We’re moving the blog!

June 1, 2010

From now on, all new posts will be available at http://blog.parkcommunity.com/. If you have this page bookmarked, please be sure to update your bookmark as well. Thanks for reading!

-Park Community Staff


Summer is Here and School is Out!

May 28, 2010

Although most colleges have been out for several weeks now, most gradeschools are now closing (or getting ready to close) for the summer.  The academic pressure is off, and it’s time to relax, have fun, and celebrate right?  That may be fine for the first few days, but as most students figure out, that can get boring pretty quickly.  Here are some ideas that may help you fill your time and your savings account this summer.

Summer Job
There are several summer jobs that are merely seasonal, such as life guard, snowcone booth, and landscaping positions.  These jobs are ideal for those old enough to work during the summer because each year will require a hiring frenzy to be adequately staffed.  Those who aren’t young enough to get a summer job can do extra chores around the house, neighborhood, or even their parents’ workplace if the situation allows.  It may not sound like a fun way to spend your summer, but your mind will change when you get your monthly statement from your financial institution and find the numbers growing at an escalated rate.

Outdoor Fun!
Camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, tennis, baseball, and even golf are excellent inexpensive ways to enjoy the great outdoors.  If you’re not old enough to do some of these activities, talk to your parents!  Perhaps they’ll be glad to help you put up a tent in the back yard or take you fishing.  There *are* many more outdoor things to do, so you can sit down and make a list of outdoor activities you like or even ones you’ve never done and want to try. If you do spend time outdoors during the summer, please remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated!

Volunteer Work
This is especially important for those attending high school.  Did you know that most scholarship applications have a place where you can list your volunteer work?  It’s looked at as having a good sense of responsibility toward your community.  Plus, you get a great feeling for having something to make a difference in the lives of others.  You may not  get paid for it now, but if it means that you have a better shot at getting a discounted or even free college education, it couldn’t hurt.

There are plenty of productive ways to spend your summer without having to shell out big bucks.  You can even make some cash in the process.  Just remember that staying indoors too much can be unhealthy as it promotes anti-social tendencies.  And for those of you with summer jobs, keep saving!  You never know what expenses may come out of the woodwork. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, by the way!

Learn Healthy Financial Habits Early!

May 21, 2010

As young adults leave high school diploma in hand and college bound, they get their first taste of adult life.  Rent, tuition, books, food, possibly even car payments are just a few new bills that may add up in a student’s life.  The resulting need for money during a already-strenuous time may cause financial irresponsibility that could take years to absolve themselves from.  That being the case, here are some financial guidelines to live by as a college student!

Use Credit Wisely
Your credit is essentially a guideline for lenders.  The more responsible you appear to be with money coupled with how much money you make allows lenders to trust you with higher spending limits.  Credit card companies know that students don’t have established credit and will often target students by offering higher limits than the students need.  This way, credit card companies can maximize the amount of interest they can earn.  Using credit is sometimes a necessity, and under normal circumstances, may be fiscally healthy.  Obviously, you may not have thousands of dollars to purchase a car, but the structured monthly payments that allow y ou to drive a car meets your needs and allows you to build a good credit history.  Until a young adult can understand credit and what it means to them, parents are urged to discourage spending too much on credit cards, or to intentionally impose a low limit.  Small mistakes are much easier to overcome and affect your credit less.

Student Loans
An excellent source of funding for higher education, student loans can be your best friend… but are also your nagging worst enemy when you graduate.  To keep your repayment costs to a minimum once you graduate, try not to overborrow for things like food and partying.  This mistake can seem like a good idea now, but you will be accruing interest on every penny you borrow for years to come.  Also, repaying your student loans on time once you graduate will help you build credit.  Some lenders even give discounts and reductions for punctual payments or even accepting automatic payments.  Finally, if you work in a public or non-profit institution such as teaching at a public school or working for a charitable organization, you may qualify to have some or even all of your student loans forgiven.  Talk to your financial advisor at your college if you are unsure whether you have a chance for qualifying.

Feeling Hunted During Tax Season?
Taxes are a necessary part of life.  Most (if not all) employers will deduct money from your paycheck so that you don’t end up owing Uncle Sam money every April.  Students usually have finals going on around this time and put their taxes on the back burner… usually thinking “I don’t make enough for it to matter” or something similar.  That kind of thinking can land a student into some trouble as fines can rack up and eat away at the tax refund you might have received had you been punctual with your return.  Also, reporting accurate information on your taxes is very important.  Tax evasion is considered a felony.  If you are convicted, it will be a huge smudge on your permanent record.

Build a Nest Egg
Being one step ahead of the game plays a major role in a successful academic career.  Not only are studying, reading, and doing homework ways to accomplish this, but saving money is one that most students overlook.  If you have the opportunity as a student to save even a fraction of each paycheck, it will add up before you know it.  The what-ifs are endless when it comes to how it will save you.  What happens if your car breaks down.  Do you have the luxury to be able to call your parents and ask for emergency funds?  What happens if you drop your laptop and crack the screen only to regret not having purchased that protection plan?  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

So to review, build good credit, use credit cards wisely, be aware of the stipulations that come with student loans, observe the tax deadline more seriously, and put back some money if there’s any possibility.  All of these tips may seem like common sense, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg.  For more tips, visit your local Park Community branch and speak with one of our financial advisors.  They’re there for you!  Also, members have FREE access to financial counseling right over the phone with Accel.

Stress and Money Go Hand in Hand

May 14, 2010

Money is one of the single most stressful things we as humans have in our lives.  Whether it’s because we have too little of it or because we’re paranoid that we’re going to lose what all we have, money tends to keep us on edge.  There are ways of reducing the amount of stress, however.

