Strong Passwords & Password Managers

Strong passwords are your first defense against fraud. However, you may find yourself thinking “all these complex and unique passwords are getting out of hand! How am I going to remember them all?”

Well, a premium password manager can be the solution. With a password manager, you only have to remember one master password. So let’s get into the details.

Strong Passwords Typically:
  • Use 15+ characters
  • Include numbers, symbols and a mix of uppercase and lowercase
  • Are different for every account
  • Are changed every 6 months

A password manager can check all those boxes for every account by generating random passwords, at the character length of your choice, with numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters, and can be manually or automatically changed every so often.

What to Know About Password Managers
  • A password manager may cost you some money.
    Although there are free ones out there, premium managers are safer than most free options. Some premium managers offer free versions, so do some research to determine what is best for you.
  • With a password manager, your master password is extremely important.
    You need to have a strong password, incorporating the above elements, to protect your vault. If you need to, have a “hint” to reference in case you forget your master password. You’ll be locked out of the vault if you cannot remember your master password.
  • Password managers can be breached.
    Password managers can be, and have been, breached. However, password managers encrypt the data, typically with industry–standard encryption like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard, the same encryption the U.S. government uses), so if there is a breach, the hacker would have to decipher that encryption, which is almost impossible. Plus, with a strong master password, two-factor authentication and malware free devices, your security is looking very strong.
  • More than just passwords.
    Password managers can store more than just account passwords. You can store addresses, membership numbers, insurance information, credit card and bank information, WiFi passwords and more.
  • There are different types of password managers.
    Password managers can be browser-based, cloud-based or desktop-based. Each one has pros and cons, so do some research to determine which is best for you.

For more information on security and common fraud tactics, visit



Why Taking a Personal Loan to Pay for Your Wedding Might Make Sense

Weddings are what dreams are made of. They are the start of something new and exciting, filled with hope and love. The time to come together as families and wish the next generation the best, as they move toward building a life together.

Planning a wedding is fun, but it can be stressful too, particularly when it comes to budgeting for the costs. Weddings can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. The best weddings are the ones that are based on the couple’s personal style and filled with love.

According to The Ascent article summarizing various wedding studies and statistics, the average cost of a California wedding in 2019 is $39,000. Whatever your budget, you may want to plan on going over by 20%, creating a cushion to help cover unexpected extra items.

There are several ways to pay for a wedding, including:

Savings and/or a Shared-secured Loan

If you’ve saved up $10,000-$40,000 for your wedding, then congratulations on being a prudent planner! Although using your savings can be a comfortable way to pay for this special day, you may want to ask yourself if you want to “drain” your accounts or leave these funds for future use as a married couple. One option to do this is to use your savings for a share-secured loan. This allows you to keep your savings in your account, earning interest, and use the share-secured funds to pay for wedding expenses at a fixed-rate.

Credit Card

Although using your credit card to pay for wedding expenses can be very convenient, it can also be risky. If you plan on using a credit card as your primary tool to pay for wedding expenses, we recommend that you create a very strong budget prior to making purchases and stick to it. We also recommend that you take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers, so you can pay off this debt quickly after the wedding.

Personal Loan

As you decide the best way to pay for your wedding, one option you may want to consider is a personal loan. Personal Loans have fixed rates and terms, allowing you to obtain a loan to cover your budget and pay it back monthly for the term of the loan. Personal loans can reduce stress, as many feel more comfortable knowing exactly what they will need to pay each month and for how long. They also come with a much lower interest rate than credit cards, making the use of these types of loans to fund your wedding less risky and much more affordable.

Cash from Parents and Family

Although many of us have supportive parents and family members who will contribute to paying for wedding expenses, most couples will still need to cover some expenses on their own, particularly their honeymoon. If this is the case, we recommend referring to the above-mentioned options, suggesting a personal loan may be your best bet.

We wish all “soon to be married” couples and their families the absolute best as they plan, budget and host the wedding of their dreams. We are here to help fund the expenses in the way that makes best sense to you, so please reach out to Wheelhouse Credit Union if we can be of service.


Making Good Money Managers Out of Your Kids

One of the most important things we can teach our children is how to successfully manage their money. This, along with good manners, will help them achieve their goals as they become adults.

Sharing good money management techniques with your kids can start as early as elementary school. In fact, we recommend the following tips to teaching your children good habits based on their age.

Elementary/Middle School

  1. Open a Savings Account for each of your children at the age of 5 (or as close to it as possible).
  2. Give the new Savings Account a Nickname, using the respective Child’s Name so you can periodically show them their savings account balance.
  3. Fund the account with around $100 to get them started.
  4. Each time your child receives money as a gift, have them deposit half into their new Savings Account and spend the other half on something fun.
  5. When your child wants to buy something, you can show them the balance on their account, so they can see how much it would cost them to purchase the item. This will give them an idea of how long it takes to save for certain items.
  6. If possible, provide your child with opportunities to make money. You can give them the option to unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, and/or unload groceries for $5 per chore. Then, have them put half into their Savings Account and spend the other half on something fun. They may want to put their “fun money” into a Piggy Bank and save it up for something bigger.

High School

  1. Make sure your child has a Savings Account designated for them at the beginning of high school. If not, open one as they start their freshman year.
  2. Apply the same practice as noted above, encouraging them to put half of the money they receive into their Savings Account, spending the other half on something fun.
  3. Offer your child various opportunities to make money around the house for doing chores such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the family bathroom, taking out the trash, etc.
  4. If your child is interested in having a car at 16, or any other big purchase, they may want to use their Savings Account to save for it. Consider telling them you will match whatever they save, if this fits in your budget.
  5. Show them their statements and screenshots of their Savings Account balance, so they understand how long it takes to save money.
  6. When they turn 16, take them to the Credit Union to open a Checking Account and a Savings Account in their name. When they earn money, they can put half into their Savings Account and the other half into their Checking Account. Help them review their transactions weekly and balance their budget monthly.


  1. These young adults should be entering college with some knowledge of how to manage a budget, along with their own Checking and Savings accounts.
  2. Prior to dropping them off at school, go through their monthly expenses. Also review their monthly income, whether it be from a job, their allowance or from a student loan.
  3. Have them calculate how much they need to cover their monthly fixed expenses: tuition, rent, utilities, cell phone, food, followed by how much they have leftover to spend on fun things.
  4. Monthly Income: Work Income + Allowance + Student Loan $
    Monthly Expenses: Tuition + Rent + Utilities + Cell Phone + Food
    Discretionary Income: Leftover Each Month to Either Save or Spend
  5. After their first year of college, we recommend they apply for their own credit card with limited spending power, maybe $500. This will allow them to start to build credit and further learn how to manage their money.

Last but not least, it is important to remember that setting a good example for our children is always the most effective way to teach them good habits, the same is true for instilling good money management skills. Don’t be afraid to share how much things cost relative to how much you make, let them know how much you have to spend weekly and how you budget to meet your family’s objectives. Talking about money can be fun and should be started early, so the subject is comfortable for all.

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