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May 19


Kristin D., Vice President, Marketing

It’s my favorite time of year.  Summer vacation is on the way and I can almost smell the sunblock.  If you’re ready for a break without breaking the bank, now may be a good time to explore low-cost vacation options.


Instead of hopping on a jet, here are a couple ideas for going local and exploring the tourist spots in your neck of the woods.


A Day Trip
The day trip, more recently dubbed the “staycation,” makes for a great getaway.  Short getaways are affordable, fun and family friendly. Better yet, local attractions often offer a resident’s discount.


If you’re one of those bay area locals who has never been to a local tourist spot like Alcatraz – this is the time.  But don’t stop there – get creative!  Nearby aquariums, beaches, parks, farms, museums, the zoo or trails are inexpensive excursions.  Or, try a new mode of transportation, hop on a ferry boat, cable car or BART for a day of fun.


Walking is an ideal way to get you and the kids moving, but if you have young children, bring a stroller. They’ll have a place to rest when they start to slow down and you’ll have a great place to stash your things.


It’s easy to get started online.  Start with an Internet search with your city of choice, and “visitor’s guide.”  You’ll find a list of attractions out-of-town visitors like about your area.


Grab a few supplies like water, sunblock, a camera, and a sack lunch and you’re out the door.  It’s simple.


A Road Trip.
Airfare, transportation and hotel costs can be huge vacation expenses.  Instead, take to the road for a day trip or weekend getaway.


Family trips are hands-on learning experiences.  Get the kids involved by using a map, plotting your route and uncovering points of interest along the way.  Using an old pencil compass like the kind you used in school is a great way to start.  Simply put the pointer on your home city and the pencil on the farthest spot you’d like to drive in a day. Make a circle with the pencil and find new vacation spots inside your circle.


When you load the family in the car, they’ll be excited for their adventure and you’ll appreciate how much you saved in travel expenses.


Before hitting the road, though, research weather and map your drive.


Have fun and travel safely!

Apr 7


blog_dreambigWith unprecedented declines in home values, a surge in unemployment and increased college and post-graduate enrollment, we’re seeing a new phenomenon – the full nest.  Once empty nesters are finding their young adult children moving back home.


Recent reports have the U.S. unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds hovering around 50%.  The New York Post called them the “dead end kids.”  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the economy is the top concern among 18- to 29-year olds.  And I must admit, while reading the New York Times article about young adults moving back in with Mom and Dad, it sounded pretty familiar.


As a father of a recent college graduate, I know firsthand the realities facing our youth today.  Among the employment challenges that plague this generation, there is the additional complication of establishing savings and credit.  How do young adults build credit to buy for their first car?  Prepare for their first home?


That’s where we come in.  Using feedback from member focus groups of young adults and their parents, we have developed age-specific programs to get young adults started.  Our goal is simple: we want to provide financial products and services that fit their lifestyle – without overcomplicating the process and overcharging them for their banking relationship.


Here’s how Pacific Service CU can help.


Savings Account
I think it’s important to teach our children and grandchildren to save.  Every member has a savings account that pays interest with a $100 minimum balance.  However, for our young adults ages 23 and under, we’ve taken it a step further.  We lowered the minimum balance for a certificate account from $1,000 to $100 to make it easier for them to maximize their earnings.  We also encourage them to save by adding an extra $5 when they deposit their birthday money with us.


FirstStep Checking
Our FirstStep Checking account was created for members 23 and under.  It features no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fees and ATM fee reimbursement up to $3 per transaction and $12 per month.  And it still has all the “frees” of our regular checking accounts like a Visa Check Card, online banking, eStatements and bill pay.


Visa Platinum Starter Card
As adults, we know the importance of building a positive credit history.  Working in the financial services industry, I know how important building good credit is to achieving financial goals.  You can believe my son has heard the lecture a hundred times. That’s why we developed our Visa Platinum Starter Card program featuring an initial $500 credit limit and no annual fee.  The limit is low enough to manage for first-timers while they build a positive credit history.


First-Time Car Loan
Buying a car is in every young adult’s future.  They imagine color, style and speed, but they also need to consider a low rate and an affordable monthly payment.  That’s where we come in.  Using a parent co-signer may help them qualify for our lowest rates.  That’s a huge benefit and a rare opportunity.


Our kids have challenges ahead – affordable financial services shouldn’t be one of them.  .

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