Financial Empowerment For Every Season

By Mary Handiboe, Commonwealth Credit Union


As I look at the freshly fallen snow adorning my view this morning, I am reminded of both the highs and lows that the seasons bring. I love the snow! It’s beautiful, enchanting, fun. It’s snow-ice-cream, sledding, and hot chocolate. It’s also treacherous. It’s car accidents, falls, and frostbite. Just as winter, spring, summer, and fall have their ups and downs, so do the seasons in life. Especially for women.

The young girl who dreams big, but is too small to do anything about it.

The insecure teen who just wants to be liked, but is still trying to figure out how to love herself.

The young adult finding her way, but told she has to fit a certain mold.

The new mom juggling family, friends, faith, and career, but struggling against time.

The seasoned business owner experiencing success, but afraid she can’t keep up the pace.

The list could go on.

Each season also brings its own financial focus and concerns. Am I saving enough money for my child’s education? Am I saving enough money for ME—both for my current and long-term goals? Do I have the right goals? Why do I handle money so differently at this stage in life than my friend does? So. Many. Questions.

While we may not have ALL the answers at Commonwealth Credit Union, we do have some great resources to help you find your way! Visit CCUKY.ORG where you’ll find a plethora of information that may be just the thing you’re looking for as you grow both personally and professionally in your financial life. Here are a few tips in the meantime…

TIP #1 – Know yourself.

Did you know that you have a Money Personality? You’ve probably taken the Myers-Briggs, or other similar tests to discover more about yourself. If you’re like me, you’d probably take a test that tells you what kind of potato you are! We love to find out about ourselves, and once you take our quick Money Personality Assessment, you’ll have more insight into why you handle your finances the way you do, plus some helpful action steps to move you forward. I’m an Irish Lumper potato, by the way (pale, medium-sized, and lumpy).

TIP #2 – Know your goals.

Do you float like a feather in the wind, or move forward in life like an arrow on a trajectory toward a target? Maybe you find yourself somewhere in between? One of the best things you can do for yourself is to clarify your financial goals, after you understand your personality, of course. If you’re an arrow, you probably already know to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based). If you’re a feather, you likely understand that dealing with goals is a lot about balancing action with reflection. Either way, you may enjoy our free, quick course on Creating a Financial Plan for Your Priorities and Goals, or this short infographic on Bringing Simplicity to Goal Setting. Who doesn’t like simplicity, right?

TIP #3 – Know the secrets to saving now.

This is a hard one. It seems like no matter how much I make, there’s never enough to save what I’d like. It may have something to do with the ever-raging battle between my wants and needs. I wish they would just get along! Know what I mean? But there is hope! Let’s remind ourselves that our futures are worth the investment. We’re worth the investment! Each time I put money into my emergency fund, I’m helping to protect my future self. When I save a little more towards that trip to the beach, I’m reminding myself that I have the power to vacation without going into debt. What about you? What messages are you sending yourself with your savings habits? We have a lot of great information on our financial empowerment site that may help you unlock your savings potential. Check out this interactive Value of Emergency Funds infographic or this quick read on 6 Ways to Up Your Savings Game.

TIP #4 – Know the secrets to saving for your future.

What is it for you? A down-payment on a house? Early retirement? Alleviating debt? Owning your own business? A full emergency fund? While larger goals are often easy to identify, breaking down the action steps to reach them may take a little more savvy. And guess what? We’re here again with some resources we hope you’ll find helpful! This short article on Turning Your Financial Goals Into a Plan That You Can Stick To shines a light on the importance of intention and planning. This Investing to Build Wealth course offers an overview of investing fundamentals. We even have a Saving for a Goal Calculator that you’re free to use as you set sites on your future. It’s exciting to find tips and tools that may help your dreams come true, and it’s our pleasure to provide them!

Tip #5 – Know that Commonwealth Credit Union exists to Better Lives.

Did you know that we’ve been around since 1951? Yep, 70 years, and feeling more vibrant than ever! If you’re not familiar with how credit unions work, we’re a cooperative owned by our members, governed by a volunteer board of directors, and not-for-profit. That means we focus on Bettering the Lives of our members and communities rather than creating profit for a small group of shareholders. We offer several savings accounts; I love our Hide-Away Savings! We, of course, have great checking accounts. Don’t even get me started on how ahhhh-mazing our Round UP Checking is! Let’s just say there’s power in spare-change! And then there are our credit opportunities. From small personal loans to mortgages, we offer solutions of all sizes. Our rewards credit card, the MyCard is pretty darn special, too!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what season in life you find yourself, we’re happy to sit down with you to see where we may be able to help better your life. It’s what we do.


About the Author: Mary Handiboe, Financial Education Supervisor, Commonwealth Credit Union

Like many women, Mary is a professional juggler of family and career. She loves spreading the good news of financial empowerment to school and community partners in the area and encouraging individuals to thrive in their personal financial journeys. When not working, Mary can be found doing puzzles, introducing her pre-teen to must-see movies from the 80’s and 90’s, and procrastinating on housework. To connect with CCU on financial empowerment and more, contact us at

Featured Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash