November Newsletter

The Gift of Financial Education

The holidays are just around the corner and the shopping frenzy will soon begin, which can mean a stressful time of year for parents as they try to find meaningful gifts for their kids. Fortunately, kids always want something—mobile devices, video games, gaming consoles, movies, and of course, gift cards. While they desire the tangible, consider giving them something less tangible—the gift of saving, managing, and investing their money. 

Learning to save and manage money reinforces the value of setting goals. Perhaps most importantly, learning the basics of financial responsibility sets them on a course of success when faced with financial issues in adulthood.

Bellco offers several youth products designed to help kids become more responsible with money, learn how money works, and how to make it grow.

Youth CD
Give them a taste of investing with a Bellco Youth CD. It’s the perfect tool for learning how to set goals and it shows how their money can work for them. With a current rate of 2.40% APY*, their money can earn a healthy return. All that’s needed to get started is $50 for a 12-month term. They can even add funds to their CD without penalty.

Surprise Savings
Our Surprise Savings account adds an extra layer of incentive for kids to save. Not only will their money earn interest, but they are also automatically entered into monthly, quarterly, and Grand Prize drawings for great prizes, like a $100 Amazon® gift card. Each increment of $25 increases their chance of winning**. For example, if they have $50 saved, they have two chances to win.

Youth Savings Account
Our Youth Savings Account is a great place for kids to get started in establishing good savings habits. Plus, they receive a premium interest rate (currently 2.00% APY) on account balances up to $500, giving their initial savings a boost.

Financial Edutainment
We also offer the free, award winning, Coindexter Club; an online educational game for kids ages 5–12, which helps reinforce basic financial concepts. In a virtual city called Econopolis, kids can learn how their money is earned, how to save, how to spend and invest, and even how to manage their virtual money. They also have the opportunity to earn a $25 deposit into a Bellco Youth Savings Account, just for playing. To learn more, visit Bellco.org/Coindexter.

Please contact a Bellco representative about additional information related to applicable fees and terms.

*APY = Annual Percentage Yield. 
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Visit Bellco.org for Official Rules. Based on calculation of average monthly balance at time of drawing. You must qualify for membership.

Grand Illumination at Union Station

Are you looking for something more than just turkey and football for your Thanksgiving weekend? Or are you already stressed out about having a bunch of people at your house—or about getting together with your relatives? Luckily, Colorado offers a wealth of things you can do (with or without your guests) that can help you relieve stress, create new traditions, make some great memories, and above all, spice up your Thanksgiving weekend. Here are seven things to consider: 

1. Earn your turkey. Get in a workout before you fill up on food. Throughout the state, you can find numerous 5K or 10K races to join. Click here to check out a list of “turkey trots” near you. Or, if you’re not a fan of running yourself, think about creating turkey-themed posters, grabbing some cowbells, and finding a spot along one of the courses to cheer for runners as they pass. You’ll have a chance to get out and get loud, and the participants can enjoy a cheering section. 

2. Take a scenic drive. Weather permitting, you can just hop in the car for a couple of hours or even a full day of taking in the vistas and exploring the state. One great choice near the Denver area is the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway from Nederland to Estes Park. 

3. Get your skate on. Did you know that you can skate for free at DIA? It’s true. Starting the Friday after Thanksgiving, you can visit the DIA Plaza to take some turns. It’s a great way to send off your traveling relatives or just to kill time for a delayed flight. 

4. Get trapped. Have you tried an escape room? There are plenty out there these days! Team up with your out-of-town guests (if you’re OK with being in a confined space with them for an hour), and challenge your brains to do some puzzle-solving. 

5. Get active. If tensions are too high for you to be in an escape room together, give a thought to an axe-tossing venue. Some locations welcome all ages (as long as a guardian is present), so it could be family fun time for all of you. (Check the rules before you go, of course.) 

6. Take in a play. Perhaps some entertainment out of the house would do you some good. Check out your local theater—the Arvada Center, for example, is showing Elf the Musical, which is bound to get you in the holiday spirit. 

7. See what the city has to offer. Urban adventures could be just a hop and a skip away. Head to downtown Denver to watch the Grand Illumination (lighting up Denver’s landmarks for the holidays) or just to take in the sights, sounds, and entertainment that the Christkindl Market (featuring a taste of German traditions) has to offer.  

So don’t stress too much about the holidays—find something new and enjoy your turkey day! 

5 Tips to Help Improve Your Credit Score

If you’re troubled by your credit score, don’t worry—it’s never too late to start working to improve it. Here are some ways you can start raising that number.

1. Improve your credit-use ratio. Part of what affects your credit score is the ratio of the amount you owe to the amount of revolving credit you have. So if you have $5,000 in credit (totaled among your credit cards) and you owe $4,000, your ratio is 80%. Typically, if your ratio is below 50%, your credit rating will be higher. To get that ratio down there, you can do a couple of things. Either pay down your credit cards or ask your credit card company to increase the amount of revolving credit. If you do the second, remember: that’s not license to spend more money. You need to be sure to chip away at the amount you owe as well.

2. Pay your bills on time. If you have a 30-, 60-, or 90-day late payment on your record (or worse, several of them), you’re driving down your credit score. Make a habit of paying your bills on time. Do what works to remind yourself—set calendar notifications or email alerts for due dates, and pay those bills.

3. Pay off a loan. Any time you pay off a personal, auto, or student loan, your credit score increases because you have less outstanding debt and because you showed that you can manage your debt properly. Once you’ve paid off a loan, try to allocate its payment amount to another debt so you can pay that one off even faster than you’d planned.

4. Diversify your credit. Having only one type of credit account doesn’t show a clear enough credit history to build your score. Having a personal or auto loan that you pay regularly will round you out. Try not to open up too many new accounts at once, though—credit inquiries will negatively impact your score; plus it’s a red flag to creditors that says you might be desperate.

5. Monitor your credit. Regularly check your credit report. You can get it for free annually by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. Not only can this help protect you from identity theft, it can also show you potentially erroneous negative marks on your record. If you have any of those, dispute them with the credit agency; positive resolutions will build your credit score.

Although it can’t happen overnight, it is possible to build your credit score. And higher credit scores typically garner lower interest rates. So if you know you’ll be in the market for a mortgage or a new car loan in the future, it’s a good idea to start boosting that number as much as possible.

Colorado Veterans Project

During November, Bellco will collect donations for Colorado Veterans Project, a local non-profit organization that hosts special events to raise awareness and funds for local veterans and veterans’ organizations. Their goal is to enhance pride and patriotism in all Coloradans by building a stronger, more supportive community around veterans.

For ways you can donate to this worthwhile cause, visit Bellco's Charity of the Month page. To learn more about Colorado Veterans Project, visit ColoradoVeteransProject.org.