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RV Loyalty Rebates



Get up to $500* Cash Back on RV Loans!

*Offer ends DEC. 31, 2020 on Boats, Travel Trailers, Off-Road Vehicles and Wave Runners. Min. loan of $20k earns $200 cash back. Min. loan of $30k earns $300 cash back. Min. loan of $60k earns $500 cash back. Rebate will be deposited into member’s share account at loan closing. Current CSE loans are not eligible to refinance. Some restrictions may apply. CSE has the right to cancel promotion without notice. Subject to credit approval. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Contact a CSE Lender for more information. Membership and eligibility required. Insured by NCUA.

Click here to view our consumer loans and to apply.

Call 337.477.2000 and speak with a Consumer Lender today!

 

How to Replenish Your Savings

The last few months have been rough on finances and most people have used savings to get by. Using emergency funds to survive prolonged unemployment, an unexpected large expense or a medical emergency is the best way to make it through a financial hardship. If your savings are depleted, though, it’s best to start rebuilding as soon as possible.

Here’s how:

Set a goal

Before getting started on saving up money, establish a tangible goal. You can try to recover the value of the savings lost, or start smaller, with a more attainable goal. Bear in mind that experts recommend having funds to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in an emergency fund or savings account.

Trim your spending

A good place to start finding extra dollars for saving is by reviewing your spending for ways to cut back. Look for expenses that can make a difference in a monthly budget without dramatically affecting quality of life.

Find a side hustle

A great way to land extra funds is to find a side job that doesn’t require a major investment of time. Some options include taking surveys on sites like Swagbucks and doing gig work for companies like Uber and Lyft.

Sell your old treasures

Turn forgotten treasures into moneymakers by selling them online. You can sell old clothing on ThredUp, unwanted jewelry on Worthy.com and unused sports equipment on Swap Me Sports. Use the cash earned from these sales to jumpstart your new nest egg.

Make a plan

Once you have a goal in place and you’ve maximized monthly contributions toward savings, it’s time to create a plan. Map out a timeline of how long it’ll take to reach your goal when putting away as much as possible each month. Remember: The more aggressively you save now, the sooner you’ll reach your goal.

Start saving

The best way to ensure that putting money into savings each month actually happens is to make it automatic. You can set up an automatic monthly transfer from your CSE Checking Account, or any checking account, to your CSE Savings Account on a designated day of the month. Give us a call at to discuss your options.

Put unexpected windfalls in savings

To speed up the process of rebuilding depleted savings, you may want to resolve to put unexpected windfalls into an emergency fund or savings account. This can include tax refunds, a work bonus and gift money.

Rebuilding depleted savings isn’t easy, but the security of having a safety cushion to get you through a financial setback will make it well worth the effort.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2020, recognizes the risks of elder abuse and neglect of older people. It’s a day for family and caregivers around the world to learn how to take proactive steps to protect loved ones and for older people to learn how they can protect themselves..

What is elder abuse and neglect?

Elder abuse is physical, emotional, financial or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult, or neglect of welfare by people who are responsible for their care. In the United States alone, approximately 1 in 10 people aged 60-plus have experienced some form of elder abuse. Sadly, victims of elder abuse are often too physically frail or have a diminished mental capacity, which makes them unable to recognize abuse and, therefore, incapable of fighting it.

Elder abuse is most commonly perpetrated by family members, including adult children, spouses and partners, but it can also occur by a hired caregiver who is working in the older person’s home or in an institutional setting, such as an assisted living facility.

What are the effects of elder abuse?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), older people who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. The exact cost of elder financial abuse and fraud to Americans is unknown, but is estimated to be as much as $36.5 billion each year.

The many forms of elder abuse 

Physical elder abuse involves the intentional use of force against an elderly person, resulting in injury, physical pain or impairment. This includes physical assault, hitting, shoving and the inappropriate use of restraints and drugs.

Emotional elder abuse involves treating an older adult in a way that causes emotional or psychological pain or distress, including intimidation by threats or yelling, humiliation, habitual blaming, ignoring, isolating the older person from friends or activities and terrorizing them.

Sexual elder abuse involves any sexual contact with an older person without their consent and/or showing them pornographic material against their will. It also includes forcing the person to undress when unwarranted.

