Celebrate National Insurance Month with TopLine!

Many of you probably didn’t know that September is National Insurance Month!

Celebrate National Insurance Month by making sure you have the best coverage to suit all your needs and to protect your loved ones. Ensure the health and success of your finances by examining your coverage plans.

As providers of our families, we can set out the most-detailed financial plans, spend and budget safely, and plan out all major expenses, but without insurance, we may still be unprepared in the event of unexpected expenses, medical emergencies and any of life’s many surprises. This is why having an excellent insurance plan can help us breathe a little more easily in the face of life’s uncertainties.

untitled-design-24The best insurance plans will be able to protect you against financial risks and potentially great losses with quality auto and homeowners insurance policies. The best insurance plans will also support the well-being of your family and limit the out-of-pocket costs incurred from healthcare expenses and medical emergencies. Without an appropriate life insurance plan or adequate health care plan, your family may suffer in the event of medical emergencies, illness or death.

At TopLine Insurance Agency we work to save our members money every day, in every way we can. It’s our commitment to provide you with quality products to protect you, your family and your belongings. We offer personal as well as business policies from a variety of well-known and well-regarded property and casualty insurance carriers such as Encompass, Progressive, Safeco, Travelers and more.

Our insurance policies include Auto, Motorcycle & ATV, RV & Boat, Home/Renters, Life, Business and more.

We are here to help you get the right policy at the best price to fit your individual needs. For a free, personalized, no obligation coverage comparison, contact us to schedule an appointment today! Call 763-391-0007, email us at Quote@TopLinecu.com or stop by your local branch.

 

The Importance of Scholarships to Finance Your Education

As tuition costs continue to climb, scholarships are becoming more and more crucial to a majority of students pursuing a college degree. It is important to both parents and students to understand the benefits scholarships can provide to a college education. Simply researching a few different options and taking the time to fill them out could save you thousands of dollars over the course of your education.

Scholarships

Students and parents should think about their financial situation long before stepping foot on campus. Traditionally, parents have contributed the biggest piece of the financial aid pie. However, according to Dailyworth.com, parents are saving more than they have in the past, but it still isn’t enough. This is yet another reason why it is important to put solid time into applying and researching for scholarships; no matter how well they prepare, parents just can’t do it alone anymore.

The cost of college living is skyrocketing. Census data from 2015 showed that 18 to 34-year-olds are more likely to be living with their parents today than when the recession hit. When it comes to paying for college, there’s a lot more to consider than just tuition. Students need to take into account other living expenses, such as apartment costs, food, utilities, and any other bills they accumulate. The best way to cover some of these costs is to obtain scholarships.

Graduation

Whether you are a student searching for a scholarship or a parent looking to invest in your child’s future, Topline is a great place to get started. The TopLine Credit Union Foundation is a program that reaches out to the community by awarding scholarships and providing financial education and counseling to members of all ages.

The TopLine Credit Union Foundation will be awarding $10,000 in scholarship money to members who are continuing their education. The scholarship awards include four $1,000 scholarships and twelve $500 scholarships.

We are pleased to announce that the Foundation is now also a part of the AmazonSmile Charitable Partner Program! This means you can now support the TopLine Credit Union Foundation by simply shopping online! The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to our foundation.

 

For more information on scholarships or financial education, visit TopLine’s website, email us at Foundation@TopLinecu.com, or call 763-391-9494. We are always happy to help you or your student pursue their dreams.

 

Teaching Your Kids to be Financially Literate

Teaching Your Kids

April is Youth Financial Literacy Month, so we thought we’d share why we find financial literacy among our youth so important.

As parents, we want our kids to be successful and to make the right choices. We try our best to teach them all that we know, so how has financial literacy escaped conversation at the dinner table? If we’re not talking about money and finances with one another, how do we expect to teach our kids to become financially stable?

