banner watermark

Blog & News



Financial Horror Stories and Statistics


Spooky season is here which means it’s time for creepy crawlies, scary movie marathons, and stories around the campfire. We’ve got three of our own scary financial stories to tell, so gather around, bring a flashlight, and try not to scream. These stories were based on true events that have happened to people, but it doesn’t have to happen to you. Rock Valley Credit Union (RVCU) is here for wherever life takes you…even through these scary situations.

*The names used in the following stories have been changed to protect the individual’s identity.


1. Shop till you drop, dead.

It’s New Years Eve and Emily has plans to ring in the New Year in style. She is known to always be fashionable with designer outfits and never wears the same outfit twice. Emily heads to the mall to find the perfect ensemble and doesn’t think twice about swiping her credit card which is already maxed out from continuous overspending, and it is declined.

She asks the cashier to use another one, and that one also declines. Embarrassed, Emily uses the last $75 in her checking account to pay for the outfit, but she has a hard time enjoying the evening. She worries about how she is going to make ends meet until payday which is still 6 days away and the mounting credit card debt she has racked up over time.

RVCU’s recommendation

Here’s a hair-raising statistic: Emily isn’t alone. In fact, according to Wallet Hub, the average American household carries at least $10,170 in credit card debt.

At RVCU, one of the very first things we recommend anyone opening a credit card to do is to become educated on how to use credit cards responsibly. If you are just starting off or find yourself in a situation like Emily, connecting with the right financial expert is critical. Set up an appointment to meet with a certified financial coach for free one on one counseling. Take the first step to a better tomorrow.


2. Working to the bone

Adan has worked since he was 15 to help his family make ends meet. He grew up in a low-income household where money was tight, so he missed out on doing activities that his friends were able to do such as class trips, sports, and extracurriculars.

Now at 45 years old, Adan is a father of three and has a good paying job. He makes sure his kids do not miss out on things that he didn’t get a chance to do. Because of this, setting aside money for retirement has taken a backseat and he fears he will be working forever.

RVCU’s recommendation

Saving for retirement is not a bunch of hocus pocus. No one wants to work forever, but saving for retirement when you are young can be a challenge. We recommend a “set it and forget it” approach by automating direct deposits into a savings account. A little goes a long way! Find out if your employer offers retirement matching contributions, and if so, take advantage of these employee benefits.


3. ScrEAM-ergency

Erika is a single mom of two and watches where every dollar of her budget goes. She works fulltime and is thankful that her daughters are now school aged and doesn’t have to pay childcare. With inflation, she is careful about her spending and doesn’t qualify for government assistance.

On her way home from work, her car gets a flat tire, and she must take out of her savings account to cover the new tire expenses. That same week, Erika’s furnace stopped working in the middle of winter and must use her savings again to help cover repair costs.

Although she tried to plan as much as she could for these emergencies, she now must make the difficult decision of whether to pay the electric bill or pay for groceries until her next payday.

RVCU’s recommendation

It’s hauntingly true that 78% of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck and 33% have no savings at all. Erika took the right steps by setting up an emergency fund, but sometimes – when it rains, it pours. RVCU recommends setting up a savings account if you haven’t already and meet with a financial coach to get a 360 view of your entire financial picture to see additional savings opportunities.


Rest In (financial) Peace

These stories and many others are real life situations that are best handled with a trusted financial partner. Carrying the weight of financial stress can make you feel like a zombie but with a Rock Valley Credit Union financial coach, you’ll be able to finally rest in (financial) peace. Finances can be scary, but they don’t have to be when you have RVCU by your side. Meet online, call, or stop by an RVCU branch and bring your financial journey back to life.