Celebrating International Credit Union Month at TopLine

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International Credit Union Day is celebrated annually on the third Tuesday in October. This year, the event lands on October 20 and TopLine is excited to celebrate that day and the month as International Credit Union month.

This year’s credit union theme is “The Authentic Difference,” which celebrates the features that make credit unions unique from other financial institutions. ICU day is an important day worldwide because it gives recognition to the work of credit unions and celebrates the many benefits of them.

Credit unions differ from other financial institutions when it comes to the structure and principals of them. Unlike banks, credit unions are member-owned and are not for profit.

At TopLine, our profits are returned to our members, which allows us to give our members a better value on their investment. Furthermore, we are able to offer competitive rates to our members with little to no fees. At TopLine we have a strong community focus and are committed to putting our members’ needs first.

Credit union principles can change people’s lives — for more than 150 years credit unions have proudly put people and community first in order to provide access to affordable financial services to all of their members. TopLine is certainly no different.
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We want to celebrate this exciting day with our members and the community by hosting an open house at all of our TopLine branches on October 20 to thank our members and celebrate ICU day with free refreshments and giveaways!

Since International Credit Union Day is so important to us, we decided that we would celebrate this day throughout the whole month of October!

We want to express our gratitude to our members and embrace the characteristics that make TopLine unique from other financial institutions. Stop into one of our branches to celebrate ICU day with us and let us help you with all of your financial needs.

TopLine Federal Credit Union, a Twin Cities-based credit union, is Minnesota’s 13th-largest, with assets of more than $350 million. Established in 1935, the not-for-profit cooperative offers a complete line of financial services, as well as auto and home insurance, from its five branch locations — in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, Plymouth and in St. Paul’s Como Park — as well as by phone, mobile app and online at TopLinecu.com. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington Counties and their immediate family members.

 

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.

 

How to Manage Your Student Loans

Student loans are among the greatest financial obstacles for an individual to pay off. With student loan debt surpassing credit card debt for the first time in history, it’s a major concern for students and former students to address. As any college graduate will tell you, the six-month, payment-free grace period you are given following graduation will come sooner than you can imagine. Do you have a loan repayment plan in place yet?

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In order to assist with your student loans, TopLine Federal Credit Union has partnered with LSS Financial Counseling to provide free Student Loan Repayment Counseling. With LSS Financial Counseling, you can learn how to start and make every payment, how to consolidate your loans, discover loan forgiveness programs, and find more tips on financial security. LSS can help you navigate through options and take the steps needed to pay off your student loans.

Take a peek at some quick tips to get you started on managing your student loans:

Determine What You Owe
Between federal and private student loans from various providers, it can be difficult to keep track of every loan you have. An efficient loan repayment plan will be dependent on the type of loans you have taken out throughout your college career. Fortunately, many schools have an online loan education class that is required of graduating seniors in order to inform students of the loan process. You can also find a list of federal loans at the Department of Education’s website—nslds.ed.gov— and private loans on free annual credit reports at Annualcreditreport.com.

Discover Repayment Plan Options
Federal student loans have various repayment options that help keep your loans affordable. Different options allow you to work with your budget by lowering your monthly payment and consolidating your loans. In repayment plan options, you can opt for a standard 10-year plan which stretches your payment over 25 years or request a payment based on your income. If you have multiple federal student loans, loan consolidation may be a good option to take care of your student debt. This can help streamline your loan payments because you only have one monthly payment to make. Check with your provider and research your options at studentaid.ed.gov.

Explore Loan Forgiveness
In certain circumstances, it could be possible for you to have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged which mean that you are no longer expected to repay your loan. This option would alleviate much of the financial burden of student debt. If you work for a government agency on any level, a 501c3 non-profit, or another non-profit providing health or public safety services, you may qualify to have your federal student loans forgiven after 120 payments on those loans. Learn more about federal student loan forgiveness here.

Need further assistance in navigating student loans? As a TopLine Financial Credit Union member, you benefit from free, confidential, and professional help through LSS Financial Counseling. To schedule a visit, call LSS at 1-800-528-2926, or visit our partnership page.

 

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.