The Child Development Institute lists some good ideas of how you can teach your kids the value of money. The main points are:

 

  • Provide an Allowance. They’ll need somewhere to start. Give your kids a weekly or monthly allowance, or provide chores around the house for them to complete to earn some spare cash.
  • Lead by Example. Teach your kids to separate their funds into pools or pots. One can be for savings, one for a new toy or goal they want to achieve, one for a gift for their parent/grandparent/sibling, and so on. Show them one of your utility bills and make a goal of lowering it for the next month. This will teach them the effect using every-day utilities has on monthly bills and income.
  • Provide Practice. Play games with your kids that teach them the value of a dollar. Monopoly is the most common and popular for this, but can be difficult for younger kids. Check out Kids.gov to find alternative, age-appropriate games.
  • Give Feedback. Support your teachings and lessons with praise and encouragement — include rewards in exchange for good financial decisions. Also, give your children suggestions and direction for better financial decisions if they seem to be getting off-track.

 

TopLine’s Get Smart with your Money program
We believe that it’s never too early to talk with your kids about money, which is why we have the program Get Smart With Your Money — a financial education enterprise that encourages conversation about money among your family. There are three different age-specific groups that tailor to the needs and understandings of your children:

Building Dreams (ages 5-8)

  • This is a baseline course about the concepts of spending, saving and sharing. It will involve storytelling, worksheets, and other fun activities.

Dollar Power (ages 9-13)

  • Inspired by the National Endowment for Financial Education and the Money Smarts curriculum offered by the National Association of Federal Credit Union, this course teaches the difference between needs and wants, planning and goal setting, saving and paying yourself first, spending wisely and gift cards. Kids will be given real-life scenarios and asked questions about the importance of saving and spending wisely.

Dollars & Sense (ages 14-18)

  • This course digs deeper into the concepts that were taught in Dollar Power and expands further on sound money management, checking accounts, debit and credit cards and the significance of credit. Again, students will be taught by example with real-life scenarios and thought-provoking questions.  

These sessions are offered Saturday, April 23 and Thursday, October 18 at 11:30 AM. They will be held at TopLine’s Maple Grove Learning Center located at 9353 Jefferson Highway.

For more information, give TopLine a call at 763-391-9494 or you can register online.

 

Financial Education Seminars Presented by TopLine Federal Credit Union

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TopLine Federal Credit Union takes pride in giving back to the public by holding financial education seminars throughout the year.

People often have questions about money and areas that they can use a little help. Whether you’re curious about saving for college or planning to buy a home, you can’t help but be a little stressed.

If you need some assistance, maybe one of our seminars can help! Each seminar is held at our Maple Grove branch at 9353 Jefferson Highway. All the seminars are free, but reservations are required. To reserve your spot, please call us at 763-391-9494, send an email to RSVP@toplinecu.com or click the ticket tab above to learn more about the seminar at Toplinecu.com/seminars.

Be sure to include names of all attendees in your email response. Please feel free to extend our invitation to others you know who may have interest. Family members and friends are all welcome to attend. Here is a look at our seminars throughout the year:

Teen Driver Seminar (March 15 & September 20)
Is your teen ready to get behind the wheel? Are you ready for your teen to get behind the wheel? This seminar covers tips both you and your teen should know for safe driving and insurance coverage.

Join the TopLine Insurance Agency for a seminar to learn how to insure your teen driver, how adding a teen driver will affect rates, which discounts are available, top safety picks for cars and insurance rates, and safe driving tips to being ready for the unexpected. Plus, we’ll walk through a live auto insurance quote, and you’ll walk away with your free Parent-Teen Contract.

Improve Your Credit Score (March 22)
Learn how to obtain, understand and improve your credit and credit score. In this workshop, you will learn:

  • How to get and read your credit report
  • How your credit score is calculated
  • How to increase your score
  • How to correct errors
  • How to improve negative credit and build good credit
  • Your FCRA rights

Money Lessons from the Movies (April 19)
Americans of all ages love movies and there are valuable lessons about money that can be learned in fun, memorable ways.

This workshop teaches timeless principles of financial decision-making using film clips and group discussions looking at money situations from classic Hollywood, Disney, horror and children’s movies.

