Personal Finance Through the Ages

There will be numerous articles about how to budget in the new year and resolutions to improve saving and spending in the next couple of weeks. However, if your members can’t see the whole financial picture, accomplishing those resolutions can be difficult. Synergent is now producing product engagement videos to help our credit union users communicate with their members via video. Our first one in a series is Better Online Banking, the financial management tool we offer in partnership with Jwaala. Offering members tools to help them plan, customize and analyze their finances is one way your credit union can be supportive.

Along with your website, having your staff engage with members about their goals will help them in the long term. To honor those setting goals, we’ve gathered some finance resolutions through the ages or at various stages of life.  Here are examples you may hear from members, along with a payoff statement to help members on their way in 2014.

New Year’s Resolutions through the ages


“I will save part of what I earn.”

Consider dividing the money you receive into three jars: one for spending, one for saving for a desired purchase, and the third for charitable giving. This is a great way to practice planning ahead for things you really want.


“I won’t put more on my credit card than I can pay off each month.”

To teach yourself this valuable habit, first set a monthly spending limit. Keep checking your balance online, and stop when you hit the limit.

“I will study my pay stub from work and learn about income tax.”

Deductions for taxes, FICA, and Medicare can take a surprising bite out of your summer or part-time pay. Not sure what they’re all about? Check H&R Block’s Tax Tip 52.

THE 20s:

“I will try to pay off my loans promptly.”

Resist extending the repayment term on student and auto loans. You may pay less each month, but you’ll owe much more over the life of the loan.

“I won’t let credit card debt get out of hand.”

Credit card balances tend to creep up from month to month – and the steeper the interest rate, the more you’ll pay. If you can’t zero out your balance every month, ask us about our credit union’s credit card. Our low rate tends to beat most bank cards.

“I will save for my future financial independence.”

Even if you start small with just 5% of every paycheck, launching a savings plan now can pay off big, thanks to the power of compounding. If your employer will match 401(k) contributions, don’t pass up this free money! No 401(k) at work? Let us help you open a tax-favored IRA.

“I will prepare my own tax returns.”

As a citizen, you should know how our government is funded. With programs like TurboTax® that ask you questions and do the math for you, it’s not as gnarly as you may have thought.


“I will try to keep all our debt payments under 36% of our gross income.”

Most lenders would say you’re in good financial shape if your monthly loan payments take no more than about a third of your pretax income.

“I will keep funding my retirement savings.”

We know how hard this is, with so many family expenses. Make it easier with automated 401(k) contributions or account transfers into an IRA.

“I will consider buying a home.”

Homeownership isn’t for everyone, but it does have many advantages. If you’re interested, talk it over with one of our Mortgage Loan officers.

“I will start a college fund for our child(ren).”

Most parents can’t pay the full cost of college, but whatever you save could mean less debt for a graduating student. Your best bet may be a 529 college savings plan (visit

THE 50s, 60s, AND OLDER:

“As long as I keep working, I will try to save more and reduce debt.”

The bigger your nest egg, the better the odds that it will last as long as you do. And cutting back on debt will leave more money for the good things in life.

“I will get an expert financial opinion before I retire.”

For a flat fee, you can ask a financial planner to assess your retirement readiness and suggest ways to make the most of your money. Certified Financial Planners® and Chartered Financial Consultants® have special training in retirement planning.

“In retirement, I will limit annual withdrawals to 3%-4% of my savings.”

Financial advisors often recommend this maximum withdrawal rate to retirees concerned about running out of money. Remember, though, that it’s based on probabilities and is not a guarantee.

“I will keep my will and healthcare power of attorney up to date.”

You don’t know where, you don’t know when. So be ready all the time.

“I will try not to risk my own financial security when helping other family members.”

If someone you love needs financial help, you certainly can’t turn away. But try not to give so much that you end up needing help, too.

“I will enjoy some of my money in retirement.”

You don’t want to overspend and need help from your children. But there’s a bright line between “frugal” and “miserly.” Try not to cross it!

To sign up for our Financial Tools video series, click here.