Originally featured in CUinsight.
Members often think of credit unions as financial institutions where they cash their checks, get a loan, and make daily transactions. While all of this is true, credit unions across the country are offering more products and services to assist their members in planning for their financial future. Whether it’s, financial counseling, seminars, or specialized accounts, credit unions are positioning themselves as their members’ lifelong financial partner.
At NuMark Credit Union in Illinois, they understand the need and value in helping their members to think about their financial goals; specifically, their retirement goals. NuMark CU has a very strong Retirement Fair program, holding numerous fairs over the past two years. Their goal is to help members and staff of all ages and stages of life to visualize what life might be like in retirement.
NuMark leverages the National Credit Union Foundation’s “Retire on Track” Retirement Fair program, which is a goal-oriented and interactive experience, similar to Reality Fairs for teens, that allows participants to imagine their life in the future to better focus on a present plan to get there.
I had the opportunity to speak with Linda Krakora, the Training and Development Manager at NuMark to learn more about her thoughts on the Retirement Fair and its benefits to participants.
“Going through a Retirement Fair is such an eye opener. I really try to get younger people to attend because I believe that if you are working, you should be planning for your retirement! Regardless of age, people are shocked when they do this and run the numbers the first time. The hardest part is getting them to be honest with themselves and what expenses they’ll have in the future.”
To get a better understanding of a Retirement Fair, you can watch this short video highlighting a fair and the impact it had on participants.
“A Retirement Fair brings a sense of realism and urgency to the fact that retirement isn’t that far away for anyone. Older people see where they can make changes, even if they are already close to retirement. Younger people see a realistic vision of the need to start planning now to be where they want to be for retirement.”
This new program is designed to help members at all stages of their life, no matter what their current retirement savings situation may be. The fair encourages participants to think about the lifestyle they wish to maintain in retirement, and develop savings goals to help them where they want to be.
“Most learners are visual, and the act of viewing specific aspects of your life really helps you focus. On top of all the benefits, it’s just plain fun! An educational and fun way to help members imagine their future.”
More information for the “Retire on Track” program is on the Foundation’s website at ncuf.coop. including information on getting the materials necessary to hold your own fair. The Retire on Track guide and materials contains electronic files to hold a fair, including a comprehensive guide, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, posters, webinars, and more.
“This is a very helpful program to keep members and staff heading in the right direction. Many of us don’t know what it takes to get where we want to be, and having a program like this to help guide you makes everything easier.”