Financial Services Resource Group
"Financial Services for Better Living"
  P.O. Box 2717, Iowa City, IA 52244 | Phone: (319) 621-4911
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Welcome to the Financial Services Resource Group. The Financial Resource Group has been established to provide timely access to progressive financial services and resources on and off the Internet. man and woman


Index [ Top | Index ]


Featured Story [ Top | Index ]

UICCU - Can Your Financial Institution Do This? The University of Iowa Community Credit Union recently considered changing its name to Optiva Credit Union. As a member-governed organization, a special meeting was held on 28 February 2007 to discuss and vote upon the name change. At the meeting, of the members who attended and voted, a majority chose to delay a name change - requesting more consideration and greater membership involvement in the name selection.

Click here for audio from the February 28, 2007 membership
meeting of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union

File size is 72.6 MB, length is 1 hour, 19 minutes, 15 seconds.

Member-governance is in stark contrast to some businesses and financial institutions today which are similar in operation to fascist dictatorships - with upper management making all the decisions while employees and customers simply take orders.

A credit union is refreshingly unique because the members ultimately govern and guide the institution. Today, many savvy and successful businesses, though not required to by law, will engage their employees and customers to help govern and guide the institution. This helps create a sense of collective and collaborative ownership. It's this effective approach that is simply built-into the operational structure of a credit union. This business model is similar to how numerous telephone, electric, and grocery cooperatives operate - which is what makes them so popular.

If you are looking for a financial institution, you may want to seriously consider joining a credit union. As you probably know, most credit unions are open to all. So, despite the name of a credit union, you typically don't need to be employed by a particular business or institution to join. Credit unions typically offer all of the financial services of a bank, and even more. They also tend to provide exceptional service.

Other details about UICCU


Featured Video [ Top | Index ]

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford - A Saturday Night Live Skit


Getting Started With Financial Wellness [ Top | Index ]

To get started with financial wellness, we would recommend that you consider the following:

  1. Accountability. Consider having someone, such as a family member, that you meet with on a weekly or monthly basis regarding your financial planning and management. This can help establish accountability and continuity. This person need not be a professional, but they should be available to answer simple questions and help you stay committed to a plan of financial well being. They can help act as a means of 'checks and balances' to be sure you are following the recommendations of a professional financial services advisor.
  2. Financial Services Advisor. Financial services and debt management services are available in many communities and larger metropolitan areas. There are also online financial services, such as MyVesta, that can provide ongoing financial support and services via the Internet or over the telephone. [Click here for MyVesta or call 800-MYVESTA]
  3. Financial Training. The more you know about financial management the better your financial health will be. For starters, consider taking the Money 101 course offered by Money Magazine [Click here for Money 101]
  4. Holistic Wellness. Problems in other areas of life can impact our financial situation. Consider how you can enhance your overall state of wellness. Click here to visit the Map page at Resources for Life.


Financial Top 10 [ Top | Index ]

Here are the top 10 things you can do to help build a strong financial future:

  1. Live on Less. Rather than looking at your income and then figuring out how you will spend all of it, consider trying to live on as little as possible. Consider living on much less than what you earn and continue looking for ways to cut your living expenses. It's a much less stressful way of life. By living on much less than what you earn, you will soon have a feeling of sufficiency and abundance with your finances rather than a continual fear of scarcity and constraint. Learn to curb your wants and desires. Consider having your actual cost of living (housing, food, transportation, etc.) be sustainable by the equivalent financial resources that would be produced by a single full-time job at minimum wage. Consider working two or three jobs and living on the income from just one of them. Use the additional money to pay off debts, save for retirement, and to establish an emergency fund. Here's one person's testimonial, "The process of curbing my desires and learning to live on less was liberating. I soon began to experience the feeling of having unlimited wealth - a way of life where your wants never exceed your financial resources."
  2. Prioritize Purchases. When you feel an urge to purchase a product or service, write it down on a list. As the list grows, prioritize items in order of importance. Consider prioritizing purchases and expenses based on how the products or services might serve your broader life mission statement. Over time, you'll find that some items become less of a priority and you may be less likely to buy products or services you don't need and you'll learn to discern between needs and wants. Postpone purchases for months or years if possible. Purchases should not be made emotionally in a moment, but made over time as you labor and save your money toward a goal. Here's one person's testimonial, "When I began the practice of writing down purchases, it helped me to think about them more. By having them on paper, they were no longer in my mind or heart. When several items are in a list like that, you can more easily identify what is truly important and what is frivolous."
  3. Budgeting. Track your ongoing expenses so you can discover ways to spend less money. For example, some people spend more money on long distance phone charges than they would on a cellular phone plan that includes long distance. Some people let their cellular phone replace their home phone - saving even more money. Without knowing your expenses, you can't make financial decisions that can save money. So, tracking your expenses is an important part of financial planning and awareness. Here's one person's testimonial, "I began keeping track of my monthly automobile expenses. The car I was driving had been costing me hundreds of dollars per month in fuel costs (at 12 miles per gallon). I soon realized I could buy a more fuel efficient car and spend less on car payments and fuel than what I was currently spending on fuel alone. So, I was able to purchase a new car without spending any more per month."
  4. Checkbook Balancing. Consider automated checkbook balancing and financial management. Most banks now offer online banking services that can balance your checkbook for you and keep track of expenses using a home computer. This can help you monitor your spending and look for ways to spend less. Printed reports are an easy and organized way to share your financial spending with those who are helping you with financial management. For some people, balancing the check book is something they do to see how much more money they can spend before their account is overdrawn. Consider keeping a significant buffer in your account so you don't need to constantly be worrying about your balance. Don't let money in a checking account tempt or entice you to go shopping.
  5. Sales. It is sometimes better to wait until something is not on sale rather than to buy it at a sale price. If you intentionally wait until things are not on sale to purchase, you may save more money in the long run because you will learn to break the habit of habitual-binge-impulse bargain shopping. Many people shop not based on need, but in response to what is on sale. Their shopping is primarily controlled by marketing and ads. For some people this can be a type of addiction (physical chemical dependency) to the drugs (endorphins) released in the body by the shopping experience. If an item is on clearance, wait until the next model is introduced. Find products that are a good value anytime and use those regularly rather than depending on expensive items being on sale. If you wait to buy, you'll discover the urge to purchase is often short-term and you may eventually decide you don't really need or want the product or service that previously seemed essential.
  6. Downsize. Learn to be content with less. Consider putting your possessions in storage and living in a one room studio apartment (like the residence of a monk or nun). For some people, the journey toward simplification and minimalism is a slow process. It's fine to take it slow and learn along the way.
  7. Walk or bike to work. Live closer to where you work and work closer to where you live. Depending on your level of commitment to simplicity, you may decide to quit your job and/or move if necessary. In the long run, this will likely save you time and money. It is a more peaceful and relaxed way of life. Your income and primary needs won't be dependent upon a vehicle.
  8. Grow in your Career. Becoming more experienced and proficient in your career and profession is a good way to help expand your income base. Either by means of a raise or outside consulting, you can earn more money and become more skilled over time. Seek out educational opportunities to learn more. Click here to visit the Career Management Resource Group for more information.
  9. Start a Business. Start your own services/consulting business so you can fill-up your wasted 'free' time with profitable activities. Click here to visit the Consulting section of the Career Management Resource Group.
  10. Help us build our top 10 list. Let us know if you have any simple suggestions for what we can add to this list. [Click here]


