NerdWallet Gen Y Credit Union Commencement Speech

Blog-ContestTigers Credit Union is honored that Nerdwallet has asked us to express a few words as you embark on this new chapter in your life. As you have probably heard, there is a weathered road currently presented to graduates these days. exness learning about the economy and poor job markets. As a financial institution run by our members, it is our duty and privilege to provide you the building blocks to financial success. Part of that shared knowledge means preparing you for the obstacles you will potentially face and give you the tools to surpass them.

One of the most valuable things we can share is the importance of credit and how that pesky score can affect your life. Credit scores are basically your financial report card. Only now your financial habits are graded from 300-850. Debt is easy to acquire these days, but a good credit score is critical if you ever plan to buy a car or get a mortgage at all, let alone at the best possible rates. The following three stories are how credit has affected someone’s life in one way or another.

The first story is about not being afraid of credit:
Sarah’s parents had problems with credit cards, and raised her to believe that all debt was bad. Consequently, when she went to rent an apartment after college, her name couldn’t be on the lease because she had no credit history. Small steps, such as signing up for a credit card and paying more than the minimum, on-time, has allowed Sarah to start building credit, and she was Debt is bad when you let it accumulate, but using a credit card and paying off the balance every month is a smart way to build good credit, so when it comes time to rent or own, you won’t be at the mercy of your roommates.

Our second story is about trimming the fat:
When Patrick lost his job and took another at half the salary, he started living off credit cards. Between paying for all the household utilities, food, phones and car payments, he racked up $32,000 across 6 cards in just 2 years! When creditors started calling the house, he decided it was time to get his life in order.

Patrick came into the credit union for advice and was able to create a budget that included setting up automatic payments and getting rid of nonessential items like cable. He was able to refinance his auto loan with cash out to pay off a high interest credit card balance while simultaneously getting a signature loan for another high interest credit card. Together, he was saving about $600 a month and in six months, he was able to pay off another credit card’s balance with a lower interest loan.

Knowing when to ask for help is what Patrick attributes to paying off his debt. With the money he is retaining from not paying down credit cards, he is able to focus on building his savings for retirement.

Our final story is about overcoming a low score:
Tracy and Dan were in their late 20s with great paying jobs and perfect credit. Due to cutbacks, Dan lost his job and was out of work for a year. With their income drastically dropping they fell behind on all of their bills and were not always able to pay everything on time. They fell behind on their mortgage payment, car payment, and credit cards causing their score to go from a 730 to a 580. After almost 13 months of not working, Dan was able to find a job making $95,000 a year. However, when they needed to replace their second car, they had a hard time getting approved for a loan. Even with their combined income, they were still considered a “credit risk” due to that low score.

Finally, they were able to work out a $20,000 loan for a new vehicle, but at an interest rate of 14.79%. Now that Dan is working again and can make his monthly payments, his score will increase and they will save more money for the next time they apply for a loan. When they get back up to a score like 730, they could potentially qualify for rates as low as 3.29%. But http// only lesson they learned. Together, they started a savings fund that now houses 10% of their paychecks for emergencies, stating: “We’ll never let our scores suffer again!”

Just because classes are over does not mean that the learning ends. It might sound corny, but you have the world at your fingertips, and it’s not just because you’re graduating and everything is shiny and new. It is because you are a part of a generation that has the world of information literally at your fingertips. Resources like the Tigers blog and NerdWallet work to “empower consumers to make better decisions about their personal finances” and resources like that are endless. So use them.

In closing, people make mistakes. Ask for help. Keep learning.
Congratulations to the graduating class.

Tigers Credit Union


This speech was written as part of our submission to NerdWallet’s Gen Y Credit Union Contest.

Keep Your Information Safe: Password Security

PasswordYou probably have a password for your email accounts, favorite online stores, and social media sites, not to mention countless more. At Tigers, we take the security of our members’ accounts very serious, but there is only so much we can do if your password is as simple as “password123.” As part of our series on online safety, we want to inform you about what makes strong passwords and how to use them securely.

