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The Credit Union Difference: Reaching Out to Those In Need

Credit unions are unique in the world of financial institutions. Nowhere is the credit union difference more vivid than in the diverse ways they reach out to millions of low- and moderate-income Americans who seek basic financial services to realize their dreams.

The examples of outreach are heart-warming, and the results are life changing. Some credit unions offer Individual Development Accounts--savings accounts with matched incentives--to low-income members who are saving for a home, education, or small business development. Others offer financial literacy training to members trying to re-enter the workforce, to people who are incarcerated, and to new Americans such as displaced Bosnian refugees.

Building bridges with the Hispanic community is an important goal for credit unions, as well as fostering entrepreneurship through business loans. Credit unions also offer alternatives to lenders who often take advantage of low-income people who are not using mainstream financial institutions. Coupled with financial literacy programs, these individuals are able to build savings accounts and improve financial well-being.

Some credit unions offer financial counseling programs as well as programs for area schools, colleges, and universities. Student credit unions operate in many schools, allowing the credit union to work with the resources and needs of the school.

And these are just a few of the many ways credit unions impact small and large communities across the country.

Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union is here to serve you. Contact us at 1.800.922.4403 to learn how we can help you realize your dreams.

Choosing a College? Consider Career Path

When you think about college, you may envision attending a small private college, a four-year state university, or a technical school. Each has something important to offer.

Don’t choose colleges based on college-type preferences alone. There are many possible avenues when continuing education. Consider a variety of them by searching for schools based on career goals, your personality, and your interests.

Do you have an idea of the career you want after college? Start researching your career possibilities with the help of your school counselor.

What if you’re no longer in high school? Many school counselors will help alumni. You also can do internships, ask a professional in a field you’d like to pursue if you could shadow them for a day, or take career surveys online on websites such as

Once you have a general career direction, your school counselor and websites from dozens of states can help you find colleges that have programs for your major field of study. From this list, you can narrow your search online or with your counselor by factors such as campus size, admission standards, tuition, and average size of financial aid packages offered.

Next, schedule a campus visit to each of your top choices. If you can’t visit in person, virtual tours on campus websites are the next best thing. Exploring each campus can help you decide which school truly fits your personality and goals.

Selecting a college is a big decision, but with a little planning, you’ll find the one that’s right for you. Go into career and college selection with an open mind, your school counselor’s help, your family’s input, and the attitude that you’re willing to put the effort into making the best decision.

Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union is here to help with this major life transition. Our professionals are here to answer questions you may have about paying for college. Stop by or call us today at 1.800.922.4403.


Changing Jobs? Consider 401(k) Options

If you’re thinking about changing jobs, consider what you’ll do with your old 401(k) plan.

Leaving your money with your current employer, even temporarily, allows funds to continue to grow tax-deferred. However, letting your money stay put often means you’ll have to pay fees.

Before you decide to leave it alone, ask your plan’s administrator what the fees would be.

Rolling your 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) at Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union may be the most appealing option if you’re looking for more investment flexibility or want to consolidate multiple accounts.

You also can convert your IRA to a Roth IRA, which allows you to pay your taxes up front on the money invested, and withdraw funds in the future tax-free.

Just as with an IRA, you can transfer the money from your old 401(k) plan to your new employer’s plan without paying taxes on it. First check to make sure transfers are allowed.

The only reason you should cash out a 401(k) is if you’re struggling to put food on the table. Paying down credit card debt doesn’t justify cashing out a 401(k).

If you need help sorting through your retirement-plan options, give CFFCU a call and let us help with that process.  We can find a successful strategy for you and recommend retirement products that can protect your investment.

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