Education [ Top | Index ]

How would you like to get a raise next month? You can! In a matter of speaking. Consider that $1,000 income isn't the same for all people. Someone who has learned effective investing, spending, and saving habits will get the equivalent of $1,500 value out of the $1,000 income. Someone with poor financial habits may only get $700 or less in in value out of the $1,000 income. Getting a strong education and understanding of financial management can help you stretch your money further.

Money 101 is an interactive online course that contains 21 modules on various aspects of financial management and planning. [Click here]


Resources [ Top | Index ]

Here are some links to additional financial resources on the Internet. If you have not done so already, we would recommend that you start with Money 101 [click here]. It is a very informative interactive introduction to financial concepts.


Debt Elimination [ Top | Index ]

Consumer indebtedness is on the rise. Millions of people today are living beyond their means yet few recognize the problem and fewer are willing to do something about it. Because this problem is so widespread, most popular financial management computer programs (like Microsoft Money or Quicken) assume everyone is struggling with debt and for this reason they have debt management planning built-in. Such programs can identify payoff strategies to accelerate debt elimination. By paying off high interest credit cards and loans first, debt can be reduced faster. As individual creditors are are paid off, financial resources are then consolidated to target other creditors until all are paid off. Here are some points to consider for debt elimination:

  1. Prioritize. Identify specific debts that are high interest and get those paid off first.
  2. Pay More. Pay more than the minimum payment to reduce the amount of interest paid over time. Consider identifying unnecessary reoccurring expenses for things you can do without and put that money toward paying off debt.
  3. Keep Going. Once a specific debt or loan is paid off, such as a car payment, use the extra money each month toward paying other debts. Don't use that extra money for shopping or luxuries you were able to do without previously.
  4. Refinance. Sometimes it is possible to obtain a low interest loan to pay off high interest debt such as credit cards. This can significantly reduce your overall monthly payments.
  5. Ride A Bike. "If you're constantly broke and can't figure out why, the answer may be sitting in your driveway. Americans are spending more on their vehicles than ever before -- more than $8,000 a year on average -- and it's driving some to the breaking point. Credit counselor Bill Thompson of Jacksonville, Fla., estimates that one out of every four clients his agency sees has overspent -- sometimes dramatically -- on a car. 'They may be spending 15% to 20% of their (take-home) pay on just the car payment,' said Thompson, who supervises credit counseling for the nonprofit Family Foundations, 'and that doesn't include insurance, gas, maintenance and all the other costs of owning a vehicle.' And sometimes there's more than one whopping payment. Sandra McGeary, a counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Western Pennsylvania, says she regularly sees middle-class families struggling with two payments in the $400 to $500 range. The burdens are so big that it doesn't take a major disaster, like a job loss, to send them over the edge." Read more... (20070116tu0242) This is an excerpt from The Reason You're Broke by Liz Pulliam Weston.

Debt elimination services are an alternative to managing your own debt. These services will help you consolidate your debt. They may also be able to secure low interest loans and handle lender inquiries to reduce your legal liability and the stress associated with time consuming debt management. Examples of debt elimination services are MyVesta ( and AmeriDebt (

Resources for Life
Postal: P.O. Box 2717, Iowa City, IA 52244-2717 USA
E-Mail: fsrg @
Phone: (319) 621-4911
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