Put your money where the smiles are.
The moment a child arrives at Cook Children's, a miracle is in the making. Patients and families may never meet many of those who make their care better, but you can be part of our extraordinary team making a difference. With your support, we can give more local kids the miracles they deserve.
Meet Landon, age 8
Hometown: North Richland Hills
Diagnosis: Cerebral Palsy
Looking at Landon, you would never know he suffers from a medical condition. There are many natural movements and common tasks that don't come easy for him, but his willpower to succeed and lead overshadow any struggles he may have.
He has weekly physical therapy appointments and daily exercises to ensure his leg muscles are able to function properly and provide him the necessary range and motion needed to stay active. In addition to therapy, Landon also receives regular Botox injections as part of his treatment.
Landon loves sports, especially baseball, and playing with his friends.
Dream with us and see where generosity takes us.
On August 11, the Fort Worth Chapter of Credit Unions will host Shake, Rattle & Bowl to help make miracles happen. Every child deserves to have excellent healthcare, and we are committed to making sure that happens by supporting Credit Unions for Kids. But, the best part is you can help too.
Unity One Credit Union is asking you to make a donation towards their annual Shake, Rattle & Bowl fundraising event. 100% of the funds raised will benefit Credit Unions for Kids, directly impacting patients and families at Cook Children's. Each gift is an investment in the health and well-being of children in our community. With a minimum donation of $5, you can make a difference. Thank you for your generosity.
- Sign up for bank fraud alerts. A simple text or email notification can help notify you of any suspicious activity on your account while you're away.
- Be careful surfing on public Wi-Fi spots. Hackers may be able to access public networks and see any information you send over them, so be careful not to send sensitive data (like usernames or passwords) while connected to public Wi-Fi.
- Install phone-tracker software. If your device goes missing, you may be able to use "Find my iPhone" or similar software to pinpoint your device's exact location.
- Keep your purse or wallet secure. If you carry a purse or wallet, make sure to keep it in front of you. This makes it much harder for thieves to steal your belongings.
- Be careful around ATMs. Look for skimmers on the ATM prior to using. Skimmers can steal the data from your card, allowing thieves to make counterfeit cards.
- Watch out for fake front desk calls. Thieves will often times call hotel rooms asking you to confirm sensitive details about your credit/debit card. If this happens, hang up and call the front desk staff to see if they really need this information. If not, you may have just stopped an identity thief.
- Leave your important financial files at home. Social Security cards as well as credit and debit cards that you do not plan to use should be left at home while you're on vacation.
Your summer vacation should be a time to relax, not stress, so take the steps now to avoid crossing paths with an identity thief.
What 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
1. 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 airbnb.com;
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 kayak.com or "flights" on Google.com. 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.
Unity 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.
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.
Parents, 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.
“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 www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™
(Source: Home & Family Finance® Resource Center)
The 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.
Begin 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.
Seeing 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.