NAFCU Service Corp. and Financial Planning Information, Inc. to provide its credit unions with a "road map" that will assist members in taking control of their financial destinies.
NSC President Keith Nolan said the product, "Your Financial Road Map," identifies strengths and reveals potential problem areas before outlining specific strategies such as investing, savings, insurance and retirement planning.
"A lot of consumers are in a state of shock over the stock market or mutual funds market in the last year," Nolan said. "Most lost at least 50% and are now trying to figure out, 'How do I make it back up?'"
The problem, he said, is that the average person doesn't know where to begin, what to ask or even how to ask it.
"For most consumers, this is an intimidating discussion to have," he said.
With this product new to the credit union community, many CUs also don't know where to begin. Nolan said the process involves gathering financial information-similar to what members would need when applying for a mortgage-and filling out a simple, 30- minute questionnaire that delves into income, assets and financial plans, such as buying a home, sending children to college and planning for retirement.
Jonathon Pond, winner of the Malcolm Forbes Community Awareness Award for Excellence in Financial Understanding, is the product's creator. For many years, he has been selling it for $90 to the general public via public broadcasting stations.
Pond said the product provides personalized guidance for members and encourages them to use their credit union's products and services to achieve their financial goals.
Nolan said members can access the questionnaire via their participating credit union's website or request a hard copy. Cost is $75.
FPI then evaluates the responses and creates a personalized-and confidential-report for the applicant. Members are always referred back to their credit union to obtain the services and products necessary to keep them on course, Nolan said.
"I think it's really great that he's (Pond) is not trying to sell you anything," Nolan said, noting that FPI does not endorse and is not affiliated with any insurance or investment company.
Nolan, who tested the product only to find out "I have champagne taste on a beer budget," said it's a worthwhile investment for CUs and their members.
"It's fabulous," he said. "At least we know where to focus."