Repaid.org Picks: The Top 20 Credit Union Blogs

Repaid.org

Michigan First’s What’s Hot blog has some of the most visually pleasing posts on the list. There are big pictures, a nifty font, cool chevron-shaped bullet points, and slick tables. But this blog isn’t all show and no go: not by a long shot! Michigan First brings the “big guns” to bear, with authors including none other than the President/CEO himself, Michael Poulos. When someone with that kind of expertise weighs in how to create a credit card strategy, you certainly listen! Michigan First began as the Detroit Teachers Credit Union way back in 1925, and was at one time the world’s largest credit union. A stellar blog makes sense for this credit union that was one of the first to go online in real-time…way back in 1980! Today Michigan First has 90,000 members and $650 million in assets. Oh yeah, they also have a great Young & Free Michigan blog steered by the vivacious Ebeth Fielder!

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Back-to-School Budget Tips

The Michigan Journal

There is no question school costs a lot of money. It’s important for all students—especially incoming freshman—to know how much money they have coming in and going out each week. But making a budget and sticking to it can be harder than it sounds. Here are some tips to help you out!

  • Ask questions: Before you make a purchase don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, your professor might allow you to use the previous year’s edition of the textbook instead of the brand new edition. Make it a habit to ask the cashier at local stores if they give a student discount. You don’t know unless you ask!
  • Plan ahead: Impulse buying never helps our financial situations. Instead, plan ahead, make shopping lists, and use coupons and rewards cards. When you know you need to make a big purchase, search online for the best price before you head out to buy it.
     
  • Budget for fun: We all want to enjoy college, but it can be expensive! Make sure you budget and plan for fun in your life—then you can enjoy it guilt free.

Those are really simple tips to help you stay in your budget while in school, but the hardest part is applying them. Don’t forget you have some help, use online banking and savings apps to help you be a good manager of your finances. For more finance tips, blogs and fun videos go to my website YoungFreeMichigan.com.

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Credit Union Membership Soars with Young People

Public News Service

It's not your grandfather's credit union. Just ask the growing number of millennials who are among those turning to the not-for-profit financial cooperatives.

Elizabeth "Ebeth" Fielder, a 22-year-old who serves as a sort of young people's ambassador for Michigan First Credit Union, says she's one of many millienials who came of age during the financial crisis. As a result, she and many of her peers feel a philosophical pull toward credit unions, which often offer lower fees and better interest rates than for-profit banks, along with a focus on financial education.

"We don't want to be looked down on because we have questions or because we just don't know yet," says Fielder. "We want to be taught and we want to make good decisions, so it matters a lot."

Nationwide, credit unions surpassed the 100 million membership mark this summer, a milestone which includes nearly half the population of Michigan. Fielder says she feels many millenials are connecting with the credit union philosophy of "people helping people."

"They care about my finances. They care about my better being, and they care about the community as well," she says. "I didn't get that at all from my experience with the banks."

According to the Michigan Credit Union League, the state's 4.6 million credit union members saved nearly $226 million on fees and interest last year, compared with bank customers.

+ Original article

Millennials: Super savers or dogged by debt

USA Today
Ebeth Fielder, 22, is like a lot of young consumers when she admits that she has not begun saving in a 401(k) yet. Even Fielder, who makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money, admits she has a big financial learning curve ahead.

Fielder drives a car with loud logos plastered all over it. She heads to festivals and events as the hip "spokester" for the Young & Free program that targets the 18-to-25 crowd at Michigan First Credit Union based in Lathrup Village.

She thinks younger consumers can save money, sees a financial future as doable, but says many young people need to re-think how they're spending their money. Giving up small purchases can help finance bigger projects. Her goal is to save money to buy a home with her husband, who is a youth minister.

"I love to shop so much, but I hate spending money," said Fielder, who writes a blog at www.YoungFreeMichigan.com.

Young consumers, depending on the survey, can provide a contradiction in financial terms. Millennials either are "super savers" with an eye on retirement or so dogged by debt that they don't know which way to turn.

They are the digital do-it-yourself generation of "super savers," according to a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. That study offered a shocking tidbit: about 70% of millennials are starting to save for retirement either through employer-sponsored plans or outside the workplace.

The median age they start saving is 22 years old, far younger than many baby boomers who started saving at a median age of 35 years old, according to the Transamerica Center study.

"Millennials have retirement on the brain," said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. For research purposes, the report defines the millennial group as those born between 1979 and 1996.

But others say we cannot lose sight that Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in student loans and many younger consumers are reluctant to spend.

More than half of millennials say they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are unable to save, according to a survey prepared for Wells Fargo.

About 39% of millennials indicate that they feel overwhelmed with the current amount of debt they have to pay off. That compares to 23% of baby boomers, according to the Survey of Millennials and Baby Boomers prepared for Wells Fargo Retirement Communications and WBR Market Intelligence.

