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Ask about educational opportunities

McClary says educational opportunities are abundant. Topics covered include basic budgeting, dealing with debt problems, investing, credit scores, buying a car and housing issues.

"Seminars are offered on site, at other local venues and can be conducted online as webinars, too," says McClary. "And they are free to members."

Many credit unions have programs to coach you through saving, reducing debt, saving for short-term and intermediate goals, and investing for retirement, says Shay Olivarria, author of "10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money."

"Not only will they help you get where you want to be, you'll understand how you got there and why it's important to stay there," Olivarria says.

Credit union employees may conduct the seminars or seek the assistance of a credit counseling agency.


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