4 Tips for Managing Finances after College Graduation

College graduation marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Gone are dorm rooms, awful part-time jobs and asking your parents for money — hopefully. Now it’s time for your first full-time job and paycheck.

Managing that money on your own can be a tricky task, but these four tips can help recent grads master some of the basics.


Student checking accounts offer great benefits, such as waived ATM and monthly service fees. Those perks may disappear after graduation, though, making it an ideal time to review your checking and savings account options.

Most financial institutions offer a variety of accounts, so try to find one that will maximize the return on your money, and look for ways to minimize fees. A lot of checking accounts will waive monthly service fees if you set up direct deposit, for example.


Nearly 70 percent of college graduates have student loan debt, and those who take out loans owe an average of $28,950, according to an annual report by the Institute for College Access and Success.

Understanding what you owe, whom you owe it to and what your repayment options are can help make paying off your loans seem a little less daunting.

The National Student Loan Data System is an easy way to view all of your federal student loans. These loans have multiple repayment options, many of which are income-based. Private lenders set their own repayment terms, so it’s best to contact each lender to review your balance and repayment choices.

Setting up automatic payments through your bank or the loan servicer can help ensure you never miss a due date.


Full-time employment can come with a lot of benefits. One many employers offer is a 401(k).

Some companies will match a portion of what you put in, giving you free money toward your retirement. And since it’s a pretax plan, putting money in reduces the amount you’re taxed on each paycheck.

401(k) isn’t your only option, though, Traditional and Roth IRAs also come with tax benefits. Start saving now, even just a small percentage, and the money you set aside can build upon itself over time.


good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest on mortgages and auto loans. One way to build your score is to open a credit card.

Look for cards with low fees and interest rates. Rewards such as airline miles or cash back are also a nice bonus. Avoid applying for multiple cards at once, though, as this can harm your credit rather than help it.

If you open a card, try to use it only for essentials, and pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. Failing to do so can also hurt your credit.

Following these tips can prepare you for the big financial challenges ahead and help set you up for success in your 30s, 40s and beyond.

© Copyright 2018 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Need advice?

Check out the following helpful pages on our website:

Deposit Accounts: Learn about our savings and checking accounts

Student Services: Information about refinancing your student loans

Members 1st Investment Services: Information about retirement planning

Card Services: Learn about our debit and credit cards


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Come join the fun!

4-2018-Columbia-Ave-Remote-FBEvent copy

We hope you will join our Columbia Avenue branch on Friday, May 18, 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.

FM97 WLAN will be broadcasting live 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 Columbia Avenue branch hopes to see you on Friday, May 18th!

Happy Mother’s Day


7 Tips for Staying Safe while Traveling

More and more people store their personal information online, including date of birth, telephone number, credit card information and more. However, identity theft numbers continue to creep up. According to Experian, about 33 percent of this fraud took place when people were traveling. In spite of this, 64 percent of those polled said it’s too much of a hassle to constantly worry about securing their online information. However, once your information is out on the internet, you can’t grab it back. It’s true that we leave a digital footprint everywhere we go. So how do you keep your information safe when traveling? Here are a few tips.

cute family at airport1. Avoid using public WiFi 

Public WiFi makes it easy for thieves to hack into the information stored on your mobile phone or laptop. It’s easy to use the hotel or airport WiFi because it’s free. But if you are planning to check your online account statements or transactions, consider using a portable router and setting up your own WiFi hotspot. You’ll need a SIM data card which you can purchase at an electronic store or an airport kiosk.

2. Password-protect phones and add tracking tools

We recommend setting up a password to unlock your device, and making that a strong, unique password that you change regularly. Plus, enable location tracking and install a wiping app so you can track down your phone or destroy the data on it if it’s ever stolen.

3. Don’t post location or agenda on social media

Sharing your agenda or location on social media allows potential thieves to keep track of  where you are, making it easier for them to time a crime. Instead, wait to post about your trip until you get home.

