IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION

We are currently experiencing high call volume with longer than usual wait times. Account information can be accessed online. We are here for you during COVID-19 with updates on how We Florida Financial is supporting our Members and what we are doing to stay focused on serving your financial needs while helping to contain the spread of the virus within our communities. Learn more...

Sandra is a storyteller and dreamer. An advertising writer by trade. She is passionate about financial cooperatives and their role in promoting economic self sufficiency for everyone. She is a classic English Literature and modern epic novel buff. Part of a large and diverse extended family and a citizen of the world. Number 1 fan of her...

Sandra is a storyteller and dreamer. An advertising writer by trade. She is passionate about financial cooperatives and their role in promoting economic self sufficiency for everyone. She is a classic English Literature and modern epic novel buff. Part of a large and diverse extended family and a citizen of the world. Number 1 fan of her husband's vegetarian cooking. Track and field fan. One love.

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Sandra

How to Protect Your Credit During Difficult Times

 Credit Rating

 In the throes of a pandemic, keeping your credit score at a good level might not be top of mind if your job is in jeopardy and you are wondering how to keep the roof over your head and feed your family.

It is important nevertheless to do everything to keep your score intact. Your credit report is important. Blemishes stay on your file for seven years and can affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or secure certain types of insurance. Here are some practical ways to achieve that goal.

Prioritize

Write down all recurring bills. If you can pay some of your bills but not all in month, make sure you start by paying secured debts first. These are debts tied to a tangible asset such as a house or a car. Falling behind on these bills might have big consequences. Not paying a mortgage might lead to foreclosure. Not paying your car loan might lead to repossession.  For unsecured debt like credit cards, try to make the minimum amount required.

Use your credit card wisely

Be aware that running up your card balances can affect your score.  Generally, using more that 30% of your available credit will reduce a credit score. Of course, this fact may not be of the utmost concern now but this is information to keep at the back of your mind.  If you need to use your card to pay bills you may be able to help your score by using a program that gives you credit for items not typically included on a report.   One such program is Experian Boost that will give you credit for phone and utility bills. 

Be aware of your protections

Don’t forget that under some circumstances, the recently passed CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) provides relief by letting you postpone payment on federally backed mortgages.  The Act also suspends payments on federal student loans through September 30.  You may be able to benefit from these protections due to your particular circumstances. Read and research.

Check your credit report

Don’t assume everything is OK. Be sure to keep on top of your credit report. Historically, the big three reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have long offered a free annual credit report.  Now all three are offering free weekly credit reports for the next year to help consumers protect their score during the coronavirus crisis.  Scrutinize for errors and ask for corrections to be made if there are mistakes on your credit reports.

Contact your lenders

If you are unable to make payments, be sure to contact your lenders right away.  Most financial institutions have offered emergency loan deferments, the waiving of late fees and loan extensions.  For more information on how your credit union can assist you during these troubled times, visit us at WeFloridaFinancial.com/covid-19.

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Sandra

Hurricane Preparation

It’s hurricane season. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a 70% chance of 13 to 19 named storms with six to 10 becoming hurricanes. Floridians are always being urged to make preparations. Most of us do, to some degree. This year however, things have changed. We are in the midst of a pandemic that shows no signs of abating. Under these circumstances, we need to make changes to our usual hurricane preparation plans. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed:

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Sandra

Protect Yourself and Avoid Identity Theft

In the age of data breaches, phishing scams and fraudsters using technology to steal identities, we have to be so careful with our personal information.  Criminals take the information they steal and sell it on the Dark Web.  Not just once, but, many times over.  What is the Dark Web?  It’s a whole different side of the internet that is anonymously used by criminals to buy and sell stolen identities for illegal profits. Once your identity has been stolen, it can take up to 6 months or longer to fix and cost thousands.

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Sandra

Coronavirus: 7 Things You Need to Know

      1. The credit union is still here for funding
        Life goes on even in a pandemic, and most people must drive to provide for their needs and those of their families. We want you to know that the credit union is here to assist with auto loans at low rates and at reasonable terms.  At this time, some homeowners are also looking to refinance with the market’s low rates. For more information on car loans and mortgages, please see page 2.
      2. Coronavirus scams are rampant
        Scammers have been working to collect money for fake vaccine research, unknown charities and nonexistent companies hawking protective gear. We urge everyone to practice healthy internet usage by refraining from contact with any unknown entities, not clicking on links from unknown individuals and to never share private information on the phone or online.
      3. We are here for you
        The coronavirus and its ensuing effects has caused great distress for you, our members and our entire community.  As we have been communicating and can’t stress enough, We Florida Financial is here for you.  In the spirit of “people helping people,” the credit union is offering emergency relief loans and deferred loan payments.  For more information go to WeFloridaFinancial.com/covid-19.
      4. Your money is safe and insured
        Even with the overall downturn of our economy and the falling values in the stock market, your funds are safe at the credit union. Your accounts are fully insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) up to $250,000.
      5. A financial planner can help
        If you are feeling nervous and uncertain about your investments you might want to get professional advice from a financial planner. As a credit union member you can use the services of the MEMBERS Financial Services Representative at We Florida Financial. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please contact Michael Varga at 954-745-2317.
      6. You can make social distancing productive
        With many adults working remotely and children attending school online, time spent at home can be time well spent.  Try something new like making an exotic dish, exercising to build up your immune system, calling old friends or brushing up on some financial learning.  It’s a good chance to reconnect with yourself and your life.
      7. Be sure to get information from legitimate sources
        In times of crisis, gossip thrives, especially on social media. Be sure to use reliable sources that provide the best updated information. These include the sites of the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and that of the World Health Organization www.who.int).

