Credit union informs: Creating an Emergency Fund for #FirstTimers

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Thu, Jul 02, 2015 @ 04:17 PM

shutterstock_225610684-smallWhat is an emergency fund exactly? Why do I need one? Those may be two of the questions any #FirstTimer may have once they are financially independent. 

An emergency fund is the cash you've saved up for the sole purpose of helping you through an emergency. You shouldn't touch the emergency fund at all until you actually need it, so place it into a separate savings account and watch it grow while earning a bit of interest.   

Here are a few tips from The Simple Dollar that can help #FirstTimers make the act of creating an emergency fund less daunting: 

  1. Set your initial target low. Most people start with a goal that seems impossible to reach. An emergency fund can have any amount of money; even $250 can make a huge difference during an emergency. The smaller your weekly savings goal, $10-$20 a week, the easier it is to build the fund.
  2. Request a rate reduction on your credit cards. Many credit card companies will honor requests made to lower your rate. You just have to make the call! Ask to speak with the supervisor and simply request a rate reduction. 
  3. Shop around for better auto and home insurance. Visit insurance companies' websites, get some quotes and shop around. Unity One members are eligible for discounted insurance through Liberty Mutual. Call Tracy McNeil at 817-337-3606 ext. 08650 to receive your free quote. 
  4. Install a programmable thermostat. The key here is to actually use it. Set it so the air conditioner and/or heater doesn't run when your not there. This can cut your bill by 20-30 percent. 
  5. Make a list for grocery shopping. Ten minutes of planning could easily save you money by keeping you focused on the stuff you actually need. 

Follow Unity One on Twitter @UnityOneCU for more updates to our #FirstTimers series. 

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Topics: #FirstTimers, Unity One Credit Union, emergency fund

Credit union informs: Make the most of your vacation money

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 09:30 AM
One reason to cut costs during your next vacation: You can relax knowing that you'll have funds left over when you get home. Plan ahead to ensure that you get the most vacation for your money:

shutterstock_97530329-small1. Airfare. Book flights on Tingo or Yapta and be eligible for a voucher if the airfare goes down after you've purchased your tickets. Sign up for alerts from Airfarewatchdog; follow other travel sites on social media as well. Call your airline agent and ask for a deal. Use a regional airport--low-cost airlines often don't service the large international airports;

2. Lodging. If you book by phone, ask the desk agent to beat the online rate. Consider an apartment or home rental instead of a hotel--you'll save even more by cooking your own meals. Consider booking a place to stay through;

3. Food. Make lunch your main meal. Lunches often are 30% cheaper than the same entrées on a dinner menu and you'll be less likely to splurge on expensive alcoholic beverages. Stock up on snack foods before you leave home and replenish your supply at local grocery stores rather than convenience marts;

4. Search for vacation package deals. Package deals often give great discounts. Find them on Expedia and Priceline, or daily deal sites like Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes;

5. Book by your budget. If budget is more important than destination, search "explore" on or "flights" on Select your departure city, season of travel, price and get ready to be inspired;

7. Add a free destination. Find deals under "special offers" or by searching "stopover" on your airline's website. You might be able to squeeze in an extra destination at little or even no cost; and

8. Travel off-season. If you're flexible, travel in the shoulder seasons--just before or after peak season depending on your destination. Prices are low, the weather could be really nice, shops and restaurants are open and there are fewer tourists.

Summer Loan Sale

Topics: Fort Worth, summer loan sale, Unity One Credit Union

Credit union informs: Help Stuff the Bus for United Way

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 10:41 AM

stbUnity One Credit Union's Kansas City branch has partnered with United Way of Wyandotte County to collect school supplies for their "Stuff the Bus" drive. Stuff the Bus is an initiative that supports children in the Wyandotte County community by helping them start school with confidence and gives them the literal tools they need to succeed. 

Items for backpack donations include:

  • Box of 12 colored pencils
  • Box of 24 crayons
  • Box of 10 markers

If you would like to make a donation, please drop your items off at our Kansas City Branch, located at 4150 Kansas Ave., Kansas City, KS 66106. Donations will be collected until July 21, 2015. 

All items collected are distributed free of charge to recipients by the United Way. 

Find a Unity One Branch

Topics: Kansas City branch, Unity One Credit Union, United Way

Credit union informs: Branches celebrate Summer Loan Sale

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

Join us this Friday, June 19, at participating branches (listed below) to celebrate our Summer Loan Sale. Whether it's helping you get a loan to purchase the perfect Father's Day gift or entering for your chance to win one of many prizes, our staff can help you. 

