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President's Blog


News and interesting tidbits shared by our President/CEO, Christopher Goebel


January 12, 2018
Enhancing Your Communication Skills

Communication SkillsNow to have practically everything at our fingertips, literally. Emails and texts are much easier to send and so much more common than they used to be. Being able to make a phone call, write an email, or create a professional sounding text message is an important life skill.

Here are some communication skills tips to help you when making calls and writing emails and texts:

For Media Communication

  • End with a ‘Thank You’ or ‘Respectfully.’
  • Address the person you’re speaking to as Miss, Ms., Mrs., or Mr. This shows that you respect them. If you do not know if a woman is married, use Ms.
  • Get to the point of what you’re talking about within the first couple sentences.
  • Use proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Use spellchecks. Help yourself as much as you can.
  • Always communicate who, what, when, where, and why.

Phone Communication Tips

  • Fake being confident. This can help convince yourself that you have this call under control.
  • Have a calendar in front of you, so you know when you are free.
  • Practice or write down what you’re going to say, to keep your thoughts on track.
  • Don’t use filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘like’
  • Don’t use words you don’t know to sound smart. You might use them incorrectly, and come across the opposite of what you want.

Mastering these communication skills while can benefit you in life!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


January 10, 2018
National Clean Your Desk Day National Clean off your Desk Day!

Yes, you read the title correctly. Monday was National Clean off your Desk Day. Every year on the second Monday in January gives you the opportunity to clean up, downsize, and organize your work. So, did you miss it like me?

According to a statically poll from Cooper & Lybrand and USA Weekend:

  • The average desk worker has 36 hours’ worth of work on their desk and wastes up to 3 hours a week just ‘looking’ for STUFF!
  • 7.5% of all documents get lost and 3% get misfiled.
  • Professionals spend 5 to 15% of their reading information, but up to 50% looking for it!

Resolve to clean up your desk today. I’m in!!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


January 5, 2018
A smarter approach for 2018

It's too late to turn the clock back on 2017 and collect more money as you earned it. But what you can do going forward is take a close look at your refund history and figure why you wound up overpaying year after year. It could very well be that your W-2 form needs adjusting. Or, if you itemize on your tax return, it could be that you're misjudging the value of your various deductions.

No matter why you've been overpaying your taxes, don't make the mistake of doing so again in 2018. Having more money in your paychecks will, at the very least, buy you more flexibility, and in an even better-case scenario, offer you an opportunity to invest and generate solid returns. And that's a far better cry than giving the government a tax-free loan just for the heck of it.

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


January 3, 2018
Happy New Year 2018! From Soo Line Credit Union

I decided to give myself a financial checkup which all my friends are doing.

  • Do I have a will? Yes, that’s a bummer of a leadoff question, but it’s one of the first that would leave your family in “a real mess”.
  • How quick, now: can you list all your financial accounts? Does your significant other know? How is everything looking?
  • I have several years before I can even think about retiring, but at a conference we talked about a strategy for taking Social Security and when! So, I went to the benefits calculator such as the ones at ssa.gov and learned several things about my Social Security.

I sure we all can think of more questions. . .

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 29, 2017
Blog Series Two:

Marriage, Love and Money: Love and Money: Money Talks
Your Relationship: Money Talks

Love, Marriage and MoneyThis is the second in a series of four blog posts on marriage and money. This multi-part blog series today is talking about your relationship and money.

Talking with your significant other about money can be a tense undertaking. But, the truth is, the more you talk about your finances, the less you argue about your finances. It’s true!

Today, in the second installment of our Marriage, Love and Money series, I give you some stats on how having the “money talk”, and having it often, can be beneficial for your relationship.

The folks at ConsumerCredit.com conducted a survey about money and marriage. They spoke to people who shared finances, expenses or accounts—both with children and without. Interestingly, the couples with children argued about money the same amount as couples without children. This means that while having children might be an added strain on your bank account, it doesn’t necessarily lead to more money arguments.

