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Educating Our Youngest Members — 

There is a great debate about where financial education responsibility lies.  Is it with the parents?  Should the schools teach it?  Is the onus on the employer?  Or are money lessons best learned by the school of hard knocks?

With our current economy, the need to prepare the next generation of credit union members for financial security is enormous.  Many parents are finding themselves woefully unprepared to teach sound money principles.  Just think of the last time you had a young Kirby club member come in and deposit money for “the sucker” or “because they have to”.  Or worse yet, the times you’ve seen parents depositing money for their kids during the school day.  Not much is learned from that experience.

The financial education initiative that we began 18 months ago has had a great effect on what credit unions are doing in their communities, for their employees, and in schools.  This month we turn our focus on the youngest members -- the future of our credit unions. 

While some parents do a fine job of communicating the need to save and invest, a vast majority treat teaching money principles as a complete afterthought.  As in, “maybe I should have taught my teenage daughter about saving money.”  Data shows that the earlier we begin having money conversations with our children, the more financially responsible they are as young adults. 

Common barriers to begin these dialogues usually are around not knowing what to say, kids shutting down because their parents sound “preachy”, and missing the teachable moments throughout the day or week.  We’ve made this process simple and transferable by creating a document that can be handed out to members who are doing transactions with or for their children.  We recommend having a stack of these handouts close to a teller window and handing one to any member doing business with kids in tow.

It’s a small gesture on the part of credit unions to make sure that parents are having money conversations with their kids.  And since everything we do is for our members, it only makes sense to help EVERY member, no matter their age.

To find the financial education conversation starter sheet, follow this link to download the document and customize with your credit union’s logo and information.

Iowa Credit Union Foundation | 7745 Office Plaza Drive N Suite 170 | West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 | P 800.860.6180 | info@iowacreditunionfoundation.org