As my husband and I slowly approach our retirement age, we’ve arranged several different retirement accounts, each with its own financial advisor. Trying to determine how much we will need to live on, how our tax liability will change, and how much to invest each account was difficult to manage. To complicate things further, when our advisors would change our account, it felt like we were just one more on the production line. Needless to say, we weren’t thrilled with our current situation.
However, a new opportunity quickly presented itself. While attending my credit union’s board meeting one afternoon, a financial investment firm gave a presentation that stood out to me. The firm was offering to do tax evaluations for our members with all retirement money adjusted for future deposits and estimated. Better yet, this service was free.
They also offered to host quarterly financial planning sessions with members at no cost to the credit union. Any investment business they gathered would be the result of providing an over-the-top level of what members really wanted to know about their retirement style of living and how their lives would change.
Making a change
That evening, I signed up for the tax evaluation – which led to moving most of our retirement accounts over to them. This firm was driven by the same values as credit unions with valuable member services that might have never explored, such as investment offerings that provide the highest returns based on the lowest risk, offering recommendations to minimize tax liability, and providing knowledge on how they reached their recommendations. This was something I wanted to be a part of.
Now, you might say, “They threw the hook and you bit right away!” That was not the case. As with any financial endeavor, it’s important to do your research before making a decision. So, after meeting with their advisor several times, asking a host-load of questions which they answered, and getting their firm’s background, we talked about how to meet my husband’s and my vision of our retirement life with the funds we had. We were also able to purchase long-term care insurance which could convert to life insurance if need be.
Offering free services, advice that pertains specifically to the member, a level of knowledge about income tax with detailed tax estimates, and not charging the credit union any fees to become their partner, is something credit unions and their members could benefit greatly from. I would recommend credit unions consider partnering with this type of financial firm to support their members in planning for their future.
Think outside the box in supporting your members
Member trust is earned, not bought. Credit unions that are focused on the members’ well-being are uniquely positioned to help in other areas of a members’ finances, because chances are, they’ll listen. Our credit union didn’t have to partner with this organization and offer this service. We could have continued operating as we had before, without risking our reputation based on a recommendation. Members still would have gotten great traditional credit union services. But we care about our communities, and going a little further to seek out other ways we can improve lives is what we do.
As credit unions continue to change to meet the needs of all their members in each stage of life, thinking about products and services that would not have even been thought of ten, five, or even two years ago, is essential for continued success. New tech like remote deposit capture, electronic signatures, and digital payments are easy to identify—they hit the market and spread like wildfire. But where else can you identify needs in members’ lives and look to fill it?