Elder neglect involves the failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation, such as ensuring the elderly person’s nutritional needs are met; dressing them in an appropriate manner; not maintaining an acceptable level of hygiene and not meeting their medical needs. Elder neglect constitutes approximately half of all reports of elder abuse.

Financial exploitation involves the unauthorized use of an elder’s funds or property, including stealing cash, using an elder’s checks or credit cards, forging their signature and/or identity theft.

Healthcare fraud and abuse involves Medicare/insurance fraud, overmedicating or under-medicating, double-billing for medical care or services, charging for healthcare services that were not rendered and recommending fraudulent remedies.

Warning signs of elder abuse

Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize since they are often mistaken for symptoms of dementia or physical frailty. If you suspect abuse, look for the following warning signs:

  • Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, scars, broken bones or dislocations
  • A report of drug overdose or failure to take medication
  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the older person alone
  • Threatening, belittling or controlling caregiver behavior
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, such as rocking or mumbling to themselves
  • Bruises around breasts or genitals
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Unusual weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Being left dirty or unbathed
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Unexplained withdrawals from financial accounts
  • Sudden changes in financial condition
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles and policies
  • Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
  • Duplicate billings for the same medical service
  • Evidence of overmedication or under-medication
  • Preventing elder abuse and neglect

Caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed may be in danger of abusing or neglecting the older person. It’s important to reach out for help and support as soon as the early signs of burnout appear.

  • Take immediate steps to relieve stress. This can include mindfulness exercises, a break from work or just a nightly jog around the neighborhood.
  • Request help from friends, relatives, local respite care agencies or an adult day care program.
  • Put self-care first. An empty vessel cannot pour. Be sure to get adequate rest, eat well, tend to your own health-care needs and exercise regularly.
  • Seek help for depression from a mental health professional.

If you are not the primary caregiver of a loved one, take the following steps to prevent abuse in the hands of the person who is directly responsible for the older person’s care:

  • Call and visit as often as possible. This will enable you to frequently monitor physical condition and home environment.
  • Offer to stay with the person so the caregiver can have a break. If possible, try to do this on a regular basis.
  • Monitor medications to ensure the amounts being taken correspond with the prescription dates.
  • Watch for financial abuse by asking the older person if you can check their financial accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions.

Resources and support

If you suspect elder abuse and the victim is in need of immediate assistance, dial 911. You can also call 1-800-677-1116 for support, or find local resources at the National Center on Elder Abuse.

For more information on elder abuse and neglect, see these links:

Administration for Community Living (ACL): Protecting Rights and Preventing Abuse 

National Center on Law & Elder Rights

USC Center on Elder Mistreatment 

CFPB Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans

Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Elder Justice Roadmap Project

How can you use a job loss as a stepping stone for growth?

Losing a job is never easy. Choosing to view this time as an opportunity instead of a crisis is commendable. Let’s take a look at some practical steps you can take while embarking on a new direction in your life.

Take a step back

Take a moment to look at where you stand career-wise. Where do you want to go next? Would a complete career pivot be in your best interest, or would you do better with a small shift, such as a change in position within the same field?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you gain clarity on your future career path:

  • What did I love about my old job?
  • What did I really not like about my old job?
  • Which valuable skills and experience I gained at my old job can help me move forward?
  • What are my unique strengths?
  • Which parts of my old job played to those strengths?
  • What were my long-term career goals 10, 20 or even 30 years ago?
  • Have I achieved those goals? If not, what has stopped me from reaching them?

Narrow down your choices

Once you have some idea of what you’d like to do now, jot down your job options for review. Narrow down your list until you have less than five choices.

Consider these factors as you work through the list:

  • The career should play to your natural strengths. It’s easier honing an existing skill than building one from scratch.
  • The expected salary should meet your needs. You can look up salary averages on Payscale.com.
  • The field or career you choose to pursue should align with your personality. Some people do better in administrative positions; some only feel fulfilled in a “helping job” and others thrive in creative work.

Build a killer resume

You can download a basic resume template from Resume Gig or Resume Now. Include your complete educational background, career history, and a select few references who can vouch for your skills and reliability. Triple-check the spelling and grammar before submitting your resume to a potential employer. Hiring a resume pro is another option.

Network and job-hunt

Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job. Be sure to use social media, too! Tell them about the kind of job you’re looking for, and ask if they know of any open positions that might suit you. They can also help out by providing contacts that can lead you in the right direction. Follow up every few weeks to remind people that you’re still job-hunting.

