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Short-Term or Long-Term, Budget and Save for Your Goals

Not all financial goals are the same, which means they shouldn’t necessarily be approached the same way. Depending on your circumstances, some goals might take longer to reach than others.

Short-term and long-term goals might seem self-explanatory, but some cases aren’t exactly clear-cut. Here are a few ways to identify your goals, plus budget and save for them accordingly.

What are short-term goals?

Short-term goals are your more immediate expenses. Although timelines vary, these are the things you’ll spend money on generally within a few months or years. Short-term goals include expenses such as rent and insurance, saving for a vacation or wedding and paying down student loans, and wants or luxury purchases like a new piece of furniture.

What are long-term goals?

Long-term goals are usually your big-picture costs. These goals may take several years or even decades to reach. For example, long-term goals are things like paying off your mortgage, starting a business, and saving for your child’s college tuition and your retirement. Your distant goals typically involve more money and regular attention than short-term goals.

The gray area

There is often overlap between the two categories that can make things fuzzy. Medium- or mid-term goals fall between short-term and long-term goals. These include things like buying a new car or saving for a house down payment and tend to take a few years to achieve.

Other goal periods can be tougher to estimate. For example, you might not need an emergency fund for several years, or you might need it right away. There’s no way to know when car repairs or medical bills will pop up. And the amount of time it takes to chip away at your debt depends on how much money you’re willing and able to contribute.



How to prioritize your goals

You’ll likely have a combination of short- and long-term goals to balance. Work your goals around your usual expenses, focusing on needs like food and shelter first. Emergency and retirement funds are also high priority; contribute to these funds and pay off debt next. Then you can decide how to allocate the rest of your money toward your wants and other savings goals.

How to budget and save

Know where you stand before you start to budget and save for your goals. Determine how much money you can spend and save per month based on your income. Use the 50/30/20 budget calculator as a starting point. Set a timeline for your goals, then work toward them. Track your expenses using an app or method like the envelope system to stay on target.

Try to cut back on purchasing things you don’t need and set the savings aside for your goals. You might spend (or save) some of this leftover amount immediately on short-term goals or to make a dent in your long-term goals.

Where to save

Find a safe place to store your nest egg until you need it. For short-term goals and your emergency fund, you’ll ideally want to keep your money in a place you can access it quickly and without penalty, like a savings account.

You may reach your long-term goals quicker by putting your cash into a savings account or certificate of deposit with a high interest rate, or by investing, especially if you don’t plan to use this money for at least five years — say you’re starting a college fund for your newborn. That way you’ll allow time to build up a positive return. For retirement funds, weigh your options between IRA and 401(k) accounts.

Information courtesy of Nerdwallet.

Need advice?

Short-Term Savings: For information about savings accounts including Goal Savings and Certificates, click here or call TeleBranch at (800) 237-7288.

Long-Term Savings: For long-terms savings information and advice, contact our Investment Services and Wealth Management division at or call (800) 283-2328, ext. 5592.

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Millennials & Money: Financial Resources for Young Adults

By Rachel Mathias, Members 1st FCU Financial Education Coordinator


It’s without debate that millennials today have a plethora of resources at their fingertips when conducting research. We don’t just go to the library anymore when we need information; we go straight to our phones.  Being a millennial myself as well as our Financial Education Coordinator here at Members 1st Federal Credit Union, I’m all too aware of the lack of financial literacy shared with our young people throughout their academic career. Since many students aren’t provided with this material in school, it’s crucial we equip them with relevant resources they will have quick access to in a platform they’re comfortable with.  Below are a few of my personal favorites when it comes to financial education sources that are perfect for millennials and young people alike:

  • Podcasts are one of my all-time favorite ways to keep up with the growing trends in finance and budgeting. Throw on a podcast during your commute or while you’re on the treadmill at the gym. A few personal favorites of mine are The Dave Ramsey Show and The His & Her Money Show, but there is a podcast out there to suit all of your finance and budgeting needs!
  • Blogs can be a great source to gather best practices and information on perfecting your budget. Blogs allow you to engage with the author, interact and discuss with other readers and offer input on their content. It’s important to verify the accuracy of the information since anyone can create a blog. A few popular finance blogs include Broke Millennial, Life and My Finances and Millennial Money Man.
  • Apps. The holy grail of budgeting for young people? Budgeting apps. With today’s technology, there’s absolutely no excuse for not getting involved with your finances. Budgeting apps allow you to set financial goals for yourself while controlling your spending. There are tons of options out there, while I love the Mint app and EveryDollar.
  • YouTube. A growing resource for finance tips and tricks are YouTube channels! This is an engaging platform where you can even watch various shows stream live and chat with other viewers throughout the show. My favorite is The Rachel Cruz Show and other popular channels include Good Financial Cents, Frugal Chic Life and Young Finances.
  • Instagram Accounts. Instagram is probably the most widely-used social media platform amongst millennials, making it a great way to empower young people to take control of their budget. From posts to stories to hashtags, there are plenty of ways to stay connected. A few great accounts I follow are @CleverGirlFinance, @BudgetBytes and @TheFinancialDiet.

While these are just a few of my personal favorites, there are many other fantastic resources out there for the inquiring financial mind. Do you have a favorite account you follow for your budgeting and money needs? Anything particular you want to see on our accounts? Comment below, we want to hear from you!

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First Job Tips

Congratulations! You’ve passed the interview and have found your very first job.

Now what?

One of the first things your new job will have you do is complete a W-4.  This instructs your employer to withhold the right amount of income tax from your paycheck and will affect your tax refund/bill in April. You should do your research to find the right filing status for you so that you don’t pay too much or too little in taxes.

Whether it’s a summer job or your first full time job you will want to budget and make sure that you are saving enough of your paycheck to help you reach your goals. Do you want to have to work when you head back to school in the fall? Are you looking to buy your own car? What about rent for an apartment and the pieces that go along like water and electric bills? Establishing your budget will help you determine how much of your paycheck you should save and how much you can spend.

A way to help make saving money a “brainless” task is to sign up for direct deposit. This means your paycheck would automatically be deposited in your account.  You can then sign up for payroll deductions or automatic transfer and have your money automatically allocated your accounts, sub-accounts and so on in a way that suits you and your budget best.

Here at Members 1st FCU we are proud to grow alongside our members and help them through the stages of life.  Keep an eye out as we celebrate National Credit Union Youth Month in April to learn about even more ways to save and start good financial habits.

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Happy Birthday!

Today is our birthday so we thought we would share some of our history with you! Members 1st Federal Credit Union is a member-owned full service financial institution located in southcentral Pennsylvania. In 1950, we opened our doors with a desk and small counter outside the personnel office at the Naval Supply Depot in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. We officially adopted the name of DAFCU (Defense Activities Federal Credit Union) in 1972 and opened our first branch office at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle that same year.

Our name changed to Members 1st in 1994 to reflect our growing field of membership. Our 300,000+ members reflect the changing landscape of our geographical footprint as owners of the Credit Union. We offer convenient branch locations across a 7-county area (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties). We also have branches located with several area schools and within local supermarkets. Being member-owned means we don’t have to pay out big dividends to stockholders. Since 1950, our members have been an integral part of who we are, and that remains so today.

Individuals may become members through their employer, organization, school or church providing one of those groups offers membership with us as a benefit. Businesses, organizations, schools or churches interested in offering credit union membership as a free benefit, click here.

We are a growing credit union, but over the years we kept our focus on what really matters – to put our members first.

Join the fun at our Whiteford Road Branch!

We hope you will join our Whiteford Road branch on Friday, April 13, 2018 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.!

While you’re visiting us, open a free checking account, and you will receive a free cooler, perfect for your summer travels! You can also take advantage of a number of additional special offers that we have available.

105.7 The X Live will be broadcasting from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Bring the family to enjoy free prizes, food and beverages (while supplies last) and enter to win Hersheypark Ticket Giveaway

The staff at our Whiteford Road branch hopes to see you on Friday, April 13th!