First-Time Home Buyer’s Seminar (April 21, May 19, June 23)
Attendees will hear from a TopLine mortgage advisor with insights and individual advice on home buying, including market specifics and inventory, how and what to buy, available home loans that are best for individual needs, what you can expect during the loan process and possible tax qualifications.

Free Youth Financial Literacy Seminars (April 23, October 13)

  • Building Dreams (ages 5-8) 9 AM: Explore the concepts of spending, saving and sharing. Kids will share in a story about saving entitled “Just Saving My Money.” Other activities include age-appropriate discussions and worksheets.
  • Dollar Power (ages 9-13) 10:15 AM: Explore the concepts of needs versus wants, planning and goal setting, saving and paying yourself first, spending wisely and gift cards.
  • Dollars & Sense (ages 14-18) 11:30 AM: Explore the concepts of needs versus wants, planning and goal setting, saving and paying yourself first, sound money management using checking accounts and debit cards, gift cards and using credit wisely.

Lively, thought-provoking questions and real-life examples will get everyone thinking about the importance of balancing needs versus wants and how planning and saving today can really pay off down the road.

Keeping the Cabin in the Family (May 4, September 14)
Concerned with what may happen to the family cabin as it is passed on to the next generation? Learn the importance of estate planning in this seminar.

Road Map for a Happy Retirement (September 27)
Part of success in retirement is the economic security of having retirement savings. Join LSS Financial Counseling and TopLine for a workshop to learn tips to help you with big financial decisions and avoid common mistakes, planning ahead, and holistically, for your time and happiness in this next chapter of life.

Defend Yourself Against Identity Theft (October 18)
Learn about the ways identity theft can happen to adults – or even children. Find simple, effective steps to prevent identity theft, gain confidence in online safety and financial interactions and know the resources to turn to if identity theft happens to you.

Five Consumer Protection Laws You’ll Love to Use (November 8)
Personal finance can be intimidating, but these laws make insurance, banks, mortgage lenders, debt collectors and credit bureaus play fair.

Join LSS Financial Counseling and TopLine for a workshop to learn five consumer protection laws you’ll love to use.

Creating a Savings Plan for the Year

Creating a

January is coming to a close, and with it, many people’s New Year’s Resolution hopes. Each year, the top resolutions are about losing and saving: losing weight and saving money. Both can seem like daunting tasks, and although we aren’t experts on weight loss, we do know a thing or two about saving money.

Make Financial Goals
Saving for something special this year? Planning on making a major purchase or home improvement? Sending kids off to college soon? Setting goals for yourself is the first step in making a yearly savings plan. Setting a financial goal for yourself sets your destination in view and creates a timeframe to fulfill it.

Set a Budget
The most important aspect to setting a budget for a savings plan is to be reasonable and realistic. Base your budget on your income and monthly bills — and be sure to keep it flexible, if only at first. People can be overly optimistic about money before their plans are put into practice, and can become discouraged about getting on track.

Cover Small Debts First
This goes along with being realistic; smaller debts are easier to overcome than larger ones, and you don’t want to be paying more interest than you need to. Prioritize your loans into manageable payments and resolve to pay off smaller ones first.

Save for a Rainy Day
According to gobankrates.com, 36 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. No one knows what the future will bring. You best line of defense is being prepared for the worst. Start a savings account and add to it each month. Even if it’s as little as $20, it’s better than nothing. Save your change in a jar and deposit it at the end of the month, cut back on superfluous spending, turn your thermostat down a couple degrees — whatever you decide, small savings do add up, and they get you in the mindset to build a nest egg. Thesurvivalmom.com has a fantastic savings plan you can use or reformat to fit your budget.

It’s not hard to put a little money away each month — the difficult part is making a reasonable plan and achievable goals, especially a long-term plan for savings. TopLine Federal Credit Union has a ton of savings options to help you reach your goals. Our savings account rates are calculated daily to ensure you the best possible account earnings.

Don’t be another end of January statistic; start your savings off on the right foot, and by the end of the year, you’re sure to see that your dedication -— quite literally — pays off!