While three-in-five millennials identify themselves as savers, about 45% have not yet started saving for retirement, according to the survey released in May.

For some, the burden of too much debt means they cannot buy a home as quickly as they'd like.

Colleen Jirikovic, certified credit counselor for GreenPath Debt Solutions in Farmington Hills, said some young people seem more concerned about tackling student loans first before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage.

Jirikovic counseled one engaged couple, both in their 20s, who wanted to buy a home but then dug through the numbers associated with their student loans.

After taxes, their income was about $4,000 a month. But their combined student loans added up to about $1,100 a month. And they had debt from car loans.

Given all their debt, they'd be limited to a $600 monthly mortgage payment with taxes and insurance. On a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4.25%, the couple might be able to take out a mortgage of around $70,000 or so, according to Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

But even then, the couple wouldn't have much money left in their budget. Ultimately, they decided they didn't want to buy a small home now.

"They were upset at first," Jirikovic said.

But they knew waiting, renting and taking more time to pay down their debt would be the right thing to do for them.

"They didn't want to invest in something that they maybe couldn't sell later," Jirikovic said.

Fielder said one of her goals is to help young adults feel empowered about their finances. Sometimes, it means studying options and mapping out a route.

One trick Fielder uses to control her urge to shop is to ask how many hours she'd have to work to pay for a T-shirt or a pair of shoes.

Say you spot a pair of shoes on sale for $40. It might be tempting to snap up designer shoes that are now half-off the $80 original price.

But instead, a shopper might stop and consider how much he or she is paid each hour. If you're earning $10 an hour, you could ask if the shoes are really worth four hours of my time — or half of a regular workday?

"Is this a value to me? Is it worth my time?" Fielder said. "You're spending your time earning that money."

+ Original article

Millennials need to rethink how they're spending

Lansing State Journal

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is like a lot of young consumers when she admits that she has not begun saving in a 401(k) yet. Even Fielder, who makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money, admits she has a big financial learning curve ahead.

Fielder drives a car with loud logos plastered all over it. She heads to festivals and events as the hip “spokester” for the Young & Free program that targets the 18-25 crowd at Michigan First Credit Union.

She thinks younger consumers can save money, sees a financial future as doable, but says many young people need to rethink how they’re spending their money.

Giving up small purchases can help finance bigger projects. Her goal is to save money to buy a home with her husband, who is a youth minister.

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is a Young & Free Michigan 'spokester' for Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village. Fielder makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money and admits she has a learning curve ahead. / Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is a Young & Free Michigan 'spokester' for Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village. Fielder makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money and admits she has a learning curve ahead. / Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press

“I love to shop so much, but I hate spending money,” said Fielder, who writes a blog atwww.YoungFreeMichigan.com.

Young consumers, depending on the survey, can provide a contradiction in financial terms. Millennials either are “super savers” with an eye on retirement or so dogged by debt that they don’t know which way to turn.

They are the digital do-it-yourself generation of “super savers,” says a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

That study offered a shocking tidbit: about 70 percent of millennials are starting to save for retirement either through employer-sponsored plans or outside the workplace.

The median age they start saving is 22 years old, far younger than many baby boomers who started saving at a median age of 35 years old, according to the Transamerica Center study.

“Millennials have retirement on the brain,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. For research purposes, the report defines the millennial group as those born between 1979 and 1996.

But others say we cannot lose sight that Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in student loans and many younger consumers are reluctant to spend.

More than half of millennials say they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are unable to save, according to a survey for Wells Fargo.

About 39 percent of millennials indicate that they feel overwhelmed with the current amount of debt they have to pay off.

That compares to 23 percent of baby boomers, according to the Survey of Millennials and Baby Boomers prepared for Wells Fargo Retirement Communications and WBR Market Intelligence.

While three in five millennials identify themselves as savers, about 45 percent have not yet started saving for retirement, according to the survey released in May. For some, the burden of too much debt means they cannot buy a home as quickly as they’d like.

Colleen Jirikovic, credit counselor for GreenPath Debt Solutions in Farmington Hills, said some young people seem more concerned about tackling student loans then taking on a mortgage.

Susan Tompor is the personal finance columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Young consumers a mix of super savers and those dogged by debt

Detroit Free Press | By Susan Tompor 

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is like a lot of young consumers when she admits that she has not begun saving in a 401(k) yet. Even Fielder, who makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money, admits she has a big financial learning curve ahead.

Fielder drives a car with loud logos plastered all over it. She heads to festivals and events as the hip “spokester” for the Young & Free program that targets the 18-to-25 crowd at Michigan First Credit Union based in Lathrup Village.

