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Courses

Complete learning experiences on over a dozen topics. Log in to continue a saved course.
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Budget Basics

36 minutes

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From setting goals to paying off loans, the basics of effective budget management.

  • Setting Goals
    Setting financial goals offers the chance to step back from everyday pressures, allowing us to think about how we’d like to be rather than as how we are.
  • Debt and the Pressure to Spend
    It’s wonderful to have the freedom to buy so many products, but unless you’re rich, the key to happy spending is planned spending.
  • Nudging Yourself Toward Your Goals
    No matter what your financial goal, it's important to have an accountability system in place.
  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why budgeting is important, no matter how much money you earn.
  • Income and Expenses
    A big part of budgeting is identifying income and listing expenses.
  • Evaluating Your Budget
    After you've identified your income and tracked your spending, it's time to compare the numbers, gain perspective, set priorities, and make changes.
  • Tracking Your Spending
    Tracking your money can be a powerful way to spot unplanned spending.
  • How to Improve Cash Flow
    Cash flow is a key indicator of your financial health.
  • Money Saving Ideas
    Looking for ideas for ways to save money? Almost everyone can find a way to save using at least one of these tips.
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Financial Basics

35 minutes

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A money management course that outlines the basics of financial health - from budgeting to insurance.

  • Financial Health
    The concept of financial health is the foundation of any financial plan.
  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why budgeting is important, no matter how much money you earn.
  • Choosing a Bank or Credit Union
    Key factors to consider when choosing a financial services provider.
  • Credit vs. Debit Cards
    Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use each?
  • Credit Reports and Scores
    Credit reports and scores determine the rates you pay when borrowing and can affect your ability to get certain jobs.
  • Managing Accounts
    Account management strategies for checking and savings.
  • Building Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
  • Identity Theft
    Understanding ID theft and how to prevent it.
  • Financial Goals Exercise
    A goal-setting exercise that includes weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals.
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Financial Planning

33 minutes

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What you need to know to start making a long-term financial plan, from getting married to planning for retirement.

  • Financial Planning
    Learning the "how" and "why" of short, medium, and long-term financial planning.
  • Medical Care Planning
    How to make sure your wishes are followed in a medical crisis.
  • Estate Planning
    Wills, trusts, and other end of life issues.
  • Creating a Will
    A will is the cornerstone of the legal framework of an estate plan, and everyone should have one.
  • Powers of Attorney
    Everyone faces the possibility of temporary or permanent incapacitation. Make sure your wishes are followed.
  • Talking About Money
    A look at some of the financial considerations of getting married.
  • Planning for the Unexpected
    Planning for unexpected events, including accidents, death, and even the possibility of divorce, are all part of a responsible marriage.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
  • Investing Survey
    Questions about member experiences with investments and investment advisors.
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Financial Trouble

36 minutes

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What to do if you're in financial trouble, from creating a debt reduction plan to your rights when dealing with debt collectors.

  • Spotting the Signs of Financial Trouble
    Many Americans find themselves in debt, but for some, debt turns into a serious problem with lasting consequences.
  • Dealing with Financial Trouble
    If you ever find yourself experiencing financial trouble, there are steps you can take to get back on track and to minimize the damage to your credit.
  • Debt Reduction Plans
    Whether you do it yourself or work with a credit counselor, creating a debt reduction plan is an important first step for those with financial trouble.
  • Credit Counseling
    The role of credit counseling organizations and how a debt management plan works to restore credit over time.
  • Choosing a Credit Counselor
    The best way to find a good credit counselor is to know what questions to ask.
  • Credit Repair Scams
    There's a big difference between a non-profit credit counseling service and a credit repair scam. Learn how to tell the difference.
  • Debt Collection
    Your rights and responsibilities when dealing with debt collectors.
  • Debt Collection and Legal Actions
    What to expect if you are sued over debt.
  • Understanding Bankruptcy
    The types of bankruptcy and why bankruptcy should be used only as a last resort.
  • Alternative Financial Services
    Understanding why payday loans, check cashing services, and similar services may be bad deals for consumers.
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Having a Baby

34 minutes

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A look at the financial challenges of raising a child.

