Schools Plus Community Credit Union

Schools Plus Community Credit Union -

by Schools Plus

Credit Unions Work To Improve Financial Literacy


In a blink of an eye, you go from shopping for the best diaper bag in preparation for your newborn’s arrival to shopping for colleges for your soon-to-be-high-school graduate. It happens so quickly and there’s so much to teach our children during that time. We impart on them our values about what’s right and wrong and how to treat others, but all too often, we forget to instruct our kids about money. For many of us, paying bills becomes an automatic task that we don’t even think about taking the time to demonstrate how and why we pay them. Investing is an “adult” decision, not something we discuss with children.

By not including older teens in these “grown-up activities,” however, we are not passing along critical information as they prepare to venture into adulthood. Whether they plan on attending college or entering the workforce after high school, this can be a turning point in terms of how they view finances. The fiscal habits our children form in their late teens and early 20s will set them up for future financial behaviors.

Apparently, high schoolers don’t know much about handling finances. In 2012, students nationwide barely passed a financial literacy test. Fortunately, credit unions are seeking to reverse that trend with educational outreach.

Credit Union Counseling

In recent years, “financial literacy” have been key buzzwords, but credit unions across the country have taken the task of educating their members—as well as community residents, including school-age children—very seriously. Organizations have launched various programs to help members make smarter financial decisions, such as:

  • Conducting classes at credit union offices, churches and schools
  • Airing a 30-minute broadcast on a cable access television channel
  • Posting online educational material
  • Holding workshops to inform senior citizens about financial options

These programs covered an array of topics, including:

  • Money management
    • Identity theft
  • Scams targeting seniors
  • Investing
  • Retirement
  • Small business basics

This connection with the communities they serve is where credit unions excel, so use their expertise when discussing dollars and cents with your children. Learn more how to become financial literate by clicking here.

Smart Spending

Of course, parents can pass along a few commonsense practices, too.

1. Teens should know how much money they have (or don’t have)

Stress the importance of recording transactions. Their math at the end of the month could be off because they’re not tracking what money is coming in and going out. Let your teens know that’s when they could overdraw accounts, which typically result in bank fees.

2. Monthly maintenance

Tell them to review monthly statements to make sure the financial institution’s calculations match their own accounting, including any fees assigned to the accounts.

3. Credit conscious

Occasional use of credit cards helps build a credit history, which is one of the factors lenders look at on loan applications. However, revolving balances become difficult to pay off as interest accumulates. Large or growing balances will negatively impact their credit rating. Advise your children to pay the balance in full whenever possible.

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