Financial Best Practices – Back to Basics

Since 1935 DECU has been serving John Deere employees and their families, and in that time we’ve built up quite a set of tools to help reach our 42,000 members in 50 states and 56 countries. Offering everything from savings accounts to mortgage loans to retirement & investment planning, DECU has Best-In-Market rates and a crackerjack crew of staff dedicated to making your hard-earned money work better for you.

But sometimes you just need a refresher in the basics. A resource with all the right information in easy-to-read lists that answer all your practical how-to questions.

This is that refresher. Bookmark this page now and remember to come back here next time you have a financial question, because this is the giant list of DECU Financial Best Practices.

One thing we’ve learned at DECU is that with more than $1 billion in assets under management and 24 onsite Deere Branches, our members are all working towards one common goal: The Future.

Doesn’t matter if they want to buy a house or a car, apply for a college loan or sell a boat. It is all about doing things today that make tomorrow something worth working for. And for a financial future that’s brighter and fuller than today, there are the seven basic things DECU recommends you do:

• Bank at Your Convenience
• Know Your Score
• Create A Budget
• Pay Yourself First
• Create an Emergency Fund
• Set Financial Goals
• Be Alert. Scams Hurt

Bank at Your Convenience

After breakfast from your kitchen table. At lunch while you walk around the block. During the afternoon when the kids are napping and the Wi-Fi is speedy. Whenever you want to log on and view your account, DECU has developed its online banking to make it easy, simple and absolutely convenient at any time from your computer or mobile device. Whenever you need it, your money is right there.

Did you know you can organize loan payments, request deferrals, and make deposits, all from your couch? Are you familiar with contactless payment apps for your smartphone? All are available to DECU members to make banking at your convenience a Financial Best Practice.

www.deereemployeescu.com
Digital Banking using your desktop or mobile device
• 24/7/365 Chat, Email and Phone service
• Skip-A-Pay for consumer, credit card and personal loans
Apply online for credit cards, consumer and mortgage loans
• Contactless payments using Google and Apple Pay
eDeposits using your Mobile Device
80K+ terminal no-fee ATM network
ATM Deposits at 1000+ ATMs around the country

man studyingKnow Your Score

Another important financial practice is to take advantage of our Best-In-Market loan rates. Dreams of the future turn into reality when a mortgage is signed and housekeys are exchanged, but if you’ve ever applied for a loan then you know how important it is to build and manage your credit first, before you start looking at kitchen layouts and school districts.

At DECU we’ve come up with a list of the Top 6 Credit Score Boosters.

6 ways in 30 days to boost your score

1. Pay down revolving balances to less than 30%
2. Remove recent late payments
3. Remove a collection account
4. Raise your credit limits
5. Charge small amounts to inactive credit card
6. Get credit

Create a Budget

The most important Financial Best Practice in the world, bar none, is a budget. And making a budget is easy to do if everything is in the right place and you know what to look for. At DECU we have budget-making down to a simple art, and we have online educational videos and worksheets to help guide you.

Using our video tutorials you can: Learn budgeting & financial tools; Learn what financial institutions do and how to work with them; Learn the different products financial institutions offer and how to manage your own account portfolio; Learn how to access credit and borrowing; Learn how to begin planning for your retirement and so much more.

But first: DECU’s 5 Steps To Make a Budget:

• Get Organized – Locate and organize financial documents.
• List Income – How much money is earned each month after taxes?
• List Expenses – How much money is spent each month, and on what?
• List Savings – How much money is set aside for savings?
• List Debt – How much money is owed to creditors?

By starting with these five steps, you are on the road to a future filled with Financial Best Practices.

For information on how to work with your new budget, try this link for plenty more helpful resources from DECU.

Pay Yourself First

Seems reasonable, right? You get your paycheck and you put money in your accounts and then you start chipping away at those bills. Mortgage, insurance, health care, groceries. That’s all stuff you covered in budgeting, it’s all stuff you’ve covered since you were a kid trying to buy candy AND a bike on the weekly pocket money you earned around the house.

But the temptation of a sugar rush RIGHT NOW versus the appealing sensation of a wind rush in your hair NEXT OCTOBER is probably what caused your first financial crisis. Avoiding the instant gratification brought on by a series of tiny, pocket-emptying purchases in the short term, while focusing on overall quality of life improvements by a large, planned purchase over the long term is what it means when you pay yourself first.

At DECU we’ve put mechanisms in place to help you follow this Financial Best Practice and allow you to Pay Yourself First. You can set up automated allotments for every paycheck that will process your savings first, allowing you to manage your budget and fulfill your future. Use your monthly budget worksheet to find out what you can afford to save and then lock it in place until you meet your goal.

• Automate Your Savings
• Save For a Rainy Day
• Set-It and Forget It

woman with dog

Stay Alert, Scams Hurt

Scammers want to take the money you earned and put it in their own pocket. This happens sometimes in person and more often online, and DECU has advice on how to prevent it.

Your valuable private information is a few clicks away from exposure on the internet, but there are plenty of technical steps you can take to keep data safe and money in your account.

• Avoid Phishing Attempts – fake emails or text messages to trick you into giving your personal information stealing passwords, account numbers or Social Security numbers
• Protect your home computer by using security software
• Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically
• Protect your accounts using multi-factor authentication
• Protect your data by backing it up

Finally, in regards to the rest of the online scams out there, the Federal Trade Commission has lots of examples of previous scams on its website, and is a reliable and trusted resource in this field.

Enroll in Email Updates
Learn about recent scams
Stay informed today. Tomorrow. And for your future.

In search of more Financial Best Practices? These links are recommended by DECU staff to help you learn more and to protect your money.

https://deereemployeescu.com/decu-daily-blog
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/coronavirus/financial-impact
https://www.hermoney.com/
https://www.hermoney.com/t/podcasts/
https://www.nerdwallet.com
https://irs.gov/coronavirus