SIU Credit Union Blog

Category: Financial Resources (page 1 of 4)

Starting a Small Business: Turning a Hobby into a Career

While most people have a passion, hobby, or talent, few are able to turn a hobby into a profitable business venture. At SIU Credit Union, we know that it can be done. Use these questions to guide you as you transform your hobby into the next small business in your area.

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How can you make it unique? Having a talent for something doesn’t always translate into a successful business opportunity. So how can you make your work stand out from the rest? Get creative and find a way to provide a custom service to consumers by doing what you love.

What need does it fill? To succeed, a product or service must fill a need or solve a consumer problem. An effective entrepreneur must identify consumer needs and find a way to tweak his or her product to fit these needs. To start, examine your community and look closely at what those around you are doing. Then find a way to make your passion solve a problem for future customers.

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10 Smart Money Moves for Your 20s

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If you’re in your 20s, you have a financial asset money can’t buy–time. And time makes your money grow. Making some smart money moves in your 20s pays off now and in the future. Here’s a list of 10 smart money moves for twenty-somethings:

1. Set financial goals, say, to take a vacation, go back to school, get married, buy a house, or start saving for an early retirement. Put your goals in writing, then calculate how much you’ll need to save each month to reach them.

2. Make a spending plan, limit your debt, and concentrate on paying off existing bills. Limit debt to your ability to repay. Monthly credit payments, excluding a mortgage, shouldn’t exceed 20% of your monthly take-home (after-tax) pay.

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How to Find College Scholarships

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According to 2014 College Board estimates, the average annual tuition for a public four-year college is $8,655 if you’re a resident and $21,706 if you’re an out-of-state student. Private four-year schools average about $29,056 annually.

These numbers may be daunting, but there is money out there to help you pay for school. In fact, there are millions of scholarships available for qualified students, worth billions of dollars.

If you want to get your hand in that pot of gold, start looking early. Rough odds are one out of 25 for receiving a scholarship of some kind.

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Put Your Cards On Our Rate Loss Program

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Has your credit card balance gotten out of control? We are here to help! Transfer your credit card balances to a SIU Credit Union credit card and save. When you transfer balances to an SIU Credit Union Visa®, you will receive a low balance transfer rate good for 15 months. And the best part is, there is no balance transfer fee.

Check out this advice for controlling your credit card use:

  •  Actively manage your account. Open and examine your credit card statements promptly. Look for unauthorized use, of course, but also look for announcements from the issuer. Under the new rules, you must have 45 days’ notice of a change in your card’s terms, such as an interest rate increase. If you choose to “opt out” of the change, you no longer will be able to add new charges to your card, and will want time to get a replacement while you pay off the old balance.
  • Keep your credit score healthy. This number between 300 and 850 is a measure of your trustworthiness as a borrower. The higher your score, the easier it is to get a loan and, often, the more favorable the interest rate. The most important ways to maintain and improve your credit score is by paying all your bills on time and not taking on excessive debt.
  • Watch your card balance-to-limit ratio. It’s OK to occasionally “max out” your credit card for important purchases, as long as you can pay it off in a few months. But over the long term, try to keep your total credit card debt to a reasonable 10% to 20% of your total credit limit. If the ratio gets much above 20%, and you can handle the payments, ask for a higher limit on your current card or get another one. Don’t add new cards too often, though, and don’t close several unneeded accounts in a short period—either move can lower your credit score.
  • Transfer your balance to a SIU Credit Union credit card. If you don’t already have a SIU Credit Union credit card, now is the time to get one. Visit a location near you, or call us today at 800-449-7301. NOTE: if you want to join our Rate Loss Program, bring in a Completed Balance Transfer Form, and your most recent statement.

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Insurance Tips for Young Adults

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Most young people don’t think insurance is important—until they need it. Because young adults aren’t wallowing in disposable income, insurance often gets lost in the shuffle of rent, gas, and other routine bills. Here’s how to protect yourself against the unexpected without spending a fortune.

Most young adults need only three types of insurance coverage: health, renters, and auto. Life insurance is another type of policy to consider if you have financial dependents or own a business.

Your insurance needs change as you grow older. Owning a business, getting married, finding a new job, and becoming a parent are all events that call for a fresh look at insurance coverage.

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Use our Free Features and Avoid the Fee

As you know, SIU Credit Union prides itself in keeping the fees that we do charge as low as possible.  Although, from time to time we do need to adjust some fees.  Beginning on February 23, 2015 some new fees will go into effect.  Never fear, here are some great tips to make the most of the free services that are offered at SIU CU and avoid any unnecessary fees.

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E-Statements  How would you like to reduce the clutter in your mailbox, avoid mail theft and save yourself some cash? Save time and conveniently access your financial statements online, whenever you want, instantly. With free online E-Statements.  It’s just like receiving your monthly paper statements in the mail only better!

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