The key is communication, mutual understanding and establishing shared goals. When you learn how to communicate with one another, the more likely you are to understand each other. Then, you can talk about any subject without getting out of control.

Whether you are engaged, newly married, sharing expenses or have been together for decades, Soo Line Credit Union can help you understand your finances together. We’re here to help you navigate marriage and every other major financial milestone in life. Our financial experts can help you develop a strategy to reach your goals. Just give us a call, visit us online or stop by a local branch—we want to be part of your foundation!

(Sources: www.consumercredit.com American Consumer Credit Counceling Poll; www.money.com national survey)

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


Numbers on Superbowl LII

December 27, 2017
Super Bowl 52: Financial Facts: Football Edition

With only 39 days until Super Bowl 52, did you get tickets for Christmas? All eyes will be fixed on the field at US Bank Stadium on Sunday. Feb. 4th, 2018. Each year, the Super Bowl is one of the (if not the) most-watched televised sports event – and it brings in big bucks to the host’s local, regional and state economies. This is the second time Minneapolis will host this event.

In celebration of this year’s historic matchup, here are some fast-financial facts about the year’s biggest game.

Who’s watching and where?

This year, 189 million Americans are planning to watch the Super Bowl, according to the latest reports by the National Retail Federation.

Over 72,000 will be watching the game from their stadium seats this Sunday, Feb. 4th. 2018. As of December 26, the average ticket price to attend this year’s Super Bowl was $4,314, and it’s expected to continue to rise as the game gets closer.

Meet your host city

$350 million is expected to flow into the Minneapolis economy thanks to the big game. An estimated 140,000 visitors will be traveling to the Twin Cities for the showdown.

Consumers will rack up the majority of their spending on hotels, entertainment, restaurants and bars.

Quarterbacks vs. Commercials

The National Retail Federation reports 34.7 percent of Americans look forward to the game itself, while 17.7 percent say the commercials are their favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday. And while 78.6 percent of Americans will watch the commercials during the Super Bowl for entertainment, only 10.3 percent of viewers say the ads will influence their purchasing habits.

Financial Field Goals

This year, total spending is expected to top $14.1 billion across the country. That number is down from last year’s total of $15.5 billion. For the 2017 Super Bowl, viewers and game day partygoers spent $82 on average. That includes food, alcohol, team apparel, party décor and the like. Over half of all viewers will host a party, attend a party or watch the game at a venue.

So, now that you know the numbers, who are you rooting for in Super Bowl 52?

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


Demise of Cash Greatly Exaggerated

December 22, 2017
Demise of Cash Greatly Exaggerated

A friend and I were talking about how there is little evidence to suggest cash is on the verge of extinction and then we saw an article stating the following.

Well. The marketing dust has settled. Hopefully the chip on your credit or debit card has cooled off since Black Friday, your keyboard (or Buy Buton thumb) didn’t lock up on Cyber Monday, and your fingers didn’t get pinched by the dispenser on “Withdraw Cash Wednesday.”

Wait—hadn’t you heard about that last one?

Withdraw Cash Wednesday, a brainchild of the ATM Industry Association, is a campaign to encourage consumers to keep their wallets stocked with cash and to use it for everyday purchases, touting its budgeting benefits and freedom from interest charges.

Withdraw Cash Wednesday is one of several recent signs of pushback against the “cash is dead” narrative. But there’s precious little evidence to support a conclusion like that.

The San Francisco Federal Reserve reports that cash in circulation is growing faster than the gross domestic product (GDP) in 40 of the 42 countries it studied—including the U.S., where the ratio of cash in circulation to GDP has roughly doubled since 1990. They also revealed that while the number of Americans carrying no cash had ticked upward (to 17%), the average amount of cash held increased.

In my friend and my view this latest flurry of info nudges the meter a bit back toward the cash side, she is for cash and I’m for card networks and other electronic payment, maybe it’s our age! She is a lot older than me.

Have a Wonderful Holiday, and be Safe!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 20, 2017
Gifts That Keep Giving. Long After the Holidays End!

