Top Misconceptions on Personal Finances

Police FCU of Omaha is always here to help Your Blue Family. We find that our member-owners are very smart people. However, as with all of us, sometimes we simply don’t know what we don’t know.

Here are the most common areas where we provide personal finance insight to our members in no particular order:

“Credit Report Pull” Misconception – Some consumers erroneously believe that when a lender “pulls” their credit report to quote a loan rate, this process will lower or negatively affect their credit score. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a lender to provide you with an accurate rate quote, they must pull your credit report. It is common for borrowers to shop rates before making their choice, and this process will not adversely affect your credit score.

“Unsecured Debt” Misconception – Something that actually will adversely affect your credit score is holding too much unsecured debt. Converting revolving unsecured debt to a secured fixed rate and term product, such as a Debt Consolidation Loan, will not only improve your credit score but also save you money on finance charges.

“Identity Theft” Misconception – Some consumers believe that if they have a low credit score and/or a high level of debt, they won’t be attractive to identity thieves. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals all over the world that know several tricks to take advantage of anyone and everyone. So, protect your personal information like gold, regardless of your financial situation.

“Fraud Alert” Misconception – To further drive home the point that unscrupulous individuals know and use several tricks, not every fraud-alert call, text, or email is legitimate. Do not answer these communications directly unless you know for certain that they are coming from your financial institutions. Even if you are just a little unsure, follow your instinct and call the primary number for your financial institution or credit card. They will be glad to tell you if there truly is a fraud issue or if the only fraud was the call, text, or email you just received.

“Credit Monitoring” Misconception – Credit monitoring services are a good start when protecting your finances, but it is nothing more than a smoke alarm. Once you are alerted to the problem, you must “put out the fire.” Credit monitoring services won’t protect you, but having ID Theft Protection and Recovery can help tremendously.

“GAP Insurance” Misconception – Speaking of protection, many consumers protect themselves by purchasing guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance when buying a vehicle. GAP is an auto loan debt cancellation waiver that protects you financially if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and you owe more on the vehicle than your insurance will pay. Although some dealers will aggressively recommend this protection when buying a car or truck, the truth is that you can purchase GAP coverage for your vehicle at any time, allowing you to shop around for the best rate.

“Warranty” Misconception – Similar to GAP, warranties do not have to be purchased when buying a vehicle. This is especially true when buying a new car, truck, or SUV with a manufacturer’s warranty. The best time to buy an extended warranty is right before the manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire.

“20% Down” Misconception – The idea that a home buyer needs to put 20% down for a conventional mortgage is a myth. Police FCU of Omaha can suggest several options for home buyers regardless of the amount of your down payment.

That leads us to the most important takeaway: we are not a bank. We are, first and foremost, a service provider to sworn and civilian law enforcement and their families. So, if you have a need or a question, even if you may think it is pretty basic, come to us first. Police FCU of Omaha will steer you in the right direction. We are here to help Your Blue Family.

Top 10 Finance Tips for LEO Families

#1 Start saving early. 

You’ll never regret saving.  Saving each month in an interest-bearing account will allow your money to grow and compound.  The earlier you start saving in your career in law enforcement may mean the less time you will need to work overtime and more time with your family.

The easiest way to save money is to have a set amount automatically deposited into your savings account each pay period. Talk to a professional at Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha on how best to schedule your automatic deposits based upon your unique needs

#2 Spend wisely. 

We know this can be easier said than done. However, it’s critical to spend less than you earn.  Loans and credit cards can get you through a rough month, but don’t let this become a habit.  Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” For example, you may very well need a truck, but that three-year-old used GMC with only 19,000 miles may be exactly what you need instead of that newest model coupled with a monthly payment that blows up your entire budget.

#3 Create a budget.

Yes, this may not be the most fun activity that you do in your off time to unwind, but you’ll thank yourself for it. Not only does it help you to avoid financial crises when an appliance breaks or your roof begins to leak but also allows you to plan for enjoyable events like vacations so that you don’t feel like you are missing out. There are a number of budget apps and programs out there. Talk to a professional at Police FCU of Omaha, and we’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.

#4 Minimize debt.

Keep debt to a minimum so you can make monthly on-time payments.  If you find you have trouble making on-time monthly payments, please seek help. Sometimes even the best of us can get into unexpected trouble. Sometimes life just happens. Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha is a financial partner you can depend on. If you are running into trouble, the sooner you come to us, the more we are likely able to do to help you.

#5 Diversification is key.

If you have already been following tip #1, you want to make your money work for you. Financial diversification is a strategy designed to reduce risk.  Be sure to consult with your financial advisor and verify that you have been taking advantage of the proper financial vehicles for your age, risk level, and family needs.


#6 Review your insurance coverage.

There’s no question that a career in law enforcement can put us in harm’s way. Make sure you and your family are covered if there is an unfortunate event. Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha offers multiple insurance products, including Line-of Duty Death Insurance, for specific loans. Review all of your insurance coverages annually to verify that you are properly insured.

#7 Financial education is always important.

Knowledge is power. It’s important to stay current on all the latest financial topics.  This doesn’t mean you need to have a Wall Street Journal tucked under your arm when you are walking into the department for your shift. However, realizing that ultimately you are responsible for your financial future creates a healthy perspective. Financial institutions, like you Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha, are resources for you. So, choose a partner that understands the banking needs of law enforcement and their families.

#8 Monitor your credit report. 

Annually check your credit report for errors and monitor your credit score. You can get a free annual credit report by visiting There are also a number of services where you can check your credit on a monthly basis. Being diligent may alert you to issues before they become a major problem.


#9 Protect your identity.

Monitoring your credit and protecting your identity go hand in hand. When choosing ID theft protection, be careful not to simply use the equivalent of a smoke alarm that simply warns you that there is a problem. You want a fire extinguisher to help you to snuff out those issues. The latter is exactly what you receive when you open a Premium Checking Account with Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha.

#10 Schedule an annual financial review.   

Reviewing all aspects of your finances on an annual basis can keep you on track. That’s why Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha is happy to conduct a Blue Review of your finances to guide you into the future. We are first and foremost a passionate financial-services provider to law enforcement and their families. We are proud to be a part of Your Blue Family and are always happy to assist you.