  • North Tarrant Branch: Chill out with some summer time treats as you fill up your summer fund jar. 
  • BNSF Campus Branch: Bring your dad into the future with our summer loan sale.
  • BCTAL Branch: Enter for your chance to win a summer movie package, featuring the Back to the Future trilogy. 
  • Stockyards Branch: Explore different summertime attractions without ever leaving the branch. 
  • Vadnais Heights Branch: Enter for your chance to win one of four gift cards to help you build the patio of your dreams. 

Find a Unity One Branch

Topics: Fort Worth, summer loan sale, Unity One Credit Union, Vadnais Heights

Credit union informs: Fútbol Fiebre Champions Crowned

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 03:06 PM

2015_Unity_One_CU__Futbol_Fiebre_-_Team_Red_BullsParents, siblings and community members cheered their teams to victory at Unity One Credit Union’s annual Fútbol Fiebre, held on Saturday, June 6 at Rodeo Park in north Fort Worth. Seven teams, made up of over 90 children, competed in this highly anticipated tournament for boys and girls in grades three, four and five. 

The Red Bulls, a team made up of students throughout the community, was victorious, placing first. The Jaguars, a team from Manuel Jara Elementary School, placed second. 

Participants enjoyed fresh cinnamon rolls and chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-A for breakfast, plus festive music and bounce house entertainment. Following a morning of friendly competition, winning teams were honored at an awards ceremony.   

2015_Unity_One_CU__Futbol_Fiebre_-_Action_Shot“This was an excellent opportunity for families throughout the community to come out and enjoy a little friendly competition. We are commited to serving the people that live in the North Side area,” said Cynthia Huerta-Aguirre, branch manager at Unity One’s Stockyards branch.


About Unity One Credit Union

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals. 

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit Think outside the bank.™

Topics: Fort Worth, Futbol Fiebre, Unity One Credit Union

Unity One Credit Union Maintenance Notice - June

Posted by Erayne Hill on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 02:16 PM

Please note that Unity One Credit Union banking services will be down the following days and times. This maintenance will affect online, mobile and telephone banking.

  • Tuesday, June 23, 7-8 p.m. and 2-5 a.m.
  • Monday, June 29, 7-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 30, 7-9 p.m.

Contact Us

Topics: credit union, unity one, Unity One Credit Union

Credit union informs: School Your College-Bound Child

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 01:14 PM

(Source: Home & Family Finance® Resource Center)

shutterstock 116888941 smallThe SATs scores are in, the fat envelope has arrived, and soon your high-school senior will become a college freshman. You've done your best to provide your child with the common sense and confidence necessary to face the heavy dose of reality that comes with landing on a college campus. But have you had "the talk"? The money talk, that is.

While there likely have been many discussions regarding allowances, the value of a hard-earned buck, and filling up the piggy bank for a rainy day, college requires a level of financial responsibility that will be new terrain for many incoming college freshmen.

The College Board, New York, estimates that the average in-state public college tuition for the 2013-14 academic year is $22,826, while a private school college is on average $44,750. That's a hefty sum for one year of education, and it doesn't factor in the necessary extras: books, lab fees, food, room and board, and other incidentals. It's these extras that often catch students off-guard.

As a parent, you may have thought it was your responsibility to help your college-bound child secure tuition—either by providing him or her money, encouraging good academic habits for scholarships, or by co-signing student loans. However, in the big picture of college finances, tuition may be the least of the worries. With a challenging job market and slow economy, now isn't the time for your freshman to be saddled with unnecessary debt.

Deter disaster with some dialogue. Sophia Bera, a certified financial planner and founder of Gen Y Planning of Crystal, Minn., suggests that parents have regular discussions with their children about money so that the topic isn't taboo. "If money issues aren't dealt with or discussed, this only leads to bigger and bigger money issues," says Bera.

Not sure what topics to tackle? These conversation starters will get you going.

shutterstock 124152937 smallBegin with a budget: "What bills, fees, and expenses will you have?"

If your student has been relying on you for cash, don't expect him or her to know much about bills. Sit down and plan a budget together. Visit the website of the college's financial aid office, which is where things such as tuition costs are listed. Other items to consider:

  • Room and board: Will your child be living in a dorm or off-campus? There are pros and cons to both but, in a dorm, he or she won't have to worry about energy bills, security deposits, and setting up Wi-Fi. Dorms are sometimes mandated for incoming freshman, but if not, be sure your child understands all the expenses involved with living in a rental.
  • Food: Meals typically are provided with room and board when living on campus. However, students will at times need to grab lunch when in all-day classes, order pizza for a late night study session, or just take a break from cafeteria food.
  • Fees: While not all classes will have added fees, it greatly depends upon the area of study. Science and art classes tend to have fees involved since labs and equipment are required.
  • Books and supplies: Books are expensive—even used books cost a lot of money. While students usually can sell books back at the end of the semester, the money isn't available while the books are in use and the amount returned will be nowhere near what students originally paid. And then there are supplies needed for class projects and everyday homework. Toner cartridges, rulers, calculators, and poster board all can add up quickly.
  • Travel: This isn't about spring break destinations, but instead getting between college and home during semester breaks or when a little family time (or laundry doing) is needed.
  • Entertainment: As much as you hope your student will be in class, eating, or studying, the reality is that he or she also will be going to concerts, movies, and various campus events—all of which cost money.