Gifts that keep on givingWhat to give? Recently I was having a conversation with a friend and we talked about what gift ideas we would have that would continue to be appreciated over time. Here is the start of our list, what would you add?

  1. The Gift of Time - What is more valuable than time? So, give some as a gift. For older relatives or friend an outing, a project they need done etc.
  2. Education - Funding a 529 savings plan is the obvious (and tax-free) way parents and grandparents sock away money for child’s college education.
  3. Work and Save - A great way to start a savings habit is to make a one-year offer to double the amount a younger person can put away from allowances and odd jobs. (or, for a young working adult, offer to match their contribution to a Roth IRA.) Consider building in a bonus incentive-say, an extra $25 (or more) for reaching a preset savings level mid year.
  4. How about a Gift of Nature? - Buy a tree, or a bench for out doors for your parents, sister with a new baby etc.

And the list goes on . . .

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 15, 2017
Blog Series One:

Marriage, Love and Money: 9 Financial Basics

Love, Marriage and MoneyThis is the first in a series of four blog posts on marriage and money. Watch our Blog every Friday for the latest info.

Getting engaged at Christmas? Maybe New Years?
Did you know you have to book the venue, book the band, chosen your colors, ordered the flowers, set the menu and reserved the honeymoon suite—but have you had the talk? You know, the talk about finances!

Discussions about money are extremely important when you’re getting married. Yet they seem to be the ones that get put on the back burner most often. Don’t put it off any longer! If you’re seriously considering getting married in the next six months, read on for important tips.

By the way, this information is not only for those with impending nuptials. If you’re living together and sharing expenses, it’s just as important.

Start early
Ideally, you should start having discussions about your finances before you get hitched (or co-mingle your money). But, if you’re already there, get started now.

Know your options
It’s not always a given that you and your significant other are going to share a credit union/bank account. Some couples decide to keep their money separate. Some prefer separate accounts but then have a joint household account. Determine what works best for you both and go with it!

Set goals
Having common goals makes the blending of credit union/bank accounts much easier. Talk about how (and how much!) to save as well as how to deal with significant purchases. If you both know what to expect, it’s much easier to stay on task. Another great way to make sure your goals are aligned?

Plan for emergencies
What would you do if one of you lost a job, totaled the car or had a major health concern? Trying to make key decisions in a time of crisis can be disastrous. But if you have a contingency plan in place, and an emergency fund to go along with it, the effects of the crisis can be mitigated.

Save for retirement
Actively saving for your future could be the single most important thing you do together financially. Take advantage of your company’s 401(k) if they offer one. If you can’t afford to contribute the maximum, do what you can. When it comes to your retirement fund, time is as important as money—thank you, compound interest!

Get a will
If you have assets, like a 401(k) or other investments, it’s important to have a will. No matter how large or small your estate, having a will makes it much easier on your loved ones—and ensures your wishes will prevail. If you already have a will, be sure to update it after the wedding. Also, POD (Paid on Death) check your financial accounts to see who are on them.

Be honest, trust your spouse and learn from each other
Everyone messes up now and then. Don’t cover up your mistakes—be honest and own up to them. It might be tough at first, but lying about money can have serious ramifications. Trusting your partner can sometimes be difficult, especially if they have had a hard time handling money in the past. Letting go of the need to control everything can reduce your stress level and open doors to new opportunities. You will likely even find out that you can learn a few things from each other if you work together!

Money discussions aren’t always easy—maybe even less so in a new marriage. Take on these important topics with an open mind—as a team—to help strengthen your foundation and make future financial bumps easier.

Soo Line Credit Union loves weddings! And we’re here to help you navigate marriage and every other major financial milestone in life. Our financial experts can help you develop a strategy to reach your goals. Just give us a call, visit us online or stop by a local branch—we want to be part of your foundation!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 13, 2017
Where Does Time Go?

Overdoing the Screen TimeOn an informal basis I decided to evaluate how much screen time I spend during the work week. I thought perhaps I spend about 5 hours.

To my chagrin I realized I spent an average of nine hours of screen time each week day. Granted, it is sporadic as I get up to deal with the workings of the credit union. But all told I am online a lot more than I would have myself believe.

