A person should not invest money that they cannot afford to lose. That may seem like common sense, but day after day many of our friends and neighbors risk their stability to take advantage of an opportunity that they believe is too good to pass up.
Often when a person takes such a risk they do not see the success they hoped for, or are faced with unforeseen challenges that prevent them from achieving their goals. At the end of it all, they may chock it up to “bad luck.”
However, there are instances where people take the chance to pursue their dream career, return to school to start a new chapter, or take the plunge and open their own business – and they find success. If there was a cookbook with a written recipe anyone could see that both individuals invested the same amount of worry, hope, and they may both have the same level of support. However, it is rare for a person who succeeds to attribute their achievements to “good luck”. While they may acknowledge that’s part of it, they will follow it up with a list of things they did to accomplish their goals. This reinforces the old adage, “Good luck is just when preparation meets opportunity.”
It’s a common mistake to separate financial goals from personal goals, but every goal is essentially a financial one.
Want to spend more time at home with family – can they afford to miss work?
Want to learn a new skill – can they afford classes or training?
Want to pursue a dream career – can they afford the time between paychecks from their old job to the new one?
Want to lose weight – can they afford the change in the grocery budget and/or a gym membership?
In order to meet any personal goal, it is necessary to make a financial plan to achieve it. This financial readiness not only puts a person in the position to be successful, but it also means that when a special opportunity comes along to make life a little easier – they are prepared to take the risk. Not only that, they are more likely to maximize the benefit of their opportunity and expand their success.
Being prepared financially looks like:
- Creating and maintaining a household budget – tracking every dollar that comes in or goes out.
- Monitoring credit scores (and taking steps to improve them if applicable.)
- A debt-to-income ratio of 40% or less.
- Having specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive goals.
That’s a list of only four things, but those four things carry significant weight. Not every person is equipped to handle the risks of investment; in fact, not every financial institution is equipped to handle such risks. Recently, trust in banks has been shaken because of unusual occurrences in the market. Thankfully, Credit Unions are not banks. Education Credit Union is 35,000 citizens from Amarillo, Bushland, Borger, Canyon, and Stinnett who choose to deposit their money in a not-for-profit institution – where members are the owners who gain the benefit of earning higher interest rates on money they save and paying lower interest rates on their loans.
It is that unity, and our member owners that protect us from many of the challenges that banks are currently facing. Our member’s deposits are protected by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), and Excess Share Insurance; which means all deposits up to $500,000 are insured by the NCUA. Our member owners have elected a volunteer Board of Directors who sincerely appreciate the responsibility of appointing leadership and making decisions on behalf of our organization. That is what sets us apart from banks, and that’s what sets Education Credit Union apart in the Texas Panhandle.
We remain prepared for the opportunity to serve anyone in our membership area, and demonstrate the credit union difference. Our investment is in our community, and our members reap the dividends.