Role assignment: "Who pays for what?"

With a better understanding of all the costs involved, your graduating senior needs to understand where the money comes from to pay for it all. If your student is taking out student loans, for instance, a good budget can help him or her not take out more than is needed simply because it's available. Regardless of the financial aid source, the most important thing is to help your child understand the breakdown of the money available during a set time. For example, if the travel budget is $1,000 a semester, calculate how many trips home that means. Does it also need to include things like gas money while on campus, bus passes for getting around, or monthly parking fees?

Jodi Okun, founder of College Financial Aid Advisors of Seal Beach, Calif., lists "financial literacy" as a priority topic in the money conversation. "Students need to begin to think about what is involved financially," says Okun, who believes that finances and budgeting are part of going to college and becoming an adult.

shutterstock 167805674 smallSeeing red: "What will you do if you run low on money?"

Even the most responsible of kids will run into money struggles once in a while: a class had more fees than expected, a student loan didn't arrive to the bursar's office in time, or a wallet was lost. Whatever it is, how will you, as a parent, advise your child? Here are two schools of thought:

  • Get a job: Campuses and local communities offer all kinds of entry-level employment opportunities for students. While students' academics need to remain a priority, a part-time job can help balance expenses and build some working experience to add to a blank résumé.
  • Sink or swim: Students who always can rely on parents to bail them out will have a harder time making financial decisions with confidence because they simply haven't had the practice. Assess the situation your student is in, and gauge your response based on the severity of the issue. Return to the budget and see if areas can be trimmed to make up for a deficit. If not, can he or she pick up a few more work hours for the next week or two, for example, to strike a balance?

Good debt, bad debt: "Are you going to get a credit card?"

A 2013 study conducted by Ohio State University shows that college-age children will take on an average of $5,689 more credit card debt than their parents and grandparents did at the same age. They also will hold on to this debt longer—well into their 70s.

Credit cards are not all bad, though. "If [a student] is super responsible with money, then using a credit card and paying it in full each month is a great way to build credit," says Bera. "However, if having a credit card will make [him or her] spend more money than earned, it might be a better plan to avoid them altogether."

When discussing credit cards with your child, stress these important tips: Use wisely and don't charge more than you can pay off when the monthly bill comes. Check out credit card options at your credit union. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions generally offer better rates on credit cards—up to two percentage points lower than the average bank card rate.

The day you drop your child off at campus will be here before you know it. Make sure the tears you have when you drive away are happy ones, not ones filled with worry for your son or daughter's financial security. Have the money talk now, and many times—even once the college career has commenced. Listen, advise, and help your child find on-campus resources, a campus or hometown credit union for example, to help plant the seeds of independence. You helped them with their first baby steps; it's really no different when it comes to money.

Learn More

Topics: student loans, high school students, Unity One Credit Union, college students

Credit union informs: Random Acts of Kindness in Kansas City!

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 03:30 PM

Random Acts of Kindness are making their way to our Kansas City branch. Stop by the McDonald's at 4101 Kansas Ave., Kansas City, 66106, this Friday, June 12, starting at 7:30 a.m. for a Spank Free Day!

We will be handing out free coffee to members and non-members. Find out what Spank Free Banking is all about. Supplies are limited, so don't wait until it's too late.

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Learn more about Spank Free Banking  

About Unity One Credit Union

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals. 

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit Think outside the bank.™

Topics: Kansas City branch, spank free banking, Unity One Credit Union

Credit union informs: Investing for #FirstTimers

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

You’ve probably been told at least a few times in your life that you should be putting money aside “for a rainy day”, but perhaps it hasn’t yet crossed your mind to begin planning, specifically, for your future retirement. If you think it’s too early, or if you feel you’re not yet ready, financially … think again. Even with a certain amount of debt from car payments, student loans, and living expenses, there are several different ways that a young person can invest their money (and their time) wisely.

While it’s true that some people begin investing later in life and still manage to enjoy comfortable returns on their investments, one only needs to see a few friends have financial troubles to realize that things don’t always work out that way. Investing earlier in life can sometimes make the difference between retiring when you are ready and retiring when you are able; while you may be healthy well into your senior years, that’s not always guaranteed.