If friends and family can’t help out, you can also look up available positions in your chosen field and pursue them directly. Online job boards like Indeed.com and can be a great place to start your search.

Should You Buy a House During A Pandemic?

The coronavirus outbreak that has swept through the world has given rise to dozens of financial questions. No one can say when this pandemic will end, or the lasting impact it will have on the economy. Experts can only look at past economic crises in an attempt to predict what the financial future will look like in the United States.

 

 

Let’s explore the mid-pandemic housing market and the wisdom of purchasing a home during a time of economic instability.

The home sales of February 2020 were the strongest they’ve been in the country since 2007, topping 5 million sales. Factors, like falling interest rates and a booming economy, contributed to the thriving housing market. But two months later, experts are already seeing a sharp decline in buying.

This downturn has likely been triggered by the economic devastation caused by the outbreak, including widespread job insecurity, thousands of shuttered businesses and millions of employees on leave from work.

The decrease in home sales is also likely due to practical reasons. When people are worried about their health, it’s difficult for them to think about purchasing a new home. Meeting with potential sellers, real estate agents and looking at properties is also complicated when trying to maintain social distancing.

A dwindling housing market does not automatically mean this isn’t a good time to buy a house. In fact, times of financial uncertainty generally lead to falling mortgage rates and the ease of credit qualifications. Mortgage rates have already reached a record low of 3.13 percent in the beginning of March, prompting some buyers to rush into new home purchases.

Some market experts also believe the coronavirus pandemic will cause an eventual spike in home sales as buyers, fearing a recession, will want the stability and control that homeownership brings.

Before you jump into a home purchase at this time, you may want to consider the following factors:

  • How stable is your income? If you have reason to believe you might be laid off soon, you may want to hold off on your purchase.
  • How long do you plan on living in this home? If you plan on selling within the next few years, you may come out at a loss due to a falling housing market and an unstable economy.
  • Will you have savings left after buying a home? As the economy heads toward a probable recession, this is not the best time to be without a savings cushion.

If you can afford the purchase, and your income isn’t threatened by the economic instability, the favorable interest rates and looser qualifications during this pandemic can make it a good time to buy a new home. Chat with a CSE Mortgage Lender today and we’ll help with all of your home buying needs!

Should You Take Zero-Percent Financing Offered by the Dealer?

An auto loan without any interest sounds like a dream; however, there are many considerations before deciding to take out a zero-percent financing loan. Let’s take a closer look at zero-percent financing so you can make an informed, responsible decision about your auto loan.

What is zero-percent financing?

An auto loan offer of zero-percent financing means the financer is offering to lend the buyer money without charging any interest over the life of the loan. Zero-percent car loans are offered through the auto manufacturer, which benefits from the loan as much as it would from an upfront cash payment on one of its cars.

Zero-percent financing loans are typically only offered to buyers with a credit score above 700 who have a long credit history.

The pros of zero-percent financing 

For buyers who qualify, a zero-percent loan may be a way to save on steep interest payments throughout the life of an auto loan. A buyer can easily save several thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of a zero-percent-financing loan. It’s crucial that qualifying buyers crunch the numbers to be sure they can easily afford the monthly payments on one.

The cons of zero-percent financing 

Zero-percent financing may not be in the best interest of buyers who can’t actually afford the loan. Buyers may be blinded by the temptation of not paying interest and consider a vehicle with a higher monthly price tag than they planned.

Another point to consider is the loan term. Many zero-percent financing loans are only four years long, which can increase the monthly payment significantly.

Even if the loan terms do meet the buyer’s needs, it still may be worthwhile to skip the zero-percent financing and take out a traditional loan so the buyer won’t miss out on cash-back rebates, which are typically not available on auto loans with special financing offers.

For example, a car selling at $20,000 with the offer of a zero-percent financing loan to be paid in four years will have a monthly payment of $416. That same loan, taken out over five years through a credit union, at the average national annual percentage rate (APR) of 3.45 percent, would have a monthly payment of $363. If this car would have a cash-back rebate of $2,500, its price drops to $17,500. Through a CSE loan with an APR as low as 3.45 percent, the monthly payments would possibly be $318. The total amount paid on the car would also be less than the amount paid through the no-interest loan, at $19,080.