Keep up your physical health
Stress and depression have similar symptoms in the fact that they tempt us to make unhealthy decisions that can affect our energy, metabolism, and can even cause weight gain.  Lethargy, insomnia, and eating disorders are common with high levels of stress.  If you notice any of these symptoms during financially stressful situations, the best thing to do is to make every effort to resume a normal physically healthy lifestyle complete with vitamin-rich foods and regular exercise.  Friends can be of great help with this, as they can help with keeping your confidence and motivation up.

Don’t ignore the problem; face it!
Ignoring problems, especially ones that have to do with finances, can have a negative impact not only on your stress, but on your credit as well.  Taking a deep breath and facing the problem rather than running from it will give you the confidence and courage to resolve the issue and will also allow you to have closure on the matter.  Even if you have to open up to a family member or friend at first, getting it off your chest instead of internalizing your financial stress will ensure that you can better cope with it.

Substance crutches – bad idea!
Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, prescription medication, or anything else that can give you temporary relief from the mental anguish experienced during stress can lead to unhealthy addictions and even death.  In fact, alcohol is a depressant, which will actually make you feel worse once you are sober.  There are much healthier and much more satisfying methods of dealing with financial stress.  If you feel you could be at risk for or already have an substance addiction, please contact the National Drug Abuse hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).

Distractions are…well…distracting
Finding other things to think about than your financial situations will give you a mental/emotional break.  Perhaps you could watch an engrossing movie or even spend some leisure time with some friends.  It’s true that this will not solve the problem; however, stress can impede your judgment and keep you from making rational decisions.  The breaks that allow you to function normally will be valuable in dealing with the stress at a later time.  Just be careful not to fall into a rut of procrastination that leads to avoiding the problem entirely.

If you have any questions or concerns about your finances and are a Park Community member, we’re here to help!  Call 800/626.2870 or visit your local branch today!  Also, visit our parkcommunity.com site, where you can sign up for Accel financial counseling at no cost to you as a member!

Scholarships: Not Limited to High School Seniors

May 7, 2010

It’s the time of year that every high school senior dreams of.  It’s also the time in their life when they’ll face the toughest decisions they likely have ever been faced with, even if it’s the decision of whether or not to attend college.  Higher education is the most important foundation for a young person to have when starting a career, so more young adults are going to college these days.  That being the case, money is the primary factor involved with what school you go to, what degree you want to challenge yourself to attain, and even how often you can order out for pizza (hello freshman 15!)  Scholarships, grants, and financial aid are usually the way to go, unless of course there are parents with enough capital to finance your education.  As that’s not usually the case, it’s in a young adult’s best interest to get all the free money they can.

Some simple tips to ensure that you get serious consideration for scholarships start with what you can list on the scholarship applications themselves.  Applications will usually ask for grades, class rank, and even things you wouldn’t suspect, such as community involvement, special skills/talents, and work history.  Clearly, waiting until your senior year before working on what you’ll be putting on an application is a bad idea, so start early!  You can do community-involved volunteer work, participate in Boy/Girl Scouts of America, or pretty much anything you can think of that suggests that you’re an active member of your community.  Any involvement that shows personal leadership is also an excellent point to make.  Another tip is to fill out every single application you are eligible for.  You may have a tired wrist from writing so much; however, the idea that you may never have to pay a student loan payment upon graduation is certainly a great motivator to endure a bit of inconvenience.  Finally, take initiative.  Don’t let your parents search for scholarships or even fill out applications for you.  The sense of pride and self-reliance you’ll get is just a small step into a larger world of freedom and responsibility.

Did you know that you can apply for a scholarship given away annually by Park Community?  That’s right; we also give away a $2,000 scholarship to one exceptional student every year.  Just check out our scholarship page!    That just goes to show that it pays to be a good student!

Extended Warranties… Not Just From Dealerships?

April 30, 2010

Thinking about getting an extended warranty?It’s true!  Even though the dealership will offer you an extended warranty, what most people don’t know is that you can purchase an extended warranty from most banks and credit unions that you finance through.  Park Community even offers fine extended warranty packages for new and used autos with rates that are quite competitive.

Why should I finance through a financial institution?
Some dealerships offer an “in-house” extended warranty, meaning that particular dealership honors the warranty, does the warranty work themselves, and charges it off.  This is somewhat risky, because you as a consumer could be stuck with a useless warranty if the dealership goes out of business.  A financial institution’s extended warranty is usually honored at any certified mechanic (including the extended warranty packages Park Community offers), meaning that there’s not even the hassle of finding someone in-network as there is with health insurance.  The ability to trust the person you take your car to is probably at the top of your list of priorities, so this aspect is perfect!

New? New to you? No problem!
Many used dealerships offer very limited warranties on used vehicles.  Sometimes, they won’t even offer you an extended warranty.  Used vehicles are likely where you need a warranty the most, because you will likely have no idea how the vehicle was driven before you acquire it.  Financial institutions such as Park Community offer extended warranties on used automobiles as well as new.  With that kind of used vehicle coverage, you can have an umbrella over your savings account’s head if the “when it rains, it pours” saying turns out to be true in your case.

If you would like more information regarding the extended warranties we offer, contact Sharon Waddell at 502/815.1147 or 800/626.2870 x1147.

Derby is upon us!

April 23, 2010

Be safe this derby!While perusing through articles, forums, etc to bring our readers the latest and greatest information that your credit union can provide, I stumbled upon this article by someone who has obviously been to the infield several times.  Being that a good chunk of Louisvillians attend the Kentucky Derby, I thought this would be relevant. Click here to read

Speaking of derby, Park Community is once again participating in the bed race on Monday, April 26. Come on out to Broadbent Arena and join in the festivities! Check out kdf.org for times as well as information regarding other events that you can bring the whole family to!

Have a safe and fun time during this derby season!