  • Introduction
    Having a baby is not just a family decision, it's a financial decision too.
  • Babies and Budgets
    How to get your finances in shape before a baby arrives, including a budget review, paying down debt, making sure you're getting the best on any long-term debt, and creating an emergency fund.
  • Paying for the Baby Years
    The non-childcare costs you can expect when having a baby, from cribs to health insurance.
  • Managing Risks
    Life is filled with unexpected events. Learn how to ensure the financial security of your child in the worst case scenario.
  • Children and Taxes
    A review of the tax benefits that can help you manage the expenses incurred with children.
  • Childcare Choices
    An overview of different childcare choices and the financial implications of each.
  • Growing Up - Childhood and Beyond
    A look at the additional costs of raising a child beyond the first few years including the indirect costs.
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Identity Theft

21 minutes

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An overview of identity theft, including strategies for preventing it and what to do if it happens to you.

  • Identity Theft
    Understanding ID theft and how to prevent it.
  • Avoiding Identity Theft
    The three Ds of identity protection: Deter, Detect and Defend.
  • Protecting Your Digital Information
    There are many data backup solutions available designed to protect personal information that vary in their security and ease of use.
  • Dealing with Identity Theft
    Understanding the different types of identity theft and what to do in each scenario.
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Managing Credit

29 minutes

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Credit reports and scores, credit vs. debit cards, reading your credit report, plus more.

  • Credit vs. Debit Cards
    Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use each?
  • Credit Reports and Scores
    Credit reports and scores determine the rates you pay when borrowing and can affect your ability to get certain jobs.
  • Risks and Benefits of Credit Cards
    Credit cards offer benefits for many consumers, but it's important to understand the risks of unsecured credit.
  • Building Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
  • Understanding the Credit Card Act of 2009
    How the new regulations work to protect card holders.
  • Reading Your Credit Report
    A detailed description of what to expect and look for when viewing a credit report.
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Managing Student Loan Debt

44 minutes

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An introduction to student loan repayment choices and strategies. Visit the Library for in-depth coverage of repayment plan options.

  • Making Smart Repayment Decisions
    Flexible federal student loan repayment plans can help you avoid financial trouble and reach your financial goals.
  • Repayment Strategies
    To repay your student loans, you need a comprehensive strategy to put your education debt in a larger financial picture that includes your income, non-education debt, and long-term goals.
  • How Repayment Plan Choices Affect Loan Cost
    Your repayment plan choice can greatly affect your monthly payment and the total cost of your student debt.
  • Deferment and Forbearance Options
    Both deferment and forbearance can help you avoid financial trouble. If you think you might qualify, reach out to your loan servicer as soon as you first experience financial difficulty.
  • Managing Loans in Times of Financial Distress
    You can’t always prevent financial stress, but how well you manage it will make all the difference in how successful you’ll be in meeting your repayment obligation.
  • Grace and Deferment Period Strategies
    Federal education loans all offer a grace or deferment period – a set amount of time during which repayment is not required. How you manage loans during your grace period can make a big difference.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
    If you work in certain fields or for certain employers, a portion of your Direct Student Loan debt may be eligible for forgiveness.
  • Loan Consolidation
    Loan consolidation can simplify the loan repayment process, but you must review the loans you plan to consolidate carefully – once consolidated, there’s no going back.
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Saving and Investing

36 minutes

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Why and how to invest, including how to save money now.