If you’re ready to get started on your auto loan, stop by CSE today to get started. We’ll have you seated behind your new set of wheels in no time!

Your Complete Guide to Comfortable Face Coverings

Face coverings have become an essential wardrobe component during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, complying with the CDC’s advice doesn’t need to translate into ongoing discomfort. Here’s how to comfortably wear your face coverings without compromising on safety.

The elastic ear loops on my face mask irritate my ears.  Am I doing something wrong? 

Irritated ears are a true annoyance, but there are products and hacks that may help.

You can try the “ear saver,” a double-sided clip that’s worn behind the head with four different hook levels. Loop the elastics on the hook that best fits your head to relieve the pressure on your ears.

You can also try sewing a pair of buttons onto a headband or baseball cap to use in a similar fashion. Measure the placement of the buttons carefully, placing them at the right spot to hook the elastic loops of your face mask.

I wear eyeglasses, and when I put on a face covering, my breath fogs the lenses. Is there any way around this?

First, try to tighten your covering. Dr. Richard Martinello, professor of infectious diseases at Yale, says a tighter fit will prevent air from escaping your mask and fogging up your glasses.

The easiest solution to prevent the warm, moist air of your breath from hitting your glasses is to place a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask. Also, make sure the top of your mask is tight and the bottom looser, to help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes.

Some other solutions to the clouded-up glasses problem include using a commercial anti-fogging spray or using a thicker fabric for your homemade face covering.

Do I need to wear a face covering every time I leave my house?

The CDC has recommended that all Americans wear face coverings when out in public; however, even in states where face coverings are now law, they are not required to be worn every time people leave their home. In general, face coverings are recommended (or required) in public areas where social distancing is impossible to adhere to at all times.

It’s best to use common sense for determining when you need to wear a face covering. For example, if you live in a suburban area with lots of space between the houses, you likely do not need to wear a mask when going for a jog; however, if you live in an apartment building in a densely populated area, you may need to cover your face every time you leave your home.

What do I need to know about the proper way to wear a mask?

Most importantly, make sure your mask covers your nostrils and your entire mouth at all times. A tight fit that allows for breathing is equally important.

Be careful when removing your mask, as well. The CDC advises people not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when taking off a face covering and to wash their hands immediately after doing so.

How Should You Spend Your Stimulus Check?

The stimulus checks promised in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are starting to land in checking accounts and mailboxes around the country. The $1,200 granted to most middle-class adults is a welcome relief during these financially trying times.

Many recipients may be wondering: What is the best way to use this money?

To help you determine the most financially responsible course of action to take with your stimulus check, CSE has compiled a list of advice and tips from financial experts and advisers on how to use this money.

Cover your basic life expenses

First and foremost, make sure you can afford to cover your basic necessities. With millions of Americans out of work and lots of them still waiting for their unemployment insurance to kick in, many people are struggling to put food on their tables. Most financial experts agree that it’s best not to make any long-term plans for stimulus money until you can comfortably cover everyday expenses.

Charlie Bolognino, CFP and owner of Side-by-Side Financial Planning in Plymouth, Minn., says this step may necessitate creating a new budget that fits the times. With unique spending priorities in place, an absent or diminished income and many expenses, like subscriptions and entertainment costs, not being relevant any longer, it can be helpful to reconfigure an existing budget to better suit present needs. As always, basic necessities, such as food and critical bills, should be prioritized.

Build up your emergency fund

If you’ve already got your basic needs covered, start looking at long-term targets for your stimulus money.

“I would immediately place this money in my emergency fund account,” says Jovan Johnson, CEO of Piece of Wealth Planning in Atlanta.

Emergency funds should ideally be robust enough to cover 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. If you already have an emergency fund, it may have been depleted during the pandemic and need some replenishing. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, or your fund isn’t large enough to cover several months without a steady income, you may want to use some of the stimulus money to build it up so you have a cushion to fall back on during lean times that are likely to come in the months ahead.

Colleen Desselle, CSE Federal Credit Union Director of Marketing/Business Development and Certified Financial Counselor, says “COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented unemployment and financial insecurity, but it’s not the first time we’ve faced challenges such as these. In times of crisis, consumers look to fulfill their primary needs. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to differentiate needs versus wants. Taking a moment, to reassess your budget and by removing expenses that aren’t a necessity right now, could go a long way in helping you get through this unpredictable time while allowing you to put money aside for an emergency fund. When things smooth out, you can add these items back into your budget.”