Build a Better Password
Cyber criminals have gotten very sophisticated at stealing passwords by developing programs that expertly make educated guesses. They also use information that can be easily found on social networking sites or Google to hack your accounts. Beat them to it by not using common information such as birthdates or pet’s names. Create a more complicated code that includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. In fact, we recommend using a passphrase that uses multiple words or complete sentences.

Example: “time for coffee” can become Timef0rCoffee? or Time4Coffee!
Or take a favorite song or poem lyric:


Using Passwords Securely

  • Make sure to have different passwords for every account. If you have too many passwords to remember, consider using a password manager.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone else.
  • Do not use public computers to log into a work or bank account. Anyone could infect these computers with a code and capture your data.
  • Be careful when you are required to create personal security questions. Try to use questions where answers aren’t publicly found on the internet.
  • If important information or passwords are kept on your mobile device, make sure you have a PIN set up to secure your phone in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • If you are no longer using an account, be sure to close, delete or disable it.

Implement these tips into your daily online routine and stay on top of your credit and debit statements for suspicious activity. Remember that using a password with mixed case characters, numbers and symbols is far more secure than anything else. For more information about protecting yourself online, view our security training video libraryAnd stay safe!

Protecting Yourself Online

Earlier today, the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked, posting a false tweet about an attack on the White House. The fake tweet rattled quite a few feathers today, even causing stocks to briefly drop over 100 points. The twitter account has since been suspended, and they have been working to correct the issue.


After the incident, Mike Baker reported that the employees of the Associated Press received a phishing email about a half hour before the hack. Phishing emails use suspicious links or attachments to record your confidential information. If these hackers were able to bring the AP, as well as the stock market, momentarily to its knees today, think of the damage they could do to the rest of us. That’s why we’ve compiled these safety tips to help protect you from these kinds of attacks:

  1. Do not trust an email with grammatical and/or spelling errors.
  2. Look for your name. If an email contains a generic greeting or just uses your email as the greeting itself, this is a major red flag.
  3. Roll over links to see the actual URL. If it does not match up with what the text says or you’re unsure, don’t click on it.
  4. Don’t trust solicitations. Tigers does not send text messages or emails to members asking for credit card or personal information that could compromise the security of your identity and finances.
  5. If you are really in doubt, call the number on the back of your debit/credit card. Don’t trust any phone numbers contained in the email itself.
  6. Sometimes these emails will look very legitimate. We suggest you treat all email as suspicious. Think before you click on the link or attachment and use your better judgment.

For more information about online safety and protecting your identity, be sure to check out our security videos library.

Tigers Supports Mizzou Sustainability

Tigers Booth

One of the greatest perks of working at a credit union is having the opportunity to get out into the community we serve and becoming involved in the things our members care about. A perfect example of that is getting to work with Sustain Mizzou again to promote the second annual Sustainability Week.

Sustainability Reusable BagsSustainability Week includes a number of events that showcase sustainable resources at Mizzou. Each day of the week highlights a different aspect of sustainability which expands beyond environmentalism into campus life, culture, research, technology, business, even our daily lives.

Part of our involvement in Sustainability Week consisted of donating the reusable bags giveaway. But as a financial institution, our greatest contribution is informing the public on how to live financially sustainable. Check out our guide for 5 ways to cut back, save money and lighten your footprint.

1. Sign up for eStatements. Getting a paper statement in the mail is so 2000 and late. eStatements are faster, safer and it’s super easy to sign up. We also have eStatements for credit cards.

2. Eat clean and local. Contrary to convincing packaging, not all labels are created equal. Lisa Freeman, editor in chief of ShopSmart magazine, says that the “grass-fed” label on meat is meaningless, but you should buy USDA-certified organic meats, poultry and dairy products.

photo3-2Organic foods are usually more expensive, so we suggest splurging only on organics that don’t have a peel like berries. Non-organic foods like bananas and avocadoes are fine since they have protection. Farmer’s markets are the way to go for fresh produce. The Columbia Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon through November.

