Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Youtube Budget Contest

Win $300 in our Youtube Budget Contest

We are doing a contest to encourage youth to learn more about creating and sticking with a budget.  Youth between 15 and 21 years old who live in the Rocky Mountain House trade area, or are a Rocky Credit Union member, can create a video from 2 minutes to 5 minutes in length talking about why it is important to have a budget and how to create a budget, and that video could win $300 and other prizes.

Contest Poster (440 kb)
Contest Submission Form (324 kb)

The videos will be judged on the value of the content and the creativity in how the information is presented.

Deadline for Submissions is January 15, 2010.  Winners will be announced at our Annual General Meeting on Feb 1, 2010.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

72 Hour Emergency Kit

Are you prepared for an emergency?  There are some areas of the world where they have become accustomed to evacuating their homes at a moments notice.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, and forest fires are just some of the natural disasters that affect people’s lives annually.  As a result, people who live in areas plagued by these events have 72 hour kits that allow them to leave home quickly, and be prepared to live away from home for at least 3 days.  Many have suitcases packed to help them live for up to a week without access to their home.

The basics around a 72 hour emergency kit are:
1. Know the risks
2. Make a plan
3. Get a Kit

Know the Risks – Each person and home is subject to different risks.  While the Rocky Mountain House Region isn’t likely to have a hurricane, we have seen some pretty powerful winds that could knock out

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finances In Your 40's

In the Finances in your 20’s and 30’s articles, I wrote that those two decades tend to be a lot about debt: accumulating debt, living with debt, trying to control debt.  In your 30’s, hopefully people start a bit of saving for retirement, emergency purposes, and children’s education as well.

Finances in your 40’s changes things a lot.  In your 40’s you are probably on your second or third home.  Hopefully you haven’t gotten the largest home and mortgage possible, as this could cause problems for the financial effectiveness of this decade.  This is the decade when you should be clearing off your debt, ending your 40’s with only a mortgage as debt.  You are approaching the height of your earning potential, and with that money you should clear off credit card debt, pay down your mortgage at more than the basic payment, and start seriously saving for retirement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Debt Support Groups

There are a lot of support groups out there; weight loss, addictions support, single parent groups…  A support group that has been gaining in popularity over the past 3 or 4 years is the Debt Support Group.

A debt support group works very similar to the others:  you need to be completely honest, willing to share your actions and thoughts with the others, and your peers hold you accountable for what your actions.  You then get support in changing and controlling your spending, opinions of people going through similar situations, valuable lessons in budgeting, and share in the successes of each other.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Confusing Posted Rates

There are a lot of rules around how banks post the rates on their websites and in their branches.  The spirit of those rules is to make it easy for consumers to understand what the real cost or gain is to them.  I have to say that most banks do a pretty good job of trying to make their rates clear and understandable, but there is one product out there that continues to confuse people with its almost misleading rate advertisements – that is the escalator term deposit.

For most 5 year term deposits (redeemable or non-redeemable) the posted rate is the compounding rate you get on your money every year.  So a 5 year term deposit at 3.01% compounding annually means just that – you get 3.01% compounding every year.

For a 5 year escalator, the rates are laid out in the following way:
Year 1        0.4%
Year 2        1.1%
Year 3        1.3%
Year 4        2.1%
Year 5        6.4%

Monday, November 2, 2009

Teaching Kids About $ - Prize Contest

Prize contest at the end of the article.

A lot of people are concerned about the money habits youth have today.   These concerned citizens often say things like “They need to teach budgeting in school” or “than credit union needs work with kids more.”  The truth is that School does have a class in grade 10 where budgeting is a mandatory part of the curriculum, and the credit union helps by teaching a budgeting class at any of the schools who want us to come in.  These things help youth learn, but the greatest budgeting lessons a youth ever learns come from home.

Youth learn most from seeing what their parents do.  If a parent is poor at handling money, often the youth is too because they learn those same habits.  The best way a parent can teach their kids about money is to handle it well themselves, and talk to their kids about why certain choices have to be made regarding money.

I learned this lesson last year.  My kids were asking for a variety of items they had seen on TV commercials or that their friends had, and my regular answer was “We can’t afford it.”   I have said that for years.  Then I overheard my oldest telling a friend that we were too poor to do a certain activity that he hadn’t even asked us about.  The lesson my son learned was that we were poor and couldn’t do things that he thought were fun.

My wife and I discussed this, and decided we needed to change how we communicate our money issues with our kids.  We started by changing our answer from “we can’t afford it” to “We have decided to spend our money on other things.”  We also made sure that we pointed out the things we do spend money on – scouts, brownies, tae-kwon-doe, piano lessons, swimming…  and that because we have chosen to spend money on those things we have decided not to enroll the kids in hockey, or buy a Playstation…  We want the kids to understand that our budget is about choices, and that we can’t just have everything we want.  We also play money games with the kids (Monopoly, Life…) in addition to them earning money through extra chores around the house and yard.

So, what are your thoughts about teaching kids about money?  The first 3 people to post how they teach/have taught their kids about money will win their choice of a board game (Monopoly, Monopoly City, or Game of Life) a Wealthy Barber Book, and $40 Rocky Bucks to be spent here in Rocky Mountain House.  We’d like to hear from you, not only what you did but how it has turned out for your kids so far.  After posting your response, please e-mail your contact info to rockycu@myrocky.ca so we can get the prizes to you.