Clark Howard

12.31.19 Planning a cheap ski vacation; Why credit unions rock

Snow skiing is a very expensive hobby. There are many bargains available for getting to the slopes and skiing. CO and UT are the 2 biggest ski zones. Because of extreme airfare competition in the Denver hub, it’s ultra inexpensive to fly to CO. Plus there’s been a massive expansion of limited service interstate hotels in CO. So skip the fancy lodges to save. If you stay along a freeway in close proximity to a ski mountain – that’s a big savings. For UT, there are 9 ski mountains within close proximity to the Salt Lake City airport, but as a Delta hub, airfare is pricey. But once you get there, there are many affordable hotel options in the Salt Lake Valley close to mountains. Aspen, Vail or Deer Valley lift tickets run around $200 per day, but many other mountains have affordable lift ticket prices. offers lift ticket bargains. Skiing doesn’t have to be so costly. In both markets locals rent ski equipment at better prices than found at the mountains.

Clark has called Wells Fargo "a criminal enterprise impersonating a bank". Hopefully new leadership will end the illegal culture there, but even so, Wells Fargo is a big, traditional bank. The bigs, BOA, WF, Chase and Citi have roughly 50% of market share in the U.S. These are high cost operations under pressure to show profits to stockholders. Their business model is to see how much they can take from customers every month. As a result of how the federal government handled the banking scandals last decade, the smaller banks were hollowed out and are mostly gone, changing the equilibrium of banking. More tech sophistication from online banks allows them to offer better deals, and make a competitive impact in the marketplace. If you have money in traditional bank saving or CDs, you're cheating yourself. Because of these factors, credit unions have gone through radical transformation as well, with the smaller players merging into larger ones big enough to get their tech up to date. Younger customers are looking for great apps and online banking features – modern in every sense. The cultural difference a credit union offers remains – a co-op owned by and serving its members. The biggest credit unions offer a mix of online banking assets, branches AND a focus on service.
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