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is a Young & Free Michigan 'spokester' for Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village. Fielder makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money and admits she has a learning curve ahead. / Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press

Ebeth Fielder, 22, is a Young & Free Michigan 'spokester' for Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village. Fielder makes a living talking to other millennial consumers about money and admits she has a learning curve ahead. / Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press

She thinks younger consumers can save money, sees a financial future as doable, but says many young people need to re-think how they’re spending their money. Giving up small purchases can help finance bigger projects. Her goal is to save money to buy a home with her husband, who is a youth minister.

“I love to shop so much, but I hate spending money,” said Fielder, who writes a blog at www.YoungFreeMichigan.com.

Young consumers, depending on the survey, can provide a contradiction in financial terms. Millennials either are “super savers” with an eye on retirement or so dogged by debt that they don’t know which way to turn.

They are the digital do-it-yourself generation of “super savers,” according to a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. That study offered a shocking tidbit: about 70% of millennials are starting to save for retirement either through employer-sponsored plans or outside the workplace.

The median age they start saving is 22 years old, far younger than many baby boomers who started saving at a median age of 35 years old, according to the Transamerica Center study.

“Millennials have retirement on the brain,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. For research purposes, the report defines the millennial group as those born between 1979 and 1996.

But others say we cannot lose sight that Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in student loans and many younger consumers are reluctant to spend.

More than half of millennials say they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are unable to save, according to a survey prepared for Wells Fargo.

About 39% of millennials indicate that they feel overwhelmed with the current amount of debt they have to pay off. That compares to 23% of baby boomers, according to the Survey of Millennials and Baby Boomers prepared for Wells Fargo Retirement Communications and WBR Market Intelligence.

While three-in-five millennials identify themselves as savers, about 45% have not yet started saving for retirement, according to the survey released in May.

For some, the burden of too much debt means they cannot buy a home as quickly as they’d like.

Colleen Jirikovic, certified credit counselor for GreenPath Debt Solutions in Farmington Hills, said some young people seem more concerned about tackling student loans first before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage.

Jirikovic counseled one engaged couple, both in their 20s, who wanted to buy a home but then dug through the numbers associated with their student loans.

After taxes, their income was about $4,000 a month. But their combined student loans added up to about $1,100 a month. And they had debt from car loans.

Given all their debt, they’d be limited to a $600 monthly mortgage payment with taxes and insurance. On a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4.25%, the couple might be able to take out a mortgage of around $70,000 or so, according to Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

But even then, the couple wouldn’t have much money left in their budget. Ultimately, they decided they didn’t want to buy a small home now.

“They were upset at first,” Jirikovic said.

But they knew waiting, renting and taking more time to pay down their debt would be the right thing to do for them.

“They didn’t want to invest in something that they maybe couldn’t sell later,” Jirikovic said.

Fielder said one of her goals is to help young adults feel empowered about their finances. Sometimes, it means studying options and mapping out a route.

One trick Fielder uses to control her urge to shop is to ask how many hours she’d have to work to pay for a T-shirt or a pair of shoes.

Say you spot a pair of shoes on sale for $40. It might be tempting to snap up designer shoes that are now half-off the $80 original price.

But instead, a shopper might stop and consider how much he or she is paid each hour. If you’re earning $10 an hour, you could ask if the shoes are really worth four hours of my time — or half of a regular workday?

“Is this a value to me? Is it worth my time?” Fielder said. “You’re spending your time earning that money.”

+ Original article

Young and Free Spokester Elizabeth 'Ebeth' Fielder

metroparent | By Christina Clark

As the 2014 Young and Free Spokester for Michigan First Credit Union, Fielder gives teens advice about finances. Here, the Dearborn native talks about her finances, and gives advice for families, too.

Growing up saving
"My mom jokes around saying the first word I said was 'sale.'" Her parents led by example, teaching her, "If I earn $9-$10 an hour," and then go out and spend, say, $20, "that's almost two hours of work."

4f9335e74e98bbe32f8b1708bade7a53.jpeg

Her inspiration
Fielder says inspiring others drives her. First set goals, she says, and then see them through. "I want to inspire them to accomplish their goals."

Sage advice
"Do more and worry less when it comes to finances," she says. Try a more proactive approach to spending. "Look for cheaper ways to buy. Use your creativity to not feel the burden of day-to-day desire." She recommends budgeting, finding coupons and searching for sales before going shopping.

Her biggest mistake
"When I was working in retail, I lived with my mother. I didn't have any bills and did not realize the importance of putting money away," she says. Instead, she spent her money on clothes. "I have a very lovely closet now because of it, but my savings account needs a little work."

Budgeting for kids
"Open an account (for your kids) as soon as you can, so they can see that having that relationship is important." Help them set goals and let them have fun reaching them. And, every day, "Find something to teach them."

+ Original article

Lathrup Village Suburban Life-based credit union names young adult spokesperson

Oakland Press Suburban Life

At a surprise event, Michigan First Credit Union announced Elizabeth Fielder as the 2014-2015 spokesperson for Young and Free Michigan, an initiative aimed at spreading a positive financial message to young adults ages 17-25 in metro Detroit.