Instilling Good Habits Young

As parents, we aim to instill good habits in our children at a young age. We teach them to say “please” and “thank you,” we encourage them to share with others and we send them to school to learn; but what are we teaching them about their finances? As our children continue to grow, educating them on making sound financial decisions will create young adults who insist on having an active role in their finances. Currently, Pennsylvania does not require students to take a financial literacy class in school, so here are some tips on how to make budgeting a family affair at home:


  1. Introduce them to the concept of money at a young ageKids-playingstore
    Is your child learning how to count? Why not help them learn to count with money, suggests CNN Money. Play pretend “store” at home where kids are given a set amount of funds and miscellaneous items around the house have a price tag. Help them to determine what they can and cannot afford. Encourage children to assist with grocery shopping. Discuss with them your budget and calculate items as you place them in the cart. Give your child the responsibility to ensure you are within the allotted budget. Make money, finances an open topic in your household, and encourage kids to ask questions!
  2. Get them involved in the family budget. Sit down with kids and help them to brainstorm line items for the budget; what do they think should be included? (Groceries, electricity, clothing, etc.) As an introduction to budgeting, CNN Money suggests labeling three jars: Save, Spend, Share. Each time they receive money, help them determine how much should go into each jar. Explain to children that there should always be a goal behind your budget and help them to determine short and long-term financial goals for themselves.
  3. Discuss the importance of saving. When teaching your children how to save, stress to them the importance of saving from the top. (Putting money into savings before any other expenses.) Discuss why we save money, and some of the things we save for like emergencies, vacations and Christmas. Provide your kids with real examples of unexpected expenses that can occur and how an emergency fund can help plan for these incidents. Utilize visual aids when kids are saving, allowing them to put a sticker on a poster or color in a box when they have reached periodic savings goals.
  4. Teach them the dangers of too much debt. Instilling the mentality of delayed CreditScore.jpggratification early on in life is crucial. Those scenarios in the toy aisle when your child is asking for that toy is the perfect opportunity to talk about saving and why we can’t always buy things immediately when we want them. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of credit and credit cards, as well as proper use of both. It is crucial for our kids to realize a few financial missteps early in life can take years to repair their credit.


The conversations we have with our children about money do not have to be perfectly scripted; they just need to happen sooner rather than later! Actively engaging kids in our daily finances today creates smarter savers and spenders for tomorrow.


CNN Money Link:

What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes

Tax time can be tough, especially when you don’t have the money to pay what’s due. You may have gone into tax season knowing you were going to owe money and that you wouldn’t be able to pay. Or perhaps you were walloped with a large, unexpected amount due. Either way, you’re in a fix, and you have to figure out how to get out of it responsibly.

File anyway

You may be tempted to avoid the whole situation by not filing your returns. That’s dangerous. You may have to pay a penalty for failing to file your tax return, which can be higher than the penalty for failing to pay everything you owe. The Internal Revenue Service is also more likely to agree to a manageable payment plan if you demonstrate that you’ve made every effort to report your earnings honestly and on time.

Pay what you can

Because penalties and interest are based on the amount due, you can make things easier for yourself and lower the overall cost by making a partial payment. Don’t be tempted to pay with a credit card, though. That can be a more expensive and riskier solution.

Apply for a payment plan

This is your best chance of getting the debt paid off without major damage to your credit history and at minimal added expense. If you’ve filed your tax returns and you owe less than $50,000 in combined taxes, penalties and interest, you can use the IRS’ online application to set up an installment payment plan. You can also call the IRS directly to talk about your situation. The best number to call is 1-800-829-1040.

Make this the last time

How did you get into this situation? If it was because you didn’t ask your employer to withhold enough from your pay, you need to correct that now so you’re not in the same position next year. If you’re self-employed or have to keep track of your own tax obligations, consider meeting with an accountant to get advice about how much money to set aside or how much to pay quarterly. Some people find it helpful to set up a dedicated account to save for taxes and put in part of each paycheck so they’ll have enough set aside when tax time rolls around.

All of these solutions may hurt in the short term, because they’ll reduce the amount of money you have to spend every month. But careful tax planning is a crucial part of managing your finances. You’ve seen what can happen if you don’t adequately plan for taxes. You don’t want to let it happen again.

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