from Our Team

Published articles, original content, opinions and commentary by Scott Arney, CEO, Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union.

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#FinancialLiteracy

Financial Q & A

Submit your question* for the National Police Credit Union staff to answer. We will respond to your question and post our answer below within 48 business hours. 

Submit a Question

Answers

Question: 

How should I spend my tax refund?

Answer: 
Expecting a tax refund and need some advice on what to do with it?  Maybe you’d like to start a savings account or pay down some debt?  Give Gwen a call at (844) COP-SAVE and let her help you make the best decision!  

*Financial Q & A submissions must be relevant to the financial needs of our members.

Financial Planning and Living Within Your Means

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is.” – John Allen Paulos

If you have ever experienced a maxed-out credit card, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone! Many Americans experience managing a maxed-out credit card at some point in their lives as consumers. 

As a matter of fact, it is so common that in January 2020 WalletHub found:

29% increase in the number of people who maxed out a credit card multiple times in the last 12 months.

36% of consumers say they spend more time paying off large purchases than planning for them!

With both these trends, it can be concluded that maxed out credit cards are not only common, but that a noticeable percentage of credit card debt occurs from unplanned purchases. 

How to reduce debt while saving for spontaneous purchases? 

Great question! Let us explore this further…

An important thing to note is that most consumers get their first credit cards at a young age. At this point in your life, you are most likely being advised by the older consumers in your life to obtain a credit card and begin establishing credit history. However, although you have a vague idea of what a credit card is and how a credit score works, there still exists an element of newness and mystery behind it all. 

To begin, a National Police Credit Union Visa Credit Card is an excellent tool to begin establishing credit history! First time credit card holders are often approved for lower credit limits and after a few months of on time payment history and low balances, the limit organically increases. The concept seems simple enough to understand, however, the numbers in the previous paragraph highlight the product of purchase spontaneity. A wide variety of life events can catch you financially off guard. 

A few examples are:

• Your car tire needs to be replaced and you rely on your car to get to work each day.

• An emergency visit to the hospital after you collide with an opponent during a soccer game.

• Your upstairs washroom fell through your first-floor ceiling due to a massive leak. 

Life can hit you with a variety of unplanned expenses at any time. When these unplanned expenses occur, credit cards are typically the go-to option to cover them. Also, in acknowledging the certain uncertainty of life, we can conclude that multiple unexpected expenses can lead to a maxed-out credit card. The solution here is to find an alternative means of paying for the unplanned expenses in life. 

Budgeting

Yes, the proposal here is creating a rainy-day fund. When life happens, this fund should be the go-to for all emergency expenses. This way your credit card does not become the go-to option by default. The recommended amount of money to have in an emergency fund is between three to six months’ worth of living expenses according to CNBC Make It. This will vary from individual to individual, however, saving within this range should be the goal. Once you have the numeric goal defined, the next step is to plan a budget and stick to it until the money is saved in your rain-day fund. 

Now, this is great and all, but let us say you have a maxed credit card (or a few) that you are trying to pay off currently. In this scenario, the same strategy applies. Define the dollar amount that needs to be saved to pay off the credit card(s) and create a custom budget that clearly shows the dollar amount per check that needs to be saved and the timeframe you need to commit to in order to save that amount and pay off your debt. In today’s tech-savvy world, there are numerous applications available on your smartphone that can simply the budgeting process.

Budgeting alone can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are planning a budget for the first time. 

Resources

Whether it is devising a game plan to tackle and pay down debt, or you are simply looking for tools to establish a rainy-day fund, National Police Credit Union Financial Planning and Education Center can help members free of charge! The Credit Union also offers Credit Counseling that can assist with budgeting and credit repair. 

To take advantage of these free services, please call 844-COP-SAVE.