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by Mike Mastro, President/CEO Firefighters First Credit Union


s we think back to the Credit Union’s humble beginnings in the firehouse above old Engine Company 28 in

downtown Los Angeles – when a group of Los Angeles City firefighters pooled their money together in an old cigar box – they were look- ing out for the best interests of their fellow fire- fighters. If someone needed to borrow money, it would be there for them. When they had a question about money or needed financial advice, they’d share that too. Nearly eight decades later, as your

Credit Union approaches its 80th Anniversary, this cooperative continues to grow on that phi- losophy of firefighters helping firefighters, and our continuing dedication to provide the Fire Family with excellent support and services. We want to help improve your financial

lives. To achieve financial success, understand- ing financial details is key. The more informa- tion you have, the easier it is to make educated financial decisions. So for this month’s article, I’d like to share some resources that are imme- diately available to you. If you haven’t been to our website in a

while or just visit us to access your online ac- counts, I invite you to explore the online finan- cial tools available. These include step-by-step learning modules, financial calculators, edu- cational videos, and a wealth of information. We want you to make informed decisions. We want you and your family to learn about your money – how to manage, spend, and invest it responsibly. These tools are extremely helpful in teaching the younger generations financial responsibility.

Resources available at:

Videos about money We use an engaging mix of humor and

lively storytelling to capture interest about money. Each month we’ll post something new to help you understand an important topic

about money. Our latest videos highlight the importance of credit scores and differences be- tween banks and credit unions.

BALANCE Be in control of your money instead

of it controlling you. These education mod- ules guide you through the core aspects of personal financial management. Learn about money management, credit reports, the home buying process, how to protect against identity theft, and more. Downloadable worksheets are included with modules to assist with a particu- lar situation. At the end of each module, be sure to take the quiz to help reinforce learning. Modules are also available as podcasts.

Listen online or download a file to any digital music player.

Tip: Whether you’re interested in developing a workable spending and savings plan, get- ting out of debt, understanding and improving your credit report, buying a home, or plan- ning for your financial future, qualified BAL- ANCE counselors are available to assist you. Firefighters First members have access to free and confidential financial counseling through BALANCE at (888) 456-2227.

Financial Calculators Our online calculators are designed to be simple and easy to use. Just enter the re- quired information and you’ll get a thorough analysis. It’s a great way to start almost any fi- nancial analysis.

Find out how much your loan payment

might be. Calculate mortgage payments. Com- pare the cost of renting versus the real cost of buying a home. Determine how much is needed for retirement. You can even see how long it would take to save a million dollars!

Tip: Did you know there is a calculator built into our Online Banking? It’s a convenient fea- ture to perform basic calculations while you’re

Watch the video at July 2015 • 51

reviewing your account information. Try it from the account summary page when you log on from your laptop or desktop computer.

In addition to the resources mentioned

here, there’s more to explore on our website. Access the online shift calendar, view events, read fire blogs, see what’s for sale from fellow firefighters, buy amusement park tickets, and more.

Remember, should you have any ques-

tions about your accounts or if you are expe- riencing financial difficulties, please contact a Credit Union Representative at (800) 231-1626 or stop by an office. We’ll be glad to help.

The more business we do together as a Fire Family,

the greater the financial reward will be for all members!

Have a safe month! Mike Mastro

Material provided is for your information and convenience only. For specific legal advice, consult with a qualified professional. Your credit card issuer can also provide you with disclosure information for any included benefits.

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