  • Saving and Investing
    The difference between investing and saving, and how to tell what's the best option for your needs.
  • Types of Investments
    The pros and cons of stocks, bonds, and cash. The concept of asset allocation is explained.
  • Investment Accounts
    The types of accounts available to investors, including both taxable and tax advantaged accounts.
  • SouthMet Investing Services
    What you can expect from us.
  • Saving for Retirement
    Why save for retirement and the impact of fees on investment performance.
  • Retirement Saving Strategies
    How to develop a comprehensive retirement savings strategy.
  • Retirement Accounts
    An overview of the major retirement accounts, include Individual Retirement Accounts, Simplified Employee Pensions, and 401(k) plans.
  • Retirement Savings Ideas
    A few simple things to keep in mind when starting a retirement savings plan.
  • Individual Development Accounts
    Understanding the benefits of IDAs, how to qualify, and where to find a program.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
  • Investing Survey
    Questions about member experiences with investments and investment advisors.
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Understanding Insurance

31 minutes

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Understanding the common types of insurance, including auto, renters, health, plus more.

  • Insurance
    Understanding how insurance plays an important role in our financial lives.
  • Auto Insurance
    Types of auto insurance, factors influencing cost, and choosing a policy that's right for your situation.
  • Life Insurance
    Who needs life insurance, types of policies, and how to determine coverage.
  • Renter's Insurance
    Understanding the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of this type of inexpensive insurance.
  • Health Insurance
    The various health insurance choices.
  • Disability Insurance
    The benefits and costs of these often complex policies.
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Smart Spending

15 minutes

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As a financially capable individual, how you choose to spend money should reflect your goals, values, and priorities.

  • Smart Spending
    We all spend money, but is your spending aligned with your financial goals?
  • How to Track Spending
    Tracking your money can be a powerful way of spotting unexpected spending.
  • Debt and the Pressure to Spend
    It’s wonderful to have the freedom to buy so many products, but unless you’re rich, the key to happy spending is planned spending.
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Choices About Money

13 minutes

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Financial decisions almost always involve a trade off - getting something now usually means giving up something else.

  • Choices About Money
    Financial decisions almost always involve a trade off - getting something now usually means giving up something else.
  • Your Financial Values
    While each of us may have different values, we all make financial decisions based on them.
  • Setting Financial Goals
    Setting financial goals gives us the chance to step back from everyday pressures, allowing us to think about how we’d like to be rather than as how we are.
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Borrowing and Credit

20 minutes

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Your decisions about when to borrow, how to borrow, and how to manage debt affect more of your life than you may expect.

  • Credit and Credit Reports
    How to understand and monitor your credit history.
  • Credit Scores
    Credit scores are like a grade for your overall financial responsibility.
  • Risks and Rewards of Credit Cards
    While there are a good number of risks with credit cards, there are also a number of benefits of credit cards.
  • Building and Maintaining Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
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Recognizing Financial Problems

17 minutes

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One in five Americans have bad credit, which is commonly defined as a credit score below 620.

  • Understanding Chronic Debt
    Spotting the warning signs of excessive debt.
  • Recognizing the Warning Signs of Financial Trouble
    An introduction to the steps you can take to begin dealing with financial problems.
  • Debt Management and Reduction
    Whether you do it yourself or work with a credit counselor, creating a debt reduction plan is an important first step for those with financial trouble.
  • Repairing Credit
    There are no quick fixes when it comes to removing negative items from your credit report or raising your credit score. Only consistent efforts and payments on your debts will improve your credit.

Financial Wellness Home

This Week

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Avoiding Common Financial Pitfalls

Each stage of life brings new financial responsibilities and challenges. Let's take a look at some common financial pitfalls people experience in each decade.

About South Metro Federal Credit Union

Our suite of Financial Education Services (FES) is founded on providing a thorough education and consistent guidance with a confidential personal representative. With this relationship in place, we’ll work with you to determine your broad goals and set tactics for direct outcomes that build credit and help manage debt. We’ll empower you with the mindset, tools and products it takes to make an impact on your financial health.


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Have a question? Contact Alyssa Walford at:

952-358-9738
fes@southmet.com

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