It was a shocking revelation for me to realize how much time I spend engaging in our 24/7 world. Electronics rule our lives. Whether you are in your car, tapping your destination into your GPS or checking your emails on your handheld while waiting for an appointment, it seems our hyper-plugged in world has enslaved us. The online community is as enticing as a siren, drawing you closer to its vitality while sucking your time.

To determine whether I was using my tools, or my tools were using me, I decided to test myself. Could I run an errand without taking my phone? To my surprise the sky did not fall, my reputation remained intact, and I managed to get this errand done in less time.

How we spend our time does indeed reveal what is truly important to me. It is liberating to knowing I’m in charge of the tools that can serve us well if we remain the master of them instead of them mastering us.

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 8, 2017
Pets as Presents?! For your child!

Christmas is ComingYes, I know there is nothing cuter than a bow-wearing puppy under the tree, but before you buy that furry gift for your child, read on. . .

  • First do an allergy check. Before everybody gets attached to this new furball, ensure that no one is allergic.
     
  • Responsibility. Think about the chores your child already does, like remembering to make their bed etc. If he/she is good with those tasks, he/she may well help with a pet. However as a parent, be ready to be the primary caregiver.
     
  • Also, the primary money giver. I just read that the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270 and for a cat it’s $1,070. As you can see, having a pet can cost you over $1,000 in the first year, and well over $500 each additional year. Depending on the food you buy and your actual medical expenses, the costs could be much higher.

Be sure you think this gift through before purchase!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 6, 2017
Time for a Travel Tune-UpTime for a Travel Tune-Up

Every Year, in the pre-winter when all my summer and fall adventures are wrapped up, I take time to make sure I’m in good shape for my next 12 months of travel. Here’s my to-do list for ensuring no problems in the future.

  1. Check Your Passport - Check the expiration date. Some countries require your passport to be valid at least six months beyond your trip. Have four blank pages for exit/entry stamps and visas? If not, you need a new passport.
  2. Drivers License - When is the last time you looked at your license? Checked the date when it will expire?
  3. Check to see if you have mile/points for airlines or hotels.

After I do this I make a plan for my future travel into the next year. Happy travel!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO


December 1, 2017
Control Your Holiday Spending

Christmas is ComingChristmas is coming. No surprise there. It falls on the same date every year. Also, not a surprise are the holiday-related bills that arrive shortly afterwards, some with amounts that you didn’t necessarily plan for.

It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit and spend more than you planned, but it doesn’t have to happen. Here are some ways to control you expenses during the season:

Set a limit. Determine how much you have to spend during the holiday shopping period and stay within that limit. Be realistic. You may want to spend $1,000, but if you don’t have that kind of money available, you will have to scale back and set a lower amount. You might even establish a separate savings account for Christmas shopping.

Avoid going into debt. Regardless of how much or how little you plan to spend for Christmas, stay away from debt. Paying off credit cards or other debts for Christmas-related purchases can stretch well beyond the wintry holiday and into the heat of summer. You don’t really want to still be paying off Christmas debt while you prepare for a 4th of July barbecue. Avoid paying for Christmas with credit cards.

Plan ahead. Like Santa, you should make a list, check it twice, and stick to it. Impulse buys are usually not a good idea, especially when holiday shopping. Know what you are getting before you enter the store and avoid the temptation to get “one more thing.”

You and your loved ones can enjoy the Christmas season without being saddled with debt from extravagant and unbudgeted gift giving. Take control of your holiday spending before you spend the money, and you will have a much merrier Christmas!

Sincerely,
Christopher Goebel, CCUE, CUDE
SLCU President/CEO



About Christopher Goebel, President/CEO of Soo Line Credit Union

Chris Goebel grew up in Richfield, MN and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in business management. He's spent most of his adult life working for credit unions.

In 2013 Chris graduated from CUNA Management School and received his designation as a Certified Credit Union Executive.

Chris welcomes member feedback. Call 612-373-9412 or send an email to .

 


   

   
 


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