Credit unions often offer various benefits for their members as these institutions are usually set up in a way that will benefit those who have pursued a membership with a particular institution, and other than options like lower rates, cash incentives, and the potential to earn more on checking and savings accounts, there are some of these credit unions that will offer financial planning and personal budgeting assistance to consumers as a way to help them manage their personal finances and avoid financial hardships that may arise in their lives. Understandably, many consumers can benefit from this resource as there are individuals suffering from financial distress related to either unforeseen circumstances or poor financial habits.
However, a Bankrate.com report states that, “Most credit unions take financial literacy very seriously, so they offer free workshops and financial counseling.” Understandably, many individuals who seek out nonprofit credit counseling, as an example, are looking for the services that can help them better manage their personal finances, get out of debt, or even plan for future financial needs, but a consumer who is a member of a credit union or has considered joining a credit union may find that these free workshops and financial counseling offers can be helpful and serve the same purpose as working with a debt counselor that may charge fees for their services.
Understandably, consumers who are in a difficult financial position may not want to join a credit union for the specific benefits that may come through workshops and financial counseling, but could benefit from simple credit counseling as a one-time deal in order to get their financial life in order. However, there are other benefits that consumers need to consider when looking at credit unions, as there are also not only more affordable rates that can be received, in many cases, but also some credit unions make it much easier to renegotiate loans if financial distress arises. Yet, benefits like cash incentives and other rewards can obviously be helpful for a consumer in the long run, but this will depend of what a particular credit union is offering in these areas.
Consumers need to understand that credit unions can offer a variety of services and assistance for their members, but again, joining a credit union for the simple purposes of sorting out one’s financial life may not be the best reason and a consumer must look at their financial position to see what actions need to be taken. If an individual is simply looking for a better banking experience, as an example, a credit union may be able to provide this opportunity, but when it comes to these specific services like financial planning or personal budgeting assistance, members who are currently with a credit union are in a better position to use these resources than those without a membership since, as some consumer may not meet a credit union’s qualifications to join.
Yet, if a consumer has found themselves fighting to make ends meet and feel that they are going to either miss payments on their debts or face defaulting altogether, seeking a more immediate form of assistance like a reputable nonprofit credit counselor can obviously be more helpful in keeping the consumer from doing financial damage and finding budgeting methods that will be useful for their particular situation.