The Order of the Day
Helping people arrange their affairs in 2023 remains top of mind for Glen Moribe, chairman of Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union and its Get Your House in Order campaign.
For a lot of people, the new year signifies a time for reflection and change. The phrase “new year, new me” isn’t a buzzword without reason.
Among the most common new year resolutions are those related to health (start exercising), family (call Tutu weekly), bad habits (stop smoking/drinking) and diet (eat less musubis, drink more water). And while these are all great for the mind, body and soul, Glen Moribe, chairman of Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union, suggests adding a key component to the list.
“Having a financial plan is important to the well-being and future of you and your family,” he shares. “It will help to give you peace of mind knowing that you have a plan that will help to provide you with money to live your life, enjoy retirement and take care of your family after passing. This will help you to focus on your overall well-being, mental health and spiritual health.
“One of the big things on most people’s mind is, ‘Will I have enough money to live in Hawai‘i and cover my everyday expenses?’ Hopefully, if you have a good financial plan, it will relieve you from worrying about your finances and you can concentrate on the other parts of your life that will make you whole as an individual.”
Living in one of the most beautiful — and expensive — states in the country doesn’t come easy, and it’s not uncommon for residents to neglect their financial situation, especially when a large number of them are barely getting by. So, when an unexpected life event happens — which, naturally, they always do — people’s lives enter turmoil, and they have to scramble to make ends meet.
Hoping to change that is Hawaiian Financial’s Get Your House in Order campaign, a multi-media educational tool designed to help residents “be well, be safe and be prepared” — like its tagline suggests — and become better equipped to navigate life’s inevitable ebbs and flows.
“During the pandemic, we noticed that our members were not prepared for unexpected life events such as sudden illnesses or death. For those who thought they were, they found out that they weren’t prepared at all,” says Moribe, who adds that job loss was another curve-ball seen in the last couple of years. “They quickly discovered that there were many facets in life matters that they did not think about, so we decided to launch the GYHO initiative to help them prepare for these life events.
“Many of us on the board and staff were faced with these same unexpected life events and most of us found ourselves ill-prepared to handle the various legal and financial matters that needed to be resolved,” he adds. “We all felt this would be a great program to offer to the community at large to help them be better prepared than we were to navigate through those stressful times.”
Along with a full page in MidWeek by senior vice president of marketing Paulette Ito, the GYHO campaign also includes a show hosted by veteran journalist Yunji de Nies, who learns tips and tricks from industry leaders and experts. Past guests include Vanessa Beaton, owner of Sorted Photos, who shared information about document preservation and Troy Wada, principal wealth adviser at INPAC Wealth Solutions, who talked about financial planning. Upcoming topics include senior care, mental wellness, insurance, trust accounts, upsizing/downsizing a home, computer safety and funeral plans.
Hawaiian Financial’s website (hificu.com/gyho) serves as the main hub for all GYHO resources, and it’s where people — not just members — can download free, fill-as-you-go booklets titled the Ho‘okele Guidebook.
“The guidebooks will assist you in ‘getting your house in order’ and to start the conversations with your loved ones,” says Moribe. “We know these conversations tend to be very sensitive, especially when they’re talking about what to do in the case of sudden death or illness, but I think people need to be prepared to answer that question.
The guidebooks, which will be released quarterly (the first two are available now), feature four phases: the past (gathering and compiling personal information and important documents), the present (current financial obligations and assets), the future (understanding life-planning documentation including retirement funding and beneficiary updates), and miscellaneous items, which covers assorted topics such as active and sedentary lifestyles; love, marriage and divorce; and how they may affect your finances.
“We feel that financial well-being and financial health is extremely important regardless of how much money you have, (and) the GYHO guidebook will help to provide a step-by-step guide, which will hopefully help to break down the process into manageable tasks. The thing I want to let people know is you don’t have to complete all of the steps at one time. There are consultants such as lawyers, accountants and financial advisers that can help you through the process.”
Being a positive force in the community isn’t anything new for Hawaiian Financial, which was established in 1936 as a credit union for Mutual Telephone Co. (now known as Hawaiian Telcom) employees. Its 13 branches have held collection drives for Hawai‘i Foodbank, local students and troops overseas, given out scholarship funds and held free workshops to boot.
By nature, credit unions as a whole have a foundational value of operating business as “people helping people,” and Hawaiian Financial is no different.
“What makes us unique from the traditional financial institution is that the credit union is owned by all of our members,” says Moribe. “No matter how much you have deposited with us or the size of the loans you have with us, you as a member have an equal share of ownership in the credit union. This gives every member an equal vote in the election of the board of directors who guide the credit union. Our credit union also consistently tries to be the market leader in loan and deposit rates to give as much back to members as possible.”
Going one step further, Hawaiian Financial tacked on a few more words to credit unions’ general motto: “We are people helping people make their dreams come true.”
“We believe that our not-for-profit structure and ability to offer a broad array of products and services at a lower cost and higher rates of return help our members to achieve their dreams, whether it’s home ownership, funding education, celebrating milestones or simply getting their first checking or savings account,” Moribe adds. “We are here to make their dreams come true.”
As one of the largest credit unions in the state with more than $909,200,000 in assets and over 50,000 members, Hawaiian Financial evolves to match the community’s needs, and has done so for the last 86 years.
From keiki opening their first checking account to kūpuna preparing for retirement, Hawaiian Financial wants to be a credit union there for its members — for life.