Pay down high-interest debts

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, Americans owed a collective $930 billion in credit card debt during the fourth quarter of 2019. Using some of your stimulus check to pay off high-interest debt would be a great way to get a guaranteed return on the money, says Chris Chen, of Insight Financial Strategists in Newton, Mass.

This advice only applies to credit cards and other private, high-interest loans. The federal government put a 6-month freeze on most student loan debts, so they should not be as high a priority right now.

Boost your savings

If your emergency fund is already full and you’ve made headway on your debt, it can be a good idea to use some of the stimulus money to add to your CSE savings account. The money in your savings can be used to cover long-term financial goals, such as funding a dream vacation or covering the down payment on a new home.

Consider all your options before choosing how to spend your stimulus money. In all likelihood, this will be a one-time payment received during the pandemic. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us at or csefcu.org.

FREE APPS FOR KIDS!

Scholastic The leading educational company has set up a “Learn From Home” website with free daily courses for kids ages K-12.

Zoom The popular video conferencing app is offering free service during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also lifted its 40-minute limit on conferences, making the app a perfect choice for hosting your child’s classroom learning, or even a video chat with friends.

Neoufitness Help your kids stay fit through the pandemic with this super-fun fitness app for kids ages 4-12. The app offers a selection of 10-20 minute exercise classes and is free for the first 30 days.

Issasedibleadventures If your child is an aspiring chef, they’ll love this free cooking app, in which gamers race to collect ingredients from around the world and use them to create a requested cross-cultural dish.

SmartMusic The popular music practice app is offering free service through June 30 for all schools impacted by COVID-19. The app includes practice tools like a tuner, metronome and fingerings, along with an extensive music library and immediate assessment of pitch and rhythm.

DuckDuckMoose The adorable educational app for kindergartners and preschoolers makes learning super-fun! The app is always free and features a delightful array of characters, a brightly colored interface, and a special focus on maps and puzzles.

World of Cents The NCUA’s free money app is the perfect way to teach your kids about personal finances. They’ll learn all about earning, spending, saving and more through the app’s fun games designed for kids ages 5-10.

HOW TO WORK FROM HOME

The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world as we know it and turned it upside down. Hospitals are scrambling to meet the needs of their patients as the federal and local governments are issuing stricter guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus.

Shopping malls that were filled with crowds just a week ago now stand vacant. Universities and schools have emptied out and students are continuing their education online to diminish the spread of the virus. Small businesses have shuttered their doors as they choose their health and the health and safety of their customers over profit.

As part of this upheaval, millions of Americans have been sent home from work with laptops in hand and strict instructions to remotely tend to their usual workload. Unfortunately, this can prove to be a lot harder than it sounds. If you find yourself struggling to complete your workload from home during the outbreak, we can help!

Here are some tips on how to stay focused, on-task and productive as you work from home.

Create a workstation.

Propping up your pillows and working in bed can sound like a good idea until you find yourself nodding off in front of your computer screen. To keep your brain focused and in “working mode,” it’s best to designate one area of your home to serve as your workstation as you wait out the outbreak. Keep the area clean and stocked with all the supplies you may need during your work hours.

Set your hours.

A major boon of working from home is choosing your own hours — but this can backfire quickly. Lack of a proper schedule is the biggest enemy of the procrastinator. To keep from finding yourself with a huge amount of work to complete in an impossibly short amount of time, set up working hours and stick to them. If there are children home with you, work around their routine by scheduling your work hours during naptime or late at night when they’re asleep.

Collaborate.

For most of us, home is where we unwind and kick off our shoes after a long day of work. Keeping focused and staying on task when working in your own comfortable surroundings can be super-challenging. Bring home some of the motivational work atmosphere by collaborating with your colleagues as much as possible. Utilize video conferencing to swap ideas, plan long-term projects and communicate on platforms like Slack, which is created just for this purpose.

Get rid of all distractions.

It can be hard to keep your mind on work when each beep of the phone brings more horrific news and updates about the spread of the coronavirus. If you can, hide or shut off your phone during your work hours. If that’s not possible, consider turning off your notifications and social media apps. You can also use an app, like ColdTurkey, which makes it easy to minimize distractible apps and websites on your phone.

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