Financial Education

Raise your financial IQ.

Financial literacy should start with that first piggy bank and continue through retirement. Providing our members with a full range of competitive financial products and great service is just part of what we are about at Cornerstone. Financial education is one of our core values.

Get on the right path.

We are partners with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a credit and financial counseling company that offers services and information free to Cornerstone members. They post excellent short articles on financial topics, such as Budgeting 101 or Financial Literacy for Kids.

GreenPath Financial Wellness logo

We sponsor an annual $25,000 scholarship program that provides $1,000 scholarships to eligible college-bound high school seniors from public, private, and home schools. We participate in these community-based programs because we know it is critical that our youth establish responsible money management habits early in life.

We also participate in Jump$tart, a non-profit organization comprised of individuals and organizations representing business, government, and education who have joined together to improve the personal financial literacy of Tennessee’s youth.

We want you to succeed. Let's get started together.

Financial literacy starts with understanding how much you spend and creating a plan to control it. A monthly budget might seem like a lot of work, but it gets easier! Stay focused on the goal: less stress, more control, and a secure financial future.

Budgeting

5 Tips for Budgets that Work

1. Categorize

Start with five categories. Add more or separate them only if it is helpful.

  • Income – what you make
  • Giving – what you give to charities and non-profits
  • Housing – what you spend on mortgage, rent, utilities, insurance, and association dues
  • Living – what you spend on food, personal care, household items, medical expenses, recreation, and unsecured debt payments
  • Driving – what you spend on vehicle loans, maintenance, insurance, registration, and gas

2. Track your expenses

The only way to know how much you spend is to add it up. Don't let this become a long chore at the end of the month. Make it part of your daily routine to add in new purchases. This habit will also help you stay on track and under budget.

3. Make room for irregular or unplanned expenses

You don't want irregular expenses – holiday shopping or bills owed a few times each year – to catch you by surprise. Neither do you want an unplanned expense like a car repair to wipe out your savings. Make room in your monthly budget for these items. For example:

  • Allocate $200/month for education expenses that cost $1,200/semester
  • Allocate $150/month for car maintenance and repairs that might occur ($1,800/year)
  • Allocate $50/month for holiday shopping ($600/year)

4. Spend less than you earn

Here's the simple truth: the only way to get out of debt and build wealth is to spend less than you earn. Does that seem almost impossible in your current situation? Regardless of your current debt or income, you can do this! Make sure there is money left over in your budget to build up an emergency fund or pay down debt faster.

Are you ready for an ambitious goal that will help alleviate financial stress in an uncertain future? Allocate 20% of your income for emergency savings and retirement.

5. Find ways to save

Once you track expenses for the first time, the results can be shocking. Where can you save? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Buy items – especially groceries – when they are on sale
  • Eat at home more or bring your lunch to work
  • Limit Internet, phone, and streaming/TV services – you probably don't need the unlimited/fastest/best plan – and ask your provider for promotional discounts
  • Shop for better values on insurance – some independent insurance agencies will do this for you
  • Enjoy free entertainment and recreation – parks, games, old puzzles... all the things we learned to do during the economic shutdown
  • Get enough sleep and focus on your health – the better you feel the less likely you will encounter extra medical expenses