Bill Lawton, CEO

Happy New Year!

The New Year is a great time for a fresh start. It’s also a chance to look back and to make new goals for the year ahead. As a not for profit, financial cooperative, Community Financial Credit Union is owned by our members. We help our members save and borrow together and are committed to helping them achieve their financial goals. We also are passionate about helping build stronger communities.

As I reflect back on 2017, I’m proud to say it was a successful year for Community Financial Credit Union and here are a couple of highlights. We purchased property in Westland on the east side of Wayne Road, just north of Warren Road for a new branch. Construction started in September, 2017 and we plan to open very early in 2018. This will be our 12th branch and we look forward to serving the Westland community.

Secondly, Community Financial Credit Union was the Michigan state-level winner of the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award. This award recognizes credit union efforts to teach personal finance concepts and skills to members and nonmembers under age 18. We were also recognized as the 1st place national award winner in this same category. I am very proud of the work our team has done and look forward to what they will do in 2018.

As we move into 2018, we will continue to ensure members have the products & services needed to build a solid financial foundation. What are your goals for 2018? Maybe you are considering purchasing a new home or car, or are thinking of tackling a new home project? Maybe you want to explore retirement options? Would you like to build up savings for a rainy day? Whatever your financial resolutions are this year, we want to help you meet your goals.

We look forward to continued success and serving our communities in 2018. To our members, I want to say thank you for your continued loyalty and for helping make Community Financial better than ever.

The Basics of Retirement Planning

New Year, new goals! What made the list for you this year? Eating healthier, exercising more or maybe planning for the future? While we can’t make you get off the couch, Community Financial can help you get moving in the right direction for retirement planning.

Here are some simple steps to help you build for your retirement are below:

1.) Max out employer match

About 31% of American workers with access to a 401(k) don’t use it. Beyond the missed savings, employees are losing out on matching funds programs. Matching funds programs are essentially interest payments. Your company will pay 100% interest on your 401(k) deposits. Increasing your 401(k) contributions to the maximum match level will minimize the impact of slow growth within your portfolio.

2.) Watch the fees

Review your fees and gauge if they’re reasonable. Most large companies have fees of 0.5%, with the numbers increasing for smaller companies to about 1.4%. If you’re paying more, consider switching the funds you’re using.

3.) Revisit the Roth question

With the assumption that taxes usually increase over time, a Roth 401(k) generally makes sense for young people. However, with returns expected to drop and savings amounts likely to be a larger determinant of total wealth accumulation, it’s time to rethink this conventional wisdom. Growing your nest egg is essential; you can find ways to manage taxes once you’ve got enough saved for retirement.

4.) Look for predictable returns

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can hold savings certificate funds, like those available at Community Financial. These offer a predictable rate of return that isn’t dependent on macroeconomic forces, thus minimizing risk.

The principles of smart retirement planning don’t change. Spend less than you earn. Avoid debt. Invest as much as you can, as often, and as cheaply as possible. With a bit of planning, you’ll enjoy a prosperous retirement.

Ready to get started? Community Financial offers Traditional, Roth or Educational IRAs for as little as $500. IRA Savings or Certificates Accounts can be opened with a minimal amount and are insured to $250,000 by the NCUA. For long term investing, consider a 57 Month Certificate with a special rate of 2.30% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).* We recommend you talk to your tax advisor before getting started, but give us a call or stop by a local branch today to learn more.

*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 1/3/18 and subject to change. Fees, if applicable, may reduce earnings.

Emergency Funds – Not Just For Adults!

Divvying up your kid’s allowance into different jars, each with a specific label and purpose, has become pretty standard. Your kids probably have one jar for savings, one for spending and maybe another for giving.

What most parents and kids omit, though, is one more jar for emergencies. Yes, emergencies, even for kids. Granted, they won’t be shelling out thousands of dollars for a roof repair or a medical crisis like their parents might, but emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. No one needs convincing that having funds for an unexpected expense is crucial for financial security. In fact, building an emergency fund is the first of Dave Ramsey’s famous seven baby steps for getting out of debt. It’s definitely something you want to build into your kids’ psyche. So why not start now?

Some examples of small and not-so- small emergencies for children are:
  • The pair of new sneakers left in the locker room after PE, now gone forever
  • The shattered car window from an overeager, but poorly aimed, baseball
  • The huge data plan overage charge
  • The misplaced spending money for an afternoon at the mall
So yes, kids have emergencies. Helping them set up a fund to pay for some of these mini-crises instead of bailing them out each time will teach them to be prepared.

Community Financial Credit Union’s award winning Student-Run Credit Union program can also help kids build good savings habits. Last year we educated over 24,000 students and in September we added two new partnerships in our communities; Coolidge Elementary in Livonia and Ridge Wood Elementary in Northville. These students started participating in deposit days during the 2017/2018 school year. This opportunity gives students a real world experience of what it’s like to work and save within the credit union.

In other exciting news, The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) announced Community Financial Credit Union as the Michigan state-level winner of the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award. CUNA’s Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award recognizes model credit union efforts to teach personal finance concepts and skills to members and non- members under age 18. As a state-level CUNA Award winner, Community Financial went on to compete against other state league winners for a CUNA National Award. CUNA announced Community Financial as the 1 st place national award winner, and will be recognized at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in February 2018.

To learn more about our Student-Run Programs, please visit cfcu.org/scu.

Financial Health Is Important

In 2017, Community Financial Credit Union was selected as one of six credit unions to receive a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to participate in a financial health segmentation survey. We were honored to be chosen and our goal was to gain insight on our member’s current financial health and to use this information to further develop products and services that would serve the needs of our members.

The survey was sent out early spring of 2017 in partnership with the Center for Financial Services Innovations (CFSI). Your participation helped us to better understand our member’s financial needs. Working together, we’d like to make sure that our members are able to control day to day and month to month finances, absorb a financial shock, stay on track to meet financial goals, and to have the financial freedom to make choices to enjoy life.

Educating our members, on financial topics such as mortgages, auto loans, retirement and more, is a priority and that is why we have partnered with EverFi. EverFi is a free financial online learning tool that can be accessed from your computer, tablet or phone. Use it to learn about purchasing a home, auto loans, budgeting, saving, credit scores, retirement and much more. Visit cfcu.org/elearning to see all of the modules available and get started today.