3. Utilize online bill pay.  The Environmental Protection Agency reports that paper bills use hundreds of gallons of fuel each year! With our new bill pay program, Bill PayXL, you’ll save on postage and can set up handy automatic payments and reminders.

4.Unplug! Turn off the lights, the computer, the T.V. and the phone. Enjoy the company of friends without these distractions. According to financial advisors, turning off electronics for 18 hours each day could save you $131 over the course of a year.

5. Make a green budget. If you want to clean up your lifestyle, there are immediate changes that will allow you to afford living in a way that promotes sustainability. We offer a free account aggregate called uni$ource that allows you to monitor all your finances in one place as well as create a budget and track your spending. Take a look at your current habits and pick out ones that are wasteful. Cut back your spending in those areas first — the money you save can be used to support habits that are healthier for you and for the earth.

Sustainability Week continues through Friday. For more information or for a complete schedule of events, check out the Sustain Mizzou website or get involved with the Sustainability Office on campus. We’re all in this together!

Transferring Your Mortgage

Couple-Moving_WEBTransferring your mortgage to a new lender can lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payment or even let you to pay off your loan early. But, first you must determine if it makes sense.

First, look into loans with shorter terms. If you currently have a 30-year fixed-rate loan, refinancing to a 10-, 15- or 20-year term will lower the total amount of interest you will pay and let you to pay it off faster. Then look at rates. Generally speaking, if rates are lower by one percent or more, it may be a good time to transfer. But, when shopping for rates, be careful. Lenders offering no points and fees usually charge higher interest rates.

To figure out whether it pays to transfer, you must calculate refinancing costs and determine how many months will it take to break-even. You should consider transferring if you plan to stay in your home for more than the time it takes to break-even.

Remember, you can also transfer personal loans and credit card balances and save money. By transferring a loan to a new lender you can spend less money each month. So, no matter what kind of loan you currently have, you should check out your refinancing options with several different lenders. Check out our website for more information including our current rates and the various loans we offer. Remember, transferring a loan can help you squeeze more money out of your monthly budget and save more at the same time!

Transferring Your Car Loan

Transferring or refinancing a car loan with a different lender is one of the best kept secrets around for saving money, but most people never think of it.

78428822_Convertible_blogCar refinancing is like mortgage refinancing – only easier, quicker and without closing costs. When you transfer a car loan, you pay it off with a refinanced loan from a different lender that offers some benefit, such as a lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR), longer payment term or cash offer. A lower APR can reduce the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan. A longer term could help lower your payments. And, a cash offer can simply put money in your pocket.

However, if your current interest rate can only be reduced by a few points, transferring your loan probably won’t save you enough money.

Begin by researching lenders. Credit unions, banks, finance companies and online lenders refinance car loans, so be sure to compare rates. And, be prepared to research new lenders because most will not refinance their own loans. Be sure to visit our website for additional helpful information including our current rates and the many benefits we offer.

Spring Breaking Out of Town?

If you’re heading out of town for spring break – whether you’re hitting the beach or going back home – remember you can still easily access your money and your Tigers accounts through some of the convenient services we offer.

TouchBankingOnline/Mobile Banking with Bill Pay
With Virtual Branch, you can access and manage your accounts 24/7 from your laptop or tablet. You can quickly and easily pay bills electronically too. Got a smart phone? We have an app for that—it’s called TouchBanking. Visit our website for details.

Shared BranchingShared Branches
You can still conduct business with Tigers no matter where you are. Just visit one of the thousands of shared branches nationwide for simple transactions with us – such as deposits, withdrawals, transfers and loan payments. iPhone users can download the free Shared Branch Locator app on iTunes.

COOP ATMsFree CO-OP Network ATMs
Enjoy convenient FREE access to over 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find a FREE CO-OP Network ATM near you right now. Or, just text your zip code or address to 692667 (MYCOOP) from any mobile phone. iPhone users can download the free CO-OP ATM Network Locator app on iTunes.

Remember, even when you’re not on campus, Tigers is always there for you. So rest easy, enjoy your time off and have safe travels!