Teaching Children Financial Literacy

Until 1997 Oregon required personal finance classes. While schools are supposed to weave a host of things into their teaching, the reality is that most schools offer few, if any, financial literacy lessons. That means it’s up to you to teach your children important money lessons.

Two school children smiling

Paying the bills
Most kids don’t think about what keeps the lights on or the Internet powered at home. Talk to them about paying the bills. Explain that, if you fail to submit money every month to utility companies, there’d be no running water, TV, etc. It’s a good way to get them to start appreciating the role of money in day-to-day life.

Savings account
Introduce the concept of saving money by opening a savings account in your children’s names. You’ll have control, but they’ll start to get a sense of responsibility. Plus, they can see cash go in and out, earn interest and more. It’s a great, real-world experience that takes the piggy bank to the next level.

Managing money
The best way for children to learn about money is to actually have some. Whether it’s allowance, income for chores, or birthday money, give them cash when it’s appropriate and let them choose how to spend it.

They’ll probably be tempted to blow it all at once, so talk to them about priorities. Should they spend their cash on candy right now, or put some away for that bike they’ve been saving for?

Don’t forget, teaching your kids to manage their money now can put them on the path to financial success later in life.

Ways to Financially Prepare Before College, Or Smart College Budgeting

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No matter your major, you can graduate from college with an honorary degree in personal finance by paying attention to where your money is coming from and where it’s going.

Here’s how to get started:

Set a budget

Start by identifying the income sources you’ll have in college, such as wages from a part-time job, scholarships and financial aid. Then estimate how much you’ll be spending. You can probably ballpark costs such as tuition, room and board, school supplies, laundry and transportation.

You should also allocate some money for discretionary spending, such as food outside your meal plan and entertainment. Consider limiting these expenses with a weekly allowance.

Your budget can show you when you need to cut back on spending and when you can afford a treat. If you need help, try an online tool like Mint.com.

Apply for the right financial aid

There are two main types of student loans: federal and private. It makes sense to borrow as much as you can in federal loans before resorting to private ones, because federal loans generally have lower interest rates and broader repayment options.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to get federal loans and see if you qualify for need-based aid, including grants, work-study and some scholarships.

Do your best to figure out how much you’ll need before you take out loans, whether they’re from the government or a private lender. Either way, you’re on the hook to repay them, so borrow only what you have to.

Manage credit cards responsibly

Credit cards can be tricky, particularly if you’ve never had one. They’re useful tools for building a credit history — but they’re also fraught with danger if you overextend yourself.

To get the greatest benefit out of a credit card, use it wisely. That means paying off your balance in full each month to improve your credit score and avoid costly interest charges.

It helps to view your credit card as you do your debit card: You can’t spend what you don’t have. Speaking of debit cards, make sure you don’t authorize your banking institution to charge an overdraft fee if you inadvertently withdraw more money than you have in your account.

If you want a credit or debit card, consider getting one from a nonprofit, member-owned credit union like Wauna Credit Union. These financial institutions generally offer lower interest rates and fees than traditional banks.

Take advantage of your student status

Many major companies offer student discounts. Among them: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Banana Republic. If you’re hoping to make a purchase and the merchant hasn’t advertised a student discount, there’s no harm in asking.

You can also save money on textbooks by buying used copies from websites such as Abebooks and Chegg.

A degree doesn’t guarantee you a great-paying job. But college graduates still generally out-earn people without degrees, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.

And this much is certain: Developing smart budgeting and spending habits in college will continue to pay off long after you graduate.

Peter Lewis, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

*Thanks to our friends at NerdWallet for this informative guest blog!

It’s Credit Union Youth Month!!! Coloring Contests & More!

FB_Poster Polaroid_1200_5Hey Kids! April is Credit Union Youth Month!

It began many years ago, as merely  Credit Union Youth Day, then it grew into Credit Union Youth Week, and last year the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) decided Credit Union Youth deserved an entire month!

WOO HOO! Credit Union Youth Month!!!

All month check this blog and your favorite social media outlet for savings tips & info for a better financial education – from allowance plans, and money making ideas for kids, to info about college funds.

Coloring Contest:

Our younger members are welcome to get in on the coloring contest – prizes will be awarded! Pick your picture, print it off at home, or pick one up at any branch!

Credit Union Strong Coloring Page
Credit Union Strong Coloring Page
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Eagle Coloring Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know a kid who needs an account?

All new Jump Start Club members (Ages 0-17) who joined Wauna CU during the month of April will be entered to win $$$, and we’ll deposit it right in your shiny new account! Plus, Jump Start Club accounts earn a higher rate of interest on your first $500 balance than any other saving account, AND all Jump Start Club members get a cool piggy bank when they open their account!

Jump Start Club – Account Information:  https://waunafcu.org/accounts/youth.shtml

College Scholarship Info:

High School Seniors – April 15th is the deadline for our annual Scholarships!

Apply Today: https://waunafcu.org/annual-scholarship.shtml

College Savings Plans:

Wauna Credit Union can start a Coverdell Education Savings Account or Coverdell ESA, also known as a 529 College Savings IRA, and our knowledgeable staff can help you easily set it up. College saving is less daunting if you start early.

Learn More: https://waunafcu.org/accounts/youth.shtml