4. Bring only what you need and lock it up when there

Only bring a passport with you if you’re traveling abroad, and avoid bringing
your Social Security card or birth certificate with you. Also, don’t bring all of your credit and debits cards; choose instead to carry only a select few. If you do bring sensitive documents with you on your trip, lock them in the hotel safe or other secure location.

5. Keep a record of important documents

If your wallet or any important documents do get stolen, it’s important to know exactly what’s missing. Before you go on your trip, write down all the information from your
credit and debit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance, etc. This will help you know who to call after a theft and have the details readily available.

6. Monitor credit cards and reports

Members 1st will assist with monitoring your Members 1st credit and debit cards if you set up Travel Notices, but you must also monitor your accounts and card usage from other financial institutions. So be prepared and have all of your banking apps ready to go on your smartphone.

7. Protect your home while you’re away

Before you leave for your trip, stop your mail delivery. An overflowing mailbox is a huge red flag for thieves. This will also ensure that important documents aren’t stolen from your mailbox, especially bills or tax statements. If you abide by these guidelines, you have a much better chance of avoiding security breaches and identity theft while traveling. Identity theft takes a long time to recover from, has a lasting negative impact that can last a lifetime, and it can happen to anyone.

Source: cnbc.com

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Thinking of using a ridesharing service?

Make sure you’re covered if you get hurt as a passenger.

Businesswoman in CarRidesharing is becoming more common around the state and the nation, particularly in large cities. Capitalizing on the new “sharing economy” and to a certain extent the coolness factor, this simple concept is thriving. Passengers, however, are generally not aware of the insurance implications, and that their driver’s insurance may not properly cover them.

Q: What is ridesharing?

A: In the new sharing economy, ridesharing allows vehicle owners to transport passengers in their own cars for a fee or a “donation”.

  • Drivers sign up with a service that charges a fee to connect passengers with drivers via a website or smartphone app.
  • Passengers arrange rides and pay with a credit card using the app.

Q: Why is ridesharing an issue?

A: Ridesharing is not the same as riding in a taxi or limousine. Taxis are licensed by the state or a local authority and subject to strict standards, from vehicle inspection and driver licensing to insurance that protects passengers and others who could be hurt in an accident.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft are not subject to the same requirements.  However, they have drawn increasing attention from state regulators and legislators concerned that the public may not be properly protected. In fact, various state regulators have issued consumer alerts to warn the public about possible risks of using a ridesharing app when riding as a passenger.

Q: How is the ridesharing company insured?

A: Insurance is the crux of the issue. Drivers are using their personal vehicles. Personal auto insurance generally excludes coverage when transporting passengers for a fee. An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to provide some protection by covering the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. The nature and scope of coverage provided by the TNC varies from company to company, and its coordination with the driver’s personal auto policy can leave uninsured gaps, in some cases significant.

Q: How do I know if I’m covered as a passenger?

A: If you are considering using a ridesharing service, you should:

  • Research the companies that operate in your city
  • Find out how these companies protect their drivers and passengers, including their liability limits.

If you have a personal auto policy yourself, you may be able to claim some coverage under your policy if you are hurt in an accident as a passenger. If you do not own a car, you will not have that option, unless you purchase a “named non-owner” policy.

Q: Why should I worry? How likely is it that a bad claim will occur?

A: There is no way of knowing what kind of accident could occur. Hopefully, none. However may of the insurance issues that have come to light have stemmed from catastrophic claims. While often downplayed by those who have an interest in the ridesharing business, coordination between the commercial and personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of any accident will have a bearing on whether coverage extends to the driver and the passenger. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Q: Is this insurance issue settled?

A: No. A number of state legislatures have passed laws to address proper insurance coverage (among other things), but the issue is not fully settled. Some personal auto insurers are revisiting the issue and considering new ways to close those gaps in insurance.

Contact us today for a FREE quote on your auto insurance policy!

Click here or call us at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5245.

*Insurance Services available to PA and MD residents only. Insurance products are not federally insured and are not obligations of or guaranteed by Members 1st FCU, Members 1st Insurance Services, or any other affiliated entity.


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 Members1stInvestments.com 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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