By Erin Moore, Education Program Manager at OnPoint Community Credit Union
Back to school is historically a time of excitement, renewed relationships and community. This year, as families face ongoing financial strain and monumental change at school, it’s more important than ever to lift up our young people and support their learning in new and relatable ways.
OnPoint Community Credit Union believes one of the most important life skills we can be teaching our kids right now is how money and personal finance work. Educating kids about money, especially during this time of uncertainty, will instill responsible habits early and empower them to be in control of their personal finances as they grow up. A weekly allowance, for example, is a great place to start.
As the manager of OnPoint’s financial education programs, I work closely with communities across Oregon and Southwest Washington to help increase financial literacy in kids. Below, I have compiled a few tips to start teaching your kids how to make smart financial decisions today, and for the rest of their lives.
- Set a goal together. A shared goal is something each family member can work toward (bicycle, a fish tank, ice cream maker, etc.). Having a goal—no matter how large or small—provides an opening to discuss how to achieve that goal, and it can help young people feel in control and build a positive outlook even during unprecedented times.
- Show them how their money can grow. Opening a high-yield savings account can start your child’s savings journey. OnPoint launched the Savers Account last year, designed specifically for members 17 and younger. In addition to saving toward a goal, Savers provides an opportunity to teach saving skills at a young age and encourage ongoing healthy savings habits as they watch their funds grow. When you open your child’s membership with a minimum of $25, OnPoint will deposit an additional $55, and the account will continue to earn 5.00% APY up to $500. Once you’ve maximized returns, you could consider adding a college savings fund. To open a Savers Account for your child, visit onpointcu.com/onpoint-savers.
- Create money lessons from home. Look for items around your house to use in simple activities that engage kids in learning about money and finances, such as using cardboard from the recycling bin to make a piggy bank and coins. Have a contest to see how many different ways you can make $1.00, or write “prices” on plastic cups and have the kids put the correct change in each cup.
While these are certainly challenging times for our community, I encourage you to use this as an opportunity to teach your kids how to make smart financial decisions—the younger they start, the better.
Setting a foundation of knowledge at an early age will help your kids throughout their lives as they build their emergency savings, buy a home, have kids of their own and save for retirement. For more tips and tools to help your family achieve sustainable financial wellness, visit onpointcu.com/financial-education.