401(k)s and Roth IRAs. Many employers offer 401(k) plans, which are retirement savings accounts. You may be fortunate enough to find a job where the employer offers matching contributions to the plan. 401(k) plans are fairly versatile and, since the contributions are generally not taxed until disbursement, your take home pay may not seem quite so diminished.1

Another investment which can go a long way is the Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Since the money is taxed before deposit, the funds can be enjoyed tax-free upon retirement. One other feature is flexibility: you have the option to withdraw the money you have deposited (though not the earnings) without penalties, making the Roth IRA a potential source of emergency funds.2

A powerful force. Perhaps the greatest advantage to investing at an early age is the effect that compound interest can have on your savings. A long disputed quote has Albert Einstein claiming that compound interest “is the most powerful force in the universe.” Regardless of who actually said it, there is some truth to the joke.

What makes compound interest special?  It is interest based not only on the principal, but from previously accrued interest. In the short term, it’s not terribly impressive, but over thirty years or more, it can produce a handsome dividend.

Great minds have been fascinated with compound interest for generations. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who liked to posit that a penny saved was a penny earned, decided to put it to the test. At his death in 1790, he bequeathed £1000.00 each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, with intent to build trade schools and public works projects in one-hundred years’ time. Compound interest did the trick, netting $572,000 for those cities in 1891.  The fund was closed in 1990, with institutes named for the statesman and scientist earning a $7 million dollar bounty.3

Making it work for you. If you were to place a small sum of money into a bank account that offers compound interest and leave it alone for a long period of time as Franklin did, your money would grow. For example: $100.00 left alone in the bank for thirty years at a 10% annual compounded interest rate would multiply to $1,744.94.4 

However, if you were to add money to the account over time, the compounded interest would only grow and could create a very healthy supplement to whatever other retirement plans you may have in place.  Say that you started with $1000.00 in an account offering 15% interest; an account you added $600.00 to per year ($50.00 a month). In 40 years, if you kept up your deposits, the account would hold $1,495,435.86.4

Things to consider. These are hypothetical situations; you may be able to contribute more or less money as time goes on. You may find an account that earns a different level of interest. Inflation needs to be considered as well; just as a million dollars today doesn’t get you as far as it did forty years ago, it may not seem like a lot of money once you’re ready to retire.

There is no guaranteed path to financial security, but a young person has advantages that shouldn’t be squandered. A combination of investments, with an eye to the long-term, can make all the difference.

Bill Fairley

Sean Weaver

This article was presented by Bill Fairley and Sean P. Weaver of WWK Wealth Advisors. Bill Fairley & Sean P. Weaver, CFP® are Investment Advisors with WWK Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor and may be reached at 817-336-6300 or

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*The views and opinions expressed at this event are those of WWK Wealth Advisors and not necessarily of Unity One Credit Union. 

Topics: retirement, wwk wealth advisors, #FirstTimers, Unity One Credit Union

Credit union informs: Bob Bennett Scholarship Winners

Posted by Alyssa Guillory on Thu, Jun 04, 2015 @ 08:55 AM

Lauren Wagner   PresentationUnity One Credit Union is pleased to name Lauren Wagner, graduating senior of Fossil Ridge High School, as the 2015 Bob Bennett Memorial Scholarship recipient. Lauren’s award-winning essay entry detailed the difference between credit unions and alternative financial service companies such as Bitcoin and Prosper. 

Wagner says of credit unions, “As a non-profit entity, a credit union exists simply to provide services to its members, and these services extend beyond the fiduciary variety in things like school partnerships, financial literacy programs and scholarships not unlike this one. Not only do credit unions provide tangible facilities, optimal customer service and exceptionally low rates, but they also give back to the community in ways that other financial businesses either cannot or will not.” 

She will receive $1,000 to aid with her college expenses at the University of Texas where she plans to double-major in Neuroscience and Linguistics, focusing on language acquistion as it affects the brain.   

Wagner is a very active member of the Fossil Ridge High School student body, serving as president of the Latin Club, co-captain of the Winter Guard, vice president of the Marching Band and qualifying for the Dean’s List during her tenure.

John Moynihan, graduating senior of Colleyville Heritage High School, and Alexander Urrutia, graduating senior of Flower Mound High School, were named runners-up and will each receive a $250 book scholarship.

To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates had to be graduating high school seniors or college students attending a two-year of four-year college or vocational/technical school. They needed to have maintained at least a 2.8 grade point average (on a four-point scale) and be a member of Unity One Credit Union. 

John Moynihan

John Moynihan

Alex Urrutia

Alex Urrutia

The Bob Bennett Memorial Scholarship is a tribute to the life of Robert Bennett, a tireless champion of the credit union movement. He joined Unity One CU in 1954 and served on the Board of Directors until 2002. An advocate of growth and change, Bennett served through five name changes and three mergers. He passed away in December 2002.    


About Unity One Credit Union

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals. 

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit Think outside the bank.™


Topics: scholarship, scholarship winner, Unity One Credit Union

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