It's a great time to help young people learn about moneyand to introduce them to your credit union.
By Jessica Whitmore
June 9, 2009
Credit Union Management's Web-only "Teaching Smart Money Management" column runs the second Tuesday of each month. Jessica Whitmore is substituting this month for regular columnist Laura Enock.
Can you believe it? Summer is here! Time for BBQs, pool parties, camping and summer vacations. And for students it means camps, free movies, fairs, library programs, swimming lessons and summer jobs.
Do you remember your summer jobs as a student? I remember my better summer jobs: babysitting and working at a local bank. And I have a very vivid memory of my worst summer job: walking and pulling weeds in a soybean field on a hot, humid day in Minnesota. Thankfully that job lasted only one day after I begged my parents to not make me go back.
My memories go beyond those jobs though. I was very fortunate that my mom showed me how to clearly create (handwritten) spreadsheets on how to divide my earned money between saving, spending and charity. Not all students are so lucky to have parents who understand the importance of teaching these valuable financial habits.
Your credit union has an incredible opportunity this summer to provide healthy financial education to students of all ages, whether they have summer jobs or not.
Just think of the different types of students and their possible financial concerns this summer.
Elementary school students may be getting their first taste of an allowance or be given extra allowance for helping more during the summer. Do they understand the concept of money beyond getting a new toy? Do they understand the concept of saving?
High school students may be starting their first job or helping their parents. Do they understand how to use a checkbook, debit card or credit card? Do they have a checking or savings account? What about those who want a car? Do they really understand what it takes to buy and maintain a car?
High school graduates may be enjoying their last summer before heading off to college or a full-time job. Do they understand what their upcoming college loans mean? How will they make sure they have money for college, fun and new responsibilities? Do they understand how checkbooks, credit cards and debit cards work? Do they know what a credit score is and how it will impact them in the future?
College students may be more committed to their summer jobs this year than in previous ones to make money for textbooks or fun when they get back to campus come fall. They might want to know more about savings options and online banking and tracking options. Online personal financial management tools may make a perfect topic of discussion for this group.
College graduates are probably spending the summer searching for that "real" job or spending one last summer away from responsibilities. Do they understand how much they have to make to live on their own? Do they know how to budget and compare prices? Do they realize the impact of giving to charity?
What a broad range of concerns these students might have. How do you even start to plan a financial education program over the summer?
Don't worry. You don't have to have a week-long camp or even a day-long class. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can teach healthy financial habits to students this summer.
What about a weekly or monthly one-hour seminar for students on a specific topic, such as credit cards, credit scores, how to budget, or balancing checkbooks?
What about posting on your Web site weekly healthy financial tips aimed at students? What about including those tips in your newsletter?
Parents might be looking for recommended reading this summer. What types of financial books, Web sites or games would you recommend for each group of students? Are there ways you could work with your local public library to create reading lists or programs?
What about creating brochures that encourage healthy financial habits for students of all ages? And don't forget about teaching your credit union employees ways they can talk to parents and kids about healthy financial habits.
Check your local paper to see what kid-centered events are happening for students of all ages and see how you can get involved. It may only take a simple phone call to see about having a booth or giving away marketing items along with brochures on healthy financial habits.
The summer is a perfect time to start instilling healthy financial habits in students. It's also a great way to introduce them to your credit union.
Now back to memories. What was your best summer job? What was your worst summer job?
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