President/CEO Michael Poulos made the announcement.

Michigan First Credit Union President and CEO Michael Poulos congratulates new Young and Free Michigan Spokester Elizabeth Fielder at her surprise party.? Photo submitted by Identity PR 

Michigan First Credit Union President and CEO Michael Poulos congratulates new Young and Free Michigan Spokester Elizabeth Fielder at her surprise party.? Photo submitted by Identity PR 

Fielder of Dearborn will be the voice of the Lathrup Village-based Michigan First for her peers in southeast Michigan for an entire year, serving as a full-time employee responsible for writing daily blog posts, creating weekly videos, attending a variety of local events and participating in multiple media opportunities. The credit union launched the Young and Free Michigan program in 2011 and Fielder will be its fourth Spokester.

This year, Young and Free Michigan Spokester applicants were required to submit an initial essay and video. The search was narrowed down to 10 who attended Michigan First’s Show Us Your Stuff Meet-Up event. At the event, each applicant participated in a series of challenges — including mock media interviews, managing a Michigan First exhibit booth and improvising a skit — to evaluate their ability to carry out the role as the next Spokester. The finalists from the event were required to draft a blog post on financial responsibility and film a video entry, before a panel of judges selected the winner.

In addition to the Spokester position, Fielder won an Apple MacBook Pro, an HD video camera and a smart phone to use on the job. She also gets to drive the Young and Free Michigan car for the year, along with paid gas and insurance. The remaining nine finalists each received a $100 gift card and Young and Free Michigan branded gifts.

Fielder replaces outgoing Young and Free Michigan Spokester Vicky Goldwater, who will continue her education at Macomb Community College.

+ Original article

Lathrup Village-based credit union searches for young adult representative

Oakland Press Lathrup Village

Michigan First Credit Union announced its fourth annual Young & Free Michigan “Spokester” search.

The winner will serve for a year as the spokesperson for the credit union’s education-focused program for 17-25 year-olds and receive a $27,500 salary (with the opportunity for a $5,000 bonus), an Apple MacBook Pro, an HD video camera and a smartphone. President/CEO Michael Poulos made the announcement.

The spokester will have the opportunity to engage with college students through social media, regular community events, daily blog posts and weekly videos encouraging smart financial behavior. The winner will also enjoy use of the Young & Free Michigan car for the year, along with paid gas and insurance. Those interested can visit YoungFreeMichigan.com to learn more.

“College is a critical time for the financial well-being of the next generation and Michigan First is committed to finding fun, engaging ways to connect with them,” says Poulos. “The Young & Free Michigan spokester can truly make a difference by sharing financial knowledge, as well as their passion, to help these students get started on the right financial foot.”

To apply, individuals must be between 18 and 25 years old, willing and able to work full-time, and reside in metro Detroit from June 2014 to June 2015. Applicants should bring their creativity, tech savvy and passion for helping others to a short, 60-second video demonstrating why they would be the ideal spokesperson. They will also need to submit an entertaining blog post on a financial topic, completing their entry by 3 p.m. April 15. A public vote from April 17-22 will help determine the 10 finalists who will be invited for an in-person “meet up” event before the final decision is made.

For more information about Lathrup Village-based Michigan First Credit Union, visit www.MichiganFirst.com.

+ Original articles

Michigan First Credit Union aims to add 17 jobs

metromode | By Jon Zemke

Michigan First Credit Union is in the process of hiring another 17 people right now, including a new spokester for its Young & Free Michigan program.

The Lathrup Village-based credit union currently employs 247 people across six stand-alone branches, plus three more in Meijer stores. It is replacing a branch on Gratiot Avenue, which is expected to open this fall. Michigan First Credit Union has hired 17 people over the last year. Its new positions range from IT professionals to branch operations. For information on those jobs, click here.

Among the new positions is the credit union’s spokester job for its Young & Free Michigan program. The 3-year-old program employs one college student for a year, making the person the credit union’s spokester. The spokester engages local college students through social media, community events, blog posts and online videos. The idea is to encourage smart financial behavior and help attract more young people to the credit union.

"The year goes by so fast," says Vicky Goldwater, young & free Michigan spokester for Michigan First Credit Union. She worked as a waitress and studied communications at Macomb Community College before taking the position. "The experience was awesome."

Michigan First Credit Union is taking applications for this year's spokester. The position comes with paid gas and insurance. Applicants are expected to make a video when applying. More info can be found here.

"Have fun with the video," Goldwater says. "Be yourself."

Michigan First Credit Union has about 94,300 members in Michigan, which is up more than 4,000 since the beginning of 2013. It has added $30 million in assets in the last year, totaling $674 million.

+ Original article