Credit unions across America ask, are kids on the right track to financial independence? For many of today’s young adults, the weakest link lies in learning the basics. Only 35% of teens know how to balance a checkbook or manage credit cards. During the past five years, a decline in overall financial knowledge is especially pronounced among 18-year-olds, and 13% fewer teens have bank accounts.* Achieving economic prosperity is difficult. It’s especially hard for young people who’ve never learned how to manage money. Your credit union is ideally positioned to respond because they believe in the power of education and have many youth financial literacy resources to offer. A few pointers to consider include:
- Join. As a start, open a savings account for each child in your family at the credit union. As soon as your children can write, have them fill out deposit and withdrawal slips. Guide teenagers through using a debit card and balancing a checkbook.
- Share. Include your children in your household finance discussions. Show them how you budget income and expenses. As their skills improve, give them challenges—such as finding a better cellphone plan, calculating the total monthly cost of owning a car, or sticking to a budget with back-to-school or holiday spending.
- Coach. Remind your children to ask for help when they need it. And turn to your local credit union when you want help. Our tradition of service and philosophy of self-help make credit unions a natural partner in pursuing financial security.
During the week of April 23rd, WESTconsin Credit Union will be highlighting the importance of helping youth become excellent money savers in recognition of National Credit Union Youth Week. By teaching kids from an early age on how to save for their goals, they’ll have one of the most difficult aspects of saving under their belt by the time they’re adults—being a consistent saver.
This year’s Youth Week theme is “Become a WESTconsin Super Student $aver!” WESTconsin Credit Union offices will celebrate by hosting on-site and off-site events and sponsoring a variety of financial literacy activities within each community. Families are encouraged to stop by their local WESTconsin office for games, learning activities and treats. Children who make a deposit into their Membership Savings account during Youth Week will be rewarded with a fun money pouch filled with goodies. Valuable online resources for children, parents and educators are available at westconsincu.org, and a full schedule of Youth Week activities at each office can be found here.
*2011 Teens and Money Survey, Charles Schwab