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Starting a Career


Life Stages: Starting a CareerStarting a career can be a very exciting time, and it’s important to think about what a steady flow of income means for your financial goals. Here are some things to consider when starting your career:


Financial institutions look at your credit history when deciding whether or not to approve a loan, and landlords and employers might look at it as well to gauge your reliability. Here’s how you can build and monitor a strong credit score:

  • Check your credit report from for errors (so you can have them corrected) and opportunities to improve your score.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Get help setting up a budget, or register for one of our seminars.
  • Pay your bills on time. Use online banking to schedule payments so you don’t forget to pay a bill. Payments can be scheduled to arrive on the date they’re due.
  • Talk to SLFCU about debt consolidation if you’re paying off student loans or a high-rate credit card.


Renting is a good idea if you’re not sure how long you’re going to stay at the same job or in the same town. But for long-term savings and security, many people choose to own a home, and it can be more affordable than people think. Here’s how to get started:

  • Learn about the home financing process with our Frequently Asked Mortgage Questions. Get started with general mortgage information, including definitions of mortgage terms and helpful tips from SLFCU loan advisors.
  • Save for a down payment. Set up a special savings account for automatic deposits from your paycheck. The more you save, the less you borrow, and the lower your payments.
  • Attend one of SLFCU’s home buying seminars. Learn about the entire home buying process, and talk with HomeAdvantage™ agents, SLFCU mortgage loan advisors, and other industry professionals. Learn more and register.
  • Get preapproved. SLFCU Loan Advisors don’t work on commission; their only goal is to help you choose the loan that’s best for you.

NEED A NEW CAR?Need a new car?

Unless you’re taking public transportation, you need a reliable vehicle that will get you to work. Before you start shopping, get pricing information, car shopping resources, and helpful tips on how to bargain with the dealer. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You’re almost always better off selling your old vehicle yourself than trading it in. You’ll get more for it and simplify your negotiations at the dealership.
  • Get preapproved for your auto loan at SLFCU so you’ll know your budget before you shop. You can also request SLFCU financing at the dealership.
  • Don’t talk about trade-ins or financing when negotiating the price of your vehicle. That gives the dealer too much control over the sale. Don’t be afraid to say no to a deal you don’t want or need more time to think about.
  • Visit CU Auto Sales for a friendly, no-haggle experience with people who understand the importance of great member service.
  • Consider SLFCU for your other auto needs – insurance, extended vehicle warranties to protect against the high cost of repairs, and protection that helps pays off your loan if your vehicle is stolen or considered a total loss.


If you start saving for retirement when you’re young, you can take advantage of compounding interest. If you save $2,000 a year starting at age 25, you’ll have $560,000 at age 65 (assuming 8% annual growth). Wait until you’re 35, and you’ll only have $245,000 at retirement. Here are some tips to help you save regularly:

  • Participate in your company’s 401(k) plan, especially if the company matches your contribution.
  • Open an SLFCU Roth or Traditional IRA once you start earning income with as little as $5 and make regular contributions through automatic transfers.
  • Work with a financial professional at SLFCU to get help with retirement planning, investment management, IRAs, and your 401(k).


Even if you have to relocate for your new job, there’s no reason to find a new financial institution. You can use online and mobile banking to check your balances, transfer money, pay bills, deposit checks, make loan payments, contact SLFCU by secure message, and more. 

With SLFCU, you have surcharge-free access to nearly 30,000 ATMs nationwide. SLFCU also belongs to a cooperative network of 5,000 credit unions nationwide at which you can conduct almost any transaction. Visit our ATM and branch locator. 

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