STAY SAFE!

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Sandra

Five Easy Tips for an Enjoyable and Healthy Vacation

Five Easy Tips for an Enjoyable and Healthy Vacation

It’s summer time and the living is easy. For many, it’s vacation season. Time to get away from the daily grind and kick back on a near or distant shore. But before you go, here are a few health and financial tips (5 to be exact) from a seasoned traveler who has explored many a clime and made it back to tell the tale.

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Sandra

Declutter – With No Regrets

Declutter with no regrets

Help! I am buried in a pile of stuff! What can I toss and what should I keep?

In today’s consumer-driven world, we all tend to over accumulate. Decluttering is not only a popular buzz word but is actually a healthy habit. Getting rid of unnecessary material items helps one to function better in less crowded surroundings and very importantly, eases the psychological stress and anxiety that comes with owning and caring for too much stuff.

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Sandra

Kick those post- holiday blues!

Kick those post-holiday blues!

It’s official. The holidays are over. As you take down the tinsel and the ornaments, put away the bone china, wash the linens and adjust to the quiet of a house without fifteen guests, you feel a natural depression. How can you beat these post-holiday blues?

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Sandra

5 Easy Ways to Save in the New Year Without Breaking a Sweat

5 ways to save money in the new year

A Chinese philosopher once said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Try these tips. You will soon be on the road to financial fulfilment.

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Sandra

People Helping People

People helping people

It’s the credit union philosophy. People helping people. In the financial world, the credit union strives to improve the lives of our members. We in turn encourage our members to help others in the wider community. In this season of giving, I believe an easy way to do this is to support a worthy cause when we buy presents for ourselves or for loved ones. Here are some worthwhile charities that will give back to others when you purchase their products.

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Sandra

It’s the holiday season – tips to save your money and your mind.

woman carrying shopping bags

It’s the season for joy and happiness. It’s also the time to shop, shop, shop. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans spend an average of $940 every year on seasonal expenses. It’s a large amount to spend in a few weeks. More significantly however, the spending is accompanied by frenzy and stress. In fact, the American Psychology Association ranks the pressure of gift giving as one of life’s top four stressors.

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Sandra

What you might not know about your credit union.

ftl branch

You might already be a credit union member or perhaps someone who has thought of joining one. But how much do you really know about credit unions? Here are a few interesting facts to consider.

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Sandra

How to make an extra $1,000

Woman walking many dogs.

Could you use an extra $1,000? Who couldn’t? No need to whip out your resume or ask your rich uncle for a loan. Here are five ways in which most of us can earn some cash honestly and easily.

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Sandra

Celebrate International Credit Union Day

Celebrate International Credit Union Day!

The credit union movement is steeped in a rich history of collaboration across divides. For nearly two centuries, financial cooperatives all over the world have encouraged people of every race, gender and belief to come together and give their all towards the betterment of their communities. It’s about people helping people.

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Sandra

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Fort Lauderdale beach

If you are a South Florida resident, you know that visiting relatives or friends are a reality of life. As hosts, we are often tasked with finding and accompanying our guests to suitable attractions. Since we live in a tourism driven economy, these spots are often quite taxing to the wallet.

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Sandra

For the Empty Nesters Among Us: Loving the Game of Life

woman kayaking 900x500

You used to dream of this time and thought the day would never come. The day when your kids grow up, move out and become financially self sufficient.

Now they are gone and you and your spouse are empty nesters. After years of non-stop parental activities -- rushing to soccer practice, piano, karate, recitals, birthday parties and sleepovers, they are gone. You feel like Usain Bolt after the 100 meters – accomplished, happy and a wee bit sad.

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Sandra

5 Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage

a couple reviewing paperwork with a bank staff member

Refinancing. You hear the term in the media almost every day especially in this low rate environment. Refinancing means paying off your existing mortgage with a new one. Should you do it? Consider these five reasons why refinancing may be right for you.

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Sandra

5 Ways to Spend Less on Food

a man chopping food on a small cutting board while a woman beats eggs in a bowl.

When it comes to our finances, most people underestimate just how much they spend on food.  And while we can get rid of other expenses, food is the one line item that we cannot eliminate. We can however, spend a lot less with a bit of thought and planning.

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Sandra

5 Tips on Caring for Your Aging Parents Without Going Broke

man at cafe; photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

"Once a man, twice a child.” People from the Caribbean know exactly what that means. It’s the inevitable circle of life. Humans begin life as helpless children and later, we again become dependent on others for assistance. In our forties and fifties, we will all see our parents aging and becoming more dependent. Then before we know it, the tables become completely turned and we begin to assume the role of caretakers.

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Sandra

10 Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping

happy couple window shopping

‘Tis the season. No matter what we say, most of us will end up spending a significant amount on holiday gifts. After all, no one wants to be a Scrooge. But never fear. There are ways to save hundreds of dollars this year on your holiday shopping, both online and in person. Here are 10 suggestions:

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Sandra

Avoiding Flood Damaged Cars

cars in flood water during Hurricane Harvey

After the recent catastrophic storms in the southern United States, it is estimated that as many as 500,000 cars may have been flooded and seriously damaged.  A large percentage of these vehicles will find their way into the market for re-sale.

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